Hey readers, long time no see. Revolution literally killed my will to live, so after watching a whole ton of cheesy 80s horror movies, I’m fully recovered and back.
The latest seasonal special of what has to be one of my favorite animated series’ of all time. That’s right, the Venture Brothers was back for one night only with A Very Venture Halloween. Did they manage to beat Dr. Venture vs. the Krampus from A Very Venture Christmas? Read on…
So, we basically got three plots in this episode: Dr. Venture and Co. being dickish to Trick or Treaters, Dr. Orpheus throwing the lamest Halloween party ever for the Brimstone Assembly and Hank, Dean and Dermott hanging out at a haunted house, with Dean eventually finding out the horrible truth about cloning.
First of all, the Trick or Treaters bits were a kinda lightweight, but they featured some moments of pure Venture comedy. Nameless kids have never faired very well in the Venture universe. A long while back, we had Rusty using an orphan heart in the Joycan. Then, Venture Sr. locking a bunch of kids in the compound basement by accident and inadvertently creating a society that looks remarkably like The Prodigy. Compared to all that, Rusty, Sergeant Hatred, Pete White and Billy Quizboy betting on which Trick or Treaters will make it through the compound’s defenses seems almost tame. It’s still hilarious though. That’s one thing the Venture Brothers has always done well: nonchalant absurdity.
Second plotline dovetailed in nicely with the show’s long-running theme of failure and loserdom. Magic users: they’re just as uncool as the rest of us apparently, with their canapés and their girls’ slumber party level magic tricks. This particular plot thread did feature at least one shining example of comedy gold though: the Hellraiser parody montage with Tatyana and the Outrider and PLEASURE TOAST. I don’t think I’ve been that grossed out by something animated since Ren and Stimpy. Also, with Orpheus having to have a moment alone outside, it looks like the crew are gearing up to have him make some more positive developments in becoming a better functioning human being. Not bad.
Of course, the third plotline is what’s really going to matter when Season 4 kicks off. In this part of the story, we meet Ben, the resident cloning expert holed up in a “haunted” house on the Venture compound. All this time, we thought Rusty had done at least one good thing with his life, when in reality he had a Doctor of Cloning hidden out back. Lame, Rusty. Anyway, Dean gets dared to enter the haunted house, leading him to a chance encounter with Ben who lets him in on the secret that everybody’s been keeping of years. Seriously, this show has been building up to this moment for quite a while. A long while, and it’s handled perfectly with Dean choosing to keep it a secret from Hank.
A couple of people have been calling Ben a “Dude”-like character, which is probably going to be pretty telling in terms of where his character fits in with the rest of the Venture cast. After all, Hank and Dean are drifting apart, Dean’s turned into some emo kid, they’re probably in need of some life guidance by now. The boys’ character growth arc has finally hit the point where they’re sorting out what the rest of their lives will be like, and Dean’s staring down the barrel of being the next Dr. Venture. That’s enough to send any boy on a quest of introspection to find himself.
Compared to all that, some of the final wrapping-up scenes seem a bit bland. The Master showing up to zap some party-created zombies before lecturing his students about proper power usage made sense, but the whole zombie segment seemed like it was over way too fast. One of the perils of the TV format. Dr. Orpheus’ speech at the end wasn’t anything we haven’t heard before in the history of Halloween specials, but it feels a bit like it’s underlining a theme that will come into play with the new season. Yes, Halloween is a chance to dress up as we truly are. Perhaps next season, Hank and Dean will be able to find out who they truly are too. Because Dean is totally Peter Parker.
In all, if you’re already a Venture Brothers fan, you probably have already seen this, and if you haven’t, you’re missing out. If you’re just starting to watch the show? Definitely watch it from the beginning, not from this episode. Given how much the show is built off of in jokes and existing mythology, you’d also be missing out.