Tonight, we say goodbye to Adult Swim’s Childrens Hospital after seven seasons and over 80 episodes.
The show started out amid the writers’ strike, in 2008, as a web-series on TheWB.com.
Yes, that WB.
Post-strike, Childrens Hospital got picked up by Adult Swim, making it the first-ish web-show to jump to television. (And still kind of the only one still around.)
It had everything you could want from a live-action night-time 12-minute comedy:
Jokes, hospitals, cameos, non sequiturs, self-deprecating characters, irreverent humor, spin-offs, and Brazil…
Which is where we are right now.
(Fun fact: they actually flew to Brazil just for that running gag.)
As a commenter said over at the AV Club:
I have nothing but love for Childrens Hospital. Not only did it remain hilarious throughout its run, but it did a brilliant, ambitious job experimenting with different storytelling formats, especially given its 12-minute time slot. It got super-meta without ever becoming inaccessible or weird for the sake of weird, and it stuck to its own established continuity, with the history of the show-within-a-show (except for when it didn’t).
You can turn to BBF LaToya Ferguson (also at the AV Club) for great analysis on what made those experimental minutes of television so special.
Just this season, Childrens Hospital had an episode spoofing 1950s variety shows, a black-and-white exploration of one of their meta-characters, and their own take on plots from I Love Lucy.
If you’re a fan (or are becoming one), you’ll be excited to learn of the many interviews posted about the show this week. I highly recommend reading two specific ones:
– The oral history of Childrens, published by WIRED, featuring a bunch of the players & writers; and
– Inverse’s off-the-cuff sit-down with Rob Corddry and Rob Huebel
(How have I not realized until now that they share the same first name?)
As an avid watcher of both Childrens Hospital and Party Down, I must conclude this post by sharing an all-time favorite episode of mine (thankfully available on the interwebs)…
Here’s to hoping they do an inevitable reunion show within the next few years.