It’s hard to believe that it took this long for Childrens Hospital, of all shows, to really put Jon Hamm to good use. His introduction as Derrick Childrens, the male alter-ego of then-newbie Valerie Flame, in the season two finale was a shocker, but no one really expected any follow-through with that at the time. It was just something Childrens Hospital did, as the first season finale had Eva Longoria play the new and improved Chief, only to never be seen again after that. However, Childrens Hospital continued to feature Hamm on a occasion, as both Derrick and his father Arthur Childrens; but it always did it with the fact that Malin Akerman was the series regular and Jon Hamm was the handsome guest. In fact, Hamm’s role on Childrens Hospital has always been sort of restricted.
Now that Malin is off working on Billions, that changes things quite a bit, which is what brings us to “One Million Saved.” One scene with Malin transforms into one full episode with Jon, and it manages to be a strong farewell for both actors and their characters (for now). Yes, part of that strength comes from the fact that their half of the episode is basically just other characters telling them both how attractive they are. It doesn’t even have to be a character we actually know, as the one Val scene in the episode has a character credited as “Dr. Martha Kriete” (Amber Friendly) start up the compliment train:
“God, you are so gorgeous, Val. If you were a man, I’d scissor you right now. How do you do it?”
Then, once Derrick reclaims who he “really” is and roams the halls of Childrens, Lola is immediately (and understandably) all over him. Is that because he lacks competition like Glenn and Owen in this episode? We may never know. What we do know is that Derrick Childrens’ level of attractiveness causes Lola to reveal fetishes for tears on breasts and the aforementioned butt stuff (“I wanna wear you like a muppet.”).
This is a television series that has been on for seven seasons, and just when you think it’s reached a plateau of ridiculousness, it does everything I just mentioned. That’s not even taking into account the actual plot of this half of the episode: a clue hunt for a cure for “the pandemic,” a medical condition that is only cured with magic tears.
There’s just something about Childrens’ particular brand of weirdness that somehow manages to highlight just how talented its cast is. Because in all of the madness of the Derrick/Lola plot, the biggest realization to come from it is the fact that the show has gone all these years without dedicating whole plots to just Jon Hamm and Erinn Hayes interacting. It’s a plot that brings out uncool Lola, even though she still manages to succeed in seduction, and it gives the otherwise blank canvas that is Derrick Childrens something for the audience to remember him by other than being Val’s other half: his daddy issues. The talent isn’t relegated to one plot though, because the titular “one million saved” plot has the living highlight that is Lake Bell, whose frustrated reactions as Cat are subtle highlights for a show that’s so in-your-face.
And who can blame Cat? The entirety of this plot is her having to deal with incompetence (she’s actually the only one who has the “smart” solutions to keep patients from dying), from Blake’s inability to open an umbrella to Blake’s inability to properly fly his drone to Derrick and Lola’s silent conversation.
However, the best part of “one million saved” gag—besides Ballers’ Rob Corddry possibly just wanting to fly a drone—is another subtle bit for such a wacky plot. With each of the gags in the outdoor surgery, Blake gets further and further away from the surgery with his drone, presumably to safe distance, only to finally screw it all up with said drone. He goes from right next to Cat and Nurse Beth (where he promises to be safe), to behind them, to completely out of frame, and by that final point, it’s easy the question is one of whether he’s even there anymore. The fact that he is acknowledges the one truth of Childrens Hospital: Even when actively trying not to be the worst, Blake still manages to be the worst. That’s when Cat’s finally over it (“Okay. You know what? That’s it for me. Later.”), and it’s the natural conclusion to this plot—until the two plots converge.
The “one million saved” plot for the episode is, on the surface, the purest example of Childrens Hospital being a weird, dumb show. To the uninitiated, it’s just a bunch of dummies who have no business being doctors constantly screwing up and making complications out of something so easy. There are plenty of obvious answers to the confetti problem, and none of them are actually approached in this plot. But the combination of Blake being the worst, Cat progressively becoming more frustrated (and then just bored) with the situation, and Nurse Beth just going with the flow is what makes it and what makes it true Childrens Hospital. That and all the talk of butt stuff, that is.
- This is a question I’ve always had: Is Derrick Childrens really a doctor? Val is, obviously, but nothing in the little we know about Derrick suggests he’s an actual doctor. Val apparently has a speciality; Derrick has magic tears.
- So the Childrens men have magic tears (Arthur started crying in the flashback as Derrick finished up the story), huh? I appreciate no one bringing up that Derrick probably should have figured that out earlier or stuck around to keep helping kids. Anyway, good luck in the circus, Derrick.
- I’ve been assuming that the dog interrupting the surgery is a One Tree Hill riff, but I’d have to know if the dog was high or not before I can confirm that. (Little known fact: The dog in the infamous One Tree Hill clip had ingested its owner’s weed, which supposedly gave it organ munchies.)
- Derrick (whispers to father’s photo): “Tell me your secrets.”
Lola: “Okay. I think numbers have genders. Like, one is a boy, two is a boy, but three is a girl. Four is—”
Derrick: “What are you talking about?”
- “NO BIRTHDAY PARTIES OR PETS OR BEVERAGES ALLOWED IN THIS AREA” That area is definitely not a very chill area.
- Derrick: “Of course! My father had a speech impediment. He pronounced his “v”s as “b”s. That means the clue isn’t in the bowels of Childrens. It’s in the vowels of childrens.”
Derrick: “Sometimes. But mostly A-E-I-O-U.”
- Nurse Dori saving the day because of her love of “jiggies” would be quite the win for her, if not for her crashing into thesurgery room door as she, Derrick, and Lola ran into the room. Oh, Dori.
- I’m really surprised that the two plots in this episode even converge, but it is a nice way to wrap it all up, especially in an episode where it feels like there are two A-plots just existing at the same time.
- Derrick (mouthing): “Thank you.”
Lola (mouthing): “Thank you.”
Derrick (mouthing): “For what?”
Lola (mouthing): “For everything.”
Cat (after the kid flatlines): “Wow. Next time: Save the drama for your momma.”
- Nurse Beth brought the realness (and champagne) in this episode when she pointed out this sadness bomb: “Laura Linney has never won an Oscar!”