TV Review: Childrens Hospital

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From the August 2, 2012 edition

It’s that time of year when TV critics and fans discuss Emmy nomination blunders. Failing to recognize the awesomeness of Nick Offerman as Ron Swanson on “Parks and Recreation” was bad. Nominating everyone from a rapidly declining “Modern Family” was awful. Giving 17 nominations to “American Horror Story” is egregious.

But one snub is unforgivable. How does “Childrens Hospital” not earn a nod for Outstanding Drama Series? I know Adult Swim trades in quirky late-night comedies, but “Childrens Hospital” presents some of the best drama on TV — and in only 15 minutes!

“Childrens Hospital” creator and star Rob Corddry’s turns in an indelible performance as Dr. Blake Downs by masterfully exploring the struggle of being a pariah in the medical world. As a member of the Clown race, Downs’ healing-with-laughter methodology isn’t accepted by his co-workers. His unconventional, anti-hero doctor is far more compelling than Hugh Laurie’s (multiple Emmy-nominated) work on “House.”

Corddry deserves a lot of credit, but the other cast members are also terrific. As Glenn Richie, Ken Marino is top-notch. Marino’s work in the Season 4 premiere cold open makes the sequence rival that of “Breaking Bad” for sheer intensity. When Glenn later diagnoses that an 11-year-old is “too young to be douchy,” and the patient must have amnesia, it’s Marino’s powerful delivery that elevates the judicious dialogue.

And the women of “Childrens Hospital” aren’t just pretty window dressing. Yes, Valerie Flame (Malin Akerman) and Cat Black (Lake Bell) are beautiful, but it’s their heartfelt acting that conveys their dedication to healing.

While I can almost understand that critics and Emmy voters are transfixed by Akerman and Bell’s beauty, Megan Mullally undergoes an extreme physical transformation for her character that totally conceals her unparalleled sex appeal. Her work as Chief, a handicapped doctor with a crippling sex addiction, often outshines her cohorts despite her minimal screen time.

I guess there’s always next year for “Childrens Hospital” and the Emmys, but voters will probably just nominate Jon Hamm for his guest role — the Emmys love that guy. What do people see in Hamm and that boring show about guys with anger management issues?