Rob Corddry’s Children’s Hospital, a parody of hospital TV shows like Grey’s Anatomy and House, debuted in 2008 as mini-webisodes on TheWB.com. At the time, Corddry told us that it was a perfect fit for the web: “It’s surreal and weird, and I definitely don’t think it’s for everybody,” he said. But now he’s happily eating his words, as the show has moved to TV and debuts on Adult Swim on Sunday. We spoke with Corddry about the clichés of hospital dramas, the move from the web to TV, and embracing the shark.
How are you feeling about your new-ish show?
I’m stupid excited. It is new — we have to call it new, right? We’ve been calling this season season two, when I guess technically, in TV terms, it’s season one. I’m going to call it season X. Next season is season Y.
When we last spoke, you said: “This idea, for some reason, just seemed conducive to the web.”
I think I told you there was no way in hell I’d ever do it as a TV show. Something like that? Well, I thought that Adult Swim was probably the closest thing to the Internet that TV has, just in terms of sensibility. And they have these fifteen-minute slots, where your show is, with commercials, about eleven minutes. As I told you before, this is the kind of show that I can’t see being sustained for too long in one sitting. I feel like this kind of comedy would get a little tiring, literally, after eleven minutes, sixteen seconds. But at eleven minutes, fifteen seconds, it’s the funniest thing you’ve ever seen in your life. Once I realized that we could do this on TV, I was only glad to take the huge bump in pay.
So it’s still just running as mini-episodes?
They actually gave us the option of doing it as a 22-minute show, but I was never interested in that. I will say right now: There is no chance I’ll ever do this show as a 22-minute show. I’ll speak to you next year!
What did you change for the TV version?
It’s the same exact thing: same format, some humor, same lack of character or story development. Only it looks ten times as pretty. If I must be frank, it looks gorgeous. I actually think it looks better than shows like Grey’s Anatomy. I know what they’re going for, it’s really dark — like on the West Wing, it’s like, “Boy, it gets so dark in that Oval Office! The hallways are so artfully lit!” I think we look better because we’re brighter and more colorful. You’re going to want to lick your TV, is what I’m saying. Actually, we’re the first show to do taste-o-vision; my makeup tastes like mangosteen. And the blood will taste like kombucha. All super-foods!
What are the specific clichés about hospital shows that you wanted to parody?
The great thing about these shows, Grey’s Anatomy in particular — I think House has, maybe, a little more integrity — is that they were not afraid to jump the shark on the first episode. They will never jump the shark because it’s part of the fabric of their show. I watch Grey’s Anatomy over my wife’s shoulder, while I’m on the computer, and invariably I will look up and just see the most preposterous thing. We even sometimes reject ideas because they’re so crazy that Grey’s Anatomy could get away with them. They embrace the shark. We even had one story, we wrote the script, shot it, edited it, before we found out it was an exact plot from Grey’s Anatomy.
Two guys impaled on the same flagpole.
I’ve seen that one!
Retarded, right? And I was basing that on another Grey’s episode. The one where the loser kid gets encased in cement because he loves this cool girl. I was like, All right, if they can get away with that, what’s more retarded? And sure enough, what I came up with was an actual plot from the show.
Did you have to scrap the episode?
No, no, it’s actually our best episode, I think! The twist to our episode is that one of the men is an old black man, and the other is a young white male, and they can only save one. So who’s it going to be? They don’t want to start a race war! And a Klingon doctor may or may not save them.
That sounds like an original twist.
Well, they say there are, like, seven ideas: boy meets girl, death, the loss of one’s kingdom, and two people get impaled on a flagpole and argue the whole time.
Who’s the House character on your show?
The cool thing about that show is that it’s essentially Law & Order. It’s a procedural drama, but just set in a hospital. Those shows can go on forever. I mean, Law & Order will never get canceled! On our show, Rob Huebel plays the House character. We have an episode where a kid gets admitted to the hospital with a knife in his chest, and Rob just really has to get to the bottom of what’s ailing him. Why is he losing blood through his chest?
Is this what you’re focusing on now? Any movies in the works?
I’m just going back to gay porno for awhile; we’ll see what happens with that. And then we’re going to start writing season three.