Monday, July 28, 2008

Quick Thoughts on Movies that Don't Involve Batman

Yeah, I saw some other movies over the last couple of weeks. They still involved superheroes, because, you know, I don't like to stray from my wheelhouse.

--Hellboy 2 was pretty awesome. I liked the first movie, despite the plot holes, mostly because I find the character so appealing. This time out, it displayed more of the sensibilities of both director Guillermo del Toro and Hellboy creator Mike Mignola. And those aren't necessarily the same sensibilities, which makes for a movie that's packed full of stuff.

The plot's largely insane, but easy to follow. The character work is really good, especially giving Abe Sapien more room to develop. The visuals are fantastic -- I especially liked the opening scene, telling the story of the Golden Army using marionettes. And I was pleased to see Johann Krauss, one of my favorite Hellboy supporting characters, make it to the movie. (Though, you know, Seth McFarlane doing the voice? Not cool.) I like the way they played him, and he added a lot to the story. (Next movie, Roger the Homunculus? Please?)

What's really fun about the movie is the characterization of Hellboy himself. He's just a regular, blue collar guy. By the nature of what he is, he's thrown into insane situations, but he still reacts by either punching or shooting. He's very relatable, in this world of troll bazaars and Forest Elementals. He's a nice guy, who also happens to be the Apocalypse Beast. (If there's another movie, I'd like to see them really deal with this plot point. I'm of the belief that he has free will in the matter, but I'd like to see it wrapped up.)

Abe's love story is quite effective, and the scene with Hellboy and Abe getting drunk is pretty hilarious. All in all, I liked it a lot. Yay for Hellboy!

--And then there was Hancock. Actually, I really liked the first two-thirds of the movie. Will Smith is always likeable, Jason Bateman is hilarious, and Charlize Theron is both funny and hot. (Sidebar: It's possible that Hancock is the movie where she is the most hot. Further research is necessary, though.) The story is pretty good, and I liked Hancock's attempts to become better. And, yeah, "Call me an asshole one more time..." is a pretty good catchphrase.

But when it falls apart, it falls apart hard. Here's how you know when it happens: "Gods, angels, we've been called a lot of things..." The specifics of the plot don't make a lick of sense at this point, and it's all just sloppy. Don't even try to figure out why Hancock's powers come and go at the times they do. It'll just make your head hurt.

And the turning point didn't have to suck. There could have been some cool stuff to it, but they let it all slide. Like, if Hancock's been around for 80 years with powers and no memory, wouldn't he be a more entrenched part of society? The movie acts like he's a newcomer. In 80 years, people would have adapted to dealing with him. And if he's been around for 80 years, he predates the concept of a superhero. That term shouldn't even be in the movie. Would there be a Superman if Hancock were around? Maybe, but a whole genre wouldn't be named after him, not with a real guy doing that kind of thing.

I wish they would have dealt with the race issue, too. If there is exactly one super-being, and he's Black, that would freak some people out. But the fact that he goes so far back, well, wouldn't society have developed differently? That would be a story right there. Maybe the Civil Rights movement started 20 years earlier. This is stuff I would have liked to see. (I think I might actually be suggesting Hancock fan fiction. This is an alarming turn of events.) You can't just introduce an element like Hancock and have society at large be the exact same thing that we're familiar with.

And if I may nitpick, the Hancock Revenge Squad forms before he loses his powers. Three regular guys decide to take him down with guns? Not a great move when he's invulnerable, you know?

Still, it had its moments, and I liked the cast. Bateman is bound and determined to be consistently awesome, and I love him for it.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Venture Bros. 3-8: "Tears of a Sea Cow"

Man, Jonas is a... Oh, wait. He wasn't in this episode.

I like the advertised title "Murder O'Clock" much better than the actual title, but it seems like a waste to use that title on an episode without Brock.

Wait a minute, could it be? A Monarch-themed episode? Truly, this is the greatest generation. Well, let's get to it, shall we?

--The opening sequence, with the ill-fated Dr. Dugong, was fantastic. I loved the Murder Moppets in their new costumes as the Pupa Twins. I loved seeing how hard Dr. Mrs. The Monarch is trying to make the marriage work. Most of all, I loved the way the Monarch freaked out at the end. It was cool to see that the Monarch's hatred for Venture is back in full force. Ever since their uneasy peace, Monarch seems to hate him out of inertia, but this is sheer loathing right here. I'm guessing we'll get the origin of their feud soon, since it's been referenced a couple of times this season.

--Hank and Dermott have a band? Awesome. The vocals, bass, and "drums" didn't match up in the slightest, which was also awesome. And HELPER's drums were just about the most irritating sound effect ever.

--After getting a single reference two weeks ago, "The Venture Home News" is a major plot point! Hee! Dean takes it so seriously, too. And the fact that The Monarch is a subscriber, well, that made my whole week.

--And in Dean's "Affection Directions" column, we see that 21 is back to his "G. Viceroy" alias from the beginning of last season. I think this is the first we've heard of his crush on Dr. Mrs. The Monarch. And note that Dean's response is actually about his own crush on Triana ("It doesn't matter that her Dad is magic...") Am I alone in thinking that the repeated use of "weenis" is a Mr. Show reference?

--Have they mentioned the "Boom Broom" before? I'm kind of dying to know what it is.

--The Guild frowns on murder? Boy, sure seems like the Guild is mostly in place to keep villains tied up with red tape and pointless rules, doesn't it? Still convinced that Jonas founded the Guild...

--The henchmen play Guitar Hero? Sweet.

--Note Dermott's incompetence with tackling HELPER. No way he's Brock's kid.

--Dean kept the Speed Suit! "I wear it when I'm doing science."

--The boys really want to go to public school, huh? I'm thinking that this set of Brothers have survived longer than any of the previous clones -- they're developing their own interests and looking for more freedom. Awwww, Team Venture is growing up.

--"Brock would kill me. It's his only tape!" Hee. And Dermott's interest in borrower Brock's tape brings us back around to him actually being Brock's son. I can't decide where I stand with that kid.

--Hey, it's GUARDO! Remember when I said that Rusty using Viagra for his "alone time" was the creepiest thing ever? And then a week later the box of Kleenex on the control panel where Mr. White and Doc watch Brock and his lady friends was even creepier? Well, we have raised that bar this week, my friends. The Monarch furiously humping a robot with Doc's face? We went sailing past creepy with that one... And you know what? They did such a good job of building up Monarch's frustrated obsession that it sort of makes sense. Crazy creepy, but it's in character. And the way Monarch dealt with Dean was brilliant. That guy knows his enemies.

--The scene with 24 and Dermott was the biggest laugh of the episode. And just because Dermott claims to be Brock's son, I'm not convinced. I think he was going for intimidation there. Or else I'm just willfully disregarding Occam's Razor.

--When Dr. Mrs. The Monarch means business, she goes back to her old costume. Nothing strikes fear into underlings like a pillbox hat. The Murder Moppets are getting even more unsettling in their lust, by the way. "I saw Mum's clean panties..." Ew.

--I really like the Monarch marriage -- other than the parts that are insane, it actually feels like a real relationship. Monarch's having trouble being part of a couple, Dr. Mrs. The Monarch is really putting in a lot of effort to make this work, and really wants him to be happy. Is it possible that this is my favorite TV marriage right now?

--A lot of people had a problem with the scene between Hank and 21. They've seen each other a number of times since the "shooting in the face" incident, and it's never come up. Personally, I think it makes sense. They've been enemies until recently, and I think they kind of bonded back during "Home is Where the Hate Is", so now 21 feels obligated to tell him. However, I'm not sure how 21 saw Hank die twice. In the big death montage, he wasn't present for any of Hank's earlier deaths. But, you know, we only saw quick glimpses. There could be more to the story. It'll be interesting to see how Hank deals with this. Is he going to take stupid risks? (Well, stupider...) And what happens if one of the boys dies, but not the other? Does Brock take care of business so they can ready a new set of clones? This is going to be dark, folks.

--And the best tag ever. I'm ridiculously excited about the Monarch henching JJ. See, I think despite JJ's overall competence, the Monarch's going to tear him apart. He's got hatred on his side, after all. JJ can't deal with that. Besides, it's usually Brock who wins the battles, and JJ doesn't have Brock. I really hope they follow up on this plotline.

I'm still hoping we can get a big Brock-centric episode yet this season. Until then:

DERMOTT: I can't run because I have a lighter up my ass.
24: OK, now I believe you're Hank's friend.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Venture Bros. 3-7: What Goes Down Must Come Up

Man, Jonas Venture was a dick.

Seriously, and I know I mention this every week now, but for two seasons he was always sort of held up as this embodiment of perfection that Doc could never achieve. I don't remember ever seeing his dark side until this season, and now that's all we see. This episode might be a new low, what with neglecting to save all the kids exposed to poison gas so that he and his buddies can escape more quickly. There are some screenshots on Jackson Publick's blog that lead me to believe we're going to see how Jonas died before the season is over, and when that time comes, we're all going to say "Good!"

Now, I completely missed one of the big jokes of the episode, namely how the sewer people were all wearing costumes from 1980's music videos. I spotted Thriller Michael Jackson and Clown Bowie, but I couldn't place the others, so I didn't figure out the theme. My blog buddies Mysterious Don and Myndi are much better at this sort of thing than I am. Me, I spent the 80's obsessing over who was behind the Hobgoblin's mask, so I didn't see a lot of videos. Actually, I don't watch many videos now. It's entirely possible that I don't like music videos, actually.

I think the bullet point style I've done for the last couple of episodes works better, so I'll stick with it. It wasn't my favorite episode of the season, but I still liked it a lot. Not as consistently hilarious as last week, but The Order of The Triad absolutely made this episode. I always liked Jefferson Twilight, but this episode was his finest work yet. He was always funny, but was he always this funny?

--The scene with the big drill vehicle had two nice bits: Brock being creeped out, yet again, by Doc making a sex joke; and Rusty calling the drill "a monument to my father's repression". Dude, there are a lot of things you can say about Jonas, but "repressed" is not one of them. I think Doc has blocked out giant portions of his childhood.

--This episode gave us one of my favorite Hank lines ever: "There was even talk of french toast.. but there was none to be had." If I tell you how hard I laughed at that, you'll think I'm crazy.

--The fact that Orpheus makes action figures of his friends is really endearing. "I merely repainted an old Mego doll of the Falcon."

--I love how specific Jefferson's abilities are. "They haven't been taken by Blaculas, but I'm not prepared to rule out Caucasian vampires." How common is vampirism in the Venture world that a man can carve out a career as a Blacula slayer?

--I don't think the tiny guy's name was ever mentioned in the episode, but I liked Brock trying to come up with the Marvel superhero that guy reminds him of, and never quite getting to Ant-Man. Even better was tiny guy suggesting just about everybody else. And the fact that right outside the door were parodies of Dr. Strange and Blade, well, that was just a little joke bonus.

--By the way, not cool to have Orpheus' visit to the Master take place offscreen. Do not rob us of an H. Jon Benjamin appearance.

--In the second half of the episode, Jefferson is wearing the pants from Dean's Spider-Man pajamas. Hee.

--So, when Mr. White tells the boys about how he and Doc use the nightvision to spy on Brock and his lady friends, and then pushes aside a box of Kleenex... did anybody else get seriously creeped out?

--Well, now I'm obsessed with the question of who Rusty's mother is. The fact that Jonas built a supercomputer named MUTHER presents a lot of questions. He had issues with women, that's for sure. Tiny Guy even says that she and Jonas "had a falling out over parenting issues". It occurs to me that there aren't any regular characters on the show who have two parents. Everybody seems to have one mystery parent, and that's getting a lot of play this season.

--I rarely mention the Alchemist, but he's consistently funny, and I love Dana Snyder's voice work. Of course, I always picture Master Shake, but that's not a bad thing.

--This episode marks the first time this season the boys have done a proper "Go Team Venture!" Just thought you'd like to know.

--OK, the Sewer People using the missile as a toilet is just disgusting.

--According to the credits, Tiny Guy's name is "Dr. Paul Entmann". Ha!

Next week (well, tomorrow) we have "Murder O'Clock". Probably the third or fourth time this season I've claimed "Best episode title ever", but I really mean it this time.

Friday, July 18, 2008

This Just In: Dark Knight is Awesome!

My review is up at spunkybean and I'm punchy from lack of sleep, but I'll just say here that I loved The Dark Knight, and comfortably proclaim it to be the best superhero movie ever.

One thing I didn't mention there because it could be considered a spoiler. (Let's face it, if you're reading this, you know that Harvey Dent becomes Two-Face.) The Two-Face design is positively terrifying. The make-up is really disturbing, and it freaks me out. Sure, I've seen Two-Face drawn without lips on the scarred side of his face, but to see it in live action is horrifying. And the hole in his cheek and the exposed piece of his jaw... I've seen Two-Face about a hundred times, but this was the first time I ever gasped.

I'll get to Venture Bros. tomorrow. Promise.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Slight Interruption in Service

--All right, I don't have the weekly Venture Bros. entry ready just yet. It might be the weekend before I get to it, but it's happening. Let me just say that Jefferson Twilight freaking stole the episode. "This isn't the work of Blaculas. I can't rule out caucasian vampires." Awesome. All of his lines just killed.

Why am I too busy, you may ask? Why, Batman Week, of course. That's right, spunkybean is celebrating the release of The Dark Knight all week. As I write this, I have three huge articles up that you will like if you're EJ fans. And if you're reading this, you're an EJ fan. Or else you Googled "Hen in a pumpkin".

Seriously, "Hen in a pumpkin" is the new "I don't know Butchie instead". I'm not sure what to make of that. Regardless, we'll talk Venture Bros. this weekend, and like all Venture-related conversations since the beginning of the season, it will include the phrase "Boy, Jonas was really a dick, wasn't he?"

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Mysterious Birthday

-A belated "Happy Birthday" to Mysterious Don, who celebrated his transition into demographic undesireability yesterday. Without Don's intervention, there'd be no Swear Jar, so lift a glass to the man whenever you accidentally stumble on this site while Googling "Hen in a Pumpkin".

-Speaking of things that are awesome, next week is "Batman Week" on spunkybean. Granted, for me, every week is Batman Week, but this is very cool. Check it out for fine Batman writing from both normal people and obsessives.

-That's all I've got today. This is a very short blog entry. What more do you want from me?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Venture Bros. 3-6 -- "Dr. Quymn, Medicine Woman"

OK, I have to say it:
"Go, Team..... Boobies! Gosh!"

I was not a huge fan of the episode on the first viewing, but the second time through, I was absolutely howling. I daresay this is the funniest Dean has ever been, even if he's steadily more unhinged. "The both of youse got jungle fever. The both of youse!" "Henry Alan so-called Venture!" Very little is funnier than Dean pushed to the limit.

I hope Mysterious Don was happy, as this episode featured actual venturing. And just for Myndi, they had that key party scene. (Because she recaps Swingtown, not because... oh, never mind.)

I am more sure than I have ever been about anything that Jonas Venture is Dr. Quymn's father. In the flashbacks, she and Rusty look almost exactly the same. Jonas was having an affair with Quymn's mother, and there's no way Colonel Gentleman is her father, what with being totally gay and all. So, yeah, that means Doc and his half-sister almost....

Actually, this whole season has been about mysterious parentage and Doc's sex life, and this episode delivered on both fronts. Besides the possible (probably) sister, we have the mystery of the girls' father, and an indication that Hank and Dean might not be twins. Is it possible they started as clones? I don't know anymore. And of course, the revelation that Rusty hasn't had sex in "19 years, four months, and two days". Presumably, that was when the boys were conceived. (Which also mean that, thanks to all the cloning, they're about 3 1/2 years younger than they should be.)

Just some things to point out, aside from the fact that Dean is still cracking me up and I'm not even watching it right now.
--"Like somebody shook up a six-foot can of... blood soda..." For those of you keeping score at home, this is awesome.
--Hank was really funny this week, too. Especially his attempts to write a song for the girls. Hank is so blissfully oblivious, isn't he?
--Another great tender moment for Brock at the end. "How you holdin' up there, Broken Arrow?" I really liked Brock's reactions to Ginny's flirting (which inevitably turned into lesbianism), too. Sort of confused, but just watching the show.
--Doc Sr. is really an asshat, isn't he? I always thought Rusty's problems came from not being able to measure up, but Jonas is a dick.
--Does the presence of David "The Sovereign" Bowie link Jonas to the Guild of Calamitous Intent? We already know that the Guild is required to observe "Rusty's Law", and now I'm wondering if Jonas actually helped found the Guild.
--Man, it doesn't take much to put Doc off a woman, does it? He was profoundly offended by epilepsy this week. No wonder it's been 19 years...
--Teaching a baboon to box? Brilliant!
--OK, if Doc Venture is taking Viagra, and it's been 19 years... Wow. He's taking erectile dysfunction drugs for his alone time. You are right to shudder.
--And my favorite moment of the week: Dr. Quymn has a seizure and Dean responds by beating her with a chair. Repeatedly. And then: "The power of Christ compels you!" You guys, I lost my mind over this scene. I want it in a small window on my TV screen whenever I'm watching something boring.

Hey, Cartoon Network! Thanks for not giving us promos! Now I've got no way to end these things...

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

What Has Two Thumbs And Loved WALL-E? This Guy!

There is nothing in the entertainment industry that guarantees quality like the Pixar logo. Once you see that little lamp hop across the screen, you know you're in for a good time.

I loved WALL-E so much. I realize, I'm not exactly objective when it comes to Pixar, as I've loved their entire output. But, you know, they've all been awesome. Most impressive is how individual all of their movies have been. Nine movies, and none of them feel like repetitions of one another.

(Sidebar: I've said for years that the first six or seven Pixar movies actually chronicle the life cycle of an American male. Toy Story is about children, and the resentment you feel when Mom and Dad bring home the new baby. A Bug's Life is about an adolescent or college student, with Flik leaving home to chase his dreams. In Toy Story 2, Woody and Buzz are older, they've seen some stuff, and they're ready to see their family as people, and not just as the ones you're stuck with. Plus, the whole movie is about giving up on the trappings of childhood.

Monsters, Inc. is about two guys who aren't ready to be fathers. And then you have Finding Nemo, which is about an actual father. Marlin is Pixar's first adult protagonist, with adult responsibilities. It was at this point, years ago, when I explained my theory to Swear Jar Buddy Lana, and I further said that their next movie would be about a middle-aged man who's past his glory days. And then we saw the preview for The Incredibles, which is about just that. Based solely on this prediction, Swear Jar Buddy Lana still believes that I am smart, despite my many attempts to prove otherwise.

Cars necessarily fit in to the pattern, with Lightning McQueen being more of an adolescent. However, you can make the case that the story is actually about Hudson Hornet reconciling his long-ago exploits, and embracing the totality of his experience. At the very least, it's a strong B-plot, and close enough to keep the theme. With Ratatouille, they broke from that running idea, which is just as well, since they reached the end of the cycle with Cars.)

As usual, the design and animation is gorgeous. And as with every one of their movies since Finding Nemo, there's at least one scene that I can not distinguish from live-action. (Those Earth backgrounds... How did they do that?) The designs are so intricate, and the Earth scenes at the beginning are so detailed and grimy. It's beautiful.

I loved the silent-movie quality, with WALL-E limited to beeps and clicks, that other than his name and EVE's, don't sound anything like words. He's such an expressive character, and the design is spectacular. WALL-E as a character is immediately likeable.

I like EVE's faux-Mac design -- just try and tell me she shouldn't have an "i" in front of her name. The introduction of EVE turns the movie into something Pixar has never done before -- a love story. Sure, they've had some relationships in the past, but that's always secondary. In WALL-E, love is the point. My favorite scene in the movie, and one that made me cry a little, was when WALL-E brings EVE to his little trailer and shows off his treasures. It's such a perfect, funny scene, but it absolutely nails that feeling you get when you meet somebody special. You want to let them in and share the things you care about, but there's always a chance that they're just going to wreck your stuff. In fact, the scene reminded me of a very specific time in my life, and it just hit home with me. It's fantastic storytelling.

I also liked the Chuck Jones-style interactions between the robots, especially once WALL-E boards the Arcadia. There are chase scenes that could be updated Roadrunner cartoons. And the scene with WALL-E and EVE flying through space around the ship is absolutely beautiful. It's this moment of pure, real emotion that you rarely even see in live action.

And here's a cool thing: Fred Willard appears in the movie. Live Action Fred Willard! He shows up in file footage and old videos as the CEO of "Buy N Large", the monolithic corporation that rendered Earth uninhabitable. Between his appearance and the clips from Hello, Dolly! that WALL-E watches, it creates the idea that the bloated, semi-boneless lumps that comprise humanity in the future are devolved versions of modern humanity. It used to be a world of real people and over time they devolved into simplified, almost featureless caricatures. It's a storytelling choice that worked really well, having the visual comparison of the real Fred Willard and the round, inactive Captain (voiced by Jeff Garlin).

Man, I loved WALL-E. I might as well give Pixar my power of attorney, because they are incapable of not being awesome. Just imagine how much I could do if they took over my life!

Friday, July 4, 2008

SNL Has ALWAYS Kind of Sucked

Last week, in honor of George Carlin, Saturday Night Live re-ran the very first episode, hosted by Carlin. Now, I'd seen hunks of that episode before. Nick at Night and E! re-ran the early episodes in half-hour installments, but that still leave a good bit of the 90 minutes that I hadn't seen. (Weirdly, some sources insist that Paul Simon hosted the very first episode. This seems like a rather binary equation here. Either one or the other ran first. Since IMDB and Myndi both call this the first episode, I'm inclined to agree.)

Anyway, here's the thing. The episode sucked. Hard. Carlin's bits were classic, and maybe a couple of the sketches got a laugh, but there was just about enough to fill 22 minutes of airtime with half-decent material. Holy crap, it was brutal. Fake ads that are parodies of specific commercials are not funny 33 years later, and damn, were there ever a lot of them. One ad in particular was for an iron pill called "Jamitol" (Ow! My sides!), and the ad was Chevy Chase and another man, who Chevy kept referring to as "my wife". I can not find the joke in this sketch. I have discussed this sketch with other peopler who write and perform comedy, and they do not get it.

Valari Bromfield (who in later years, per the aforementioned Myndi, produced The Kids in the Hall) "performed" "comedy". She came out and told the audience "I'm not a comedienne, I'm a school teacher", and then talked to them like a teacher. That was the joke. Seriously. Future Kids aside, when people ask me why there aren't more women ins stand-up comedy, my answer will be "Because Valari Bromfield."

And the bee suits. When I was a kid, watching the Nick at Nite reruns with the volume turned way down so my parents wouldn't know I was still up, I thought the bees were hilarious. Because, you know, it was so ludicrous it was funny. Right? Like, there's not an actual joke, and that's what makes it a joke. Irony, bro. It turns out, 14-year-old EJ was a frigging moron. In his defense, The Simpsons hadn't started yet. You know what? The bees aren't funny! Jokes make things funny! The lack of a joke doesn't make something funny! I want to go back 20 years and kick my younger self's ass.

It's interesting that Carlin doesn't interact with the cast at all. I don't remember if that was common or if he just didn't want to get the suckiness of the sketches all over his sportcoat.

There was a Jim Henson sketch which was mildly entertaining, mostly because I love Muppets, and it was weird to hear proto-Fozzie and Rowlf voices coming out of space aliens. Other than that, it was not a great scene. Once again, it was based around a joke that I just didn't get ("releasing her darts"?) and it was just kind of rambling. I mean, I love me some Jim Henson, but this really did not presage greatness.

I could go on, but there's not much point in slamming something that aired 33 years ago. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I am now starting to wonder if Saturday Night Live has always kind of sucked. I think maybe it has. The early years look better now, because we've been seeing them edited down to half-hour episodes. Any 90-minute episode has to be at least 1/3 passable, right? And heck, for those real clunkers, they plug the musical acts in to pad it.

I've long believed that SNL should be a one-hour show, and now I'm thinking that sometimes it could go down to 30 minutes. Here's my plan: Every week they try to write 90 minutes of material. When they get to the runthrough, they cut everything that sucks. Whatever's left, that's how long the show is. NBC has 50 years of material in their vaults, they can fill the extra time. Let Programming know Saturday morning how long the show's going to run, and then they'll fill the rest of the airtime with classic sketches or a couple episodes of The Office, or something. Survival of the fittest, baby! Nothing gets spared to make the 90-minute mark. If it sucks, it's gone!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Venture Bros. 3-5: "The Buddy System"

"Everybody who's got a father, raise their hands. How come you're not raising your hand? You don't look like Jesus, boy!"

You know, this is the third episode in a row to have a different title than the programming guide indicates. It's very upsetting when my DVR clearly believes this episode is called "Enter the Bad Seed".

Man, what's with the Jonny Quest characters this season? We've seen Hadji and Race Bannon this season, and now Jonny himself gets an appearance, along with Dr. Zinn. Kind of weird that they call him "Action Johnny" now, but I've heard somebody's interested in making a Jonny Quest movie, so they might have to steer clear of the name. Nice vocal performance from Brendon Small, by the way.

Other than 21 and 24, all of the regulars got some screentime this week, which was nice. And no flashbacks at all! The Order of the Triad always makes me laugh, and never more so than when they're imparting safety lessons. "When did we lose them?"

This season is very much about Doc's failures, isn't it? I mean, to an extent, that's what the series is about, but this season's really hit that theme. I do like the idea that the Rusty Venture cartoon is still popular. I'd like to see an episode where some executives pitch an update of the premise to Doc, and now Rusty has a snowboard and an iPod, or something.

And Hank having a friend is hilarious. I love that it's such a foreign concept to the boys. They really don't see people their own age, except for Triana. Also great was Dean freaking out and whaling on Dermott. Between this and his little psychotic break at the end of last season, I'm a little worried for Dean's mental health. Still, Brock was so damn proud!

Speaking of Brock, I know they want us to think that Brock is Dermott's father. There's a slight resemblance, and we know that Brock gets around. Plus "My dad is in BlackOps". But, you know, would Brock tell a one-night stand about his job? Would Dermott cast aspersions on his father's sexuality? No, I think it's not that simple.

Rusty? Possible but not likely. Doc's conquests are so few and far between, he wouldn't have an unknown son out there. Plus, Dermott is about the same age as the boys (or would be if they didn't keep getting cloned), and there's no way that Doc was sleeping with two women at the same time. Plus, if Myra is the boys' mother, she would have killed anybody else who caught his eye.

Now, Dermott does tell his mother that he "met" his father. He didn't directly interact with most of the adults, so Orpheus and the rest are out. You know who I think it is? Master Billy Quizboy! Billy was on the "people mover" with Dermott, and he even took time to shoot poor Billy in the ass. Is Dermott's mother a quiz groupie? Sure, Billy only lasted in BlackOps for a couple of days, but I can certainly imagine him and Mr. White using that line on drunk girls. True, Billy has said that he's a virgin, but we learned this season that most of his memories have been wiped.

Or else it's really Brock and I just went all Lost on a simple plot-point. We'll see who's a genius and who isn't!

Other swell bits that filled my heart with love:

-Doc totally half-assed that day camp, didn't he? You'd think he'd maybe check out E-DEN first before bringing a bunch of kids there. Well, you'd think anybody else would.

-Brock going to Orpheus for advice -- I like that angle. He thinks of Orpheus as clergy. That's always a fun interaction to see.

-Great Brock lines this week, with some hilarious delivery. I especially liked him talking to Monarch through the hidden camera, and his frustration with Dermott at the judo exhibition. "They don't even do that!" Oh, and his attempts to toughen up Dean. Really, any and every Brock scene was awesome.

-Holy crap, the gorilla scene just about killed me. Between Doc's attempts to communicate, and Billy acting like a kitten, it delivered some of the best laughs of the night. And then it went horribly wrong. Poor, poor Billy. Oh, and that kid who got killed. But, you know, clones. (Do we know if Doc invented the cloning technology or if that's another one of Jonas' creations?)

-Somebody's got to say it: Dr. Mrs. The Monarch looks disturbingly hot in her new costume.

Once again, I am thoroughly tickled.

By the way, this is my 350th post! Who's awesome? I'm awesome!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Under the Weather, But Totally Worth it!

--Have to wait until tomorrow for the weekly Venture Brothers chat. I'm feeling a little bit crappy. It was a big weekend. Friday, spunkybean hosted a showing of Army of Darkness, which was really fun. I got to open the event with some stand-up, and a couple of my spunky brethren came down to participate, including Myndi who is one of my blogging BFF's. (By the way, the two of us will be recapping the new season of Big Brother. It should be awesome!) This turned into a long night of getting lost in the city where I live, beer, and loud discussions about pop culture.

Saturday, I drove to Columbus for a Tom Waits concert. Tom Waits is my favorite musician ever, and this is the second time I've been able to see him. It was awesome. Of course, that's five hours either way, and a sleepless night in a Days Inn. Plus, screaming excitedly. So I'm having allergy problems and I absolutely blew out my voice. I'm hurting over here. Totally worth it, but I feel like ass right now. Thank goodness for the four-day week, I guess.

Damn, did I just blog about blogging? I promise I'll talk about cartoons tomorrow.