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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Childrens Hospital: “British Hospital”

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On another, lesser show, this spoof episode that tweaked everything about Childrens Hospital into a British version of itself would have found a way to include at least one member of the main cast. Not here, where we just got a fairly typically silly Childrens episode sprinkled with British stereotype jokes and an entirely different cast (each playing a version of one of our main characters).

I was worried that the whole thing would be UK gags—fish and chips, warm beer, Eastenders, and the like. There is nothing wrong with that, but even on a fifteen-minute episode, the whole thing would feel stale pretty quickly indeed. But actually, with all the tweaks, this was still pretty normal for a Childrens episode. So the Blake Downs character was a French mime called Braedon Downs (Frank Ferrante, best known as a Groucho Marx impressionist, weirdly enough). The gag was pretty much the same—he’s a woefully ineffective doctor.


Of the replacements, Oren Maestro (Dominic Monaghan) got the most attention, which would make sense even if the guest star playing him wasn’t the most recognizable. Monaghan was fun to watch, but I actually was the least interested in his “plotline” of bedding lady doctors and living on the edge (with his Irish cop buddy Briggs telling him to go shoot more terrorists).

Much more amusing was Jaime Murray (whom I know best as Lila from the last season of Dexter I ever paid attention to) as Doctor-Lady or Lady Doctor Kitty Black, trying to impress her posh mother by operating on poor black children or bringing home an Asian man she assumes is Pakistani and Hindu (“I’m Catholic and from the East Midlands,” Dileep Rao as Glenn protests). Frances Fisher’s version of Chief (“the Headmistress”) was also cute, although the romance storyline felt like a barely-disguised version of what we’ve seen before.

Whenever Childrens Hospital does a high-concept episode like this one (which is several times per season, to its credit), I can’t help but applaud the wackiness of the idea, even if the execution was a little lackluster, so I’m going to plant my critical opinion right there for “British Hospital.” Who cares if some of the jokes fell a little flat, or the whole thing would have been by the numbers if it wasn’t a bunch of Brits? There’s still no other show on TV that would pull a stunt like this, and for 11 minutes, it’s worth it.

Still, even though I’m impressed that we saw neither hair nor hide of Rob Corddry or Rob Huebel or anyone else, I’ll be happy to return to (somewhat) normal ground next week. Although (and I say this as someone who loves Michael Cera’s voice-overs) if they want to keep Peter Serafinowcz as Michael Caine for the hospital PA system, that’s fine by me. “Greetings hospital staff. Bring out your dead. And transfer them to the morgue. That will suffice.”


Stray observations:

  • The show airs on made-up channel BBC Ten, which is about right.
  • British Childrens was “Established 1888 for medical treatment of the poor and unwashed and Catholics and not Jews.”
  • Kitty likes the look of Glenn. “Oh yes, very attractive, with his brown skin and his brown heritage.”
  • Later, she answers the phone during surgery. “I can’t talk right now, mummy. I’m doing medicine on a poor black girl from a council estate, and my hands are dripping with her poor black blood.”
  • Oren knows how to please his lady. “I kept your appendix in a tin. Wanked off to it. Twice.”

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