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Any Which Way But Zeus

  • Original Air Date:
    September 26, 2010
  • Written by:
    Doc Hammer
  • Production Number:
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Jump To: Summary | Capsule | Notes
All-time score of 4.2 with 291 votes


Somebody has been kidnapping the world's super-scientists and super-villains. But whom? And to what end? The OSI, SPHINX, The Guild of Calamitous Intent and The Revenge Society must put aside their differences and convene a secret think tank to solve a mystery of epic proportions.


We're at Conjectural Technologies. Billy is about to be kidnapped by Zeus, though Pete (in the next room) doesn't believe him. But, indeed, there is a glowing Zeus floating in front of Billy. Zeus is here to steal both of them apparently, however. Okay.

Somewhere else some science is happening at some lab. Just then the head scientist is shot by a laser of some kind and his assistant is taken by what appear to be ancient Roman soldiers (okay they're actually hoplites).

Now we're at SPHINX (SPHINX) HQ. Brock, Hunter and a few other agents are headed for a boy's night out. They invite Shoreleave, who declines since they're just headed to a strip club. You know, on account on how he's gay and all. Yup, still gay. Just as they leave Zeus again appears, beckoning Shoreleave to go with him. Shoreleave decides to take matters into his own hands and use the gun he's been cleaning against Zeus. They begin to battle, but then...

Opening credits logo.

Both Super Science Magazine and Modern Enemy Monthly report that heroes and villains are disappearing. Who is safe?

Meanwhile at the Venture Compound Sgt. Hatred, Hank and Dr. Venture are having breakfast:

Doc, as your bodyguard I really gotta stress here how dumb that idea is.

Listen, Hatred, I'm a marked man- Hank, cover your ears and hum!

Aww, come on! Not again. [covers his ears and hums]

Testing, testing. Hank smells like he showers in throw-up.

Dean could kick Hank's ass.

Hank has been professionally diagnosed as a cry baby!

And he wets his bed!

[HANK shows no reaction and continues humming]

Okay, you gotta trust me here. They're gonna get me. I'm not just a super scientist, I'm Rusty Venture. You think they're gonna kidnap all those schlubs and not me?

I'm just sayin' that you should let me hide you in a, like a hamper or something.

They'll fine me, I'm the hot ticket. You can't collect scientists and not have a Rusty Venture on your mantle.

Okay, you're the boss. But, um, I'm really serious about Hank.

What are you talking about?

He's been wetting the bed recently.

In a SPHINX jet together Brock and Hunter are discussing the previous night's strip club outting.

Good lord, son, there should be a mandatory retirement age for strippers.

Oh, did you see I got cornered by Robin last night? I almost had to chew off my own arm to get away.

Oh! That poor woman has the saddest tits. Damned depressing.

Right! Yeah, they're like The Notebook sad.

Tits are like coming home from school and finding out your old man ran over your cat sad.

Mournful. She has mournful tits. They're like two suicide notes stuffed in a glitter bra.

Those things are like a little kid with progeria cracking all his ribs trying to catch a Nerf ball. Just sad. Damnit she has gloomy tits!

It's like she put a dollars worth of change into some old socks and then taped 'em to her chest!

I wanna build two little caskets and give her tits a tasteful, dignified funeral.

Just then some instruments beep inside the jet and some Guild WASPS fly by. Brock is about to engage in combat but Hunter notes that it's a code white operation. Everyone's on the same team for now. Hunter also wants to know how Brock's golf game is.

Meanwhile in an undisclosed location a scientist falls, possibly dead. Hmm, yeah, he just might be. High above the scientist and his assailant a masked man and Zeus sit. The masked figure is wearing Greek inspired armor and garb and narrates that the battles are for the pleasure of Zeus and himself. The opponent is revealed to be none other than 21, who is about to engage in his twelfth battle against none other than Ghost Robot. Ghost Robot attempts to make a deal with 21, saying that since he is a ghost living in the head of a robot 21 can stab him in the chest and he will be unharmed. After this they can both attack Zeus together. The fight begins and 21 does stab Ghost Robot in the chest, but shortly after he falls the mystery figure in the stands gives 21 a thumbs down and, after a brief amount of thought, 21 drives his trident through Ghost Robot's face.

In the meantime Hunter and Brock are playing a game of golf on a course swarming with OSI agents. Hunter sinks a put for birdie but the green begins to shake. He and Brock quickly rush off it as lifts out of the ground, revealing a metal door with OSI and Guild agents. Two men are watching and comment that they've been playing that hole for years and it's never done that before. Still staring at the spectacle both men are shot from behind by Agents Doe and Cardholder.

At the Venture Compound Sgt. Hatred and the boys are sitting on the steps of the main building watching as Dr. Venture sits blindfolded at the street holding up a sign that says 'Dr. Thaddeus Venture, Rusty from 'The Rusty Venture Show'.

None of the watchers really want to see Doc like this, it's even kind of noble in a narcissistic way, but there's not much that they can do, is there? Hank thinks there might be something though!

Hank, I know where you're going with this, and I love it!

Meanwhile at mysterious arena/henchman holding place (which is looking more and more like it's an old horse race track), 21 is being brought into what appears to be a barn. In one of the stables are Pete, Billy and Shoreleave, though only Shoreleave and Billy are bloodied. Billy notes that he fought an eight year old and only survived because the kid tripped and fell on a spike. So that's something that probably won't require therapy.

I'm not gonna fight him! They can't make me fight him!

White you are such a sissy!

I'm a sissy? You're calling me a sissy?

Oh yeah, I get it, I'm out and proud and I'm the sissy. I'm brave enough to be who I am in the face of assholes like you and I'm the sissy. Maybe when you come out of the closet you can walk a mile in my Jimmy Choo's.

I am so not gay!

With that pink shirt and that oh so sad dye job.

I'm an albino!


And this is my lucky shirt! It was red when I bought it.

I hope I fight you next, you big sissy!

Billy breaks them up, saying that they're just doing what Zeus wants them to. Just then the door opens and one of the guards reads Billy and Pete's names from a scroll and takes them both away. In their place a bloodied 21 and Desmond are tossed.

Meanwhile at neutral OSI/Guild location a ton of guys are going through what appears to be airport security while another ton of guys watch them.

Hunter and Brock are being questioned because of Brock's chest plate. Hunter begins to berate the OSI agent questioning them since they used to work together. 'Ken Doll' Michaelson is what they called him.

You ever hear of a Real Doll? They're like mannequins that you can have sex with. Seriously, you can even get one with a, uh-
Yes! Yes! Okay, change into these and proceed to the cavity search.

Cavity search, my ass!

[Everyone in the room quiets and looks towards HUNTER]

I mean... you know what I mean!

Elsewhere in the facility Watch and Ward are preparing a few more familiar faces. Phantom Limb and Professor Impossible along with two other bad guys, all stripped down to their undies. Ward comments that he never expected Prof. Impossible to become evil which leads to a 'stretch' pun and a little bit of bickering between Phantom Limb and the professor. In the meantime Watch informs everyone that since their abilities make them 'human weapons' they need to consent to an experimental abilities inhibitor procedure.

Oh come on! Human weapon?

Storm Front, why don't you explain that to The Candyman's widow?

He was made of sugar! I don't think anyone here is afraid of getting a little moist.

[IRON ANVIL raises his anvil... hand... thing]

Looks like Iron Anvil minds.

Watch goes on to explain that they'll all have to first consent to the experimental procedure and then they both rattle off a long list of possible side effects.

Was loss of life in that list?

Juuuust a side effect. Now who's getting the shot?

Okay, but you may have to give me the shot in my derriere. Needles can't penetrate my electro-impalpable limbs!

Needles? Yeah, good one. Try huge spikes. [he motions towards a terrifying machine behind them]

They're wonderful and frightening and they go into the sides of your neck and they replace all your blood!

You get your blood back at the end of the summit. Unless the loss of life thing happens. Then we'll send your next of kin a big jug of blood and a very nice card.

What's up with Dr. Venture anyway? He's been... captured? Stripped down to his underpants, blindfolded, tied to a chair and with wires clipped to his nipples for some reason. We see that his captors are actually Sgt. Hatred, Hank and Dean all in disguise... well, Dean isn't in disguise, he's just holding a teddy bear of some kind. Sgt. Hatred is wearing an Optimus Prime mask and Hank a Hulk one.

Sgt. Hatred greets Dr. Venture (who appears to not recognize his voice) and says that they need him for part of their evil plan which is... how awesome he is? Just the Hatred's mask starts spitting out catch phrases about how he's the robot commander. As Hank attempts to fix the Transformer mask Dr. Venture tells them to not assemble their robots and that he'll do whatever they want. Dean steps forward and holds up his teddy bear, which speaks:

I love you, can we play a game?


At the summit we have all the high-ranking OSI, Guild and whatever else officials sitting at the same table. Brock notes that he hates everyone there and Red Mantle points out that he's only four feet Phantom Limb, the man responsible for he and Dragoon's current... condition, and why is Limb even there anyway? Phantom Limb says that they're representing The Revenge Society and Prof. Impossible points out that Zeus stole their IT guy, so it's not like they haven't been having problems too.

Brock notices a strange looking guy staring at him from across the table. It's Tiger Shark from the Peril Partnership. You know, in Canada. He has a beef with Brock specifically since Brock broke his knees after he discovered his wife having sex with Brock. Brock laughs at the poor guy, which only enrages Tiger Shark, who jumps onto the table and slides towards Brock. However he slows down after a second and stops before he even gets to Brock at which point Brock grabs his arms and slams his face into the table. Everyone in the room points their guns at Brock, but just then:

Woah, woah, self defense! Lower them pop-guns! Gentlemen I'm General Timothy Treister. All of you have been assigned code names while I have not. Because I am special. All of you are in peculiar underpants while I am not because I am special. Questions? [STORM FRONT raises his hand] Put your hand down I'm not done. We got an unidentified Greek god that has devastated our collective organizations. This summit has been assembled to clean this mess up! I know all of you little girls don't wanna play in the same sandbox and I don't care. This is my sandbox. Now let's dig in!

Back in the stables Shoreleave is tending to Desmond, who is not in a very good place. Desmond keeps babbling about how someone named 'Zero' has gone mad.

We were- we were trying help, trying to reward the thankless ones but he's mad! Zero. He must be stopped! [he collapses]

Shoreleave berates 21, who has been sitting there meditating the entire time, and 21 informs him that he was discussing something with a friend but he does have a solution to the problem at hand. Shoreleave introduces himself and 21 introduces himself as Henchman 1.

Back at the Venture Compound (or thereabouts):

Ahh, just us. Forget Robot Commander and The Monster. You and I can settle this thing right now.

You're my best friend.

That's why I feel I can trust you. You're different. Now, uh, I have a considerable amount of money.

I love sliding down rainbows.

Thh, easy! Meth? Crack. PCP. Heh, I can get you anything. It'll be our little secret.

Let's cuddle.

You untie me and I'll do things to you your girlfriend would never do! I'll [CENSORED] you while I [CENSORED]- wait, shhh, I hear something!

Hank and Sgt. Hatred come back in and upon noticing the bear has been left alone to interrogate Dr. Venture Sgt. Hatred starts to mutter about Dean. Dr. Venture freaks out and tells them to take him instead. That's pretty impressive! Hank notes that they also have Hank, to which Dr. Venture responds that they should just kill him instead. You know, if you have to kill someone it may as well be Hank, right?

Back at the stables/arena/race track we now see Billy and Pete about to fight. The announcer guy says that Billy is living under the villain Peter White and Pete is living under the hero Billy Quizboy. Interesting interpretation. The battle begins but rather than fight to the death Pete and Billy drop their weapons and start bickering about who is the boss of who.

[as PETE and BILLY bicker] Stop! Stop this fighting and fight one another! We want to see you fight! Stop fighting and fight!!

Meanwhile at the summit General Treister informs everyone of the goings on. The abductor was Zeus. Red Mantle and Dragoon, who have the codenames 'Keenan and Kel', interrupt to put on record that they don't like their code names. Also Zeus was flying, but how? Jet pack? No, seems that no latent fumes were detected. Prof. Impossible suggests he may have been a hologram or projection, which Treister seems to like as a suggestion. Storm Front suggests that the captured were simply high on hallucinogenics. Maybe. Brock suggests that maybe Zeus was actually capable of flight. Good! Red Mantle suggests that maybe he is the actual Zeus, pissed that nobody cares about Zeus any more. Treister decides that can't be it.

Break up into groups, I want lists and solutions by the time I finish this jee-uce box. Warning! I am tirstyyy, and it is fruit punch, and it is delicious!

Back at the Venture Compound Sgt. Hatred needs to talk to Dean, you know, as long as he's not reading porn or having sex with a sock or something. Dean isn't. Hatred wants to know why Dean isn't participating in the, uh interrogation of his father, of which Hank is probably having a fun time bashing Dr. Venture's nuggets. Sgt. Hatred thinks Dean should be out there wailing on his father's balls. Like, nail them to a chair or something. This reading stuff isn't healthy.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch (I've always wanted to say that):

That centurion guy is freaking out.

Hoplite. Centurions are Roman. Zeus is Greek. So it's hoplite.

Annnnd that's why you'll never truly be cool. That little tidbit.

No, sassy gay man, you all must be brave. Follow Henchman 1, he is what is best in all henchmen. A hero [pants] with a number.

Henchman 1? You're not 21?

Not today.

[barges in] You four! Into the arena!

Oh right, the summit is still going. It seems that they've figured out who Zeus is! It's... Captain Sunshine!

Seems he's already been detained, but he's passed all the lie detector tests and has an airtight alibi... and no motive!

No motive! Please, that guy writes the Guild twice a week complaining about the rights of butlers and henchmen and sidekicks and the retired!

He would totally steal all our best men just to teach us a lesson! You know I used to arch him back in the late 60s.

The 60s? What was he, ten?

No! Well, Wonderboy there was [GEN. TREISTER points at Wonderboy on the screen] That's not Wonderboy, the big one is Wonderboy!

Sooooo... ahh, [points at DESMOND] this is Captain-

Sunshine, yes! The original. You idiots are holding the wrong Captain Sunshine!

Hank, in the interim, is all alone with his father, who is of course still tied up. Hank asks him why he loves Dean more than Hank. Dr. Venture tells him that he doesn't, he only said to kill Hank because he knew they wouldn't kill anyone, and if they're going to pretend to torture one of the boys it should be Hank because Dean believes in all the boy adventurer stuff and Hank had the life thrown at him. He fights against it, just like Doc did when he was younger. He and Hank are alike in that way, really. It's sad, because he'll never escape that life. He's a Venture.

Back at the area o' henchman and sidekick death the announcer guy is introducing Shoreleave and 21 versus Billy and Pete. He introduces 21 as 21, but 21 corrects him, saying that he's Henchman 1. This enrages the announcer but 21 charges Billy and Pete before anything can happen. They both drop their swords and run away as some soldiers give chase. Some more soldiers advance on 21 and Shoreleave but are dispatched quickly. Shoreleave grabs the swords and throws them at the two soldiers chasing Billy and Pete, allowing them to escape. 21 then leaps off another soldier and throws his trident at Zeus, which hits him square in the chest. He's a cardboard cutout! The cutout falls over.

[claps] Bravo. Bravo, well done. For act two I'll kill you myself!

In the stables Billy and Pete free all the captive sidekicks and henchmen.

I have been waiting for so long to do this to you. To punish all the incompetent henchmen and sidekicks who think they're heroes!

So, how'd you get poor old Desmond, the original Captain Sunshine to help you?

Hahaha! I told that senile old fool we were having a fun get-together for all the poor, little underlings the world forgot.

[flies out of the stables] I will take it from here! Fight me, Zero!

Really? You want another beating?

[lands in front of ZERO] Let's see what you're made- [punched] OHHH [punched] OWW! [punched] OH MY!! [collapses]

Great plan, moron. Honestly, you haven't changed one bit. Not since the day you left me to die.

Wait, you know this guy?

Yeah, I do. At first I couldn't figure out his whole deal, I was like, 'Who the fuck is Zero? Who has a number for a name?' Well, I do. All henchmen do. Don't they? Don't they Henchman Number One?

[pulls off his mask, revealing that he's Henchman 1] Henchman Number One is dead! I am Zero! Henchman Zero! The avenging henchman!

Ahh! I can't blame you for killing this guy before. He is so into himself.

And now I get to finally exact my revenge! So sorry about your plan not working out.

What? T- to throw an old Captain Sunshine at you? That wasn't my plan. That is!

Behind them we see the crowd of henchmen and sidekicks rushing angrily towards Zero who can only flee for his life.

At the summit everyone seems to be pretty wiped out from trying to figure out how to catch Desmond... nobody really wants to be here any more. Just then Doe and Cardholder walk in and inform everyone that the situation seems to have fixed itself. Plus it looks like an old Coke commercial upstairs. With less singing. And more people in tights.

Topside all the henchmen and sidekicks are reunited with their bosses. Wonderful times! Well, U.S. Steel doesn't look so happy, but otherwise it's okay. General Treister happily watches as Shoreleave is reunited with Brock and Hunter. Two golfers watch, flabbergasted, behind him as he shoots each one in the chest. He looks back to the scene and wipes a single tear from his eye.

Roll end credits.

Back at the Venture Compound it's revealed that Doc was being held in Sgt. Hatred's hover tank (which is now Venture Industries branded, though still very much a hover tank), though he's still there and still talking to the bear.

Look, Ted, it's just hard. I don't get to meet many women and when I do they play games.

I love you, can we play a game?

Right, exactly, they just move in, change your furniture and start right up with the head games.

[with HANK outside the tank] Hey, uh, don't you think we should let your old man go?

Ahh, soon. I'm still waiting for his ransom checks to clear.


  • The title of this episode is a reference to the film Every Which Way But Loose, which is a 1978 film starring Clint Eastwood. The film is perhaps notable because one of Eastwood's co-stars is an orangutan named Clyde whom Eastwood's character won on a bet. The title of this episode was initially revealed to be "Every Which Way But Zeus" by Jackson on his blog but the title card at the end and the majority of the promo material refer to it as "Any Which Way But Zeus".

  • Shoreleave suggests that Pete should walk a mile in his Jimmy Choo's, which is a reference to designer Jimmy Choo who is most famous for his line of designer hand-made women's shoes. Choo actually doesn't seem to sell any shoes intended for men, so take that statement as you will.

  • This episode obviously contains a lot of characters from previous episodes, and I will attempt to cover most of them, but two with fairly major roles in the episode are Ghost Robot and Desmond (Captain Sunshine's butler) who return after their appearances in "Handsome Ransom". Also seen from that episode is US Steel, whom Ghost Robot apparently sidekicked for.

  • Hank and Sgt. Hatred's masks are based on this Incredible Hulk voice changer and this Optimus Prime voice changer, and in fact to get the voice effects Jackson actually spoke into each mask in character though for obvious reasons they couldn't use any of the catch phrase functionality and also had to modify the designs of the masks for use in the show (with Optimus Prime being red and the Hulk being purple).

  • Meanwhile Dean's bear is clearly supposed to be Teddy Ruxpin which was a popular children's toy in the mid 80s and 90s. Ruxpin would move his mouth and eyes as he read a story from a cassette tape which could be inserted into the deck in his back.

  • The first two golfers we see are Mike Lazzo and Keith Crofford. Lazzo is senior executive vice president at Adult Swim and Crofford is executive vice president at Adult Swim. You may remember Crofford from a couple of Comic-Con Venture Bros. panels which he moderates from time to time. According to Jackson both characters are also voiced by the two men, though only one of them speaks in the episode.

  • Shoreleave calls 21 'Ghost Dog' which refers to the 1999 film of the same name. The film stars Forest Whitaker as the titular character, who is a hitman for the mafia who follows the ancient code of the Samurai. Whitaker is seen meditating in the film, similar to 21, and they have a similar build, so you can kind of get the joke.

  • All of the members of the summit have code names assigned to them. Red Mantle and Dragoon are Kenan and Kel, respectively, which refers to the titular characters played by Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell in the Nickelodeon series Kenan & Kel which aired from 1996 until 2000. Hunter's codename is Kelly Clarkson, the name of a singer/songwriter who is famous for winning the first season of American Idol back in 2002. Prof. Impossible's codename is Matthew Perry, the name of American-Canadian actor most famous for playing Chandler Bing in the long-running sitcom Friends. Storm Front's name is Orville Redenbacher, who is most well known for the brand of popcorn that bears his name (Redenbacher died in 1995). And finally Brock's codename is Topanga Lawrence, who was a character in the 1993 - 2000 series Boy Meets World. Topanga was the love interest and girlfriend of the series' main character, Cory Matthews.

  • 21 is correct about Zero's costume being inspired by hoplites rather than centurions. Hoplites were citizen-soldiers in ancient Greece while centurions were commanders in the ancient Roman infantry. Interestingly enough Zero is pitting two combatants against each other similar to ancient gladiators, which was a distinctly Roman and not Greek practice. It's also conceivable that everything in the process actually was intended to be Roman and only Zeus was improperly utilized. The Roman mythology equivalent (since Roman mythology almost precisely mirrors Greek mythology) of Zeus would be Jupiter, though I suppose "Any Which Way But Jupiter" doesn't quite work as well.

  • The current Captain Sunshine originally being Wonderboy is a semi-reference to Bruce Wayne originally wearing the Robin costume before he became Batman, though this was later retconed Post-Crisis. Alfred, Bruce Wayne's loyal butler (who Desmond is based on), was not the original Batman, however, and neither of them had super powers, so that part doesn't have any real direct correlation with Batman and Robin. Also why Desmond retired and decided to become his Wonderboy's butler remains to be seen, though it is a good way to keep and eye on a guy. Plus I'm sure the pay isn't too bad.

  • Seen escaping from the stables are various henchmen we have seen before (including some Pro-Teens from "Pomp & Circuitry"), along with Ro-Boy (last seen in "Self-Medication") and the plug and socket guy first seen in season one's "Tag Sale, You're It".

    Later on when the crowd is chasing Zero/Henchman 1/Scott Hall we also see Truckulese in the crowd, though it was established in a number of episodes that Truckulese is a number one (Dr. Girlfriend noted in "Hate Floats" that she used to number two for him) and not a henchman or a sidekick. His presence can be explained away in a number of ways; Zero's seeming lack of thoroughness caused him to be caught by accident, or maybe he's decided to become a sidekick recently. Or he could have just been used because it was funny to see Billy riding him or because they needed a larger character for that scene. Maybe we'll never know!

    Also seen in the scene where the henchmen and sidekicks rejoin their bosses we see the 'girly mags' scientist (again from "Tag Sale, You're It!") and the famous Dr. Quentin Ball (seen in the Guild Facebook in "Home Is Where The Hate Is" as well being a background character in a ton of other places).

  • Zero, or Henchman 1, in case you don't remember, is the same Henchman 1 from season three's "The Lepidopterists". We last saw him getting beat up by Brock after getting caught when 21 and 24 tripped the alarm system on Spider-Skull Island. His name was Scott Hall. Though clearly he didn't die, so that's good I guess!

Episode Cast

James Urbaniak Dr. Venture
Phantom Limb
Patrick Warburton Brock Samson
Michael Sinterniklaas Dean Venture
Doc Hammer Henchman 21
Billy Quizboy
Red Mantle
Christopher McCulloch Hank Venture
Sgt. Hatred
Pete White
Hunter Gathers
Storm Front
Tiger Shark
Ghost Robot
Bill Hader Professor Impossible
Toby Huss General Treister


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