Tag Archives: Tootsie

Children’s Hospital

After the first two seasons, I didn’t think it could get stranger.

Wrong!

A parody of hospital dramas and soap operas that started as a webseries on the WB, Rob Corddry’s show was eventually picked up by Adult Swim and is now in its third season. Episodes are only twelve minutes long, but consistently hilarious, irreverent, absurd and cutting edge. You don’t have to be familiar with (or abhor) the source material to appreciate the jokes, although I’m sure there are subtle zingers that I’m missing. and while there is some thread of continuity, any episode is extremely watchable as a drop-in. That’s how I found it, and I’m thrilled it made it to DVD.

It’s not really a children’s hospital – it’s named after Dr. Childrens – and yes, that clown doctor tries to cure people with the healing power of laughter. It’s sexist and racist and vulgar and offensive to every religion and nationality, but absurdly so; it deflates these vile emotions by exposing how ridiculous they are. Corddry, Jonathan Stern and David Wain have created a show that follows the path of Arrested Devlopment and makes a hard left turn. It’s not for everyone, but neither are cashews.

The ensemble cast is airtight, featuring Malin Akerman, Lake Bell, Erinn Hayes, Rob Huebel, Ken Marino, Megan Mullally and Henry Winkler. Frequent guest stars like Nick Offerman and Nick Kroll add to the madness, and Michael Cera’s character of Sal Viscuso is a great running gag as well as a clever tribute. In the closing episode of Season Two (“The Sultan’s Finger”) the show perfectly mocked the recent trend of comedy shows fawning over their ability to perform a live broadcast, combined with a priceless nod to Tootsie (Jon Hamm can do no wrong).

Combined with Delocated and the upcoming National Terrorism Strike Force: San Diego: Sport Utility Vehicle (a spin-off from CH that starts July 21st), Adult Swim has a 1-2-3 punch that will keep me going all summer.

Children’s Hospital at Adult Swim

Children’s Hospital episodes

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R.I.P. Jim Carroll, Larry Gelbart

"Jimmy, I'll miss you more than all the others / and I SALUTE YOU , Brother..."

" I'll miss you more than all the others / and I SALUTE YOU , Brother..."

Poet. Rocker. Punk. Junkie. Jim Carroll, who was all of these,  passed away at his desk while working on new material. He first became famous for his novel The Basketball Diaries, but I didn’t discover that until after his album Catholic Boy blew my doors in. I can still sing “People Who Died” from memory and was fortunate enough to have seen the man himself do the honors. Many people believe he was the poet of our generation, a post-Beat Beat writer. Now he’s gone. Wicked, wicked gravity.

Larry Gelbart is probably best known as the creator of M*A*S*H, an accomplishment which would outshine many people’s career resumes. But his writing spanned generations – he started writing for Fanny Brice and Bob Hope, wrote jokes for Red Buttons and Danny Kaye, hit his stride in the incredible writer’s room for Sid Caesar (a crew that included Mel Brooks, Woody Allen, Neil Simon and Carl Reiner) and capped it off with M*A*S*H and Tootsie. His work is so good that I forgive him for AfterMASH.

The typewriter is mightier than the sword

The typewriter is mightier than the sword

My comments on these two is certainly no slight by omission on the recent passing of others. I just had more invested in the works of Carroll and Gelbart.  But over the past seven days the Grim Reaper has been working overtime:

  • Pierre Cossette, a TV and Broadway producer I had the pleasure of working with when I was in Artist Management. Total pro, as was his team.
  • Army Archerd, whose news items in Variety predated today’s gossip rags and TV shows…except Army had ethics and didn’t just blast rumors to get attention.
  • George Eckstein, a producer/writer for some great early TV shows.
  • Paul Burke, star of Naked City and 12 O’Clock High
  • William Beck, the owner of the Charlotte Bobcats, who at least was saved from witnessing Michael Jordan’s embarassing Hall Of Fame speech.
  • Frank Batten, creator of The Weather Channel, saving millions of people from having to rely on that antiquated tool of looking out the window.

This idiot died last night, but only on stage. (I’m no fan of Beyonce’s music, but that was a class move at the VMAs.)

Christopher Kelly– hmmm, not suspicious at all, right?

And if the Universe had a better sense of irony,  this jackass would have died a day earlier.

***

Awww crap11pm update. I knew this was going to happen but not this soon.

And damn, Reaper – Wednesday update – you socked it to him, too?

***

Jim Carroll Wikipedia entry

Larry Gelbart page at IMDB.

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