Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Venture Brothers: The Horrible Truth about Super-Science
The 2nd season of The Venture Brothers arrives on DVD today and if you aren't watching this show, you're missing out. The show which airs on Cartoon Network is a perfect parody of comics and cartoons and the surreal nature of science fiction and superheroes and all the fanboys/girls who have made such entertainment big business. The jokes fly fast so repeated viewings are mandatory and the DVD is a must-have.
The show captures the insanity behind shows like Johnny Quest, where parents think it's okay to take your kids along for a deadly journey deep into the Amazon to battle an army of super soldiers, and examines what the real Scooby Gang might be like. It's a television show for those long addicted to the mirthful mayhem of television itself.
Reason magazine talks with the creator of the show, Jackson Publick, and also sums up some of the basics of this brilliant half hour of television far better than I can:
"It flaunts all of the elements of the series on the adult/hipster animated landscape: irony, satire, uncomfortable pauses, outright parody. But as creators Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer frequently explain, the show is about failure. It's about the vision that inspired the science fiction wave of the 1950s and 1960s, the optimism of the space race, and the baby boomers' beloved, indulged idea that they could achieve anything they wanted.
" ... Dr. Thaddeus "Rusty" Venture, the failed boy genius and father of the series' eponymous brothers Hank and Dean, is such a screw-up. As we learn in flashbacks across the series 27 episodes (so far), Venture pere was a Jonny Quest figure himself who solved mysteries under the wing of his brilliant father, his friend Hector, and their bodyguard Swifty. The 1960s were an era of superhero teams, super-science, space stations, and helpful robots. And as Rusty grows up, all of that peters out. He drops out of college (after palling around with two other super-scientists and a Doctor Doom analogue named Baron Underbheit), loses portions of the family business, and enters middle-age trading off his family's successes and reluctantly fathering his two boys. When Venture's lab is broken into by The Monarch, his butterfly-fetishizing archfoe can't find anything worth defiling or smashing. "What can I do to this guy that life hasn't already?" he sulks. "I almost feel sorry for him."
The interview is here.
As Jackson Publick says:
"The beauty of failure is the beauty of human beings."