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  • by Bonzo the Fifth
  • (unregistered id: 48FB303CE9)
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Well, it would seem another season of the Venture Brothers is once again behind us.... it's really interesting how these seasons have played out so far: Season 1 seemed to set out the pieces for our core group and was largely introductory for the show, giving us some superficial setups for the characters. While Season 1 in retrospect, seems like the clunkiest season, with more than its share of misfires over the course of it, it does a good job, also in retrospect, in setting the stage for the show of these characters who, while definitely subversive (as befits a show of such deconstructive, postmodern magnitude), are nonetheless rather superficial. They live in a rut, doing the same kind of stuff day in, day out. The boys go on adventures, Dr. Venture pops his pills and whiles like a child, the Monarch takes a crap on the lawn, etc. etc. In many ways, it can seem just as formulaic as the very things the show was meant to thematically lampoon in the first place. Looking back, though, I want to think that this was intentional, or at least, was genius in hindsight, as it works for the story as a whole to see the stagnation of this world of failure and tarnished accomplishment and begin to watch it change before us as things take a new direction toward the end of the season.

Season 2 started us on the track of exploring who these people 'were' in greater detail, even as it laid the seeds for developments that would resonate from that point forward (Brock's growing frustration and existential crisis regarding his bodyguarding role, the Monarch's rebuilding of his life post-Dr. Girlfriend that came full circle--along with the associate promotions of 21 and 24 to almost main character status, the titular Venture twins making progress in their road to maturity after waking up from being clones, etc)... The characters, while grown since season 1, are definitely still rather true to their roots, just more fully fleshed out, and on the verge of sprouting in new and interesting directions...

Season 3 accomplished the seemingly impossible task of both extensively mining the past (something like half the episodes were flashback heavy) and pushing toward the future. The world became more real, with new characters suddenly beginning to achieve prominence, and older supporting characters now gaining new respect. Season 3 is when VB became and ensemble piece, where whole episodes could be carried by the supporting cast with little to no involvement with the Venture clique. And what's more: We liked it. We cared about these people, and the way their lives seemed to be continually intertwining with one another in new and ever more ridiculous ways... culminating in one of the more explosive finale's I've seen in recent memory, which changed the game fundamentally (the clones being destroyed, Brock quitting, 24 dying, etc.)

Which brings us to Season 4... the season of changes... really this could almost be considered two different seasons, thematically speaking Season 4.0 and 4.5. Season 4.0 was... interesting, most especially in that it seemed to go out of its way to distance itself from some of the excesses of Season 3: almost no flashbacks, and a moderate undoing of some of the more earth shattering revelations of late season 3 (the ORB being a dud, Hunter coming right back to the good guys after seemingly betraying everyone at the end of Season 3, 24's ghost, etc), even as major changes were happening in other places (21's sudden badassery, renewed focus on the maturity and growing independence of the Venture twins, Brock's new life in SPHINX, Rusty seemingly to finally be getting over his crappy childhood, even occasionally being an actual father to his children, or showing a bit of the steel that the younger Rusty could never have mustered...

4.5 is where we're beginning to see the payoff for these seasons of slow burning character development... Hank and Dean both got their own solo episodes, we got to see Gary/21's character finally growing tired of his stagnant position in the Monarch's ranks, the possible end of the OSI/GoCI hegemony with the full implementation of their rival groups, SPHINX and The Revenge Society, White and Billy reaching an emotional crossroads in their relationship and Rusty, in his own, narcissistic way, being a caring parent in actually opening up about his sons and trying to actually do right by them... in fact, my only complaint about 4.5 has been the treatment of the Monarch, as it seems the show has, for some reason, lost it's way with him, making him just spitefully crazy instead of having anything like a character arc anymore, which is sad, as some of the stronger arcs of the show have been about his development as a more proper and rounded villian. To see him now almost feels like Season 1 Monarch, only more out and open with his "extracurricular" depravity. The Monarch is, ironically, at his best when he's NOT hounding Rusty. Go figure...

Anyway, thes
  • 0
Nov. 23, 2010, 4:19am
  • by Mogo
  • (unregistered id: B50DB16F10)
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"clap clap clap clap" Bravo Bravo.
  • 0
Nov. 23, 2010, 4:02pm

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