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September 5, 2015

Review: The Venture Bros. - The Revenge Society

by Annie Wu, posted Nov 16th 2009 12:41PM
the venture bros
This episode was certainly a surprise in many respects. It was one of the funnier installments of the season so far. It also brought back a lot of old themes and cleared up some incomplete storylines that had started to gather dust. On one hand, I'm glad that those have been resolved, because most of them were revealed to be kind of irrelevant anyway, but I also felt as though it was rushed, like, five loose ends from old major arcs had to be hastily tied up in twenty-some minutes. Well, it's better than continuing to string us along, right?

After the epic build-up with ORB last season, I was surprised that they so swiftly revealed it was already destroyed by Sandow so long ago. Within one episode, they brought back and killed a major component of the almost-three-part season three finale. The fact that it's been worthless since the early days isn't what surprised me, just that in the way it was revealed, doubly so because we haven't heard about the ORB since last season. I suppose there was no point in dwelling on it.

Phantom Limb/Revenge was treated in almost the same way, which was an even stranger move. Since the Manotaur attack at the start of the third season, we haven't heard from him. Limb's return was inevitable, but since he was such a huge player in the past, I was surprised that his grand return was cut short so quickly. He dropped in, got the ORB, and then was totally screwed over. The end. Also, he aged super-quickly! Must have been all the stress. Or all the crazy with the Revenge Society.

I was also kind of bummed out that Future Doc Venture was just David Bowie goofing around. Ever since I saw the season trailer, I had been eagerly awaiting that moment. Serves me right for pretending to know what to expect from this show.

I'll quit my semi-whining now. The episode really was super-quotable and interesting, even if it didn't pan out quite as elegantly as it could have been. Also, apart from Limb, there were plenty of other familiar faces. I never thought we'd see the Intangible Fancy again, but there he was. He was in "Tag Sale, You're It!" but I think he had only been mentioned by name in DVD commentary. I've always been quite fond of the Guild's Watch and Ward too, so it was good to see them, even without iPod comedy.

Of course, we couldn't go on without mentioning The Sovereign aka David Bowie ("That guy from Labyrinth just turned into a bird!" again) aka The Thin White Douche. So, I guess Limb went nuts and wanted to be the rightful Sovereign... but that turned out to be Dean... who had to transfer his power back to Bowie... who was already kind of Sovereign. I think I'm understanding that. It felt like they just wanted to close the Limb/Guild case and get it out of the way.

Then, there was that whole Sgt. Hatred thing. Man, there's a lot of fan-hate toward Hatred. Personally, I'm interested in seeing how Hatred's more involved approach with the boys works out, even though I desperately miss Brock. However, bringing back the mental flirtations with pedophilia, I could do without. I may or may not be saying that just because I feel so bad about Billy being Hatred's loophole.

... I said loophole.

Some other bits of the episode I enjoyed included Batman becoming an adjective, the diamond dogs, Dean and Doc's 75% polyester moment, Buddy Holly and Big Bopper secretly being in the Council, Brian Eno chilling with the Guild, and Bowie's "Call Iman! Tell her I'll be on tour." Also, there's no chance that Sgt. Hatred's moment with Axe Body Spray was product placement, right? I mean, there was that Axe commercial in the immediate break...

Finally, Jackson Publick updated his blog with a few quick notes about previous episodes. Captain Sunshine wasn't an actual pedophile, and Brock's absence was a creative choice by Jackson and Doc Hammer and not at all because of something Patrick Warburton did. Fun facts all around.

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I would call this episode dense, with alot of plot lines and characters. It reminded me of reading an old marvel comic from the seventies, seeing all the intensity not fully grasping it, but still enjoying it! As long as the creators are paying attention, right?
There is a cinematic feel to this series, the layouts,lighting, cartoon characters who appear more real than any neurotic/screaming and/or rehabilitated movie star practicing their craft. Even in their subtle movements like Sgt Hatred quivering on the bath room floor and Hank showing off his invisible coolness lowering his imaginary goggles.
I have no idea where Doc and Jackson are going to spring on us next, so far they have done better than any of the Hollywood efforts in this genre.

November 20 2009 at 1:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Oh, just to chip in one more thing--I can't say I _hate_ Hatred, but I think they've pushed this character about as far as it can go. He was a one-joke idea that they got about three good jokes out of, and good for them. There's just so much more interesting and funny stuff in this Venture-world than Sergeant Hatred. I can't help feeling that they waste far too many precious screen minutes on him. Where's Baron Underbheit been all this time?

November 17 2009 at 10:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gordon Werner

I thought that it was obvious that Captain Sunshine wasn't a pedophile ... they were just using a ton of double entendres ...

November 16 2009 at 8:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Sgt Hatred has grown on me--particularly because the voice actor is incredibly, incredibly good. The manic desperation in every single syllable the guy speaks is just fantastic. I just wish the character were given more to do besides wallow. At least Brock got to kill stuff.

November 16 2009 at 7:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Intangible Fancy appeared by name in Fallen Arches, season 2. He introduced himself to Torrid.

"Fire theme. Lucky duck. Lots of costume options with the fire theme. Guys like me can't even wear costumes."

November 16 2009 at 6:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Zachary's comment
Annie W.

That's right! I was, um, testing you. Yes.

November 16 2009 at 6:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Also, there's no chance that Sgt. Hatred's moment with Axe Body Spray was product placement, right? I mean, there was that Axe commercial in the immediate break...

On some other Adult Swim shows, I'd immediately assume it was a plug, but the fact that the next line was "...or it's CVS equivalent..." leads me to think Doc & Jackson were just referencing something familiar, much as they've done in the past - they've used "Fresca", "QuickTime", "Razzles" and other brand names in scripts without a hint of placement. They only tend to invent a product ("Busy Bee", for example) when it's integral to the plot.

November 16 2009 at 1:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

i had to chuckle at the scene where dean 'knighted' bowie and they were using the bit from wagner's 'twilight of the gods' that was basically the main theme from john boorman's 'excalibur'.

not having brock around is kinda distressing, though. can't wait until he starts showing up again.

November 16 2009 at 1:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Frank M.

I really hope that Sergeant Hatred didn't rape Billy while he was unconscious.

November 16 2009 at 12:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Frank M.'s comment

Right since VB is a wholesome show? Not like they show clones getting sliced in half, henchmen being blown up/shot/burned or in general killed with a post/preop undercover tranny. Yeah VB wouldn't have a reformed pedo sleep with a stunted manchild now would they?

November 17 2009 at 6:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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