Stupid real life is really putting a crimp in my ability to review this season of The Venture Bros. As a result, you may have noticed that last week’s episode – “Handsome Ransom” – was skipped. I’ll get around to it at some point, but suffice it to say that I enjoyed it quite a bit. And now on to newer business.
I don’t know about you, but Season 4 of VB is clicking in a way that Season 3 seldom did. Maybe it’s the more character-driven storylines, but it doesn’t feel as if Jackson and Doc are trying so hard this year. “Perchance to Dean” is a perfect example. It’s got the feel of an early episode, but with the comedic and storytelling sophistication of more recent efforts. It really is a neat hybrid, just like Dean’s creepy, Phantom of the Opera-esque clone brother.
We get a great flashback to kick things off. Brock makes a token appearance and kicks ass without even uttering a word (although his disgust for Doc’s amoral scientific pursuits is already evident). And it’s here that I finally decided to make peace with the whole clone storyline. I was really bothered by the revelation that the boys are in fact clones, but I now just accept it as a natural part of the Ventureverse. I guess that’s why seeing Doc flush a rejected clone (Dean #19) down the drain didn’t even faze me.
This installment, obviously enough, focuses on the dorkier and whinier of the Venture boys. It’s been awhile since we had a totally self-contained story with just the Ventures, and it was a welcome change. No grand story advancements, just good old fashioned Venture hijinx (albeit with a few morbid twists). Speaking of whining, I’m really enjoying the new, rebellious Hank. He’s still a dork at heart of course, but the little battles he’s been waging against Rusty are awesome. Before long he’ll also be outgrowing his pituitary-challenged buddy Dermott.
And seriously, how awesome is it that the geek loop is now closed on this show with the revelation that prog rock is the major influence behind Rusty’s career? I was just wondering a few weeks ago how Jackson and Doc could throw any more bones to us, and it actually involved a Rush reference a la Futurama. Well we got Yes and King Crimson instead, but close enough. The whole record-listening sequence was truly inspired, and speaking as someone who discovered prog as an awkward teenager I’d say those fantasy sequences were right on the money.
While I’m sure that we’ll get back to the really heavy, story-centric episodes of The Venture Bros. soon enough, it sure felt nice to take a break.
Final grade: A-
- Badass moment of the show – Brock putting out that cig.
- “There is no hair fairy is there?” “Not even close.”
- “When do I get to train for my future career?” “Who says you’re not right now?”
- Just say “Yesssssssssss!”
- “No air drumming this time. Bruford can change the timing up so fast you can snap your wrist.”
- “You think being grounded is bad, try prison. It’s like being grounded for life. Plus, instead of chores, butt sex.”
- “No dad, I need to science!”
- The Sgt. Hatred pedophile jokes definitely work in smaller batches, like when they took away his hard drive.
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