Childrens Hospital Review: "Old Fashioned Day" (Episode 5.07)
Childrens Hospital is always fun when it creates its own internal logic in just one episode. Very little stays the same from week to week storywise, yet every week there seem to be some new restrictions or rules for the cast that make the show quite interesting.
In “Old Fashioned Day,” the crew of Childrens Hospital decides to have a theme day in order to entertain the kids on the military base. After quite a bit of red tape, cell phones are left at the door for a day of seeing what life was like centuries ago. Blake is popular since kids actually seem to like clowns in the past; Chief churns butter; Glenn gives kids alcohol as medicine and isn’t included in all activities since he’s Jewish.
Everyone thinks that everything will get back to normal the following day, but it turns out the red tape is harder to get around than they thought, so they’re stuck in Old Fashioned Day. It doesn’t matter that the real hospital is only a few yards away and they are making themselves stick to the regulations; it’s Childrens Hospital, so rules don’t exactly matter.
Blake is drunk off power, and now that there’s a little kid who needs help, he’s ready to give the kid maggot therapy or amputation or whatever they can do without their modern-day medical supplies. The only way they discover they can get around the rules is to bury a note in the ground asking for help from a future doctor, hope that they’ve discovered time travel, then have the doctor come visit them and help the kid. Which of course happens almost immediately, in the form of a future doctor played by James Urbaniak.
He barely touches the kid and fixes him, then fields questions from the staff about the future, like who is our next president and whether or not they should buy lawnmowers. By sending a letter to the future, the doctors have all caused a dystopian apocalyptic future that I can only hope we get to see. That’s right, because of red tape, Childrens Hospital has ruined the world.
“Old Fashioned Day” is written by Michael Showalter, who also wrote another great episode from this year, “Triangles.” Showalter’s sense of humor fits in perfectly with Childrens Hospital, and hopefully we get more episodes from him in the future.
While most of the season has had Blake in the background, it’s nice to see him once again at the front of events. Rob Corddry is always fantastic whenever he gets the spotlight, especially here as he recites Joe Pesci’s Goodfellas speech to a child, until he realizes he is a clown who is supposed to amuse you.
There’s also a great running gag in “Old Fashioned Day” (if you can call it a running gag in an 11-minute TV show), where the gang makes horrible puns and bad jokes, then winks and laughs at the camera. I’m a huge sucker for awful jokes like these, and it only gets better the more it happens.
The self-contained nature of “Old Fashioned Day” makes it quite a fun episode, but also does make it clear that if Childrens Hospital was a longer show, there are so many different great places this idea could go. Yet Childrens Hospital is content with giving quick little blasts of fun ideas like this, then leaving you wanting more and coming back next week.