Now that the principles are in place, lets jump into what would become one of the most interesting shows in recent television history.
Like any series, the first few episodes of “The Venture Bros.” gave viewers a chance to understand the character dynamics and the reasons said-characters act the way they do. Though the show is named after Hank and Dean, the series’ early crutch centered on Dr. Venture’s struggles. In the first “official” episode – “Dia De Los Dangerous!” – Thaddeus Venture decided to teach a class in Mexico that ended with him getting very little pay and his only remaining kidney harvested. Thankfully for Dr. Venture, he had two strapping young boys willing to unknowingly sacrifice one of their kidneys each.
Thaddeus’ financial troubles also plagued him during the first season; highlighted by “Tag Sale – You’re It!” where Dr. Venture actually tried to sell laser death rays to villains who were arching him. Thaddeus’ awkwardness around the opposite was explored during the “Mid-life Chrysalis” episode. Going through a obvious emotional and mental crisis due to his age, Dr. Venture had a run-in with an obviously disguised Dr. Girlfriend – who was sent by The Monarch to turn Thaddeus into a giant butterfly. Shockingly, Dr. Girlfriend couldn’t go through with the plan, giving Dr. Venture an antidote just as he entered the cocoon stage of his transformation. No, he couldn’t get laid, but at least Rusty wasn’t sprayed with an industrial-sized can of pesticide.
But the most profound moment featuring Dr. Venture during the first season was his inability to live up to his father’s legacy. The second episode saw Dr. Venture enter a space station his father built – Gargantua-1 – in hopes of fixing whatever caused the “problem” light to start flashing. Come to find out, the problem was something as simple as a toy little Rusty left inside a control panel that eventually melted over the years.
Dr. Venture was even offered to be a part of Impossible Industries’ think tank – headed by Professor Impossible (The Venture Bros.’ version of Mr. Fantastic from “The Fantastic Four”). Of course, Dr. Venture failed miserably to do anything other than to make an unintentional play for Prof. Impossible wife – the desperate-for-physical-attention, potential drunkard Sally – whose skin became invisible instead of her entire body like the inspiration for her character.
Thaddeus couldn’t even create machines like his father. In episode “Eeney, Meeney, Miney … Magic!” Dr. Venture’s “Joy Can” trapped the people who entered it (Brock, Hank, and Dean) in their greatest fantasies. With the door vanishing behind them, and the three becoming aware of their situation, the Joy Can turned into nothing more than a metal version of limbo. The debuting Dr. Orpheus figured out that Dr. Venture utilized his lack of morality to replace his technical and mechanical inabilities by using the strength of an orphan’s heart to power the machine. Failure, thy name is Thaddeus S. Venture.
With the first season rapidly coming to a close, a funeral for Dr. Venture’s old college buddy Mike Sorayama revealed that Rusty’s time between being a boy adventurer and a single parent was just as interesting as what was shown so far in the series. Some of the attendees for this sorrowful occasion included Pete White – an albino who was the school’s underground DJ – White’s roommate and future Dr. Venture rival Baron Ünderbheit, and Rusty’s roommate Brock Samson. Yep, the same Samson that became his bodyguard. Even The Monarch went to, as Hank Venture put it, “Super, crazy, nowhere school.” Not shocking, the funeral itself was a trap to capture four men who supposedly did the deceased Sorayama wrong.
Via satelitte, the now-Doctor Sorayama explained the reason for his actions. Sorayama spent a majority of his college days fawning over a girl – Leslie Cohen – who never cared for him more than just being her tutor. The four men in Sorayama’s custody all had hand in the abducting doctor’s inability to get the woman of his dreams. Ünderbheit almost killed Mike with oregano when he lied and said it was weed. White revealed Sorayama’s sexual feelings for Leslie on his radio show, “The White Room”. Rusty was believed to have had sex with Cohen when Mike found Leslie exiting Venture’s room one morning. And Brock, who actually did have sex with Cohen, beat the crap out of Sorayama following a drinking binge after he was kicked off the football team for accidentally killing a fellow teammate.
With the help of the original Team Venture, Hank and Dean tracked down their father and bodygaurd, leading to a huge fight with Brock accidentally beating the original Team Venture and destroying Sorayama’s robot ghost that was programmed to capture and antagnoize Mike’s living rivals. In the end, love didn’t conquer all, and the idiot actions of a genius ended with himself and his robot destroyed. True love indeed.
The Trial of The Monarch
Nearing the conclusion of season one, something almost impossible happened – a super villain was actually put on trial. To paraphrase Dr. Venture, if I knew it was possible to call the police on a super villain, I’d done it years ago (that’s not to say I’m being arched… right now). The days before this super trial that featured a horribly false depiction of Hank and Dean’s skills as boy adventurers (the ability to read sanskrit and turn into a Voltron-like creature called “Mecha-Shiva” weren’t out of the ordinary during their time on the witness stand) saw The Monarch engage in a nasty fight with Dr. Girlfriend thanks to the penning of an unauthorized biography by Henchman 21. After seeing multiple pictures of the then-Lady Au Pair/Queen Etherea in “The Flight of the Monarch”, The Monarch promptly threw Dr. Girlfriend out of his cocoon. So what’s a girl with a broken heart to do? Run into the invisible arms of her ex-lover, Phantom Limb.
Like any man hoping to win his woman back, The Monarch got sloppy drunk, went to the place his girlfriend was staying at; trying to put the blame on her for this misunderstanding. While the strategy didn’t work in The Monarch’s favor, it did draw the police’s ire – officers that eventually disappeared and were presumed murdered by The Monarch’s hand. And that’s when things fell off the cliff for The Monarch. During the back and forth between The Monarch – who was representing himself – and the prosecution’s Tiny Attorney (a small, southern man growing out of the torso of, “…an inbred simpleton.”), a pair coated and masked individuals entered the courtroom. Those two people happened to be none other than Phantom Limb and Dr. Girlfriend! In the sarcastic words of Dr. Venture, “Oh, no way! That’s a real, big surprise.”
Dr. Girlfriend told her side of the story, but gave no real answer either because all she heard after she closed front door on The Monarch was, “…nothing.”
Seriously, the disintegration of a police officer made no noise. No screams, no begging for his life, nothing. The court needed someone who could get the truth. Maybe a mind reader? You know what that means. Yep, entered Dr. Orpheus. Looking into the hypnotized mind of The Monarch, Dr. Orpheus witnessed the events that ended with The Monarch on trial. Strangers – The Guild of Calamitous Intent’s special agents who usually wear black trench coats, fedoras and goggles – set up The Monarch by tranquilizing the super villain prior to giving the “dead” cop a briefcase full of money and a new identity.
Before Dr. Orpheus could reveal his findings, a Guild freeze team entered the room and promptly put everyone who wasn’t prepared in suspended animation. Not only did Phantom Limb and The Guild take this frozen opportunity to use hypnotic suggestion on Dr. Orpheus by telling him The Monarch was the culprit, they also arrested Tiny Attorney (“…number three on The Guild’s Most Wanted list.”). As expected when the freeze wore off, Dr. Orpheus followed Limb’s subliminal orders and declared The Monarch guilty. To the shock of many, we entered the season finale with Dr. Venture’s archrival going to prison.
“There is another…”
In the season finale, the first sounds the viewer hears are of screams from an incident during the Venture family’s attending of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” (in full costume, of course). Getting off their experimental jet – the X-1 – Brock, Hank, and Dean noticed a large bulge protruding from the usually flat, almost concave, stomach of Dr. Venture. The boys immediately assumed their father was pregnant even though it was not physically possible. When Dr. Venture could only be placed in is the maternity ward thanks to The Rocky Horror massacre, Hank and Dean immediately planned for the worst (having a baby steal their father’s rather dim spotlight rarely placed upon them) and took off into the great unknown.
While the Venture boys searched for a new life, Dr. Venture discovered that the tumor inside of him wasn’t cancer, but somehow physically disappeared after being removed from his body. Not really worrying about anything but recovering, Dr. Venture returned home to experience another dream featuring his father in Mommy Venture’s womb. Why? To warn his son that, “…there is another Venture.”
Before Dr. Venture could figure out what his father meant, a man wearing a suit featuring the Venture family’s stove and holding a ray gun introduced himself as Rusty’s younger brother. Brock Samson, with assistance from H.E.L.P.eR, eventually kicked all kinds of robot butt until the supposed spawn of Jonas was lying underneath Brock’s boot. Thankfully for this potential murderer, Dr. Venture stood up for the man who attacked him only minutes ago, accepting him as his true brother. The dreams Dr. Venture experienced throughout his life featuring his infant form eating another boy in the womb were reality. With that, the Venture family added another member to its disappointing existence – Jonas Venture, Jr.
They Die in the End
As Dr. Venture met his brother, his sons went on a journey to find a new life that didn’t involve being boy adventures. With Dr. Orpheus trailing the boys after being assigned to watch them, Hank and Dean seemingly had some protection that would allow them to eventually make it back home. But riding hover bikes on the middle of a school day wasn’t the most inconspicuous mode of transportation. A cop saw them and arrested Hank and Dean because normal kids don’t own hover bikes or talk about super science unless they sell drugs. What do you do to scare possible teenage drug dealers straight? Send them to prison with the Scared Straight program. Similar to their fellow future inmates, Hank and Dean were screamed at by jailed super villains like King Gorilla (“…who is totally gay.”) and none other than The Monarch.
By the time The Monarch – who was in full scared straight mode – figured out who the Venture brothers were, Dr. Orpheus bailed the youngest Ventures out of this huge misunderstanding and gave them the opportunity to come back home. As the boys led the caravan featuring an arriving Dr. Venture, Jonas, Jr. and Brock in tow, Henchmen 21 and 24 showed up in the Monarchmobile, asking the hover biking-Venture boys about ammo for a shotgun. Completely unaware of whom he was talking to, 21 accidentally pulled the trigger on his already loaded gun. The mix of explosions and Nick DeMayo’s “Look Away” shatter the viewer’s little world. And just to reinforce the fact that, yes, the Venture Bros. are dead, we get a final shot of Dean’s charred arm, Hank’s handkerchief blowing in the air, and Dr. Venture ordering Brock to, “Get their clothes.”
And that was the end of The Venture Bros. season one. How in the world can they continue the series with Hank & Dean dead? I guess you’ll have to find out when I look at season two next time.