In transitioning the web series Childrens Hospital to the big(ger) screen, Rob Corddry and company needed to start thinking bigger. The original show started with episodes clocking in at a mere six minutes, and its time slot on Adult Swim—though miniscule by most relative standards—is double that size. The series is a collection of hysterical riffs on hospital melodramas, and the 6-minute episode length worked well enough with the breakneck pace that I wondered whether twelve minutes would start to feel like a lot. But given the first all-new episode of Childrens Hospital, which aired last night, the show is still flawlessly executed and hilarious in all the same ways.
The characters in the original web series (a.k.a. the show’s first season) were always oblivious to their surroundings, with the comedy coming from just how utterly naive they were to simple things like “medicine.” That kind of humor continues: At one point, Ken Marino’s character accidentally discovered the cure for cancer, as evidenced by a “cancer meter” going from red to green. But the show has introduced a new element to play with in Henry Winkler’s character. He owns the company that bought the hospital, thus he’s the new owner. He’s not a doctor and he’s the sweetest man that there could ever be, yet the staff comically hates him with the fire of a thousand cancerous suns. The hospital chief, played by Megan Mullally, does not, and she alternates between flirting shamelessly and slapping him senseless, depending on whether or not there are other people are around.
In the past, few plots lasted more than one episode, and this first episode of Season 2 ended, surprisingly, with a genuine cliffhanger. At the same time, things that happened in previous episodes were hilariously tossed off without much explanation—like how Mullally’s character underwent surgery to make her look like Eva Longoria, yet now looks like Megan Mullally again. Jokes came from that loss of continuity, as well as from the self-seriousness of the final cliffhanger. Which means Childrens Hospital no longer feels like a sprint as much as it feels like an effortless alternation between sprinting and a light jog. It makes the 12 minutes fly by, and fits this new format perfectly.
What did you all think? Did you watch this "first" episode? And if not, how can you fix that immediately?