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Venture Brothers creators accept cult following - Comic-Con Report

by John Scott Lewinski, posted Jul 26th 2009 6:21PM
The Venture Brothers remains the funniest show on TV that the media ignores.The Venture Brothers have all the trappings of a major, cross-media animated comedy phenomena -- except the popularity and notoriety that comes with it.

Written on the same brilliant scale as The Simpsons or South Park and drenched in hip pop culture references, Venture Brothers remains a show with a devoted cult following that stays just off the mass media's radar. And series creators Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer aren't sure why.

"We didn't even get nominated for an Annie (animation) Award," Hammer told me. "Never mind an Emmy. We thought we could at least get an Annie. We can't explain it. You probably have a better idea of why that is than we do."

You wouldn't know by the attendance at Saturday's evening Venture Brothers panel. Fans lined the halls and packed the large conference room to see Publick and Hammer preview the Adult Swim show's fourth season (coming in November).

But, if you watched the event unfold, you can see one of the reasons Venture Brothers is not as hyped as other adult animated comedies. Its creators aren't as well known as Trey Parker, Matt Stone or Matt Groening. In fact, Publick and Hammer walk by and through the long lines waiting for their panel without a single fan recognizing them.

Publick thinks those devoted, if optically-challenged fans are one reason the show thrives on the Cartoon Network, but not across the media as a whole.

"I think we're like a rock band that fans love, but want to keep to themselves," Publick said. "I don't think our fans spread the word about the show because they like to keep it to themselves. It's their thing."

And, the Venture team is happy with that way as their fourth season completes production. Fans at the panel were eager to find out how the show solves season three cliffhangers, including the loss of two major characters.

"We move on," Hammer said. "Everyone moves on. They deal with it."

Publick added, "We're adding some new characters and have some cool guest stars coming in."

"In fact, that's one sign the show is starting to get some traction after three seasons -- cool people want to be involved with it."

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Easily my favorite show on television...but it has such a terrible time slot! There was a while there where they played it on Adult Swim every night...I don't know how an awesome show like this gets shunned in place of junk like Squidbillies and Metalocalypse!

July 31 2009 at 8:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think another reason it's tough for this show to pick up steam is that, as somebody who has followed it from the beginning, I imagine it's more than a little tough to pick up in the middle than the standard animated comedy fare. There are standalone MoW type episodes here and there, yah, but even those will likely leave the casual viewer a little confused. Simpsons, Family Guy, South Park, stuff like that can easily be picked up in any season without much brain power.

Also having a home on a late night half-channel and not really getting any syndication elsewhere (particularly because if this was a series on another channel Adult Swim would likely be where the syndication was happening) doesn't help...

And oh yeah, it's a lot smarter than most of the stuff out there.

July 28 2009 at 1:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The writer wasn't kidding! My wife and I were going to go to this panel until we saw that the line far exceeded the room's capacity at 3 pm (the panel wasn't even scheduled until 6 pm) and half the room was already full of people that were going to stay for the VB panel. We missed the Boondock Saints panel because of this, too, because that panel was in the same room that the VB one was to be in. Oh well...

July 27 2009 at 1:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

best show on television

July 27 2009 at 10:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It's on too late and they don't make enough episodes. It's been on for 5 years, but there are only 41 episodes. Most shows would have cranked out 100 by now.

ps. The show is not about losers. Brock Samson would make you wear your own a$$ as a hat if he heard that.

July 27 2009 at 8:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ryan's comment
Mike Davis

Yes, the show is totally about losers. The over-riding theme of the entire show is failure. Quoting Doc Hammer:

"Every character is not only flawed, but sucks at what they do..."

Not that I would ever dream of messing with Brock, though. He'd feed you your own head, man.

And I'm super glad that there aren't 100+ episodes. Quantity, quality...that whole thing.

July 27 2009 at 4:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This show has two problems. One is it's on so late. South Park, Family Guy and Futurama are on in the evening.

Two is that if you don't know Johnny Quest and Clutch Cargo you will have difficulty getting some of the humor.

South Park ect. e
ct aren't based on anything. You can get it from the start.

July 26 2009 at 10:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to thandrale's comment

I don't know, I know nothing of this Clutch Cargo you speak of, and very very little of Johnny Quest, and it is by far one of my favourite shows.

And South Park are based on things, far more than The Venture Brothers are. South Park and others assume that the viewers know what they're making a satire of to get their jokes. Even though The Venture Brothers do have a lot of obscure references all through out it, to get the show, you just really have to watch it from start to finish. It is far more of a character driven show than any other animated show out there.

July 27 2009 at 7:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The single funniest show on television. That said, the show's central conceit explains why the show has not gained mass appeal. All the characters are failures.

While Publik and Hammer mine this conceit for all its worth and then some, most people do not find it humorous. Never mind the pop references.

The show requires too much of its audience in a way that Family Guy, the Simpsons, and South Park refuse to require.

July 26 2009 at 7:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Go Team Venture!

July 26 2009 at 6:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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