Daily Cartoon: The Venture Bros. S05E01 “A Very Venture Halloween”

Welcome to another week of Halloween cartoon episode recaps and I couldn’t be more excited than I am to be kicking it off with an absolute favorite show of mine: The Venture Bros!

I was kind of late to the party when this show starting airing in 2003, but once I got on board I was hooked and there was no turning back. Even now, it’s one of those shows that I’ll put on and rewatch when I can’t figure out what I want to do.

For all I know, it could be still running. In the past sixteen years, there’s only been seven seasons with the latest coming just last year so who’s to say it won’t be back three years from now? Regardless, today we’ll be taking a look at the Season 5 premiere which really wasn’t that at all since the rest of Season 5 didn’t come out for like another eight months after this. This was just a one-off special for Halloween that fits in as Episode 1. OK, semantics, who cares? But it’s good, so fire up those Hulu machines and hit play.

Season 5, Episode 1: A Very Venture Halloween

Original Air Date: October 28, 2012

I was living in NYC when this first aired and have a distinct memory of just getting ready to sit and watch this when, all of a sudden, the power went out. New York was getting hit by Hurricane Sandy and I didn’t have power for the next nine days. Yes, I can acknowledge that a great many people suffered far worse fates than just not being able to watch The Venture Bros, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t all suffer.

We open with a scene titled “four years ago” where Hank Venture is leading his dad, Rusty and bodyguard, Brock Samson through his bedroom-turned-Haunted House that he put together with his brother Dean. He offers the two a glass of blood which is just Pepsi and ketchup that I will be trying immediately after this episode is concluded that Rusty actually seems to like. Dean arises from his bed as a vampire and Rusty yawns it off and leaves.

Three years ago now, Hank is leading the same two through another Haunted House concluding with Dean as a mummy that also strikes not a bit of fear in Dr. Venture.

Two years ago, the boys cause a commotion and when Doc and Brock come to check it out, they find a fallen bookcase with the boy bludgeoned in pools of blood underneath. Rather than freak out, Rusty orders Brock to clean it up while he “heats up the slugs” which means that he has to hit the lab to prepare clones.

If you’ve never seen this show before, this is a pretty big spoiler, but it’s been known for over a decade so deal with it: the boys are clones and they die all the time in oftentimes absurd circumstances. In this case, the boys are just aghast that their dad is impossible to scare.

Which brings us to present day. Dr. Venture asks about the haunted bedroom and Hank informs him that he’s too old for that stuff anymore, but he did get an email meant for Rusty by mistake about that lump he was curious about and Rusty begins to freak. Dean is in the bathroom complaining that it burns when he pees and never should have trusted “her”. Sergeant Hatred, the family’s new bodyguard, walks in and tells the Doc about a leak in the kitchen and that he should have redone the plumbing years ago. Rusty starts to lose it and – BOOM – it was all a prank! They’ve all finally put a scare into him. Happy Halloween!

Six hundred words and all we’ve done is watch the opening joke. I like where this is going.

Dr. Orpheus, the necromancer who lives in the guest house is letting Rusty know he’s having a small Halloween get-together and Doc just doesn’t want them parking on the lawn. Hank’s friend (and illegitimate brother, long story) Dermott, shows up and Hank is pissed that Dermott told them costumes are for kids when he shows up dressed as “an enchanted mime.” Dermott is dressed as The Crow.  Hank immediately runs upstairs and comes back wearing a trash bag. He’s a “bag of Hank” unless he puts on his sunglasses…then he’s a California Raisin. Solid.

Dermott comes prepped with a sack of rotten eggs and toilet paper, but Hank has a better idea: a real and genuine haunted house. Dean is against it; saying that Rusty told them never to go near Old Man Potter’s, but eventually gets peer-pressured into it because that’s how life works.

Back at the Venture Compound, Sergeant Hatred is preparing a bowl of candy to give out and Doc is made because they’re king-sized bars. Hatred counters by saying they’re 15 miles off the nearest road and have all sorts of security measures in place like electric fencing and lasers and shit so if any kid makes it to the door, they’re getting the big one.

Dean gets dared to go into the haunted house and, of course, gets attacked by a bald monkey. When he comes to, he’s met by a guy looking like a great tribute to Jeff Bridges in The Big Lebowski who has him strapped to an examination table. He’s surprised that Dean knows nothing about him, but Dean stays with the story that he was always told to stay away from the Potter place which is odd because this guy’s name is Ben. Ben then asks if Rusty said “Potter’s Field” since all the land surrounding this house is filled with the bodies of everyone killed around the Venture Compound over the years which numbers into the hundreds. If you’ve followed this show, that actually makes a lot of sense since the top arch-nemesises in the world have been declaring war on the Venture family for decades.

At Dr. Orpheus’s magical gathering (not to be confused with the card game, Magic: The Gathering), all the invited guests are taking turns showing off special tricks (it’s not a trick, Michael, it’s an illusion!) and grossing each other out. I, for one, am happy to not be at this party because The Outrider just seems to be owning the moment and I can’t compete with that. Al, the Alchemist is growing tired of all these lame tricks and says they should be raising the dead as it’s Halloween.

And raise the dead, they do as over at the Potter’s Field, Hank and Dermott (still waiting outside the house while Dean is inside) have the ground under them jolted by the resurrection of all the bodies beneath them. While this is happening, Ben is inside the house explaining to Dean that yeah, he’s a clone and Dean isn’t taking the news that well. The zombies begin to surround the house, but Santa Claus comes down surrounded by a ball of light and eviscerates the zombies. Problem solved. Turns out that Santa is just the form taken by The Master, who is the head dude of all the magical freaks. He’s pretty pissed that these jerks would raise the dead and appears at Orpheus’s party to give a tongue-lashing to everyone there.

It’s then that Orpheus learns the true meaning of Halloween: that it allows everybody to be who they really are. And Dean learned something too: that beer tastes like pee-pee.

Final Thoughts

I have to start by saying that I am incredibly biased when it comes to this show. I’m not even going to pretend I’m not. In a vacuum, one episode may not play as well, but in the grander scope of the long-term story, this series absolutely kills it.

Like I said earlier, this was just a one-off in between seasons at the time, but it did further the story going on rather just being told as an independent Halloween special. It’s still good, but not something you can just watch on its own and fully grasp what’s happening. So what do I suggest? Watch this entire series because it’s terrific and highly-entertaining. There have been massive gaps in between seasons over the years which have caused it to fade from the consciousness, but thanks to the magic of Hulu, you have all seven seasons available and don’t have to wait years for a new episode. Check it out or go back and give it a re-watch if it’s been a while to reacquaint yourself with all the goodness of The Venture Bros.

Until next time.

Joe

Twitter: @MaxSexPow

Email: ShoesOnSports@gmail.com

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