CHILDRENS HOSPITAL “A Play In Three Acts” Review

Childrens Hospital

CHILDRENS HOSPITAL “A Play In Three Acts” Season 3, Episode 9 – After all the places Childrens Hospital has gone this season to deliver layer upon layer of absurd spoof, I really hadn’t considered theater to be the next obvious target. I’m not a huge theater buff myself, but I’m familiar enough with “Our Town” and with theater in general to be amazed by how brilliant this particular parody was.

There was an emptiness in the audio that felt like all the lines were actually being delivered on a stage and the cast worked around the set the same way they would have if they had been performing this in front of a live theater audience. At the very beginning, I was so mesmerized by the rhythm of their dialogue and by how different this Childrens Hospital was from every episode that had come before it that I had to stop and replay a couple scenes because I realized I had missed some major punch lines.

The visuals in this episode were remarkable on their own. Even though the lighting rigs were obviously and intentionally left in every shot as part of the theater set up, the lighting was beautiful and warm on screen. The costumes, hair, and makeup were all pristine and it felt like we were actually watching Childrens Hospital in a theater as if it had been intended for another audience.

The narrator, guest star, Bruce Davison, had some of my favorite laugh out loud lines of the night. The first was his introduction of Valerie, “This is one fire you don’t want to put out, you want to have sex with it. What you might not know about Valerie, if you didn’t know her very well, is that she has a dick.” That is definitely not an unusual line for a show like Childrens Hospital, but in this setting it was somehow unexpected and I cracked up with his deadpan delivery. In his final scene, his grandchildren who have been attentively listening to his narration, ask him if he was the “Doctor Owen” in the story. He smiles and explains that he was not Owen Maestro, but that he was one of the black bisexual dancers.

There were a lot of things to laugh at in this episode, but more than just laughing at their jokes this time around, I found myself completely impressed by how ingenious this particular parody was. “A Play In Three Acts” was one of the most clever parodies of the season and I’m excited to see how Childrens Hospital plans to top it next.