|"A Very Venture Christmas"|
|The Venture Bros. episode|
"Are these the shadows of things that will be, or the things that may be only?"
|Directed by||Jackson Publick|
|Written by||Jackson Publick|
|Original air date||19 December 2004|
"A Very Venture Christmas" is a Christmas special in the first season of The Venture Bros. It is notable for having a runtime of only eleven minutes.
Dr. Venture stands in a snowy graveyard before a cloaked figure. The ominous specter points to a tombstone which is clearly inscribed "Dr. Thaddeus S. Venture". Venture falls to his knees before the grave, weeping and asking the spirit if it is meant to be his own grave. The figure removes its cloak to reveal that it is Brock, who responds with typical deadpan sarcasm. The scene dissolves to show Venture waking up in his bedroom, delighted that it was only a dream. He prances out to the balcony, where he asks a young boy (Hank dressed like Charlie Brown, complete with a pathetically small Christmas tree as in A Charlie Brown Christmas) below what day it is, to which he replies, "Duh! It's Christmas Day!" Venture dances with glee for several moments until his nose begins to glow, and he flies smoothly into the air. As he floats (suddenly in nothing but his underwear) over the compound, he calls out Christmas greetings to the X-1, Dr. Orpheus and even H.E.L.P.eR. (dressed as Tiny Tim), but ignoring a sad jack-in-the-box with Dean's head. Still soaring, Venture laughs maniacally until he crashes into a tree. He wakes up again to find his head resting on the remote control, cycling the television past a number of Christmas specials that affected his dreams.
As Venture shuffles into the kitchen, he greets Brock. The bodyguard has been trying to order a gift for Dean, who has proven difficult to shop for. Venture helpfully points out that the catalog Dean "accidentally" left lying around in a not-so-subtle hint is from 1976. Brock walks to his bedroom, where he finds Hank snooping in his closet looking for Christmas presents. Flustered at being caught, Hank pretends he was searching for the first thing he grabs, which turns out to be a handful of pornographic videos with Christmas themes. As he gapes at the covers of Frothy the Blowman, Jingle Balls, and Miracle on 69th Street, Brock quickly suggests Hank help him hang the Christmas lights. On the way out, Hank notices a decorative nativity scene on a table. He begins to place the baby Jesus figure in its manger, but Brock stops him - it is a Venture family tradition to place Jesus in the manger at midnight. After the two leave the room, one of the seemingly plastic figures quickly scrambles down the table leg. The Monarch congratulates the minuscule agent, Tiny Joseph, on his work by radio and explains his devious plan to Dr. Girlfriend. The table is rigged with C-4 explosives that will detonate when a prong on baby Jesus' back makes contact with the manger, leveling the Venture compound.
The scene changes to that night at the compound. Venture's Christmas party is in full swing, and the guests include Pete White, Master Billy Quizboy, the original Team Venture, Mandelay (from "The Incredible Mr. Brisby"), Richard Impossible and the obviously-pregnant Sally ("Ice Station – Impossible!"), Sasquatch and Steve Summers ("Home Insecurity"). White, with a sprig of mistletoe dangling from a strap around his head, begins flirting with an unimpressed Triana Orpheus. The mistletoe disintegrates in a puff of smoke as White notices Dr. Orpheus glaring at him. As Pete wisely moves away, Orpheus humiliates Triana by announcing to the room that his daughter's virginity is not up for grabs. Venture expresses surprise that a necromancer is attending a Christmas party, but Orpheus explains that it is a quaint if laughable bit of nonsense he enjoys.
In the kitchen, Dean is disappointed with the Christmas stories from the toll lines he has called. Since it is another tradition to have a good story for Christmas, he and Hank grab one of Orpheus' mystical books. They open to a page at random and Dean begins to read the unfamiliar words aloud. Orpheus rushes in to stop the incantation, but is too late.
The front door bursts open to admit a horrid, green-skinned supernatural creature with horns, pointed ears and two screaming children in a container strapped to his back. As it begins prowling menacingly among the puzzled guests, Orpheus explains to Venture that it is the Krampus, a Germanic demon that accompanied Saint Nicholas in olden times. While Nicholas rewarded the good children with presents, Krampus meted out punishment to the bad children. The Pope had imprisoned the Krampus in Purgatory during Vatican II, but Orpheus has no power to banish it, and it will remain until it has performed its duty by punishing the wicked. Suddenly the creature begins assaulting Dr. Venture, first by battering him and then by attempting to sodomize him through his jumpsuit. Venture calls Brock for help, who storms in dressed as Santa Claus and hurls himself upon the Krampus ("Hey fancy pants; I've been naughty."). After a few moments of battle, the clock strikes midnight and the demon abruptly stands and walks towards the door. On his way past, he picks up the baby Jesus figure and drops it into the manger - and a massive explosion destroys the building.
Once more, Dr. Venture emerges from a dream...this time on board the X-1 with a rectal thermometer in place. Brock calmly explains that Venture hit his head and was unconscious for a while. The plane has crashed, however, in Bethlehem. In fact, they have crashed into the Church of the Nativity, almost fully destroying the structure. All they can do is wait, Brock says, to see whether the Israelis or the Palestinians get to them first. Dr. Venture then calmly replies, in a topical statement, that the X-1 runs on plutonium and that if the Palestinians really do find them first, they'll love the Venture family for bringing the X-1 to them.
Cultural references Edit
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- The Christmas specials that are parodied in the opening sequence include: A Charlie Brown Christmas, A Christmas Carol, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, It's a Wonderful Life and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
- The "An AstroBase Go! Special Presentation" tag that preceded this episode is a near-exact recreation of the "Special Presentation" tag that CBS used from 1973-1992 for its animated specials and other special programming.
- A Krampus is a mythological being native to Austria who helps Father Christmas by dealing with the bad children, usually just beating them rather than having an overzealous libido.
- Dr. Orpheus references the Wookiee Life Day, which is from The Star Wars Holiday Special.
- The pornographic Christmas movies Hank finds while looking inside Brock's closet are references to classic Christmas movies: Miracle on 69th Street (Miracle on 34th Street), Frothy the Blowman (Frosty the Snowman), Jingle Balls (a reference to the popular Christmas song "Jingle Bells"), and Rudolph the Redknobbed Reindeer (Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer).
- The scene where Dr. Orpheus attempts to keep Dean from speaking by "magic-ing" a bolted metal plate around his mouth is taken from the movie Beetlejuice. A similar incident occurred in the origin of Marvel Comics character Dr. Strange, whom Orpheus greatly resembles, when Baron Mordo rendered Strange incapable of revealing Mordo's scheme.
- The final line of the incantation with which Dean summons the Krampus is the "Charm of Making" from the movie Excalibur.
- The Bethlehem sign that Brock holds up on board the X-1 has Arabic characters written on it. Though the word has no meaning in Arabic, it phonetically spells, "Hallelujah".
- While on the phone trying to order a present for Dean from the catalog he left lying around, Brock asks if the Jokermobile is still available. This was a vehicle produced by the Mego Corporation in the 1970's for their Joker action figure.
Connections to other episodesEdit
- Several minor characters from previous episodes can be seen at the Christmas party.
- Sally Impossible is seen visibly pregnant in the background, which is a reference to the after-credits scene from "Ice Station – Impossible!". The first appearance of the child, named Rocket, was in "Twenty Years to Midnight".
- Also in the background at the venture Christmas party, the Mexican wrestler from "Dia de Los Dangerous!" can be seen still clutching Brock's black shirt.
- At the moment Dr. Orpheus hears Dean reading the incantation, Dr. Venture can be heard bragging that "the last chapter has yet to be written on the subject of 'spider bots'"- a reference to the giant robot spider eye seen in the opening credits and later in the season two episode, "Fallen Arches", though in that episode Dr. Venture called the construct a "Walking Eye".
- Although this episode is primarily a dream, many of the events and characteristics of the appearing characters appear surprisingly accurate. For example, Tiny Joseph reappears in "Powerless in the Face of Death", where it turns out he really was in the employ of the Monarch. He is still named Tiny Joseph in the episode's credits.
- Brock mentions to Dr. Venture that he is giving Hank his old bass. Hank plays what is presumably the same bass in "Dr. Quymn, Medicine Woman" and "Tears of a Sea Cow".
Production notes Edit
- This episode takes place before "The Trial of the Monarch" and after "Past Tense". It was broadcast after "Return to Spider-Skull Island" (the last episode of the first season) and before "Powerless in the Face of Death" (the beginning of the second season).
- Jackson Publick stated part of the reason the special ran so short was due to budgetary constraints. The runtime is also consistent with other quarter-hour long animated comedies shown on Adult Swim, the Cartoon Network programming block under which Venture Bros. airs in the United States.
- One of the animation directors (Kimson Albert) gets to have a "nickname" inserted into his credits. The nickname is an unusual line or word from the preceding episode. For "A Very Venture Christmas" the credit reads Kimson "Tiny Joseph" Albert.
| Preceded by:|
"Return to Spider-Skull Island"
| The Venture Bros. episodes|
December 19, 2004
| Followed by:|
"Powerless in the Face of Death"