Venture Bros: Eenie, Meeney, Miney…Magic!

Ah, yes.  The appearance of Dr. Orpheus.  My first time seeing this.

As someone who has worked closely with Mr. Steven Rattazzi over a few million shows, Dr. Orpheus is especially funny, as his declamatory style is only a slight exaggeration of what Steven is capable of once he gets a good heat under him.  But without the spittle.

Dr. Orpheus makes a terrific counterpart to Rusty, in that they are both single parents stuck between a real and an imaginary world, but that Orpheus has somehow figured out a way to live the dream (much to his daughter’s mortification) and Rusty just feels tied down and constricted by his parental duties (which he tends to utterly ignore).

I love Hank and Dean’s pajamas, for two reasons.

1. Hank is nominally the more “grown up” twin, but he’s the one in the Aquaman jammies, whereas Dean gets the way-cooler Spider-Man jammies (which exactly match a set that my 5-year-old son has).

2. They don’t change out of them until way past noon.

In a way, the whole show is about this clash between the real world and the imaginary world we were promised as children by these fantasy shows.  Every ten-year-old boy wants to be James Bond at some point, thinking that that’s what a “real man” must be like, and we continue to carry these fantasies around our in heads at some level even as adults, but Venture Bros. actually addresses the question of “well, what if James Bond (or Johnny Quest, or what have you) really existed?”

There was one single, solitary moment in Goldeneye that addressed this, and for a brief instant James Bond became an interesting person.  Somebody says to Bond, in effect, “Look at you, you’re a miserable human being.  You kill people for a living and you can’t sustain a relationship.  The only things you know how to do is destroy things and fuck,” and you realize that Bond really is the sick fantasy of an adolescent mind.  He feels no love and no compassion.  He’s a monster.  Whereas the most indelible moments of The Venture Bros. are those when real emotions and responsibilities intrude on the absurd adventures, whether it’s Brock Samson taking time to help Hank with his coin-catching game or Dr. Orpheus leaving a message for his daughter to not eat more than one pudding cup.  The Bond fantasy of constant movement and no responsibilities (I can’t think of a better example of “no responsibilities” than a literal “license to kill”) butts up against the common, everyday ties to those we care about.
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8 Responses to “Venture Bros: Eenie, Meeney, Miney…Magic!”
  1. eronanke says:

    I don’t recall if you’ve seen the Brisby episode, but it should precede this one if I recall correctly, introducing Agent Molotov Cocktease.
    At any rate, there is a moment similar to the ones you describe in “Eenie, Meanie…” wherein Brock is reawakened from the fantasy machine by Hank and Dean, he comments that they had woken up from a dream wherein he was with “the only woman [he] ever loved”.
    All that sexual tension that built up in the Brisby episode is made so much more meaningful in this episode, where we show an ‘evolved’ Brock, different from the one who sleeps with the Prostitute in the Pilot, and the one who goes off with the random Mexican lady in “Dia de los Dangerous”, Lt. Anna Baldavitch in “Careers in Science”, etc.
    In short, his oversexed nature is merely a facade – an attempt to make up for the inability to be with his true life because of, of all things, political affiliation.

    • popebuck1 says:

      The Brisby episode, IIRC, comes after this one in the “official” sequence, although I think the Brisby one was produced first. So yeah, we do meet Molotov before we’re officially “introduced” to her, and the episode has more depth in retrospect once you’ve seen the Brisby episode.

      There are a couple of continuity “sort-of glitches” like that one in the series as a whole – sometimes I think Cartoon Network just randomly shuffled the episodes before airing them.

      • eronanke says:

        I didn’t know about the episode shift! How confusing!
        To be honest, I downloaded them first, and put them in order according to’s orders. It places Brisby before Eenie, Meanie.

        • popebuck1 says:

          The other big one is that “Pirates of the Sargasso” HAS to come after “Eeny Meenie Miney Magic!” because “EMMM” introduces Dr. Orpheus, and the boys call him for an emergency consult during “Pirates.”

          And yet, when Dean is first introduced to Triana in “EMMM,” he tells her that “we were kidnapped once by pirates… who were ghosts,” which implies that EMMM takes place after “Pirates.”

          (But then, as one of the creators justified in an interview, the Ventures probably meet up with ghost pirates a LOT more often than most people do…)

          • eronanke says:

            I agree with the creators- it was clear to Hank and Dean by the end of “Ghosts” that the pirates were NOT ghosts, but there may have, indeed, been an instance wherein they met up with REAL ghost pirates in the past.
            It makes sense, too, that while writing EMMM, they said, “Hey, we should do an episode about Ghost Pirates!” and then did.

  2. greyaenigma says:

    Dude, James Bond has the ultimate responsibility — saving the world!

    Of course, that in itself is a fantasy. How many of us get to feel that what we do ultimately matters? Bond just never has to deal with the consequences of most of his actions.

    It does strike me that that while Dr. Orpheus might be able to manage being a dad without magic, Rusty probably couldn’t handle things without… well, his father’s estate.

    • Anonymous says:

      James Bond has the ultimate responsibility — saving the world!

      Yes, but he’s a tool. He has no idealism, he’s an assassin. He does what M tells him to. He doesn’t stand for anything. He never killed Blofeld and then said “Thank God, now the world is safe for Democracy!” Besides which, as Goldeneye also pointed out, he didn’t do jack shit. The world is still in danger, and actually worse off, in spite of all the killing and fucking Bond has done in the name of democracy — or constitutional monarchy, for that matter.

      • eronanke says:

        I think the post-SMERSH/post-Cold War era is not applicable to Bond anymore. I think the series suffer by putting a very Cold War character, (the cocky British gentleman foiling subversive USSR/SMERSH plots), in a world of splinter-cells, terrorism, and drug runners. (And, yes, License to Kill *did* suck.)
        Why not just keep the movie set in the 60s-70s?