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The Diving Bell Vs. The Butter-glider

  • Original Air Date:
    September 12, 2010
  • Written by:
    Jackson Publick
  • Production Number:
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Jump To: Summary | Capsule | Notes
All-time score of 4.0 with 332 votes


The semi-season opener finds Dr. Venture semi-paralyzed in a trauma-induced coma. Sgt. Hatred and the boys recruit the medical minds of Conjectural Technologies for the mystery diagnosis. Meanwhile, the Monarch is over the moon about his latest gadget, but it's driving a hot wedge in his relationships with his wife and henchmen.


From Dr. Venture's view we see Sgt. Hatred and Dean arguing over how conscious Doc is. He glances over to see Hank emptying a large mounted machine gun's bullets into the general vicinity of the Cocoon. We zoom out of Dr. Venture's head and into the Cocoon, revealing they are chasing Sgt. Hatred's jeep. A henchman declares that they are getting away . However it's not the Monarch who is in charge, but Henchman 21.

Meanwhile outside the moppets are released from the bottom of the Cocoon and give chase on their motorbikes.

Damnit I hate those creepy little bastards! Hank! Incoming, aim low!

[Aims his gun at the moppets and fires, but the gun is empty] I'm out of gun food!

The jeep is barraged with tranq darts and Sgt. Hatred takes evasive maneuvers, opting to drive through a guard rail and off a cliff. Tim-Tom and Kevin are unable to stop in time and fall of their bikes. The cliff is insanely high but rather than falling to their deaths they eject their pupae outfits to reveal they are dressed as Monarch henchmen and flutter to safety. Hatred, meanwhile, crashes right in front of a convenient hospital and rushes Doc inside (while attendants run to Hank, who has taken a spill).

Kevin and Tim-Tom inquire if they should continue pursuit of the Ventures, but 21 points out they've just go into a Catholic hospital (St. Sebastian's) which is hallow ground. Okay.

Opening credits logo.

In Malice we're at a party welcoming King Gorilla back from his jail time. We see Scorpio give King a t-shirt that says 'Statutory Ape'. King Gorilla is wearing a fancy suit but also an oxygen tank and he looks rather sickly. The Monarch and Dr. Girlfriend discuss King's untimely fate. He's apparently contracted lung cancer while in prison.

Did you even know he was sick?

No. Nobody told me.

Ugh. Well, there but for the grace of god, none of us are getting any younger.

Yeah well, one of us ain't getting much older either.

[looking at a present] And this one is from, heey, the Monarch! Heh-hey! Thanks, roomie! [laughs] [coughs]

Above the party the Cocoon comes into view and Dr. Girlfriend points out that they need to debrief the henchmen after 21's first solo command. The Monarch seems sad and doesn't want to come with her, though he says he'll join up again later. Dr. Girlfriend leaves without him just as King Gorilla opens the Monarch's gift. A carton of 'Manboro' cigarettes. Everyone at the party looks at him angrily.

Nobody told me!

Meanwhile at the Venture Compound Sgt. Hatred is having a heart to heart with Dean, who is rather upset about his father's condition.

... there just wasn't any more they could do for him.

They could have tried, darn it!

I know, I know, but he didn't have any insurance and, well, they wouldn't accept my Diner's Club- you gotta be strong for him now! You gotta buck up and be that super scientist he'd want you to be!

Okay. I'll- I'll try.

Good boy. Okay, Hank, hit it!

Hank lights up a spotlight which has a 'T' logo in it.

At Conjectural Technologies (Billy and Pete's trailer) Billy notices the light in the sky and exclaims happily that they're needed. They head out on an extremely expensive looking motorbike and sidecar. Billy calculates their arrival at the Venture Compound and they both initiate the separation sequence. Just as the road splits Billy and Pete's bikes separate and they continue to drive alongside each other but at slightly different elevations. Billy notes that this is the best 10 million bucks they've ever spent.

Billy and Pete then initiate the reintegration sequence, which basically just means the bikes join back together. They join together right as they enter the Venture Compound. However they fail to notice the main fountain. Billy attempts to initiate another separation sequence but they plunge into the fountain before that can happen.

Back in the Cocoon the henchmen are rather upset with Dr. Girlfriend, who is attempting to debrief them. 21 points out that with Sgt. Hatred's non-aversion to firearms (compared to Brock's) and the fact that now even HELPeR is packing heat they are not in a very good position.

We need body armor!

Well what's that you're wearing?

I had to buy this myself online! I'm out of pocket an AT-AT Walker, two Greedos and a land speeder. And not everyone here has Star Wars duplicates to sell on eBay. Half these guys weren't even born when Empire came out and the rest are barely makin' minimum wage!

You guys get paid?

And another thing, retractable wings, I mean, this is ridiculous! These things are big, clumsy, orange 'kill me' signs in the battlefield. And it's not like it's any better when we get back here! Every doorway in this Cocoon is tapered at the arch.

Dr. Girlfriend says the doors are staying but the wing thing might be up for consideration. 21 has a better solution. The Mark V Hench-suit, which will basically make any henchman a walking arsenal of ass kickery. Dr. Girlfriend rolls her eyes during the rather impressive presentation shrugs it off for more mundane business. 21 asks what will come of the suit and she points out that most of the technology either doesn't exist or is incredibly expensive. 21 asks why they don't rob a bank or ransom the moon to fund it. No, their operation is more specialized.

Just then the Monarch flies in on his brand new Butter-glider, which he notes is awesome but cost a fortune. All of the henchmen leave in disgust, though the Monarch takes no real notice of it. Dr. Girlfriend asks why the thing smells like french fries, which it turns out is because it runs on bio-diesel. Nice. The Monarch finally notices that all the henchmen are leaving the room.

I just got done explaining to them why we can't afford to buy them better equipment and you come riding in on that thing!

Honey, they're henchmen. You don't explain to them, they do your bidding! When you say 'jump' they say 'what shark?' You gotta be more ruthless.

Meanwhile back at the ol' Venture Compound Sgt. Hatred explains that Dr. Venture's condition (which seems to have worsened a little since he's completely unconscious now) is not due to henchmen but an MRI they ran at St. Sebastian's. Apparently Doc had some pieces of metal in his body. Whoops. Pete asks Billy if the bleeding spot on Dr. Venture's shoulder is the same place where he put the pins when he reattached his arm.

Okay! Come on, people! Differential diagnosis! What caused this partial paralysis in a terrifically unhealthy super-scientist Rusty's age. Stroke is the most likely culprit but let's try to think outside the box here.

He's hooked on House. We both are.

The x-ray showed no sign of spinal injury and the blood work ruled out snake bite, lime disease and red-toed shellfish poisoning as well as (I'm sorry on this one, Dean) lazy face.

Well it's still just a theory.

Ohh! How about gum? As every schoolboy knows it's undeniable medical fact that a piece of gum takes thirty years to digest. I'm guessing little Rusty here was a swallower back in the day and those Chiclets are finally coming home to roost.

[Pete looks at Hank for a second and then turns towards the white board]

Don't write that.

Hey, uh, don't you have one of those fancy machines that can just look inside him. You know, like with computers?

You mean... and MRI?


Billy does note that it would be a good idea to see inside of Dr. Venture... and for that they need a submarine! Pete is upset by how cliche the situation is, but Billy thinks that it's a classic.

How about a musical number?

On your metal wings, astride
With your glistening extra parts you glide
It's just you and I up here
Santa got it wrong with his eight reindeer

Ha! Butter-gliding!
No more hiding things that are wonderful
Ha! Butter-crying!
To be heard over petty jealousy!

Let's make loooove! Butter-glider!! Let's find a waaaay to grind!

And all our hot, butter-babies...
Will fly toooo the moooon.

Meanwhile inside the Venture Compound submarine bay the X-3 (the Venture submarine) seems to have disappeared. Sold perhaps? They wonder where exactly they'll find another right when... a submarine surfaces. It's a SPHINX vessel! Shoreleave and Brock exit with some prisoners. And fresh cockles. Yum!


No way! A thousand times no! I am not letting those clowns shrink my forty million dollar, secretly funded nuclear submarine to go fight the fucking Cavity Creeps!

Then, when our daddy dies, are you guys prepared to adopt us?

No, but I'd consider an extremely late-term abortion! Samson! What part of 'secret underground headquarters' does that square head of yours fail to grok?

Look they live next door, what am I supposed to do?

Wipe their pink little minds and send 'em back home like I told ya!

They discover us every other week, I can't keep doing that, it's starting to make 'em buggy. Look at this: Dean, what day is today?


Gooood. Now, Hank, what color is my tongue? [sticks out tongue]

Hmmmm, it's kind of... Wednesday. Like a light Wednesday.

Huh. Alright, fine, then you lead the mission.

Hey, now wait just a minute there, hot stepper, I'm leading this mission!

Nuh-uh, tubs, SPHINX sub, SPHINX mission. That's how it's gonna be.


Ahhh, you're doing it again! I'm tired of ya always Brock-blocking, Samson! I'm head of security, I'm the new sheriff of Venturetown, I wear the watch now!

That's my band. That's my watch band.

Yeah, well, finders-keepers! You shoulda thought of that before you pulled a Palin and adiosed with your new pals to chase pirates!

Those guys were pirates? Aw, admit it, you chased much cooler pirates around when you were on our team, Brock.


Listen up, you're Doc's bodyguard, right?

'Til they pry him from my cold, dean, huggin' hands!

Well who do you think's gonna guard Doc's body while we're inside it?


Of course!! This whole mission depends on you, sergeant! Our lives are all in those huggin' hands.

Well then what are we waitin' for!? Let's get this mission started right! Billy! Travel size 'em!

Next Shoreleave, Brock and the boys are in the sub and Billy shrinks them to microscopic size using the old shrink ray. Pete then sucks them into a syringe from off a microscope slide and injects them into Dr. Venture's neck.

Huh. Well that was easy.


Inside Dr. Venture Hank and Dean are reciting the lines from an old Operation commercial, which has apparently been going on for a while since Brock is rather unhappy with the predicament. Billy meanwhile tells them where to go as he and Pete bet on what is causing Dr. Venture's condition (Pete puts five on brain tumor). They ask if Sgt. Hatred wants in but he refuses. Just then they are interrupted by Shoreleave who notes that there is something big on the sub's sonar. They head toward the target, which is a big pile of something. According to Billy it's an embolism. Okay, now what?

At Casa De Monarch, Dr. Girlfriend is finishing up her pre-bedtime duties (mouthwash) and is about to get into bed when she bangs her knee on... something. Uh.

Angry she tells the Monarch to get it out of their bed, but she slaps away her hand when she tries to grab it. He accuses her of jealousy. She never supported him and Butter-glider!

Why do you have to put a label on everything!? Huh?! Why can't you just let me have this?!

Fine! You can- you can have your- ridiculous fucking Butter-glider! [she storms out]

[to the glider] She didn't mean that.

Back inside Dr. Venture everyone has donned some kind of fancy SCUBA (sounds funny) gear and some sweet lasers to take down the clot. Hank is busy lasering away when he connects with something that is distinctly not clot, but actually metal. Brock clears away more of the clot to reveal the old Venture Industries logo. Pop is a robot! Built by Grandpa Jonas. It all makes sense. Dean points out something even more telling where he's been clearing away clot:

Holy shit. So that's what happened to the sevens.


Now we're inside the Cocoon's lounge, bar and game area. Dr. Girlfriend, dressed in a trench coat, kerchief and sunglasses walks in. Someone has bought a drink for her. It's 21 apparently!

What's going on, I didn't order a drink.

No, but I did!

Wa- wait, that's impossible, no one can see you but me. Fuck, I am losing my mind.

You should go talk to her!

No! She openly mocked my body armor idea!

That because it was retarded!

You're the one who told me to pitch it!

Yeah, I also told you to find my real killers. How's that going, OJ? Look, just talk to her. You two need each other.

21 refuses but it doesn't matter anyway since Dr. Girlfriend has walked over. They briefly converse with 24 interrupting to say Dr. Girlfriend is hitting on 21. 21 shushes him and we see him put 24's skull onto the seat of the booth he is sitting at. Dr. Girlfriend reveals that she is fed up with the Monarch and his glider. The only thing he's ever been even that close to obsessed with has been Dr. Venture, so the deal is that 21 goes to get Dr. Venture and she'll look into getting the body armor and retractable wings. 21 thinks it's a good deal, but he might have a tough time selling it to the other henchmen. They're considering going on strike. Dr. Girlfriend smiles and says that maybe they should go on strike. Saucy!

At the Venture Compound, meanwhile, Dr. Venture's lazy face appears to have cleared up. Billy is excited enough to call for a high-five, which once again goes unrequited. Sgt. Hatred's watch beeps in alert. Intruder! He heads upstairs to check it out.

Inside Dr. Venture, meanwhile:

I still don't understand why anyone would want to steal our clothes, shrink themselves and drive a submarine into pop. It just doesn't make sense.

Yeah! And, and where were we while all of this was going on, huh?

Look, enough with the questions already, that's... exactly what happened! Okay?

Brock gets the old sub started (they left the parking break on) and Billy instructs them to follow Shoreleave to Doc's tear ducts for extraction. Hank asks to drive, but uhh, probably not the best idea.

Outside Sgt. Hatred comes face to face with a ton of Monarch henchmen lead by 21. He informs them that they're in the middle of a medical emergency and it's against Guild rules to arch in these circumstances. 21 agrees, but then notes that the henchmen aren't actually working for the Monarch what with being on strike and all. Sgt. Hatred drops his cigar and runs back towards the main building, screaming. He is shot with a large number of tranq darts and falls down but manages to enter the code into his watch to close the security doors on the building, get up, shoot a few henchmen, and bust through a window into the building.

Behind the henchmen a familiar figure beeps and rises above them.

Billy is about to extract everyone from Doc's tear duct when the security shutters in the lab all close and Sgt. Hatred runs in, freaking out. He rummages through a drawer and pulls out a large syringe and jabs it into his heart, letting out a scream.

Ahhh- I might be having a heart attack!! I am over weight, over fifty and I am speedballing tranq darts and pure adrenaline!!

Okay! You should maybe put the gun down!

Meanwhile Dr. Girlfriend is attempting to explain 21's behavior to the Monarch, saying that he ran off and said if the Monarch wasn't man enough to kill Dr. Venture, he was. The Monarch is of course enraged by this, especially since it has interrupted his lovely nighttime picnic with the Butter-glider.

HELPeR, meanwhile, has been compromised and is quickly deactivating the security system since 21 is sitting on top of him and aiming his own turret at him. How that happened I guess we'll never know, except for that it's HELPeR. The security doors all rise and Sgt. Hatred freaks out and starts to bring Doc into the panic room. At this moment the Monarch shows up and takes over for 21, who was just about to enter the building with the other henchmen. 21 bows and lets the Monarch go.

Sadly Brock and the boys are tumbling through Dr. Venture's body as Sgt. Hatred fights with Billy and Pete who insist on keeping him still on the table. Hatred is clearly not in his right mind, however, and starts to freak out even more, reciting his primary objective. That's all taken care of by a few dozen more tranq darts courtesy of the Monarch, who is now in the room, laughing.

Hahaha- you're not Hank and Dean! Who the hell are you?

Uhh, due to a medical emergency the parts of Hank and Dean will be played by Billy Quizboy and Pete White this evening.

Pete... White? Hey didn't you go to State?

Uhh, uh, yeah.

Yeah, yeah, you had that radio show, the White Zone, White Noise... something...

The White Room.

White Room! Right, yeah, yeah, yeah, no I used to listen to you!

Well I'm flattered-

Hah, small world, huh? Small, funny little world. Anyway!

The Monarch fires darts into Pete and Billy and hovers over to Dr. Venture, attempting to wake him up. However at this very moment the sub with Brock and the boys crashes into Doc's brain somewhere and he punches the Monarch. The sub then falls backwards into another section, causing Doc to sit up and open his eyes. The Monarch, thinking Doc has some fight in him, lassos him with a rope from the glider and flies out of the lab and into the night sky, dragging Dr. Venture behind him. Hatred comes to, grabs the shrink ray and follows. Out on the roof of the lab he switches the ray to 'grow' and fires at Doc as he and the Monarch pass by. Doc grows to an enormous size and falls to the ground, dragging the Monarch and the glider down with him.

In the aftermath we see Doc is larger than the entire compound and the Monarch's glider is broken. Sitting next to Dr. Venture's head we hear some metal noises and a massive tear drop forms above a speechless Monarch. Contained in the tear is the now normal sized SPHINX sub. Drip!

Roll end credits.

A establishing show shows it is now daytime at the Compound. A huge Dr. Venture sized hold surrounds the entire grounds. In the lab Pete is scanning a still unconscious Doc as Billy attempts to figure out where Brock and the boys are. Shoreleave is asleep in a chair next to them, in case you were worried.

I don't know, man, you're the neurosurgeon, you tell me.

Well, can you describe what you see?

Everything's all... Wednesday in here.

Pink. He means pink.

Oh yeah, that narrows it down.

Uh, it's kind of narrow and tubular. Soft looking, like a lily. But it's all streaky too, like meat.

It's exactly like a meat lily. Over.

[scanning] Okay I got 'em! They're in... they're in his prostate. So how do we get 'em out?

You gotta be kidding me.


  • The title of this episode is a parody of the 1997 book The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, which is a translation of the French memoir Le scaphandre et le papillon by journalist Jean-Dominique Bauby which details his life before and after a stroke he suffered in 1995. It was also adapted into a film in 2007.

  • Things we learn fairly quickly in this episode that were left open at the end of Pinstripes & Poltergeists: 21 and Brock are both fine and apparently survived the battle with Monstroso.

  • Seen at King Gorilla's party: Scorpio, who was a nemesis of Captain Sunshine seen in Handsome Ransom as well as Princess Tinyfeet, Sgt. Hatred's ex-wife (and... friend... of his former henchmen).

  • The Monarch refers to King Gorilla as "a gorilla suit with nobody in it wearing David Byrne's Stop Making Sense Suit" which is a reference to the oversized suit David Byrne wore in Stop Making Sense, a concert movie featuring Byrne's band Talking Heads. Byrne only actually wore the suit for one song during the concert, but a photo of him wearing it is utilized on the cover art for both the movie and album and it has become something of an icon for Byrne as well.

  • Pete and Billy have clearly utilized the insurance money they (perhaps) scammed as seen back in Handsome Ransom when they were dancing around with neck braces on. That check itself was for $10 million, so it seems all of it was spent on their rather impressive (it not excessive) bikes. The separation/reintegration sequence is a parody of multiple things, but most notably shows such as Voltron utilizing a lengthy and usually recycled animation in place of story or action.

    The Conjectural Technologies spotlight is of course a reference to the Bat Signal in case you somehow didn't get that.

  • During the debriefing 21 shouts 'pistolè' to quite the crowd. This is a reference to a scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark in which Marion Ravenwood is engaged in a drinking contest with a much larger woman. Ravenwood at first appears unable to finish one of her drinks and the crowd, who have been bets placed on the contest, begin to shout that it is over. Ravenwood quiets them by saying 'pistolè' similar to how 21 says it and proceeds to finish her drink (and subsequently win the contest on the next drink).

  • The Butter-glider is a reference to a tool utilized by classic Spider-Man villain the Green Goblin who is often depicted riding around on a 'Goblin Glider', which is similar to the Butter-glider except shaped less like a butterfly.

  • Pete mentions Billy reattached Dr. Venture's arm at some point, which is possibly a reference to when such a thing actually happened in Victor. Echo. November., though in that episode Doc lost his left arm, and in this episode his right shoulder is bleeding. So either that's an animation flub or it could also potentially be a reference to Powerless in the Face of Death from the same season where Doc was split into three pieces; his upper torso sans his right shoulder and arm, his right shoulder and arm and his lower half. It was never revealed how Doc got himself back together after that episode however. It could also be a reference to any other of the probably dozens of times Doc has had his arm cut off while off screen, but that's less fun.

  • Pete notes that he and Billy are both hooked on House which is a medical drama starring Hugh Laurie who plays Dr. Gregory House. The show itself is heavily inspired by Sherlock Holmes, so featured in almost every episode is a medical mystery which House (and his team) must solve when all other doctors have failed.

  • Hank has his tall tales crossed a bit. The myth about swallowed gum is that it takes seven years to digest, not thirty. As it turns out this old wives' tale is not true at all though it is interesting to note that the major component of gum (gum base) is indigestible by humans and will generally pass through your system unchanged. Not to say that it takes seven years to do that though; it's usually gone within a couple of days.

  • Hank suggesting that they need an 'aeronaut and an armored bear' in order to see inside Rusty is a reference to the novel Northern Lights (published as The Golden Compass in the United States). The novel contains a character named Lee Scoresby who is a skilled aeronaut (balloonist) and also armored bears which are basically exactly what they sound like: sentient bears who wear armor.

  • Billy and Pete briefly argue about Innerspace which is a 1987 film starring Martin Short and Dennis Quaid in which Quaid is part of a secret experiment to shrink a person (and submersible) down to a microscopic size and inject them into a rabbit. Of course Quaid ends up getting injected into Martin Short and a strange 80's sci-fi comedy film happens. The majority of all 'shrink and put them inside a person' storylines can be traced back to Fantastic Voyage which has been parodied and references in varying degrees by almost every serial piece of science fiction.

  • While trying to be convinced to shrink his submarine, Hunter mentions the Cavity Creeps, which is a reference to a some old animated 1980s Crest commercials where bad guys, named Cavity Creeps, would attempt to attack some giant teeth but were always thwarted by some smart kids wearing Crest uniforms and wielding Crest toothpaste. Or perhaps the teeth were just regular sized and everything else was microscopic. It's never really made clear. Anyway you can view a couple of the commercials here.

  • There have been numerous famous ads for Operation but the specific one Hank and Dean are reciting (more or less) is this one which is likely from the 70s.

  • Shore leave notes that the sonar is lighting up as of "Tony Manero is gonna dance all over it" which is a reference to the main character in Saturday Night Fever, specifically in reference to the light-up dance floor in 2001 Odyssey, the club where the film's most well known dance scenes take place.

  • If you want to get into medical stuff, here's more on embolisms, which are basically just clots (or potentially other objects) that travel through the bloodstream and become lodged in a blood vessel and block it. And clots are made of blood, essentially, or specifically platelets.

  • I don't even know why I'm bothering, but when 24 calls 21 'OJ' that is in reference to the OJ Simpson trial which ended back in 1995. Simpson was famously found not guilty and upon his release he vowed to find the real killers of the victims Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman.

  • Billy's request for a high-five (which Pete refuses) is a callback to "Are You There God It's Me Dean?" which contains roughly the same scene.

  • The 'Cupcakes' magazine Billy hands Pete at the end of the episode is the same magazine (though not the same issue) 24 finds in a flashback during Pinstripes & Poltergeists

Episode Cast

Patrick Warburton Brock Samson
Michael Sinterniklaas Dean Venture
Christopher McCulloch The Monarch
Hank Venture
Sgt. Hatred
Pete White
Hunter Gathers
Henchman 24
King Gorilla
Doc Hammer Dr. Mrs. The Monarch
Henchman 21
Billy Quizboy


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