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Past Tense

  • Original Air Date:
    October 16, 2004
  • Written by:
    Jackson Publick
  • Production Number:
  • and the steely SOUL-BOT as H.E.L.P.eR.
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Jump To: Summary | Capsule | Notes
All-time score of 4.3 with 395 votes


When Brock and Dr. Venture are kidnapped from the funeral of a college friend, the boys enlist the aid of the original Team Venture: a group of superscience adventurers who worked for their grandfather in the sixties. Meanwhile, the mysterious kidnapper reveals the secret of his twenty year old grudge through a series of flashbacks to when he, Brock, Doc, Baron Underbheit, and Mr. White were all in college together.


We start off with a rather grimm scene of a funeral. The priest throws some dirt on the coffin, reciting the traditional 'dust to dust' thing. We then cut to the Venture crew on the X-1, all dressed in suits. Dr. Venture struggles to put on some pants.

Damnit, we're late already. Is my tie on straight?

Yeah. Can't really miss with a clip-on.

[groans] We need to stop. Why is it every time I need to get somewhere we're waylaid by jackassery? Pants!

[handing Dr. Venture his pants] But it was a good thing we did, pop. The ant people needed our help.

Help, schmelp! The big reward they promised us was nothing but an old licked-up Jolly Rancher.

But they did give us the key to their enchanted underground city [he holds up a tiny key].

And Brock made special friends with their queen. You can't put a price on that!

[attempting to get his pants on] My point exactly. You try paying the electric bill wi- WAAHHH

While struggling with his pant leg, Dr. Venture accidently kicks a badly placed lever on the control panel and the X-1 nose dives. Down, down, down, towards the cemetery. The priest notices and nearly yells an explicative and runs away as the X-1 creates one of those neat dirt paths on the cemetery grounds. Corpses fly about, and graves are unearthed, but Brock finally manages to stop the skidding jet as it pokes a hole in the casket of the newly deceased, ripping off his hand, which clings to that red ball on the nose of the X-1.

Dr. Venture apologizes, which garners a slap to the back of the head from Brock. He pokes his head out the window and asks the priest (who has probably crapped his pants, and is shaking like a heroin addict) where the Sorayama funeral is. The priest points at a church on a hill. No harm done, they didn't miss it.

Roll opening credits.

At the not interrupted by a jet crash funeral (for Michael Sorayama), the boys, Brock and Dr. Venture sit in the pews (hee hee) and listen to the priest they didn't nearly kill.

Funerals are creepy.

What's the big deal? You see dead guys all the time.


Dude, just last week Brock killed two dervishes with a pillowcase full of Cokes! Right in our bedroom!

He just knocked them out...

Oh sing yourself another lullaby, baby Dean! The police took them away in body bags.

Sleeping bags, those were sleeping bags!

Hank sighs and asks his dad if they were related to the deceased. Turns out he was an old college pal of Dr. Venture... yes, it's time for a flashback.

Back in his old college dorm, Dr. Venture, or should I say 'T.S.' is talking to his father on the phone. Rusty has long hair, though the early signs of male pattern baldness can be seen, and apparently his father is questioning this style. T.S., in typical young adult fashion, tells his father to lay off him. HELPeR gets on the phone at this point and T.S. hangs up the phone.

Mike, working at Venture's computer, asks if he could talk to Jonas Venture sometime since he's thinking of switching his major to robotics. T.S. then notices a chemistry 1 book on Mike's desk. Mike has been tutoring Leslie Cohen. Or rather, doing her homework for her. It's because he has a 'tiny, chiney chubby for her'. Says Mr. White. Yes, he also went to college with Dr. Venture.

Mr. White was the college radio station DJ, and he, Dr. Venture and Mike hung out together a lot, though Dr. Venture's roommate was a freshman. Yes, a freshman named Brock Samson. Too weird, I know! Anyways, back in college Brock was pretty much the same as he is now. Except for the whole bodyguard thing anyway. He was often having sex in the top bunk, however, while T.S. attempted (and failed) to sleep below.

But the winner of the roommate lottery was actually Mr. White. It was none other than Baron Underbheit. Well, the good Baron minus the metal jaw and 20 years of age:


The tape is on the floor for a reason, Peter! Your things belong on your side of the room! And don't think I haven't noticed that you moved it to make your area larger! If you cannot obey the simplest of rules-

Yeah, well you don't make the rules, fella! You might be a big-shot in your own country, but around here you're just the kid with the weirdest smelling lunch!

[yells] Very well!! The you leave me with no choice but to... take this up with the RA at the next floor meeting. Come, manservant. [he exits]

[laughing] Who cuts his hair, the Incredible Hulk?

What did he, walk into the barber shop and say 'what can you do to make me look more like Pete Rose?'

Hey! What's wrong with his hair. I have like the same haircut.

Yeah, but you're Chinese. You people can't be blamed for what your hair does.

I'm Japanese, jerk-off. But yeah, that's so true. At least I don't have his eyebrows.

You wanna see eyebrows, come to my creative writing class! There's this kid, no joke, they're out to here. [he positions his hands around eight inches to each side of his head] And the weirdness doesn't stop there! All he writes are these way-to-specific poems about monarch butterflies! Total closet case!

Yes, the Monarch.

Meanwhile the priest finishes the eulogy or whatever and notes that Sorayama's last wish was that he be escorted to his final resting place by Dr. Venture, Mr. White, Brock and Baron Underbheit. They all walk up to the coffin and pick it up, though the end with Dr. Venture and Mr. White falls to the ground. They pick it back up and start to walk out of the church. Suddenly four doors in the coffin open and robotic clamps pop out and grab each of their arms. Some wacky gas is sprayed at them next and they each turn a light blue and freeze. The coffin then turns on some engines it had and rockets away from the church as Hank and Dean sit there flabbergasted.

The coffin flies out the door and into the sky as four (or six?) ladies in black leave the church.

Was that supposed to happen?

Back home at the Venture Compound, Hank calls the Monarch to see if it was him, but alas, the Monarch had nothing planned. Dean, meanwhile, sifts through a box in his dad's closet. Hank tells him this is no time to get sentimental, and that they need to come up with a rescue plan. Hand grenades, and plasma cannons and stuff. Dean points out that they're not old enough to rescue Dr. Venture and Brock, and that they need some help. Some old school help, if you catch me. And I think you do.

In Tangier, Morocco, a man laying on a couch and smoking one of those fancy pipes that's sort of like a bong gets a call on his communicator, uh, compact. I guess it's a pocket watch. Anyway, Dean and Hank inform the Sean Connery-sounding man that their father, Jonas Venture's son, has been kidnapped. The man reassures them that Team Venture is on the case and hangs up. He then gets read to collect the other members of the original Team Venture.

In Kyoto, Japan, a large Japanese fellow is getting a back massage via a Japanese woman walking on his back. Just then he gets a call on his glasses, which he puts on. The Sean Connery guy (Col. Gentleman) appears in them and tells him about the situation. Kano gets up, which causes the lady to crash to the floor. He folds a bill into a crane and hands it to her.

In Brooklyn Heights, USA, a strange fish-looking guy knocks at the door of a local resident. He asks if the resident has a moment to talk about the lord, which warrants a door slammed in the face. Outside the apartment he turns to some kids and tells them it's okay because there's more room in the kingdom for them this way. Just then his watch buzzes.

In Boca Raton, Florida, the Action Man struggles to put on his Action Man suit:

Oh Rodney, no! You're too old! You're gonna get hurt.

Ahh, for corn sake, Jeanie, I gotta do this! I took an oath! Now where are the pads?

What pads?

The Maxi pads gathering dust under the sink- what the hell pads do ya think!? My Action Man uniform knee pads. [he points at his knees, which are unpadded]

Ohhhh, those. The ones that go on your uniform?

[sighs] Now she gets it. What does it look like I'm doing here?!

Meanwhile the coffin has carried its new captives to some sort of prison. The same ladies at the funeral carry each of the captives into a holding cell where they are chained by their necks to the wall, with each chain looped through the wall and attached to the prisoner next to them. Underbheit is chained to White, and Brock to Dr. Venture.

The women leave the room and the door slams behind them. A purple gas leaks into the room as the women remove their funeral garb to reveal they're actually robot women. In the cell the gas has reversed the freezing gas and the prisoners come to. Brock is immediately angered and attempts to blame and attack Underbheit, though he only succeeds in choking Dr. Venture.

As usual your detective skills are impeccable, Samson. You succeeded in exposing my sinister plan to lock myself in a dungeon, chained to an Albino.

[BROCK sits down]

Just then a nifty flatscreen TV lowers from the ceiling with the voice of Mike welcoming them to his dungeon. He tells them he's surprised they all showed up for his funeral, and now he gets to return the favor. Dun, dun dun!


At the Venture Compound the original Team Venture shows up. Colonel Gentleman enters and introduces himself and the rest of the team. Kano, master of the martial arts. Otto Aquarius, exiled son of Atlantis. And, The Action Man. Who farts. Nice.

Back at the dungeon, Sorayama's fembots bring the guests their last meal. Special delivery from the university dining hall. The robots leave, and Sorayama asks if they look familiar. Brock recognizes they have the likeness of Leslie Cohen, which causes Sorayama to go into a weird fit of giggles and creepy gasps or something. They briefly converse about Mike's obsession with Leslie in college which is when Mike tells them why they're here. Apparently each of them did something to Mike in college, and now he's to exact his horrible revenge!

Back at the compound, the original Team Venture discusses how they're going to get little Rusty and Brock back. Turns out that Jonas Venture implanted a homing device in one of Rusty's molars when he was young since little Rusty was captured by someone every so often. It was just easier that way.

Just then, Dr. Orpheus comes by, searching for his cat. The team mistakes Orpheus for a foe and they attack. Orpheus is quick to, uh, turn into snakes, which confuses the team long enough for Dean and Hank to stop them. They explain that Dr. O is a friend. Dr. O explains that he didn't actually turn into snakes, he just made them all think he did (by clouding their minds or somesuch), though he did get shot. The Action Man, realizing his guns aren't snakes, picks them up to shoot Orpheus, who quickly casts them away with a motion of his hands. He then grabs the Action Man's hands:

Two years, seventeen days.


From a stroke. Good day!! [he leaves]

Back at college flashback time, Mike is taking a hit from a bong. Underbheit tells him it's pure Underlandian grass, and Mike starts laughing like a, uh, guy who's high. The other guys then yell 'psyche' because, ha ha, it was really oregano! Mike starts coughing, and rolls over to reveal his face is all puffy. He's allergic to oregano. Oops.

Back in the present Sorayama tells Underbheit that he could have died from that. Plus he had to cancel his study date with Leslie. Underbheit, infuriated by this, launches his jaw (that's exactly what happens, I can't put it in more accurate terms) into one of the bots. He attempts to attack her, but the chain won't reach and the Lesliebot shocks him, knocking him out.

On the X-1, being flown by Kano, Hank talks to Otto:

Hey how come you're not all old and stuff, like the other guys?

I am. I just age slower because I'm half-Atlantian.

Wow. How do I get to be one of those.

A drunken sailor has to have his way with your mer-mom, kid.

You know, if you're interested in a longer life, I have some good news to share with you.


[at the same time] Really?

[OTTO hands them a mildly disturbing pamphlet]


The signal from the molar is right below them, so they land the jet.

They bust into the room, ready to fight, but it's a college dorm. The Action Man grabs the kid doing his homework, and Kano finds a tooth under the desk (apparently nobody has vacuumed the dorm in 20 years) which turns out to be the source of the signal. The Colonel reveals that this was Rusty's dorm room back when he was in college, and Rusty probably removed the tooth himself in a fit of youthful rebellion.

The Colonel asks the boys if there's anything else they neglected to mention. Hank tells them they already told him everything about the funeral and Mike Sorayama. The name Sorayama catches the student's attention who says that Sorayama isn't dead, because he's writing a term paper for a class taught by Sorayama. The Action Man farts again.

Dude, you beefed.

More flashback!

[on the radio] You're listening to the White Room. I'm your host, the ever-popular Pete White. This next one's a dedication to Leslie Cohen from her little buddy Mike Sorayama. And he writes; "Leslie, I masturbate furiously to your picture every night. Please notice me. Love Mike."

In the present:

Hey I got kicked off the air for that, isn't that enough?!

[DR. VENTURE laughs]

Go ahead and laugh, Rusty. Out of everyone on the list, you betrayed me the most.

[BROCK breaks his chain with UNDERBHEIT's discarded jaw]

Outside Sorayama's dungeon, the Action Man laments not figuring out the fake coffin trick from his experience with the mystery of the fake coffin. Otto rings the doorbell and the door is answered by Lesliebots. The team then barges in and take out the bots and does a 'Go Team Venture!' in the most classy of ways. Now that, folks, is how you do it.

Back to the flashback, Underbheit, Rusty, Mike and Pete are playing Dungeons & Dragons:

My barbarian swings his +3 battle axe!

No. The Leslie-golem skin is like rock.

What the hell's a 'Leslie-golem'?

A very powerful creature that looks just like Leslie Cohen.

[everyone groans]

Looks like Leslie Cohen, huh? Well then my wizard seduces her.

What. You can't do that.

Sure I can! I have like twenty-five charisma points. I wanna seduce her.

No, don't! It's Leslie!

[VENTURE rolls the 12-sided die which MIKE watches in fear... it comes to a stop and he yells]

Back in the present:

Oh come on!! You're gonna kill me because I had fake sex on graph paper with a girl who barely spoke to you in real life?!

Don't act so innocent, Rusty. How do you explain what happened the next morning?

Back in the next flashback Leslie gets out of Brock's bunk and puts on her pants. She's sneaks out of Venture's room and runs into Mike at the door. She says hi and runs off. In the present Venture tells Mike it must have been Brock, since he didn't lose his virginity until he was twenty-four. He looks over at Brock, but he's not there. Instead Brock is over by the cell door. He shorts out the door lock with Underbheit's jaw and runs off. Sorayama orders the Lesliebots, which he doesn't know have been disabled, to attack Brock. Meanwhile the original Team Venture are putting on the Lesliebot armor, I assume (and hope) as a way to sneak into the dungeon and rescue the captives.

Mike then relays the next and final flashback, this one about Brock. Seems the night of their last D&D game Brock was thrown off the football team for accidently killing Tommy the quarterback. This caused Brock to get super-drunk and beat the crap out of anything that annoyed him. Like trees.

The next sequence is a combination of the flashback and the present. Past Brock enters the dorm room and present Brock enters the hallway with the Leslieized Team Venture. Past Brock steps on a die, and present Brock just gets mad at the Leslie bots. Both of them proceed to kick the crap out of everyone in the room; past Brock gets T.S., Pete, Mike and Underbheit, and present Brock gets Kano, Action Man, the Colonel and Otto. Past Brock throws a punch at T.S. that knocks out his molar and present Brock throws a bunch that knocks out the Action Man's teeth. He then spins around Mike and Otto and flings them through a window. Mike crashes to the ground below and Otto crashes into Mike Sorayama and knocks out the TV feed in the prison cell.

The boys tell Brock that the team was just trying to rescue them, and Brock apologizes. Kano gives him the finger. The broken finger anyway, since can't fold an appropriate origami response.

Brock walks into the hole created by Otto and finds Sorayama, decapitated on the ground. Only he's not Sorayama, but a Sorayama robot.

Ah HA! So it all comes together. He's not just a ghost, he's a ghost robot! That explains everything!

No, Hank. I think he's just a robot. Which means, the real Mike Soranamanama, is probably hiding somewhere. [he walks over to a coffin which has paintings of LESLIE hanging behind it] And I think I know where! [he opens the coffin and pukes]

Huh. So he really did die.

So, what, he programmed his robots to hate us too?

I guess.

Well that makes about as much sense as anything else today. So! What do you say we get out of here before he starts to stink? Hah?

[the screen in the cell, which has turned back on, shows them all leaving the house]

[in the cell, watching the TV] Uh, Rust?

Roll end credits.


Sorry man, I don't know what came over me. Anyway they cut my scholarship, so I'm outta here. Gonna join the army. [he starts to leave, but stops at the door. T.S. cowers in fear] Oh, yeah. Someone from, uhhh, Venture... Industries called while you were at the infirmary. Your dad died. Later!


  • The original Team Venture, shown in their entirety in this episode for the first time, as I mentioned in the 105 notes is based on the pulp novels of Doc Savage. From Jackson Publick's LJ:

    Colonel Horace Gentleman (named after the bassist from The Specials and designed to look like a cross between Sean Connery and Quentin Crisp) is a retired RAF officer/spy who now lives in Tangier...with a bronzed man-child named Kiki (apologies to "Naked Lunch"). Kano, because you always need an Asian master of the martial arts in any self-respecting action team, is named after one of our storyboard revision artists--Danny Kimanyan--because I once made the embarrassing and politically incorrect social gaffe of thinking he was Asian, when in fact he is not. The Action Man you might remember from the "Ghosts of Sargasso" episode--is all-American--pretty much a low grade Captain America type, probably a military supersoldier or something. And Otto Aquarius, the exiled son of Atlantis, half man, half Atlantean, is of course an homage to Aquaman and SubMariner and characters of that ilk. Only now he's sought solace in the Jehovah's Witnesses and lives in Brooklyn Heights.

  • Steve Park is the special guest for this episode, voicing Mike Sorayama. Probably Steve's most famous movie role was the part of Mike Yanagita in Fargo. The character of Mike Sorayama is actually based, in part, on the Mike Yanagita character, so the writers were quite happy to get him to do the part.

  • That covers the 'Mike' part. The 'Sorayama' part is based on Hajime Sorayama, a bio-mechanical artist probably most famous for his sexy robotic women. In fact the design of the Lesliebots in this episode are inspired by Sorayama's 'sexy robot' series. You can check out more of Hajime Sorayama's art here. Also, that "issue of Heavy Metal" that Dr. Venture was referring to is probably this one. Many thanks to Zonerunner for all of this info (and the picture).

  • The first few drafts of this episode were much longer, but had to be cut down thanks to time constraints of course. The original draft had more interaction between Dr. Venture (T.S.) and Jonas Venture, who was a more intrusive father, as well as extra Team Venture (including HELPeR, who was a valuable member of the original Team) and other flashback scenes. One scene cut right before animation started involved Team Venture outside the dungeon where Otto, a devout Jehovah's Witness, said he could not take part in the violence to follow. "He even called Gentleman, Kano and The Action Man "a sodomite, an idolator and a murderer" respectively. To which Kano responded by handing him an origami penis." - JP

  • One of Hank's early lines is "Dude, just last week Brock killed two dervishes with a pillowcase full of Cokes!" Dervishes are some sort of religious group, an offshoot of Islam. Apparently they whirl a lot and wear lamp shades on their heads or something. Here's some info. 'Pillowcase full of Cokes' is actually a reference to a film called Bad Boys which does not star Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, but Sean Penn. And indeed, in Bad Boys Sean Penn actually fights someone with a pillowcase full of Cokes.

  • White, Mike and the Doc make fun of college Underbheit's hair early on, comparing it to the Hulk and Pete Rose, both guys with similar haircuts to the good Baron. But you already knew that.

  • The woman walking on Kano's back is strikingly similar looking to the woman performing acupuncture on Otaku Senzuri in the beginning of the pilot episode.

  • Col. Gentleman's line in the X-1 'Despite his racial handicap, Kano is a crackerjack pilot', is actually a reference to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, I'm told. I'm deprived and I haven't seen or read it yet, so I can't confirm. Just one more thing on my list of stuff to do.

  • Dungeons & Dragons has a somewhat major role in this episode. D&D, for those of you not nerdy enough to know, is a role playing game you play on paper with a die and stuff. I'm not familiar with it myself, so I can't tell you much more, but rest assured anyone you meet who plays it probably also was never very good with the ladies. More on D&D here if you're interested.

  • A story arc is tied together in this episode as well. You might recall Brock's trip into the joy can in Eeny, Meeny, Miney... Magic! where he talks to a deaf football player who tells him it's okay that he killed him. Tommy the QB is shown here again, right after Brock accidently killed him during practice. We can assume that this death was something of a life-altering experience for Brock and is probably what caused him to take his current career path, but I can only speculate on that right now.

  • This episode ran into legal issues and only aired only twice early in the show's run (the premier and once during the show's weekday run). From JP's LiveJournal:

    Legal issue still pending, so it's best not to talk about it at the moment. Nobody's in trouble, nobody's mad at us or anything like that--CN's legal department just wants to play it safe, which is the smart bet. It will be back on the air after we clear it legally or alter it slightly. We're working on clearing that up, though, and regret that it hasn't been re-aired in while (I like that ep. too!) I wouldn't have even mentioned it if it hadn't made its way onto the message boards. So...shhhhh!

    The issue most likely had to do with the design of the Lesliebots which, as stated above, are based on Hajime Sorayama's sexy robot design. This issues was apparently resolved without the need to edit the episode, and it finally reaired on October 10th, 2005. The only change made was a small bit in the credits which thanked Hajime Sorayama and provided a link to his web site. The episode will appear on the Season 1 DVD set as well.

Episode Cast

James Urbaniak Dr. Venture
Michael Sinterniklaas Dean Venture
Patrick Warburton Brock Samson
Chris McCulloch Hank Venture
Col. Gentleman
The Action Man
Mr. White
The Monarch
Stephen Ratazzi Dr. Orpheus
Steve Park Mike Sorayama
Paul Boocock Priest 1
Jonas Venture
T. Ryder Smith Baron Underbheit
Otto Aquarius
Lisa Hammer Triana Orpheus
Leslie Cohen
Richard Liebman-Smith Priest 2
Steffen Vala College Student
Soul-Bot HELPeR


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