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October 10, 2015

Review: The Venture Bros. - Handsome Ransom

by Annie Wu, posted Oct 26th 2009 12:08PM
the venture bros
(S04E02) First things first. If you are not a connoisseur of '90s superhero cartoons or a huge nerd that has been closely following Venture Bros. news all the way through production, you may have missed out on the full "Handsome Ransom" experience. That is not to say the unaware couldn't have a good time, but things were made ten times funnier if a viewer knew that the not-so-pure Captain Sunshine was voiced by Kevin Conroy, aka Batman.

The whole episode was laden with Batman references, from the giant penny to Dick Grayson's circus background to actual direct mentions of Batman. Since so many of the jokes are heightened by the fact that it's Kevin effin' Conroy reading them, this leads me to wonder if Jackson Publick crossed his fingers for Conroy as he was writing (really difficult to type with crossed fingers) or if it was all done after Conroy had already signed off. If it was the latter, then I can only imagine the giddiness/pressure of getting to write for Batman. Come on.

Unlike the season premiere, which was heavily rooted in various parts of the show's history, this was more of a standalone installment. Sometimes it's nice to just sit back and laugh at the characters for twenty minutes without trying to tie bits of the show's universe together, and this episode certainly succeeded in doing that. Bringing back some good ol' Monarch action was nice, as usual, if only to see Dr. Mrs. The Monarch and the now weirdly super-buff 21.

The return of Pete White and Master Billy Quizboy was also very welcome, though Sgt. Hatred seemed to have some old gears turning once he found out that although Billy is built like a child, he's actually 37-years-old. Man, you'd think one pedophile would be plenty for a cartoon, but no.

Other highlights of the episode included Captain Sunshine beating the crap out of Scorpio with the end of his own scorpion car, "Shit, it's Chuck Scarsdale!", and the very existence of Ghost Robot. Also, Barbie-Q was played by a voice actress I hadn't heard before, Rachel Feinstein. That brings the Venture Bros. lady count to, like, four, I think (Mia Barron, Lisa Hammer, Nina Hellman). Yeah. You didn't know there was a lady count, did you? Well, I've been keeping track.

By the way, did this episode look extra-pretty or what? In previous seasons, the Monarch and Dr. Wife would go through a lot of stylistic fluctuations but they were beautifully animated this time. I think the subtlety of the super-powered sunburns and the Monarch's face were particularly impressive.

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You forgot to mention the resemblance of his mansion to neverland ranch

October 27 2009 at 4:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Action Figures!! That is all.

October 26 2009 at 9:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The Monarch taunting Captain Sunshine really did it for me, he was so badass....and then he was lame again. I knew it was too good to be true....:)

October 26 2009 at 6:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Needs more Brock Sampson. God his interactions with captain sunshine would have been brilliant.

October 26 2009 at 3:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gordon Werner

I loved the fact that Captain Sunshine and hist super-friends all masqueraded as a local news team ... especially their weather robot.

And the News Chopper 5 promo that the news cut to was too funny (especially if you have seen such things on your own local news channel)

Hammer and Publick are geniuses!

October 26 2009 at 2:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Gordon Werner's comment

Don't overlook the fact that the episode also turned the superhero convention on its ear - it was never made clear which was the 'secret identity'...Captain Sunshine, or Chuck Scarsdale? Notice in the final sequence - everyone was totally accepting the house as belonging to Captain Sunshine, but the second he walked in as Chuck Scarsdale, Rusty & Co. ran to hide (for fear of being on the news - not of being arrested for trespassing).

I love the continuity on The Venture Brothers. No other show (save, MAYBE for Arrested Development) would do a full half-hour based on a throw-away laugh line from three seasons ago.

October 27 2009 at 6:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"they were beautifully animated this time."

I had same reaction. Overall tone and lush color was apparent right from start. Loved the goofy super-man-boy love part. Such a parody. And that aside to butler about "getting him washed up and ready for bed."" That after the lame attempt to bargain between man-boy.
Hope they take the whole crew off to some exotic islands or such like at end of last season. That one with the island babes and the two boys lusting for them was rich.
Glad to see a series growing and worth sticking with.
btw White Collar not so bad. Hope they can hold up production values way VB is doing.

October 26 2009 at 1:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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