According to Dr. Owen Maestro, Sherlock Holmes once said, “when you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, is most likely a monkey.” When Childrens Hospital is at its best, it gives us the most impossible, most improbable outcomes, makes them absolutely hilarious, and presents them in a matter-of-fact way where it almost actually makes sense. Or at least Childrens Hospital sense.
Some of the funniest episodes of Childrens Hospital show us the past of these characters to expand their worlds in really insane ways, and yet I can’t think of an origin story much stranger than that of Owen Maestro in this week’s episode. “Me, Owen” starts off as a murder mystery that started fifteen years ago, as someone is decapitating the Cat’s boyfriends. Back when Owen was starting out as a cop—before he became a doctor—him and Chance Briggs worked this same case and now they’re ready to finally solve it.
The two obvious suspects are Brad Hendricks, played by Tony Hale, the head paramedic who has been in love with Cat for years and disappears mysteriously whenever a murder happens, and Chet, who they assume could be a copycat killer now that Brad is in bars after being arrested years ago. Of course either of these two would be too obvious of an answer for Childrens Hospital, and no amount of detective show knowledge would ever give away the twists to come.
While Chance and Owen go to the woman’s jail to visit Hendricks (hey it’s got better food and the sex is AMAZING!), Chance finally tells Owen the first time they truly met, 22 years ago. Turns out, Chance used to work overnight at a veterinarian hospital, became friends with one of the baboons, shaved him, put him in human clothes and that baboon became…Owen Maestro. It makes absolutely no sense, it’s completely unnecessary, and yet, it’s one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen on Childrens Hospital. As we watch Chance teach baboon Owen to say “me, Owen,” it’s hard not to think—at least for a second—“yeah, I buy Owen could be a baboon.”
But you’re probably sitting there thinking, “oh Ross, this couldn’t get any weirder, right?” Oh you’d be wrong my friend! The decapitating criminal turns out to be a baboon that Chief has been dressing up like her for fifteen years, in order to sneak out to the track. Once again, it doesn’t make a bit of sense, but since this is Childrens Hospital, sure, it makes sense.
It’s just not the insane turn that this episode that makes “Me, Owen” one of the best episodes of Childrens Hospital in years, maybe ever, it’s also the great little bits thrown in. For example, while Owen and Chance talk about how there have been four decapitations, they begin comparing the four dead men to The Beatles and making just awful Beatles jokes that only get funnier the worse they get. Such as, “mop-tops, how about no-tops.” Or “I wanna hold my head. To keep it from falling off.”
Also, there’s just some physical bits that aren’t essential, but add so much. After Brad is interrogated by Chance and Owen, he just says “I’m going to stand there,” and proceeds to just stand in the middle of the parking lot, staring at nothing, while Chance and Owen continue their conversation. Plus Nick Offerman’s roll under the police tape is pure brilliance.
“Me, Owen” is brilliantly scripted by long-time writer and producer Jonathan Stern and directed by Ken Marino, so they know from experience how to get the craziest out of this show and just how to do it. “Me, Owen” is such a phenomenally great episode of Childrens Hospital, I think maybe Chance Briggs and baboon Owen should get their own spinoff.
Ross Bonaime is a D.C.-based freelance writer and regular contributor to Paste. You can follow him on Twitter.