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September 1, 2014

Rob Corddry gets the show he should have gotten - VIDEO

by Danny Gallagher, posted Dec 10th 2008 9:27AM
When Rob Corddry left The Daily Show, Fox scooped him up for a midseason replacement filler called The Winner. It was a horrible little sitcom from the creators of (shudder) Family Guy that should have been flagged long before the executives brought the script to read on the toilet in their private bathrooms.

The most painful part of the show was the feeling that Corddry deserved something much better than another pop culture referencing yawnfest. His Daily Show appearances always made for great television and he also made great transitions into movies whether they were minor roles in Old School or starring roles in the indie comedy Blackballed: The Bobby Dukes Story.

Now the fates have realigned and given Corddry the show he should have gotten when he left The Daily Show dangling from one last philosophical poop joke. The WB.com premiered a web series called Childrens' Hospital starring, written and directed by Corddry, the man who left a little part of himself in a Daily Show men's room oh so many months ago.

The show takes a Stella-like approach to comedy in some bizarre universe where medical malpractice and child endangerment are only words and not legal career killers. Corddry described the series in a recent AOL interview as "a fear of Grey's Anatomy, essentially. It's a fear of the post-Clooney ER." Doctors are more concerned with their own sex lives than caring for their patients, which makes for a perfect right cross to the face to those sickly medical love dramas that every guy who cares about getting laid has to care about in order to be a good boyfriend.

The show has been split up into 10, five-minute or so episodes that jump from plot line to plot line. The jokes jump from blatant parodies of medical show synchronicities such as Megan Mullally as the "Chief" who stumbles around everywhere on a pair of arm crutches in a not-so-flattering impression of Carrie Weaver on ER to surreal situational humor. There are also a lot of minor gags sprinkled throughout each episode such as the ever present PA system voiced by Michael Cera that give it more replayability than a Girls Gone Wild box set in a frat house.

And thanks to the unrestrained nature of the Internet, the gags journey into shock territory but aren't done without a total lack of wit such as a scene in a recap flashback in which Lola breaks up with Dr. Kirk Rosenwig, played by Ken Marino, during a furious handjob in mid-stroke. I feel your pain, Doc.

"Can't it wait 20 seconds?" a frustrated Kirk asks Lola. "No wait, 10 seconds."

That being said, the dialogue is pretty unrestrained, so make sure your boss isn't within ear shot of your computer's speakers or at the very least has a serious hearing condition that prevents him from having you fired for inappropriate use of company time.

It also doesn't anchor around one major character. Everyone gets an equal amount of face time and plays their character completely straight, which makes it even funnier. The funniest of the bunch is Rob Huebel, the Human Giant troupe member who plays Dr. Owen Maestro with melodramatic sincerity that's hilarious because he could probably get away with it on a real medical drama. He gets dumped in the first episode by Dr. Lola Spratt, played by Erinn Hayes, who fakes a brain tumor to get rid of Owen only to have it backfire in her face like a loaded rifle pointed in the wrong direction.

"I'd kiss you goodbye," Dr. Owen says, "but I don't want to get brain cancer."

Everyone tries to comfort Lola for the rest of the season, no matter how many times she admits that she faked it.

"I told that as a lie so I could break up with you," Lola tells the entire staff during a meeting in episode 3. "I don't have a brain tumor."

"That's right," Owen says reassuringly. "You don't have a brain tumor. You don't have a brain tumor. Everyone. You don't have a brain tumor. That's your mantra."

This leads up to a climatic fake brain tumor operation in the final episode. Dr. Blake Downs, played by Corddry, finds himself facing off with a rival doctor who also believes in the healing power of laughter as evidence by his clown makeup and Harpo Marx bicycle horn talk. Blake challenges his rival to a "healing power of laughter off" where the loser puts his career on the line. Corddry gets one of the best lines in the whole series during his showdown.

His rival honks back and Corddry responds "No, you go #*$& YOURself."

That line alone makes up for The Winner.


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gabbyd

Yup, totally agree! very funny stuff, although i can take it all in, in 1 sitting... my head would explode!

December 10 2008 at 9:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Andy

anyone know where/when somebody from the uk will be able to watch this - this looks like it suits my comedy stylings 99% but thewb.com is restricted to us.

clues anyone?

December 10 2008 at 1:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Andy's comment
Greg

*cough*BitTorrent*cough*

December 10 2008 at 11:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
moreartplease

It is, indeed, a very funny show, and one could argue that it is among the first serialized shows that is a true "web-show"--that is, the medium it is designed for is critical to its success.

The satire is dead on, and skewers several hospital dramas in addition to the ones listed above without underlining the satire. It is incredibly well-crafted, yet even the best satire is hard to sustain for 22 minutes a week indefinitely. The beauty of 5 minute episodes is that they don't need to bother with making us care about these people at all--there are no real stakes. This can work in a movie (sometimes) and in 5 minute bursts, but if it went on for 22 minutes every week, they would need to create more natural arcs and characters to fill some time. (Maybe I am wrong, but there are very few shows I can think of that have NO real characters or empathy, just satire--the only one I can think of is "Police Squad" and that didn't last a full season IIRC. If you think of one, please prove me wrong.)

All that being said, I'm not sure if the reviewer needed to enumerate quite so many of the best jokes in the review. He cherry picked some of the best, and for me, that would have taken some of the laughs out of the actual experience of watching.

December 10 2008 at 10:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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