Thursday, August 19, 2010

Report from the Set: 'Childrens Hospital'...

Waaay back in March of this year, Warner Brothers invited My Life, Made Possible by Pop Culture down to the set of their web series-turned-Adult Swim project, Childrens Hospital for its second season finale rehearsal. Almost the entire cast (minus one new addition in the form of Henry Winkler) was on set that day, including special guest star Iqbal Theba (glee's own Principal Figgins), and they treated us to press junket style interviews, hot lunch, a walking tour of the set, which shoots in the same halls that Scrubs once did, and a very special look at their very special episode.

For those of you who missed the first season of Childrens Hospital when it was on, it centers on the wacky antics of young doctors and nurses that care more about dry-humping each other than caring for their actual patients (and in some cases, they actually dry-hump riight on top of their patients lying in sick beds). It pokes fun at some medical shows like Grey's Anatomy and Scrubs itself, even utilizing rotating-narrator voice-over. An average episode may have one doctor (Lake Bell) falling in love with a patient who is really a six year old with advanced aging disease to make him look thirty or another doctor (Rob Corddry) in full clown-face only attempting to heal through laughter when a patient actually needs surgery to remove a malignant tumor. And season two, which premieres Sunday on Adult Swim, promises to be no different!

You can check out my advance review of the second season premiere over on my Examiner page.

When chatting with Bell, Corddry, and other cast members Megan Mullally, Erinn Hayes, Rob Huebel and new addition Malin Akerman (to name a few), they assured My Life, Made Possible by Pop Culture that the stakes were raised immensely now that they have moved to the slightly larger screen. For one thing, Hayes' character was pronounced dead in the first season finale and Mullally's had undergone a complete body transplant to be revealed as...Eva Longoria-Parker.

Hayes, who was obviously back in the series working alongside everyone else said that they don't really bother to explain her character's renewed life source, but that's just indicative of the type of farce they are creating. "Everybody doesn't believe that I'm back," she admitted. "They think I'm a ghost. There's an episode where Rob's character flat-lines himself to go to the spirit world to try to hump me."

See what I mean?

Similarly Mullally is back in all her (bad wig) glory, too, with no real acknowledgment but for maybe one line where she says she was attracting so many sexual partners before, she didn't need the upgrade. Well played, lady; well played!

On set back in March, the atmosphere was more than jovial in between rehearsal moments, with the cast improving and joking around with each other like long-time pals. And many of them are: many of them came up through the same comedy troupes and early sitcoms and brought each other into this passion project. They are a very close cast, who I guess would have to be, considering they literally all make out with each other at some point in the series. The cast cracked more jokes during their interviews, saying that all they want to see happen next is "a big group orgy!"

But their task at hand was daunting, and when their fearless leader, David Wain, called for attention and action, they gave it their all, blocking not just a scene at a time but the entire episode. You see, the finale for season two truly raises the stakes by doing the entire episode "live" and in one-take. That is why reporters were visiting during the day when they were just running-through the entire episode and making sure they had all the beats down. Because the following day they were going to roll cameras and attempt the impossible...or at least the really ambitious in this day and age of "We'll just fix it in post."

And if you think they'll cop out and set the entire episode in between one or two adjoining hospital rooms, you'd be wrong. There are full camera moves, up and down stairs, around corridors, and even a big reveal at the end-- when Akerman finally reveals the secret her character has been keeping all season (and for those of you who saw the "leaked" episode, you have already seen hints at what that secret may be). Childrens Hospital is out to push the boundaries-- and not just of comedy!

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