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'Medical Police' review: Wan reboot of 'Childrens Hospital'

Erinn Hayes and Rob Huebel in Netflix's "Medical

Erinn Hayes and Rob Huebel in Netflix's "Medical Police." Credit: Netflix

SERIES "Medical Police"

WHEN|WHERE Streaming on Netflix

WHAT IT'S ABOUT Two pediatricians — Lola Spratt (Erinn Hayes) and Owen Maestro (Rob Huebel) — working at a pediatric hospital in São Paulo discover a virus that threatens the world. They are recruited as government agents to find a cure, and uncover the conspiracy that has hatched the dastardly contagion. The race is on to save humanity.   

Both Hayes — formerly of "Kevin Can Wait" — and Huebel, along with a few others (at least briefly) have reprised their roles here from the Adult Swim cult comedy "Childrens Hospital" (2008-16). 

 

MY SAY If you want to know what the talented Hayes has been up to since her unceremonious departure from "Kevin Can Wait," do what TV writers do — check out her listing on IMDB.com, which tracks TV and movie actors. A quick glance confirms she's been busy these past couple of years ("The Dangerous Book for Boys," "Big in France," Amazon and Netflix respectively), but that she has not returned to network sitcom moshpit. 

 Probably just as well because those talents did seem better suited to a spoof like "Childrens Hospital," where she spent seven or eight seasons and got to work alongside other funny people — and one legend (Henry Winkler) — who made each other funnier in the process. "Hospital" had a jaunty approach to parody, distantly inspired by that greatest of workplace parodies, "Airplane!" By contrast, "Kevin" was inspired by "The King of Queens." Hayes must've felt like she was the square peg in a world full of round holes.

So "Medical Police" should seem like old-home-week for her, and maybe does. "Childrens Hospital" fans might feel otherwise. Based on the first couple of episodes — about all I could bear — it's a wan Netflix reboot on steroids, absent whatever it was that made the original work in the first place. Think "Fuller House" or the 4th and now almost entirely forgotten season of "Arrested Development." 

 There's money on the screen, international locales (like São Paulo in the opener) and a few stars from the original, most notably and briefly creator Rob Corddry. Like "Hospital," "Medical Police" also seems to have had little trouble scoring cameos from other talented comic actors, like Fred Melamed and Jason Schwartzman (who stars in the second episode).

But money and cameos and nice locales don't make parodies work (nor does gun violence, which this newcomer jarringly has). You know exactly what makes them work, or at least the good ones like "Childrens Hospital." There's a small taste of that here, hardly  enough. 

 So — yup — good to see Hayes and that talent back at work. Otherwise — nope — not in this show. 


 

 BOTTOM LINE Pallid, distant reflection of "Childrens Hospital." A whiff. 

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