'Medical Police' Review: Netflix's new parody comedy is good for gags, if not for its hopeless drags
Quintessentially, a half-an-hour drama that is downright silly, the series does make you laugh and for that, it deserves two-and-a-half stars.
At first glance, 'Medical Police' is similar to the twisted alt-comedy series 'Childrens Hospital' where doctors and nurses run around like headless chickens. In this spinoff, Lola Spratt (Erinn Hayes) and Owen Maestro (Rob Huebel) return to play the same characters. This time, however, they are doctors with guns, and argue over calling each other "cop doctors" or "doctor cops."
Stationed at a pediatric hospital in São Paulo, Brazil, the two stumble upon a civilization-threatening virus and are hired by the Centers for Disease Control (or CDC) to look for a remedy. Thanks to the virus, a mysterious illness threatens the fate of the planet and sets the pair off to a globe-trotting mission.
As they find clues and uncover the dark conspiracy at the center of the outbreak, the unlikely duo hop off to too many places — New Hampshire, Florence, Sudan, Denmark, Berlin, Sao Paulo, Tel Aviv, Vancouver, Los Angeles, even Latvia — and essentially add a wayfaring twist to the action-comedy that translates as Netflix's very own satire of international spy thrillers.
Created by Rob Corddry, Krister Johnson and Jonathan Stern, the series has witty bits of farcical humor. Two minutes into the drama, you can see the satire flowing through and a few jokes do jog memories from 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' stylized genre-bending comedy. The only contradiction, perhaps, is that the NBC show didn't have violence or foul language. 'Medical Police' is different. It is a crime-thriller that revels in its ability to crack you up at odd moments.
Take, for example, the scene where an antagonist pulls a gun to Lola and Owen's faces. To save themselves, they sing a lullaby and that, comically, puts their ally to sleep. Quite conveniently, they take his 3D print to unlock a face ID in his twin's phone. Bizarre, isn't it? Well, that's not all. The show also takes a dig at heroes jumping off three-storied floors and how "scotch tapes" magically appear in detectives' pockets!
What's more, in one scene, they show how easily movies get away with making people unconscious with the punchline, "Chloroform works so much quicker in the movies!" In its ridiculous manner, the series addresses several societal issues — from work woes ("I quit," "You're fried!") to feminism ("I'm a coder and I am a woman!") and vocabulary ("Recon, reconnaissance." "Do you not know what the word means?")
A few other scenes stand out, especially the spoofs on action heroes and medical setups. The scene where the two protagonists miss out on the date stamp, July 14, 1971, and place, Marseilles, France, will be relatable for most of us, who are too absent-minded to notice the intricacies. Not just the lead actors, but the performance of all 'Childrens Hospital' stalwarts is a delight to watch. Lake Bell, who plays Cat, Malin Akerman (Dr Valerie Flame), Fred Melamed (Professor Richard Waters), and Sarayu Blue, who essays the role of Sloane McIntyre, all add a whacky dimension with their acts.
In all, the show is reasonably entertaining and can be binge-watched if you can stomach its shortcomings. One major flaw is that the series is too much of a stretch for 10 episodes. Perhaps, if the makers had cut it down to eight or even six, the brevity would help it score a thumbs-up. Having said that, a few episodes definitely turn out to be amusing. Another issue with the series is slowly unleashed in its ludicrous storyline. Is the plot believable? 3D printers being used to spread the virus and its cure hidden in a dream and forgotten tattoo? Of course not. But, well, it's good for gags.
Quintessentially, a half-an-hour drama that is downright silly, the series does make you laugh and for that, it deserves two and a half stars. If only it had a bit more sense, it could have captured the charisma of a top-notch comedy-drama.