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Series / Childrens Hospital

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Healing... with laughter.

Childrens Hospital is an [adult swim] program that parodies aspects of various medical TV dramas. It began as a series of ten webisodes for in the summer of 2008. The series was picked up a year later by Adult Swim, where it aired for seven seasons through 2016. The webisodes were packaged together and aired during the summer of 2010, padded out with fake commercials for NTSF:SD:SUV:: and mock interviews with creator Rob Corddry.

Childrens Hospital centers around the arrogant, slutty, and incompetent doctors working at a children's hospital in Brazil called Childrens Hospital (note the lack of an apostrophe), using a broad range of fast-paced humor. The ensemble cast includes Coddry himself, Lake Bell, Erinn Hayes, Rob Heubel, Ken Marino, Megan Mullally, Malin Åkerman, and Henry Winkler.

National Terrorism Strike Force:San Diego:Sports Utility Vehicle:: was greenlit, aired in the Summer of 2011. Another spinoff, Newsreaders, was picked up in 2011, as was a movie that admittedly has nothing to do with the plot of the show, but still contains all the same actors. A sequel series, starring Rob Huebel and Erinn Hayes, called Medical Police was released on Netflix on January 10 2020.


  • Actor Allusion: Sy (Henry Winkler) stuttered when he had to admit he was "w-w-w-wrong" to Blake in "Sy's Tenure".
  • Adam Westing: Hey, it's Insult Comic Jeffery Ross!
  • Affectionate Parody: Of Grey's Anatomy, Scrubs, ER, St. Elsewhere, and more.
  • And I Must Scream: In "DOY", Cat and Glen inject Blake with a heavy dosed paralytic in order to prevent him from attending the Doctor Of the Year awards(which he always wins) and leaves him in his hotel bed only able to move his eyes and fingers. Unfortunately, the bed next to him is soon occupied by Owen, who is having sex with his own mother.
  • Anti-Humor: More prominent in the show than one might think.
  • As You Know: Parodied in the second episode when Blake goes on a rant explaining that the hospital is in Brazil "as we all know."
  • Ascended Extra: Dr Brian, who's been in almost every episode of Season 3. He appeared briefly in a clip from the in-universe '70s incarnation of the show in Season 2.
    • Nurse Dori and EMT Chet have finally been promoted to regular status.
  • Avengers Assemble: The season 3 premiere when they're forced to call in the staff on a weekend.
  • Captain Ersatz: The Chief is a blatant parody of Kerry Weaver from ER.
    • And Cat is obviously Meredith Grey from Grey's Anatomy.
      • Valerie is similar, her not-so-deep metaphor monologues at the beginning of each episode are eerily similar to Meredith's.
    • Blake Downs is clearly Patch Adams.
  • Celebrity Paradox: In the '70s episode, during the montage of blatant references to the time period, Blake emulates the "'eeeeeey!" of The Fonz on Happy Days. Henry Winkler, a recurring cast member on Childrens Hospital, played The Fonz.
  • Chess with Death: Valerie Flame plays a game of chess against death in one episode. Played for Laughs, as she beats him with the four move checkmate. Death goes on to say that he had played a game of chess with everybody who has ever died, and has never seen it before.
  • Contemplate Our Navels: Done frequently by Dr. Cat Black.
  • Death Is Cheap: Both Cat and Lola have been said to have died (one was faking, the other never really got explained). Both were back by the end of the season.
    • Dr. Owen Maestro appeared to have died for real, only for it to be revealed that his death was simply the culmination of a magic trick and that the dead body the rest of the staff were carrying was actually a playing card.
    • Dr. Blake Downs has a bank of clones under the hospital. A new one is awakened every time the previous Blake dies. This happens a lot, as fresh Blakes apparently have very low intelligence and a death wish. A rather low ratio of clones awakened actually live long enough to leave the lab.
  • Dining in the Buff: Cat drinks some wine while briefly becoming a Home Nudist.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Rabbi Jewy McJewjew.
    • Maybe not as Jewish as everybody thought, though: he had a pork shoulder delivered.
    • The In-Universe TV Show Black Doctor was about the show's only black doctor.
  • Faking the Dead: "Is it really so crazy that I faked my own death because I had too many emails?" - Lola Sprat
  • Fantastic Racism: Clowns are considered a separate ethnic group and often treated poorly. Further, a rivalry exists between "City Clowns" and "Circus Clowns."
  • Informed Ability: Blake Downs constantly reminds us that he can cure anything with laughter, though he has yet to make any patient laugh. At all.
    Blake: I once cured a case of Lou Gehrig's by pretending to be trapped inside a box.
  • Inner Monologue
    • Lampshaded on one episode where Chief makes it clear that she can hear the inner monologue making fun of her.
    • Zigzagged in a later episode where Valerie is having one while looking at the Chief, who reminds her she can't hear anything while she's staring at her.
  • Lack of Empathy: Everyone...
  • Live Episode: "The Sultan's Finger" was an over-the-top parody of one loaded with "goofs," up to and including one cast member bailing on the episode during filming, forcing a cameraman to replace him.
  • Mega-Corp: Apparently, Big Pharma is behind everything in the world, from paving roads and delivering mail to killing Kennedy, inventing Ben Franklin, polluting the ocean with high-fructose corn syrup, and even your heart medication.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Cat Black, Lola Spratt, and Valerie Flame.
  • Naked People Are Funny: After Cat gets catcalled, Valerie suggests she might feel more empowered if she got naked. Cat immediately obliges and Valerie takes great pleasure in looking at her.
  • Negative Continuity: Relationships, character motivations and often the format of the show change completely between episodes, which enhances the show's generally absurd style of comedy. Sometimes explained with a Hand Wave, frequently not.
  • Parody Commercial: For the crime drama parody National Terrorism Strike Force: San Diego: Sports Utility Vehicle::. It got its own spin-off.
  • Pretty in Mink: Lola gets a fur coat, and loves how it feels. She does return it, because it turns out the guy who gave it to her is a real bastard (thinks children as pinatas are okay to do).
  • Previously on…: Parodied at the beginning of each episode (including the first one) where they mix old material in with new material that has nothing to do with what previously happened on the show (and often has nothing to do with anything going on in that episode, either).
    • Taken to the extreme in season 3's "Munch by Proxy," where every single previous episode is shown in fast forward.
  • Put on a Bus: Dr. Blake Downs. To star in the spin-off Dr. Blake Downs M.D. This is immediately subverted when he comes back the next episode.
  • Rapid-Fire Comedy: Critics highlight this as one of the show's biggest strengths.
  • Reset Button: The creators weren't expecting a second season given the online distribution, so the last episode really goes for broke. In the second season, some things get explanations for being fixed (Blake Downs getting his spinoff cancelled), some just happen (Chief going from Eva Longoria to only slightly less crippled Megan Mullally).
  • Retool: One of the rare retoolings that promises to have little-to-no effect on the show itself: the doctors move from Childrens Hospital in Brazil to a children's clinic on a US military base in Japan, while the hospital is gassed for termites. Given the show's anarchic nature, and the fact that the show's setting was nothing but a running joke, this changes almost nothing.
  • Sequel Goes Foreign:
    • Season 5 is set in a military base in Japan instead of an hospital in Brazil.
    • Medical Police, the show's sequel is a spoof of globe-trotting action shows.
  • Shout-Out: Michael Cera's unseen intercom announcer is named Sal Viscuso, after the actor who fulfilled the same function on M*A*S*H.
    • In the episode Childrens Hospital: A Play in Three Acts, Owen drinks a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster.
    • Nick Offerman played a Detective named Chance Briggs. (Chance/T-Bone wasn't a detective, but he was a pilot for the Enforcers, so it makes a certain amount of sense.)
  • Show Within a Show: Inverted; Childrens Hospital is the show within the show. Behind the scenes episodes reveal Rob Corddry isn't playing Dr. Blake Downs, he's playing an actor named Cutter Spindell who's playing Dr. Blake Downs.
  • So Unfunny, It's Funny: Blake Downs of course.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Valerie Flame for Cat Black. This was lampshaded, with Cat Black being regarded as irreplaceable, followed immediately by Valerie Flame walking in and announcing herself as Cat Black's replacement.
    • And then of course, the Cat came back...
  • Those Two Guys: Dr. Ed Helms, and Jason Mantzoukas. Though they only appeared in the first season. Ed Helms is a Danza, and while Jason Mantzoukas does occasionally appear on the show, and wrote several episodes, the character is actually played by Rob Corddry's brother Nate.
  • Unsettling Gender-Reveal: With Valerie turning out to be Derrick Childrens, played by Jon Hamm.