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October 13, 2015

The Venture Bros: What Goes Down, Must Come Up - VIDEO

by Annie Wu, posted Jul 14th 2008 1:24AM
Firestarter(S03E07) Now, that was a Venture Bros. episode. In fact, throw the cake and eat some confetti, because I think I may have a new addition to my top five favorite episodes. After my less-than-confident review of last week's episode, "Dr. Quymn, Medicine Woman", this was a very pleasant surprise. The episode didn't have any real ties to previous ones, but we got the chance to explore yet another part of the compound and some dark secrets of the original Team Venture.

Due to a mishap with a massive drill... thing, Dr. Venture found himself thrown into the super-scary sewer/basement of the Venture compound. Brock attempted to save him, but only managed to lock himself in an old fallout shelter, where a member of the original Team Venture, Dr. Paul Entmann, had been stuck for thirty years. Brock's brute strength did no good for escape, so he just sat around and chatted with Entmann, who -- if I understand this correctly -- was once a normal-sized guy, but then he had an accident that resulted in him getting huge, and then he became doll-sized in an a botched attempt to rectify the previous mistake. And stop giggling at "rectify"; I can hear you. Entmann was forgotten by Jonas, his former BFF, in a rushed escape from trouble. Poor fella was stuck underground with the ants for decades! By the way, Entmann's cold open was so wonderfully 60s sci-fi, with perfect music and background. I kept expecting Captain Kirk or Barbarella to run across the screen or something.

Hank and Dean became concerned about Brock and Doc's whereabouts, so they sought the help of Dr. Orpheus.

Dean: We had plans today.
Hank: Family plans! There was even talk of French toast... but there was none to be had.

Orpheus assembled the rest of the Order of the Triad for maximum search effeciency. Through projection, he interrupted the Alchemist's soap opera time (bonus: Al can control TiVo with his powers!) and one of Jefferson Twilight's epic blackula hunts. JT had some spectacular lines in this episode, including some remarks about his oddly specific profession and these gems...

Jefferson Twilight: Damn it, Orpheus! I almost had that bloodsucker. Ohh, now I got the blue balls in my blood eye.

Jefferson Twilight: I go where the blacktion is.

Jefferson Twilight: You're not my mama. She was taken by marauding blackulas when I was ten.

Meanwhile, in the underground... Dr. Venture wandered through the sewers. Little did he know, he was not alone. I almost died when I saw the Prodigy guy. Really. I mean, he freaked me out so much when I was a little kid watching MTV, but this time my near-death reaction was one of hilarity. Plus, the fact that he had his shirt tucked in was extra-hilarious to me, for some reason.

I loved the brief comic book discussion between Brock and Entmann. The guy that was the size of an ant, Brock? Maybe it was... Ant... Man? Side note, but how totally lame is it that out of all the Avengers, super-director Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz) is rumored to be taking on a film about Ant-Man? At least Apache Chief had that minority thing going for him.

The Triad wandered around the underground for a while before combining powers to psychically seek local presences. After seeing some 8-bit images, they ran away in horror and, in Jefferson's case, soiled their pants and had to put on Dean's Spiderman PJ bottoms. Geez, they must have been terrified by old-school Mario. After Orpheus decided to seek the help of The Master, the rest of the Triad complained about not being able to come along.

Jefferson Twilight: You're embarrassed of us, aren't you? It's 'cause [Al is] gay, isn't it?
Orpheus: No, it's because you've soiled yourself. And he's gay.

My only complaint about this episode was the fact that we didn't see Orpheus' conversation with the Master. As soon as Orpheus said that he had to seek advice, I giddily prepared to hear H. Jon Benjamin's voice, only to be totally disappointed. Jackson Publick is a worse tease than Molotov.

After his invisible consultation with The Master, Orpheus sought the help of Pete White, who immediately took over the video surveillance room. In an attempt to turn on some missing cameras, Hank and Dean switched on M.U.T.H.E.R., the mysterious 8-bit face that terrified the Triad. M.U.T.H.E.R. demanded to see Jonas, Sr., threatening to deploy full nuclear arsenal until she did. The only Dr. Venture around was Rusty, who had been kidnapped by the Prodigy fellow and four others dressed as Art of Noise (I almost screamed). I couldn't identify all of the references in the crowd of VH1 Classic people who addressed each other as "Rusty", unfortunately, but I know there was at least one David Bowie. The "Rusty" people seemed to worship old video footage of Jonas, Sr. Sounded like he was preparing to use video to raise young Rusty underground in case of a nuclear holocaust. He had also planned to pump small amounts of drugs through the underground air vents for the future post-nuclear holocaust people, a plan that M.U.T.H.E.R. did not approve. What happened next was... well... "You know when your parents catch you smoking and they make you smoke the whole freakin' pack as punishment?"

Apparently, Jonas, Sr. had the original Team Venture take some kids from the local orphanage on a tour of the underground snazziness. However, M.U.T.H.E.R. was in a bad mood and pumped loads of red gas and liquid everywhere. Jonas, Sr. only managed to save his Team, leaving dozens of screaming orphans to die. Was all that The Shining stuff just, like, an extended period joke? If so... I loved it. And if not, I still loved it. I also adored the Action Man's panicked trigger-happiness and Colonel Gentleman's hallucinations. Anyway, those kids grew up to be the team of "Rusty"s living underground, who only had Jonas, Sr.'s videos and VH1 Classic for comfort.

Brock didn't get to learn much more after that, for the Triad jumped into the old drill thing and bust into the shelter, saving Brock and Entmann. Frustrated with his own situation, the real Rusty stole the Jonas, Sr. footage and was chased by the angry mob of "Rusty"s to what looked like a giant silo. But it wasn't. It was a missile. Yup. At that point, M.U.T.H.E.R. initiated the launch and Rusty was sent above ground. Double-surprise! It wasn't a missile at all, because it was full of crap. Literally. All those underground people had to take care of business somewhere, right?

In the end, everyone was safe... sort of. Dr. Venture re-sealed the entry to the underground, probably sealing the orphans in there forever. One can only assume, since we never got the chance to see what happened to them after Rusty rolled around in that massive puddle of poo. Even M.U.T.H.E.R. got what she wanted, finally getting to see Jonas, Sr. (albeit in the form of the "Rusty"s old footage). Her final "Oh, okay" was the perfect ending.

Throughout the episode, I kept trying to identify the recurring actor doing the tiny fellow's voice. I had to surrender once the credits started rolling and I'm happy to say my skills haven't totally slipped, because there's a new voice for the cast list! Stephen DeStefano played Dr. Paul Entmann (haw haw). He's also the Art Director and hardcore storyboard master; I posted about his "How to Draw the Venture Bros." guides a few months ago. Way to go, Mr. DeStefano!

Another addition to the cast list was M.U.T.H.E.R., who played herself. I wonder if she and Soulbot, who plays H.E.L.P.eR., are going out. On-set romance?

Shirt of the Week: The Order of the Triad. Commence joyous throwing of elbows now. I was worried that the shirt would be M.U.T.H.E.R. or Rusty (as seen on the VH1 Classic orphans), because I've had my fingers crossed for an Order of the Triad design (previously mentioned). I really shouldn't be this excited about a t-shirt, but I can't wait to get this one in my wardrobe. I would have been cool with a text-free version too.

I will leave you all with this video of The Prodigy's "Firestarter", just because I can't even watch ten seconds without cracking up now. Enjoy. Or be terrified. Whichever.

How would you rate this episode?
5 - Amazing!66 (61.1%)
430 (27.8%)
310 (9.3%)
21 (0.9%)
1 - A missile full of crap.1 (0.9%)

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frankly, the only avenger i like is...EMMA PEEL! gotta rewatch this one for all the refs - certainly a beneath the planet of the apes vibe. and the rocket full of, um, waste, recalled the simpsons movie to me (the silo of pig waste).

July 15 2008 at 8:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I caught the Prodigy and Art of Noise references. Now, I will have to freeze frame the crowd scene. Thank you, DVR.

I took the rocket as a Planet of the Apes reference. No?

I missed the Mother reference from Alien. I took the computer as Whopper from War Games. The voice seemed similar. In War Games, the computer kept asking, "Do you want to play a game?" and seemed happy when the doctor/creator returned in the third act.

The oh reaction by Muther to Jonas' discussion of hygiene was absolutely classic.

July 15 2008 at 9:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I had totally repressed that Art of Noise video, I saw when i was like 8 and.... like I said: repressed. And now it's back in full force, boy will i have nightmares tonight.

Go team boobies!
I mean Venture!

July 15 2008 at 3:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm sure much of it comes from VH1 Classic, but the distorted 'Hey!' when the Art of Noise characters first appeared took me back to the first time (of many) I saw that video; on Beavis and Butthead.

July 14 2008 at 4:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I laughed my ass off when Keith Flint (that Prodigy "Firestarter"-video guy) ran through the tunnel.

The blood flowing in the tunnel was absolutely Shining.

The whole underground situation was a massive "Dr. Strangelove" reference.

And I think it's funny that this episode airs right after Wall-e got into cinemas. I discussed this with my brother - if I'd ever find out that a robot/computer showed ANY sign of emotion, I would smash it into the tiniest possible pieces. I just don't get it why people romanticize empathic robots. It would scare the living shit out of me O_o

July 14 2008 at 12:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I actually watched this Friday night. I hadn't realized that they were put up that quickly. I got home early, was bored quickly, so I went to Adult Swim on a whim. Was shocked to see it online. I was actually viewer 146; usually I'm in the 600,000s (not that it matters at all, just shows how good my timing was. Dumb luck that I went just after midnight. Probably four minutes earlier and it wouldn't have been up yet.)

Anyway, the Prodigy guy made me groan. I recognized the american flag shirt on his second run-by.
They made up for it, though, with the Art of Noise. Holy crap! That's where the little girl was from, by the way, and the three goggled guys (I'd guess that their goggles are what gave Publick the idea, as they're the exact same that Jonas wears.) Also of note - the song with the video featuring that girl is sampled in Firestarter. It all ties in together.

Of course, there was quite a bit of VH1 classic running around. "Hey, isn't that the guy from the Buggles?"

Some great lines, some great stuff, although I don't think it was particularly better than last week's (which I thought was pretty good.)

As for the Master, ug. I do not like the character. His jokes, his humor, and his voice don't seem to fit the show. I love H. Jon Benjamin as much as the next guy here, and think McGirk was one of the best characters Adult Swim has had, but his scenes in the Venture Brothers have always felt a bit forced to me. Like they didn't belong.

July 14 2008 at 9:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Wes Rand

I also loved the reference to Alien (all-controlling computer named "Mother".) And was there also a hint of "War Games"?

July 14 2008 at 8:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It was a very interesting episode.

I watched it over at my friends house, and throughout it all, we were just like what the heck is happening?

Probably because we were both tired.

July 14 2008 at 3:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'll take a Prodigy reference and raise you a older video one. Can't remember but swear the kid with the purple/black shirt half glove on one arm full sleeve on the other with the mullet was similar to one from a early 80's video. Easy to describe as I look at a screen cap in a editor atm. Which would work since they only watched VH1. Can't remember the exact song or group but had a kid like that banging a hammer in a wastelandish setting or a demolished building.

Anywho great episode.

July 14 2008 at 3:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Picviewer's comment
Annie W.

That was an Art of Noise one.


July 14 2008 at 12:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I thought the orphans were incinerated by the rocket engines when it passed by.

July 14 2008 at 2:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to JoseRZ's comment

I concur. They ought to be dead.

July 14 2008 at 9:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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