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"The Venture Brothers" Review

By Shawn McKenzie 08/10/2003

The Cartoon Network did it again.  They premiered the pilot episode of a new show that won’t air its second episode for another few months.  The show in question is “The Venture Brothers.”  Actually, in the case of this show, the cruelty is even greater.  They originally aired the pilot for this show in February.  They re-aired it in July, but added two minutes of new footage.  The rest of the episodes will start airing in March of 2004, over a year after the pilot originally aired.  I checked out the pilot (the July version) and it was funny.  I just hope I remember that it exists come March.


Hank (voiced by Christopher McCulloch) and Dean (voiced by Michael Sinterniklaas) Venture are fraternal twins who act as if they are living in an episode of “Leave it to Beaver.”  It isn’t the Sixties though, and they seem to be oblivious of modern times.  They are the sons of Dr. Venture (voiced by James Urbaniak), a world-renowned scientist who does not act the same way they do and can’t understand how they became that way.  He has hired a bodyguard named Brock Samson (voiced by Patrick Warburton), a former secret agent, to protect them.  Brock is a huge, muscle-bound man who carries a big knife everywhere he goes and deals with everyone with extreme brutality, including mummies and crocodiles.  He is also their pilot who flies their plane, the X-1.


In the pilot episode, the Venture family travels to New York City because Dr. Venture is scheduled to make a presentation of his latest invention, the Ooo-ray, at an international science convention at the United Nations.  While they are there, they have two villains come after them: The Monarch (also voiced by Christopher McCulloch), an evil, butterfly-themed villain with a long-standing hatred of Dr. Venture; and a ninja named Otaku Senzuri (also voiced by Michael Sinterniklaas), who wants to get his hands on the Doc’s invention, but not for evil reasons.  On the night before the presentation, the brothers are bored.  They take the box that contains the Ooo-ray into the bathroom, take the invention out, put the box in the bathtub, get in the box, and pretend it is a submarine (these are teenagers, mind you.)  Senzuri, thinking that the Ooo-ray is in the box, steals it.  When he opens it in the alley behind the hotel, he discovers the brothers.  He gives them the sleeper hold and abandons them in the alley.  A couple of street punks (both voiced by Christopher McCulloch) find their unconscious bodies in the alley and steal their communicator watches and wallets.  The brothers wake up to find their watches gone and the Monarch chasing after them.  Brock goes after the punks who stole the watches.  A prostitute (voiced by Lisa Hammer) offers to show the brothers “a good time” (which they misinterpret.)  Once the brothers realize what the prostitute wants to do, they run away.  Brock catches the Monarch and severely injures him.  Meanwhile, Dr. Venture demonstrates the Ooo-ray, and even though it destroys a model city, he doesn’t understand why everyone thinks it is a weapon.  The brothers head back to the United Nations to meet their dad, where all three of them discover Senzuri doing unnatural things to the Ooo-ray.  A representative from the Army named General Manhowers (voiced by Peter McCulloch) approaches Dr. Venture, tells him he likes the invention (after trying to explain to the boys why Senzuri was doing weird things to it), and orders a hundred of them.  Dr. Venture doesn’t know why the Army would want it, but agrees.  The last scene shows Brock taking the prostitute up on her “good time.”


This show made me laugh several times, but I also thought it was rather odd.  It obviously referenced “Johnny Quest” heavily, but since I never got into that cartoon as a kid, the parody didn’t resonate with me.  I actually liked the Brady Bunch Movie aspect of it.  Here are a couple of clueless boys living in modern times, and as many times as they are exposed to naughtier things, it doesn’t change them.  At the same time, it was funny to see them think they were some kind of crime fighting team.  In one funny scene, we see the brothers trying to give Senzuri some karate chops.  They were barely harming him before he applies the sleeper holds.

I liked “The Venture Brothers,” and when it starts up its season next March, I hope I remember to tune in.  Until then, I’ll be trying to figure out the Cartoon Network’s strategy of premiering a pilot episode so far in advance.  Don’t they know that teenagers don’t have attention spans that long?

Ratings System:


Try to catch this show every week...

If a better show is on, tape this one...

If nothing else is on, maybe this will be good...

If this show is on, change the channel immediately!


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