Childrens Hospital & NTSF:SD:SUV:: Double Feature!
by Shawn Depasquale on September 12, 2013
We had the pleasure of attending, what NTSF:SD:SUV:: creator Paul Scheer dubbed a “two-thirds of the way through the season celebration” for NTSF:SD:SUV:: and Children’s Hospital, the popular series on Adult Swim. Held at the historic Vista Theater in Los Angeles, an ornate, single-screen venue, the red-carpet event was attended by several cast members from both shows, including Scheer and wife and co-star June Diane Raphael, as well as Children’s Hospital stars Ken Marino, Erinn Hayes, Malin Akerman, and Zandy Hartig (Nurse Dori), and series co-creators David Wain and Jonathan Stern.
The evening began with an introduction from Scheer, Wain and Stern, apologizing to the audience for Children’s Hospital star/creator Rob Corddry not being able to attend in person, and unveiling an enormous picture of David Koechner, introduced by Scheer as “creator Rob Corddry.” They went on to read from a letter written by Corddry (who insisted that Stern not be allowed to read the letter) thanking those in attendance for their contributions to both shows. Scheer wrapped up the introduction by briefly explaining that we would be watching several episodes of both shows, including the Children’s Hospital two-part season finale and a special NTSF:SD:SUV:: two-parter filmed on location in London.
Without wanting to spoil too much, let’s just say that everything we were shown was hilarious, including a particularly memorable bit in Children’s Hospital in which we learn Ken Marino’s Dr. Glenn Richie isn’t the fantastic surgeon he’s always pretended to be and that it has something to do with a long-kept secret he’s hidden under his yarmulke. Children’s Hospital also gets extra credit this season for moving the show out of its original hospital setting, allowing for a wealth of new stories and gags, including a visually impressive season finale involving Oprah, an explosive battle, and a whole lotta sex. The decision to move the series from a hospital in Brazil to a military base in Japan was motivated by the demolition of the abandoned hospital the show was using as a set (the same hospital used for Sacred Heart on Scrubs); When we asked Marino about the move, he added, “Also, finally, after thirty years, M*A*S*H is getting its comeuppance. A good rip on M*A*S*H. It’s about time!”
Talking about returning for a sixth season, Marino seemed hopeful: “I think so. It’s really if Corddry, Dave, and Stern want to get the band back together. Everybody loves doing it. Corddry loves doing it….” “Everybody loves it! Everybody loves it!” interjected comedian James Adomian, prompting Marino to gush about his co-star, “He is one of the funniest guys out there. He’s unbelievable. He played four characters on the show this season. Last season he played Madonna, Louis CK… His improv is unmatchable.”
NTSF:SD:SUV:: premiered an equally impressive set of episodes that sees the characters travel to the U.K., a particular point of pride for series creator Scheer, who said, “We struggled with this so much. We thought no one would believe we shot in London. Which we did. So we tried so hard… we were like, ‘we have to make sure it’s obvious we shot in London,’ so even their office, we picked a location that was almost all windows.” It was well worth the effort, especially seeing it on a big screen: there is a much larger sense of scale to the episodes, a commendable achievement for a show that started as 90-second interstitials to fill time in between Children’s Hospital webisodes that Adult Swim was stitching together for the network debut of the series.
“We got a whole season based on that,” Scheer said about the original 90-second clips. “The original idea, though, was more of a 24 type arc, but then Adult Swim told us their audience wanted more done-in-one type of stories, so we figured, let’s make it like a procedural, and so we did that for the first season, but by the second season I didn’t want to do that anymore. I don’t want to do the same jokes over and over again. So we started to focus more on our characters, and then this season we just went further with that to make it almost more of like a sitcom.” In addition to taking a sitcom-like approach to the new season, Doctor Who companion Karen Gillian joined the team, and in the episodes we saw, shows off a hilarious American accent when her character goes undercover in London as a spoiled rich girl from the States. Meanwhile, series regular June Diane Raphael spends most of the U.K. story adopting the characteristics of her fellow teammates, providing the funny lady a chance to showcase a multitude of comically terrible accents.
Both shows’ creators make use of their many celebrity connections to pull in a multitude of guest stars in each episode; amongst the guests in attendance, we spotted Jon Hamm (sporting a beard that would make Odin proud) and 30 Rock‘s Jack McBrayer, featured in the NTSF:SD:SUV:: episodes, who insisted we write “how great Jack McBrayer was in the episodes.” Which he was.
Both shows are currently airing Friday nights on Adult Swim; check them out and drop back here to discuss your favorite moments and thoughts on the special half-hour season finales.