Presented in Glorious Extra-Color! Venture Brothers Top 6 Countdown! (#6-5)


June 1st marks the beginning of the 3rd season of The Venture Brothers. Is two seasons too few to have a “best of” countdown? Most likely. But we’ve got to anticipate somehow, and the people love their lists, particularly complaining about all my glaring omissions. Because of the dearth of episodes, this will only be a top 6. I could easily have done a top 10, but at that point I’d be dangerously close to going through every episode and talking about why it’s great. (Though I could do that easily.) I’ll split up the episodes into pairs, covering two a week until the premiere.

For the oblivious, The Venture Brothers is a character-driven show that, on the simplest level, is a parody of the old Johnny Quest cartoons. Thaddeus “Rusty” Venture was a Johnny-Quest-type is his own day, now middle-aged and living in his super-scientist father’s shadow along with his hyper-violent bodyguard Brock Samson and two children, Dean and Hank. The parody only works as a set-up though, and the well-written and well-defined cast of dozens quickly takes on a life of its own.

So if you’ve never seen the show, here’s a few suggestions of places to start. If you have seen the show, now’s the time to start disagreeing with me. Here’s number 6:

#6. Ice Station Impossible!

Dr. Venture goes to work at an arctic base with his old college instructor, Prof. Impossible (voiced by Stephen Colbert). Meanwhile, Hank, Dean, and Brock are treated to Race Bannon’s unglamorous death and Hank becomes injected with an explosive serum.

Why It’s #6

I was never much of a Fantastic Four fan, which made it easy to ignore the terrible movie adaptations. (To be fair, I’ve only seen about half of the first one, but it was enough to know that was all I wanted to see.) The plot of this episode is nothing too special, but I love it for its imagining of the Fantastic Four… if Reed Richards was a bigger dick and the other’s powers were useless literal renditions. Prof. Impossible, being the science-minded individual he is, hides away his mutated family of failed experiments – including his wife whose skin turns invisible, her mentally retarded cousin who “looks like a giant callus,” and her brother Cody, who bursts into flames and runs around screaming whenever he’s exposed to oxygen. Of course the presence of Stephen Colbert is always welcome, and he gives Prof. Impossible the smug, condescending voice his character needs.

This episode is also the first time the show ties in any characters from the Johnny Quest universe. A good chunk of the episode is spent on awkward scenes of Race Bannon’s nearly lifeless body parachuting into a suburban neighborhood, and a group of kids climb on the body and ride it as the wind blows the parachute down the street. No dialogue, just awkwardly hilarious.

There are only a handful of really great bits of dialogue, and most of those revolve around Hank becoming a living bomb. They are all, however some of the best lines the show has to offer, particularly the first one listed below (which is probably funny enough by itself to earn mention on this list).

Key quotes:

Dean: Brock! I think I figured out why the plane crashed… there were skeletons driving it!

Brock, I’ve thought a lot about it and if we can’t get the antidote in time and it comes down to it, I… well, I want you to be the one to kill me.
Don’t talk like that Hank, we’re gonna find…
Yes, I promise.
YES, Hank.
(pause) Hey, Brock?
How would you do it?
You’re asleep, quick jerk of the neck, never feel a thing.
You’ve thought about this.
Yes, I have.

Hank: Cool! I’m not going to explode anymore… plus free invisible mom!
Hank and Dean: Go Team Venture!

Key Moment of Over-the-Top Violence
-Dr. Venture is left wandering naked through the arctic wastelands and when he comes across a polar bear. Seconds before getting mauled, Brock appears and tackles the bear, and a blood from the offscreen battle spurts all over a dazed Dr. Venture. Brock returns seconds later to wrap Dr. Venture in the bear pelt.

Funniest Moment:
Earlier in the episode, Sally Impossible saves Dr. Venture from failing a drug test by switching out his urine with a sample of her own. After the end credits, Prof. Impossible is inspecting the sample while talking to his sobbing wife, when he makes the discovery: “Dr. Venture’s… pregnant?”

Sally begins crying hysterically.

#5. Hate Floats:

Newly escaped from prison, the Monarch tries to reassemble what’s left as his henchmen and cocoon. This leads to a confrontation in the mall between the Venture family, Dr. Girlfriend and Phantom Limb, and the Monarch’s insubordinate new recruits.

Why it’s #5

One of many things that makes the Venture Bros. such a great show is its attempts to answer questions of practicality. According to the cliches of heroes and villains, the primary role of the henchman is to assist in outlandish crimes, be ordered around, and ultimately die unglamorously, most likely at the hands of Brock Samson. So who exactly would be attracted to a career as a villanous henchman? The show gives a few answers, namely geeks, the suicidal, and in this episode, gangsters.
The other great thing about the show is the strength of its characters. Perhaps the whole reason for this episode is to set-up three awkward alliances between characters you rarely see together: Brock and Phantom Limb; Hank, Dean, and Dr. Girlfriend; and Dr. Venture, the Monarch, #21, and #24. Every one of these characters is defined strongly enough that banter between any combination of them seems effortless. Brock and Phantom Limb have a sort of tense respect for each other’s competence (a rare find in the Venture-verse). Dr. Girlfriend is quickly irritated by the naivety of the Venture Brothers. Dr. Venture and the Monarch exchange petty insults while #24 roots Monarch on from the sidelines.
Key Quotes:
While recruiting new henchmen:
21: “Are you the bully of your school? Or even the victim of bullying? Do you watch movies of costumed heroes and think, ‘Wow. That guy’s a pussy. I sure hope some much cooler bad guy kicks his ass.'”
21: “Gentlemen. Choose your weapons.”
24: “Is this them?”
21: “Are these they.”
24: “Who talks like that?”

On #24’s “arsenal”:
The Monarch
: You fucking idiot! What the hell are we supposed to do with this crap? Make them laugh so hard they blow malt liquor out of their noses?
Dr. Venture:
No, I think you’ll have that covered when you storm the room in butterfly costumes.
The Monarch
: Oh, ha ha ha. Nice onesie, dick. Does it have snaps in the back so you can make poopie?
: Whoa!! Snap! No he didn’t!

Dr. Girlfriend: “What the hell do you think you’re doing?”
The Monarch: “Butterfly kisses. Learned it in prison.”
On Dean’s new red and white jumpsuit:
Dean: “I look like Santa’s magical janitor.”

Hank: “You look like the Mayor of Candyland.”

Key Moments of Over-the-Top Violence:

– Dr. Venture is punched hrad in the face, causing his eye to pop out and dangle loose.
– During the shoot-out in the mall, Brock stabs a henchman in the stomach with a caulking gun and injects.
Funniest Moment:
– The effort to retake the cocoon: #21 armed with Captain America’s shield, #24 with a replica Lord of the Rings sword still the box, Dr. Venture with Magneto’s helmet and a deck of Magic cards, and best of all, The Monarch with Hulk hands.

3 Comments on “Presented in Glorious Extra-Color! Venture Brothers Top 6 Countdown! (#6-5)”

  1. let’s not forget when the henchmen sing that song as they get equiped to go out and work for the monarch.

  2. psycholarry says:

    That would be Holst’s Mars – Bringer of War. Finest battle music available.

  3. Tito says:

    If you look carefully in that scene, #21 runs out of the house as he’s tucking in his shirt and holding one glove between his teeth. But if you look at his hands, he’s already wearing both gloves.

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