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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Childrens Hospital: “The Return Of The Young Billionaire”

Illustration for article titled Childrens Hospital: “The Return Of The Young Billionaire”
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Childrens Hospital is the kind of show that can open with a grand visual gag that sets up a whole episode’s focus, then proceed to ignore that gag for the entire episode, refer to it in the closing seconds, and have it make for one of the biggest laughs. I was amused by the Pink Panther-spoofing opening animatic with Blake hunting for a missing… something, but it didn’t bother me that Blake then just didn’t appear for the rest of the episode. Except at the end, where he remarks that they never did find that jewel. That jewel that no one mentioned up to that point. On any other show, we’d be crying foul, but here, it’s utter genius.

Owen Maestro is definitely my favorite Childrens character, and this Rob Huebel-scripted episode gave us more of his back-story as a former cop, one of the best recurring gags of the series. That’s partially because it’s usually involves an appearance by Nick Offerman as Chance Briggs, but this time we had to make do with the very funny Michaela Watkins as his ex-wife Lacey Briggs, who has devoted her new life to hitting on Owen. “Let’s just say, I hate my ex-husband, and I want to have sex with you,” she says, in case we didn’t get the point.

Owen’s whirlwind adventure with Lacey, in which they bust a candy company creating living child-piñatas for the rich and powerful, was full of brilliant throwaway gags, from a bizarre Eyes Wide Shut-style ceremony that re-initiated Owen back into the force, to an unorthodox police method for silent takedown—Lacey sneaks up behind a security guard and slits his throat, assuring Owen, “He’ll only be asleep for a few minutes, so we gotta move.”

Meanwhile at the hospital, a kid billionaire, whom Lola performed a heart transplant on as a child, returned to try and woo her, his bribes falling on deaf ears (but attracting Chief, who assures him, “I will literally do anything you want! I have no moral compass!”). I liked the trope of Lola, who usually behaves like an amoral psychopath just like the rest of these characters, being unswayed by the money, and I kinda wish the show had carried that through the episode, but I guess it was funny to have her suddenly turn evil on a dime.

I also wish the money storyline had fed in a little better to Sy’s cost-cutting measures, where he hires a snake as a companion animal for a sick girl (the snake promptly eats the girl and has to be beaten to death, exploding in a bloody mess). But as a ridiculous C-story that gives Henry Winkler plenty of silly material, it was golden, so I can’t really complain. This was a pretty ideal typical episode of Childrens Hospital—it gave most of the cast something to do, it had a loose plot that it played around with for the sake of silliness, and it had a bunch of great sight gags and lines.

Stray observations:

  • Lola’s middle name: Adolf.
  • “I’ll have the table flown in on my non-invisible jet.” “So it’s visible; it’s a visible jet?” “Yes, but it’s still a jet.”
  • Sy’s not worried about his choice of companion animal. “I just assume a snake can do everything a dog can do.”
  • Lacey’s happy to eat candy that’s come out of a kid. “This mouth has been in places your face wouldn’t crap on with that nurse’s dick.”
  • She adds, “I’m good with kids. You should shoot one in me sometime.”
  • “What kind of candy company is this?” “I dunno. Could be sole proprietorship, might be an S-Corp for tax purposes.”
  • Owen tries to break down why kid piñatas are wrong. “You see that hitting kids with sticks is wrong.” “Absolutely. Unless they’re stuffed with candy.” “Okay, so there’s the confusion.”