Venture Bros Season 4 premiere

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The premiere of Season 4 of The Venture Bros snuck up on me — I’ve been immersed in a screenplay polish deadline and have not been paying attention to whatever mountain of promotion I’m sure was out there.

Mr. Urbaniak was kind enough to direct my attention to the online presentation. When I watched it, I seriously thought there was something wrong with the website. This episode is far too weird to absorb quickly, this may take a day or two for me to process. Mr Urbaniak explains: "Yeah, the Brock story runs forward from after the Season 3 finale to the present and the Venture family story runs backwards from the present to after Season 3 finale. Crazy kids."


16 Responses to “Venture Bros Season 4 premiere”
  1. chadu says:

    …and the Venture family story runs backwards from the present to after Season 3 finale.

    Except for the post-credits tag, yes?

    My big question now, stemming from this ep and stuff from Season 3, is what’s the real relationship between SPHINX, OSI, and the Guild of Calamitous Intent?

    Looking forward to your analysis.

    • zqadams says:

      You beat me to it. What I posted elsewhere:

      I’ve been thinking about what the reappearance of SPHINX means to the whole OSI/Guild dynamic. Doe and Cardholder hinted in “Lepidopterists” that the two organizations exist to, effectively, impose a narrative structure on the world that the scientists and supers of the world inhabit and keep them too busy with ‘adventures’ to destabilize the world. And yet, twenty years ago the Guild was an urban myth, “those bad guys from the Rusty Venture cartoon” to the majority of the OSI agents–Hunter and Brock were thought to be crazy, because SPHINX was “the real threat,” and GCI had at least one highly-placed mole in Sgt. Hatred. At some point, this must’ve changed–Brock seems to be in on the joke by the time of the Monarch’s trial.

      In most shows, I would write all this off as the creators flying by the seat of their pants and going for whatever would be the funniest. Here, though, I have to think there’s a deeper story about how these organizations interacted in the past and present, why SPHINX became irrelevant (as they must’ve, since OSI no longer seems to have costumed “public” operatives like Shore Leave’s team) and why they suit Hunter’s purposes now.

  2. mrmihocik says:

    Awesome episode. Took me two viewings to grasp but well worth the time.

    Who made the Wii Venture Family? Love it!

  3. woodandiron says:

    I thought it was a fantastic episode and I’m really looking forward to the rest of the season filling in the gaps.


    Presenting a story in a non-chronological fashion is a nifty trick but I feel like it’s nothing but a novelty unless there is inherent meaning in presenting that particular story with that particular device. Memento worked with that structure because it put the viewer in the disorientation of the protagonist. I would argue that Pulp Fiction employed that device in order to pass a semblance of reading genuine pulp ficiton, that is, serialized monthly or so, or as I think I heard Tarantino say, “That’s how people tell stories”.

    But I can’t figure out what meaning there is in presenting this episode in this structural way. If it’s for disorientation, mission accomplished. And I found the comic grading device and Marvel Comics #1 as signposts to be very clever. My only stab is that the large changes in their lives is being presented as confusing to them, and thus presenting the story in this non-chronological fashion to the viewer puts them in equal confusion.

  4. ndgmtlcd says:

    Yay! That means that the DVD for season 3 is probably available here by now, and that I can start looking for it in Canadian stores.

  5. Anonymous says:

    “Son, You. Don’t. Know. Dick!”

    Those last words basically signaled something a paradigm sift for the not just this season, but for the entire series. If I may just list some things about the episode

    – No one acted exactly like themselves. Hank seems to have gotten more confident ( or at least seems a bit less stupid), Dean getting more emotionally unstable (The face painting, loving a dog he’s known for only a couple months, etc.) and Brock somehow seems less violent than other seasons. The only person that seemed to not change is Doc Venture, the one character to whom change comes as quickly as the pace of a drunk sloth.

    – Did Dr. Orpheus just outright lie to 21? We know back in season 2 that he makes his living off bringing people back to life as long as they pay. Did he just realize that 21 wouldn’t be able to meet his price?

    – Why has Dr. Venture just gone back to his old complaining shtick? did he not retain any of the knowledge he attained back in ORB? Or is he just failing to adjust?

    • craigjclark says:

      Re: “Son, You. Don’t. Know. Dick!”

      Regarding Dr. Orpheus: I’m pretty sure he’s used to dealing with more complete (and fresher) specimens. I’m sure folks like Ronald Reagan and Evel Knievel had him on some kind of retainer.

    • jdurall says:

      Re: “Son, You. Don’t. Know. Dick!”

      I figured that Orpheus didn’t want to bother with raising the dead henchman of Rusty’s arch-nemesis, so he basically lied.

  6. The episode requires a MINIMUM of two viewings to fully grasp it. Maybe even three.

    Doc and Jackson are getting too crafty for their own good. CGC rating to track the timeline? Splendid. We could have just watched Hank’s hair change…but they went a step further.

    It was my second favorite season premiere, after season three’s.

  7. craigjclark says:

    If you want to watch the episode in higher definition, Adult Swim is running it tonight (and all this week, in fact) at 12:30 a.m. to make up for the fact that the West Coast feed got screwed up the first time it aired.

  8. robjmiller says:

    I had to watch this one twice. The episode is made of non-linear, interweaving storylines. However, the scenes depicting Brock are chronological, even when appearing in flashbacks.

    1. Brock
    2. The boys
    3. The comic book
    4. The Nazis/Hitler the dog

    Paying particular attention to the comic book storyline really helped me figure this episode out. The comic book is actually introduced late in the episode, but appears in most scenes with the boys or Doc. These scenes feature the book being devalued through mishandling, with a notable CGC rating/value scoreboard in the upper-right corner that tracks the chronology of the boy’s storyline. 21 also makes mention of Doc “destroying a treasured family heirloom” a couple of scenes before introducing the book, one of the main things that makes this episode require multiple viewings.

    Somehow, the book also actually depicts Brock’s storyline. Notably, each Brock scene begins with a title panel from the book (a beautiful panel I might add). Also, at the end of the scene where Brock jumps out of the OSI flying fortress, the image of him riding a stolen jetpack transitions into the same image on a page of the comic book as Hank is reading it.

    In short, Doc and Jackson are amazing and this episode is absolutely brilliant. Unfortunately, it is not especially funny.

  9. I was actually pretty disappointed. Playing around with the chronology detracted more than added to the entertainment. The CGC rating was cute and clever, but it doesn’t do much to cut down on how inscrutable the episode actually ends up being. This is the first time I’ve ever been disappointed in the show, but I still liked everything. I’ve watched the episode three or four times now, and all I can think about by now is how much more enjoyment I would have gotten out of it if they’d just played everything straight and chronologically correct. As opposed to forcing viewers to have to distractingly reset every time a new scene starts.

    Ah well, points for ambition. Venture Bros. still rules the universe. Chronology aside, literally EVERYTHING the new status quo introduced this episode fills me with anticipatory glee.

  10. You’re killing me, Todd! Three episodes have gone by already and I have no idea what they were really about!!! When do we get your analyses?

  11. A thought

    I’ll admit I don’t know anything about Marvel #1 (I, like Hank, prefer Batman, and the DC Universe in general), but maybe the reverse chronology on the Venture story is due to the fact that the order of the Brock panels and their corresponding stories from the comic book (The Human Torch, then The Angel, then The Submariner, and so on) are in reverse of the order in which they appear in Marvel #1. Normally, I would count this as me giving too much credit to whoever is creating the show, but Jackson and Doc have surprised me with their grasp of things before, so I wouldn’t put it past them.

    • Re: A thought

      Scratch that. Got a hold of the table of contents for Marvel #1. The episode actually follows the order of appearance in the book fairly closely (Human Torch, Angel, Submariner, Jungle Terror, Burning Rubber, Masked Raider, and then Adventures of Kazar the Great on the show; Human Torch, Angel, Submariner, Masked Raider, Jungle Terror, Burning Rubber, and then Adventures of Kazar the Great in the comic). So now I’m out of ideas.