The Venture Bros.: The Bellicose Proxy
September 10, 2018 7:41 AM - Season 7, Episode 6 - Subscribe

The Monarch and 21 play a deadly game of tutoring an inexperienced villain. A hot plate of danger is served up with a side of hilarity.

On The Venture Bros., everyone gets the nemesis they deserve (Zack Handlen for TV/AV Club)
Seven seasons in, and it’s impressive how the show still manages to feel fresh when introducing information that feels like it should’ve been established ages ago. Which sounds like a backhanded compliment, I guess; but it’s not like I ever needed to see the inside of Guild Headquarters or learn about the Big Villain program. It’s more that this seems like worldbuilding we should’ve had back when the Guild of Calamitous Intent was first introduced. But then, that would be true of a series that was more concerned about traditional dramatic structure, instead of one that started as a simple, limited idea (“Boy, Johnny Quest was kind of bullshit, although we loved it”) and expanded into something far richer and more complicated.
posted by filthy light thief (19 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I laughed more during this episode than I did with any other episode I think.

What's interesting for me is the parallel structure of Rusty & the Monarch both mentoring newbies and how it's representative of them growing up in some way - they're raising the next generation of arches.
posted by GuyZero at 8:45 AM on September 10 [4 favorites]


I really enjoyed this episode but I didn't understand why Dr MM lashed out at Kimberly so much. I thought it was out of character for her; I guess it was a simple way to tie up the different threads of the episode.

I loved the Monarch and Dr. Venture getting all paternal with St. Cloud and Billy. I was definitely waiting for something tragic to happen at the end, especially when they introduced the BFG lightning rifle, but I suppose that's a credit to the writing, subverting expectations and whatnot. When St Cloud broke into the apartment in front of Colonel Gentleman, I was expecting something like this scene
posted by Query at 9:08 AM on September 10


The justifiably irate “People don’t own albinos” plus the events of “Spanakopita!” would definitely appear to put the odds of a Pete White-Pi Wei alliance somewhere around “dead cert.”

August beware; Winters are coming.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:30 AM on September 10 [2 favorites]


"i hope you brought rubbers, because a storm is coming"
posted by some loser at 11:27 AM on September 10 [3 favorites]


When St Cloud broke into the apartment in front of Colonel Gentleman

"I just took my humera!" Ha what a line! I liked that Colonel Gentleman stepped aside for mama bear to deliver the beat down. Only sorry they didn't show it.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 11:43 AM on September 10 [5 favorites]


Well, he is a Gentleman, after all.
posted by Hermeowne Grangepurr at 11:48 AM on September 10 [3 favorites]


I loved their bitterness at how much more accomodating the city is for low-level arching compared to when they were doing it. They're doing a good job of fitting these characters and organizations to the world. One thing I loved about Wanted comic series was that they had the villain and heroes as establishment in the real world. Marvel/DC try to do it at times but they don't really execute it believably.

St Cloud was hilarious this episode, love his smugness combined with his ineffectiveness.
posted by GoblinHoney at 3:37 PM on September 10 [1 favorite]


St. Cloud is hilarious because he’s basically like reverse Batman minus the pathos- his superpower is money! I also really liked how into it Gary and the Monarch got- compared to how sad sack the Monarch was the last few seasons it’s almost like the death of his father (and the man who raised him *wink*) frees him in a way. Like now he *can* work his way up the ranks to arch venture again, he’s free
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 3:42 PM on September 10 [6 favorites]


Like now he *can* work his way up the ranks to arch venture again, he’s free

So I've been re-watching a bunch of old episodes and I think that waaaaay back in Season 1, "Tag Sale You're It!" really defines a ton of what comes later. Mostly that the Monarch has an ambivalent relationship with arching Dr Venture - he can't do anything else, but sometimes he just isn't into it. Same with "The Devil's Grip" - the Monarch says he's playing with Rusty's mind, but really, isn't he just as burned out on arching as much as Rusty is? That's the end of S5 and throughout S6 he's really only into Venture insofar as it serves as a motivation for him to be the Blue Morpho and exact revenge on his former Guild-mates.

I think that while he claims to want to arch Dr Venture that's really only a pretense for him to find other things to do. Hell, in "It Happened One Night" he's really on Venture's side more than anyone else.
posted by GuyZero at 3:52 PM on September 10 [3 favorites]


It's striking how Doc Venture and the tailor guy have such a warm relationship. Venture seems to kind of look down on almost everybody, but he respects the craft of the speedsuit maker!

It was funny how both the Doc and the Monarch were trying to force their proteges into these genre archetypes that really didn't suit them. Trying to make St. Cloud into a Monarch-style baddie is pretty absurd, but he might have the potential to be a campy old school Bond-type villain. You know, some oily weirdo with a cat on his lap, an army of henchmen and maybe an island fortress! (Of course, in the Monarch's defense, he was trying to give St. Cloud what he wanted. St. Cloud was the one who showed up with the foamcore super villain helmet.) We've seen Doc Venture trying to force Dean to become another scientist, but here he seems all-in on the super suits and stuff. After I was sounding off last week about how Doc wants nothing to do with the world of arching, in this episode he seemed to have a surprising amount of enthusiasm for it! I dunno, maybe he's not totally anti-arching but he just wants nothing to do with the Monarch.

Assuming Rusty Venture really is a clone, I wonder how long it'll be before we see another... or the original.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 8:01 PM on September 10 [1 favorite]


"Tag Sale You're It!" really defines a ton of what comes later.

That's why it's one of the two episodes (alongside "Ghosts of the Sargasso") that's best for introducing newbies to the show IMO.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:04 AM on September 11


Assuming Rusty Venture really is a clone, I wonder how long it'll be before we see another... or the original.

I have this thought that maybe Rusty was a clone of... his father? And some weirdness of the cloning process produced Jonas Venture Jr, who got the personality, but not the physical attributes. That would also explain why we've never seen Rusty's mom, right?
posted by Hermeowne Grangepurr at 10:17 AM on September 11 [3 favorites]


That's why it's one of the two episodes (alongside "Ghosts of the Sargasso") that's best for introducing newbies to the show IMO.

And if you don't find the gags in Tag Sale funny in and of themselves, you're not going to find the rest of the series very funny.

Although the baboon uterus line hasn't aged well.
posted by GuyZero at 11:21 AM on September 11 [2 favorites]


They've got better over time but especially the first couple of seasons had several of gross jokes like that.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:35 PM on September 11 [1 favorite]


After I was sounding off last week about how Doc wants nothing to do with the world of arching, in this episode he seemed to have a surprising amount of enthusiasm for it!

I love how he loves it despite himself. Like this episode, or the ORB episode where he and Billy are hunting clues in New York - "it's the old stuff, Billy!" and a discreet shared "Go Team Venture!"

I feel like what seems like Rusty growing up last episode, where he's exasperated with it all, is only his halfway point. He needs to reconcile the part of him that loves it with the part of him that hates it and realize that he can carve out his own space in this crazy world of superscience and supervillains instead of just reacting to the version of that world his father forced on him.
posted by jason_steakums at 4:26 PM on September 11 [4 favorites]


...the potential to be a campy old school Bond-type villain

St. Cloud was wearing Goldfinger's beach outfit when he first appeared in this episode.
posted by The Man from Lardfork at 5:30 AM on September 12 [3 favorites]


I think he was wearing it the first time we saw him as St. Cloud (as opposed to his first appearance, as the unnamed guy in "Tag Sale, You're It!" who says, in a different voice "Oooh, girly mags!"
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:45 AM on September 12 [1 favorite]


jason_steakums: I feel like what seems like Rusty growing up last episode, where he's exasperated with it all, is only his halfway point. He needs to reconcile the part of him that loves it with the part of him that hates it and realize that he can carve out his own space in this crazy world of superscience and supervillains instead of just reacting to the version of that world his father forced on him.

I think some of that comes from understanding what his dad was dealing with, which helps Rusty become his own adult.
I get it. I suddenly get it. You're children. That's why my dad put you in the pool and made you duke it out. News flash my dad was a shitty parent. When my boys cry about fairness, I remind them that fairness is the philosophical tooth fairy. There is no fairness. What did you guys come here for
- Um? -
Fine! Not "guys"! W-What did you children come here for? Look, you won't get everything, but you'll get something. Stop with this "fairness" crap and make some compromises. Then go home to your friends in their goofy costumes and brag about how much you got 'em! Or you can go back and go, [Mockingly] "Oh, we didn't get everything we wanted, so we got nothing because we're big babies." [Normal voice] What's it gonna be?
- [Sighs] Fine. -
OSI, are you gonna play nice and actually get this stupid thing signed?
[Grumbling] Yeah, all right, I guess.
Good. Now look over my changes and sign it. It's as fair as it'll get. And trust me it's way better than my dad's version.
(Slightly improved formatting from this rough transcript)

The problem is that he's still living in the oversized super-scientist shaped shadows of his father AND his brother, so he's still trying to one-up them, which never goes well (e.g.: jetpack dive, head first, through the plate glass window). So the new pact or whatever will backfire, possibly because of the Peril Partnership getting involved?
posted by filthy light thief at 8:45 AM on September 12 [4 favorites]


The laughing gas at the end was the best.

I do not want this series to end, ever.
posted by not_on_display at 8:16 PM on September 14 [1 favorite]


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