Childrens Hospital, the medical drama parody created by Rob Corddry, returns for a third season tonight at midnight ET on Adult Swim. For the uninitiated, Childrens Hospital is actually the name of the show within the show, a series that stars Ingrid Hagerstown as Dr. Valerie Flame (Malin Akerman), Dixie Peters as Dr. Cat Black (Lake Bell), Lynn Williams as Dr. Lola Spratt (Erinn Hayes), Just Falcon as Dr. Glenn Richie (Ken Marino), Rob Huebel as Dr. Owen Maestro (Rob Huebel), Lady Jane Bentick-Smith as Chief (Megan Mullally); Fred Nunley as hospital administrator Sy Mittleman (Henry Winkler), and Cutter Spindell as Dr. Blake Downs (Corddry), a member of the Clown race who believes in the healing power of laughter. What does season 3 have in store for us – other than another Jon Hamm cameo in the premiere as Derrick Childrens, the man Dr. Valerie Flame was revealed to be in a Tootsie homage in the season 2 finale? Corddry offers five teases.
• An opening case worth Sy calling the doctors in on the weekend – a child stuck in quicksand (pictured): “I grew up with Gilligan’s Island. Quicksand was a constant presence on that show. And why they didn’t map out the areas of the island that had quicksand on it, I have no idea,” says Corddry, who also wrote the episode. “But it’s funny: Last season, we had an episode where an old black man and a young white male are impaled on the same tent pole, and that was inspired by an episode of Grey’s Anatomy where a kid was trapped in a trough of cement, and the cement was slowly hardening. I thought, ‘Well, that’s ridiculous. What’s more ridiculous than that?’ And I thought of the tent pole idea. Come to find out, that tent pole idea was already used on Grey’s Anatomy. I had no idea. Comedy was imitating art imitating garbage, I don’t know what it was. So then I just had to do something with the cement inspiration, and it became quicksand.”
• What would have been a great Osama bin Laden death joke: In the June 9 episode, Parks and Recreation’s Nick Offerman returns as Det. Chance Briggs, Dr. Owen Maestro’s former partner on the NYPD, who needs to go undercover in Ward 8, which houses criminally insane children. “They told me you were in Iraq,” Owen says upon seeing him. Briggs’ response when the episode was shot last December: “Only until we killed bin Laden.” Says Corddry, “The day after they got bin Laden, I found myself a little pissed off because they, like, couldn’t wait until mid-to-late June to get him.” Did they think about changing the line? “Here’s the thing. Nick Offerman did another episode where Owen says, ‘Can you arrest a kid for being a d—?’ And Offerman says, ‘Not anymore. Freakin’ Obama.’ And so I took ‘Freakin’ Obama’ from there, and cut it into that scene. So now it says, ‘They told me you were in Iraq.’ ‘Not anymore. Freakin’ Obama.’ I don’t know if that works, but it’s better than cutting the whole joke.” (This episode also features Sarah Silverman, who guest stars as Blake’s ex-girlfriend, Britches, who wants him to cure her Clown son.)
• An episode of Childrens Hospital shot back in the ’70s: “In the universe of Childrens Hospital, the show’s been going for 17 years. But of course, it started in the ’60s, so that’s kind of our own math, I guess. We brought back an episode from the ’70s. It’s the first day for a couple of the doctors on the show. We reference a lot of ’70s TV shows. It’s a veritable Easter egg hunt, but considering our audience is like 14-year-old boys, it’s gonna be completely lost on most everyone,” Corddry says. “We also tried to make the jokes funny in and of themselves, but if you were watching TV in the ’70s or ’80s, you’ll enjoy it that much more.”
• An episode title “Party Down.” “It’s discovered that Glenn has never had a bar mitzvah, so Malin Akerman’s character Valerie throws him a bar mitzvah, and it’s catered,” Corddry teases. Those of you hoping this involves some kind of surprise shout-out to Starz’s brilliant-but-canceled comedy Party Down (which starred Marino and Mullally) will be happy.
• Lines that will try to top the one that the Chief delivers to Glenn in the June 9 episode after he re-injures his hand so they can resume having “handicapped sex” (“Use my vagina as a splint”): “One of my favorites that mysteriously got cut from our trailer is when my character is talking to Jordan Peele, who plays the hospital’s black heart surgeon, who’s back after eight years off the show,” Corddry says. “My character says to him, ‘Oh come on, Brian. Blacks and gays have it easy now. And black gays? Forget about it. Look at Will Smith.’ They cut that from the trailer. I don’t… know… why. But it is still in the episode.”