The Venture Bros. Halloween special was all treats

Venture Bros - Halloween

It might be a few days after the spookiest day of the year (outside of Election Tuesday), but I finally watched ‘A Very Venture Halloween.’ This week’s CartoonClack is dedicated to why this show is just my cup of tea … or pillowcase full of candy, as it were.


This autumn has been a dark time in the Schenkel household. Between Community pushed back to February, DC Nation (which includes both Young Justice and Green Lantern) put on a surprise three month hiatus after only two weeks back and a bunch of my favorite shows like Legend of Korra still not back after their summer seasons, I’ve been pretty bummed out lately. Luckily, Adult Swim was kind enough to give me a little taste of the show that always keeps me waiting — The Venture Bros.

Look, the show is well worth waiting for, but that doesn’t make the couple years between seasons any easier to swallow. Last year we got a very brief, less-detailed animated short chronicling Hank’s band in a Behind the Music-eque documentary (narrated brilliantly by Bill Hader). Besides that, the last episode we got was the hour-long season four finale “Operation: P.R.O.M.,” which premiered on November 21, 2010. So yeah, after close to two years since the last season ended, I’ve been hungry for more from Astro Base Go! … which is why the Halloween special was a much needed treat.

I have a feeling “pleasure toast” is going to be a new inside joke for Venture Bros. fans.

The episode was chock full of characters thanks to three storylines of various significance (four if you count Dermot and Hank separate from Dean). Rusty and company betting on whether or not trick-or-treaters could get through the compound’s intense and homicidal defense systems was classic. Orpheus’ seance was heavy handed writing-wise, but having the Master (voice once again by the awesome H. Jon Benjamin) turn into a zombie-destroying Santa was a brilliant surprise (and I have a feeling “pleasure toast” is going to be a new inside joke for Venture Bros. fans). But the real bright spot of the special was Dean.

After four seasons, Dean Venture is finally coming into his own.

Last season we got to see Hank get out of his shell, but he didn’t quite develop into a more self-aware soon-to-be adult. I mean, he tried to take his middle-aged female mail carrier to prom. But the very last moments of the last season finale showed a hint of Dean getting a good dose of reality. So when I saw Dean in all black with the black hair and blasé attitude, I paused the episode to cheer a little. After four seasons, Dean Venture is finally coming into his own. This is only expanded when he meets the very Lebowski-like Ben (J.K. Simmons once again knocking it out of the park) and discovers the long-buried truth of his clonehood. His eventual acceptance of it and his choice to hide the painful revelation from his brother is just another reminder that The Venture Bros. isn’t afraid of genuine character’s growth.

While we still don’t have an air date for season five, the Halloween special was a friendly reminder of how much I love this show. It somehow balances very dark, adult humor with obscure pop culture references and just enough sincere storytelling. I’m very excited to see where Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer take us. Oh, and it was awesome to finally see former CliqueClacker Annie Wu’s name in the credits (she’s working on the color design for season five).

Photo Credit: Cartoon Network

One Comment on “The Venture Bros. Halloween special was all treats

  1. The Venture Bros rarely fails … any idea when season 5 will start?

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