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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Childrens Hospital: “Spoiler Alert: Owen Gets A Perm”

Illustration for article titled Childrens Hospital: “Spoiler Alert: Owen Gets A Perm”
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This week on Childrens Hospital, Owen gets an awful perm and everyone decides to teach him a lesson by making him think he’s been shrunk down to Innerspace/Fantastic Voyage size and is swimming around in the blood vessels of a patient. What’s funny is that this is Childrens Hospital. Owen shrinking down to microscopic size and having an adventure in a patient’s body is a fairly plausible plot for the show. In fact, Comedy Bang! Bang! did something similar this year, so it’s for the better that Childrens Hospital decides to go the more meta route and have Owen jumping around in an “immersive Halloween maze” designed by Chet.

The prank is simultaneously incredibly detailed and totally half-baked. Cat and Chief cook up the scheme out of disgust for Owen’s hair, but Cat seems to lose interest halfway through the episode. Chief is more committed, but quickly seems to be directing her energies toward bonding with Cat more than anything else. Still! They hire Michael Winslow to do human body sound effects, then throw Owen in a coffin and dump hot tea on him. It’s a very involved process. The illusion should be shattered when an excitable Chet jumps in to the “blood vessel” in a vampire costume, but Owen just thinks the patient is infected with Draculas. “I am terrified right now!” he screams before going into cardiac arrest.

So Owen learns his lesson—no more perms, certainly not without consulting everyone. Weirder still is the B-plot, which has Glenn revealing to Blake that he’s not a great surgeon at all, it’s a pet mouse who guided his actions by pulling his hair under his yarmulke. “Like the movie Ratatouille,” Blake offers. “Exactly like that. Exactly like the movie Ratatouille.” Now the mouse is dead, and Glenn has to learn how to be a good surgeon without him.

Blake’s pop culture acumen is particularly surprising considering the joke about him this episode is that he doesn’t understand any vaguely current slang and can’t stop saying “spoiler alert” at inopportune moments. He almost decides to go live in the woods as an outcast (a move that makes sense to Glenn) before being welcomed back into the fold and invited to hang out. “Spoiler alert: I’ll be there,” he mumbles, before adding “I’ll be there. I have to get out of this one thing.”

This was very reminiscent of the kind of episode Childrens Hospital used to do more frequently in its first and second seasons—just straight-up zero-budget silly hospital nonsense that wrings most of its humor from weird non sequiturs and barely-plausible plotting. The ridiculously extended take of Glenn staring into Blake’s eyes at the end of the episode shouldn’t have worked as well as it did, but damn, did it work.

Childrens Hospital is really funny. These kinds of episodes are impossible to review, but kudos as usual, gentlemen. Even at your silliest, with little concept, you’re still murderously good.


Stray observations:

  • Blake insists he can do all the expressions. “Watch. There's too much information on this.”
  • He then tells Glenn he’s listening to him. “You can tell that because I'm making eye contact and I'm nodding.”
  • Nurse Dori is so horrified by Owen’s perm, she runs through a window, hijacks a car and crashes it.
  • Chief hits up Cat. “I'm having such a good time with you right now. Hey, are you on Google Plus?”
  • Glenn buries his mouse friend. “That’s what she said,” Blake offers.