"I Know Why the Caged Bird Kills"
The Venture Bros. episode
Episode no. Season 2
Episode 10
Directed by Jackson Publick
Written by Jackson Publick
Doc Hammer
Production code 223
Original air date 24 September 2006
Guest Stars
Episode Chronology
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List of The Venture Bros. episodes

I Know Why the Caged Bird Kills is the tenth episode of Season 2 and the overall twenty-third episode of The Venture Bros.

The episode introduces a new supervillain, Dr. Henry Killinger, as well as Myra Brandish (who may or may not be the mother of Hank and Dean Venture). During the episode, Myra kidnaps Hank and Dean in order to get them away from (what she perceives as) the negative lifestyle they live with their father, Doctor Thaddeus Venture. Dr. Venture and Doctor Byron Orpheus take a road trip to discover why Dr. Venture is haunted by an oni, and Dr. Killinger helps reunite The Monarch with his ex-girlfriend, Dr. Girlfriend.

The title of the episode mimics the title of Maya Angelou's autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.[1] The episode shares certain themes with the book as well. Angelou's book is a harrowing narrative about children who are taken from their parents and sent to live with relatives. The children are abused and struggle with their identity. The image of a caged bird is used throughout the work to typify the struggle against oppression. In this episode of The Venture Bros., the audience learns that Hank and Dean Venture were taken from their mother at a young age, their mother alleges they are abused by their new guardians, the boys continue to struggle to find their identity in the real world, and Myra has been repeatedly imprisoned in a psychiatric hospital and struggles to free herself. Maya Angelou is explicitly mentioned in the episode.

Plot synopsisEdit

The episode begins with a cold open in which The Monarch raids what he thinks is a secret Venture compound, only to discover he has mistakenly attacked his own accountant's office. The Monarch allows his henchmen to steal office supplies before demanding that they also take the security tape so that he may post it as a QuickTime video on his homepage.

After the title sequence, Dr. Venture is shown visiting Dr. Orpheus's apartment (located on the Venture compound). Venture, recently returned from Japan, complains of a Japanese oni (a demon-like entity) hanging above his head. He is relieved that Dr. Orpheus can also see the oni, since Brock Samson (Venture says) could not see it and was convinced it was merely a side-effect of Dr. Venture's use of diet pills. Orpheus's initial attempt to exorcise the demon fails, and he announces he must consult his Master. Meanwhile, Henchman #21 and Henchman #24 address a meeting of The Monarch's henchmen. They conclude that the raid's failure was one of weaponry, and try to convince The Monarch that the henchmen should henceforth wear "pedi-blades" (ice skates with very sharp blades). The Monarch argues with the two henchmen, claiming that the organization suffers from poor planning. Suddenly, Dr. Henry Killinger appears in the back of the auditorium, agreeing with The Monarch. Back at the Venture compound, Dean Venture is practicing his driving skills on the compound's runway. They come upon a car which appears to be broken down, and stop to investigate. They are startled to see an apparently unconscious woman. When the boys approach her, she sits up and sprays them with a gas which renders them both unconscious.

In a 29-second transitional scene, Dr. Orpheus arrives in the netherworld, where The Master is reenacting the alleged death during bestiality of Catherine the Great with the help of his multi-faced assistant, Ms. Manyface, to teach Orpheus a lesson about "biting off more than you can chew." At The Monarch's cocoon headquarters, Dr. Killinger suggests that The Monarch has too many staff doing too little work, so The Monarch orders Killinger's tall, athletic, menacing Blackguards to kill two of them (which they do). Henchmen #21 and #24 complain to one another about the changes Killinger has made, and The Monarch gives Killinger access to his classified files on Dr. Venture. Back at the Venture compound, Brock Samson discovers Dean's abandoned automobile and goes to look for the two missing teens. Dr. Venture and Dr. Orpheus arrive, following the oni. Venture attempts to get rid of the oni by locking it in the car's trunk, but the oni starts the car and drives around in a circle—dragging Venture behind the vehicle. A bruised and chagrined Venture and a bemused Orpheus agree they should get in the car and let the oni take them to where it wants to go. Meanwhile, at a meeting attended by The Monarch, his henchmen, and Dr. Killinger, #21 and #24 try to rally the henchmen against Killinger, poking fun at Killinger's body shape. An angry Monarch orders #24 taken to the "Chamber of a Thousand Torments," but Killinger asks for a few minutes alone with #24 to change his mind without torture.

That evening, the oni-driven car finally stops outside a "cheap motel" in a flat, arid area. When Dr. Orpheus suggests that the oni wants them to rest there for the night, Dr. Venture accuses Orpheus of trying to seduce him so that they might engage in homosexual intercourse. Orpheus denies this, and the oni drives them into the motel parking lot. Elsewhere that evening, Brock Samson and H.E.L.P.eR. take Brock's car in an attempt to locate Hank and Dean, debating the merits of the rock band Led Zeppelin (whose music H.E.L.P.eR. dismisses as "jock rock" about little more than hobbits) along the way. Brock's wristwatch device tracks the boys' wristwatch devices to a dumpster. Alarmed, Brock swiftly digs through trash (believing the boys' bodies might lie within), but instead finds only the two wristwatch devices. The devices display the message "The Boys..." and "Are Mine!" Brock exclaims, "Oh crap, Myra's back" just before the explosives the devices are wired to detonate. In the next scene, Hank and Dean wake in a run-down room in an unknown location, bound with rope and lying on a dirty mattress. A woman quietly sings a lullaby in the next room, and bursts through the door when she realizes the teens are awake. The woman is Myra Brandish, a crazed-looking, leather-clad, buxom woman with a lined and aged face in contrast to her physically fit body. She hugs the boys (pressing her breasts into their faces), and declares that she is their mother.

After the commercial break, Henchman #21 convinces the Blackguards to let him see #24 (who is locked in his room, happily reading a pornographic magazine). #21 says he is there to rescue #24, but #24 says he now appreciates what Dr. Killinger is trying to accomplish. #21 declares that Killinger knows nothing about honor or "living by the sword," calls #24 brainwashed and a "pod person," and leaves. Back in the dingy room, Myra tries to convince the boys that she is their mother. Hank makes some startling revelations about the boys' previous kidnappings, and Myra shouts her hatred of Dr. Venture. At The Monarch's cocoon, Dr. Killinger sleeps with his "magic murder bag" handcuffed to his wrist. Henchman #21 quietly enters Killinger's bedroom, and—having attached toy versions of Spider-Man's web-shooters to his wrists—attempts to steal Killinger's magic murder bag. Killinger wakes and has a Blackguard drag off #21 (who screams "Semper Fidelis Tyrannosaurus!", or "always faithful terrible lizard"). At the motel, Dr. Orpheus obtains snacks and some mercurochrome antiseptic for Dr. Venture, and the two men decide to jointly rent a skin flick. At The Monarch's cocoon, #21 is escorted by a Blackguard to #21's room. As #21 reveals that he gets extensive flatulence when stressed, the Blackguard reveals that he is #24. #21 tries to hypnotize #24 into letting him go. The attempt fails, but #24 lets him go anyway.

Meanwhile, Myra tells Hank and Dean that she used to be an agent fresh out of the Office of Secret Intelligence (OSI) academy who was assigned to protect Dr. Venture. She also fell in love with him. After saving his life during an assassination attempt, Myra and Venture made love in Venture's new car. Myra claims that this night of passion led to Hank and Dean's birth nine months later. The action now shifts to a road in the woods. In an attempt to break Dr. Killinger's hold on The Monarch's organization, #21 has convinced The Monarch's ex-girlfriend, Doctor Girlfriend, to return to the cocoon with him in #24's Nissan Stanza. They converse as they drive off into the distance. Simultaneously, Brock Samson flies overhead with the aid of H.E.L.P.eR. (who has sprouted helicopter blades from his head and feet), following the tire tracks of the suspected kidnapper using the infrared capabilities of the robot. Brock reveals that Myra is insane and has kidnapped (and harmed) Hank and Dean several times in the past. H.E.L.P.eR. quotes Maya Angelou on the subject (although Brock thinks he was quoting Shel Silverstein at first).

The next morning, the oni has started the car and is ramming the trunk of the vehicle against the motel wall to waken Dr. Venture and Dr. Orpheus. The audience finally is shown that the room in which Myra is holding Hank and Dean is in the same motel where Dr. Venture spent the night. Myra is still ranting about Dr. Venture (even as Hank and Dean attempt to sleep while sitting up), and reveals that Hank and Dean are 19 years old. Just then, many cats begin to enter the room, which Myra says are Hank and Dean's "brothers and sisters." Realizing the boys (like the cats) are probably hungry, Myra attempts to breastfeed the two teenagers (who resist). An alarm goes off, and Myra grabs a shotgun and races out of the room. Myra arrives in the reception area of the motel, where Dr. Orpheus is revealed to be the one causing the ringing of the bell. Orpheus says he and his friend would like to check out, and gestures toward Dr. Venture sitting in the car outside. Enraged at the sight of her former lover, Myra attacks Orpheus and begins beating him while Venture (listening to music in the vehicle) remains unaware of the battle going on just a few feet away through the clear window.

At The Monarch's cocoon headquarters, Dr. Girlfriend and #21 attempt to gain entry unnoticed. Dr. Girlfriend is able to pass through laser alarm beams (which she installed) using gymnastics, but #21's girth and lack of flexibility trips the alarm. Several Blackguards attack, and Dr. Girlfriend easily kills them. She leaves the hapless #21 behind, who confesses aloud that he is falling in love with her before farting profusely.

Back at the cheap motel, Myra has vanquished Dr. Orpheus, tied up Dr. Venture, and put all three Ventures into Venture's car. Myra caustically wonders why Dr. Venture won't talk to her. Dr. Venture reveals to Hank and Dean that Myra once tried to burn down their house, and says that his lawyer has advised him not to talk to Myra. She angrily knocks Dr. Venture unconscious with the butt of her shotgun. Just then, Brock and H.E.L.P.eR. land in the motel parking lot. Myra runs over them both with the car. As she speeds down the highway (whispering "ten and two, ten and two"), Brock gets up, stands in the middle of the road, faces away from the retreating vehicle, and adopts a Zen-like position. Seeing him, Myra turns the car around and attempts to run Brock down. At the last second, Brock leaps into the air and flies through the car's windshield—his outstretched arm holding Dr. Venture in his seat as the vehicle decelerates, and his crooked arm automatically taking hold of the steering wheel. His body crushes Myra into the seat, where she moans, "I feel like Catherine the Great." Back in the motel, Dr. Orpheus is surrounded by Myra's adoring cats.

At The Monarch's headquarters, The Monarch reacts incredulously to Dr. Killinger's plans for a summit meeting with Dr. Venture in the spirit of détente and realpolitik. With little warning, Killinger pushes The Monarch aside just as Dr. Girlfriend drops from the ceiling. Dr. Killinger tells The Monarch that Dr. Girlfriend is there to rescue him from loneliness, then opens his magic murder bag and produces a bouquet of flowers for The Monarch to give to Dr. Girlfriend. Dr. Killinger also produces The Monarch's journal for Dr. Girlfriend, and tells her that The Monarch's "love for you is spelled out on every page." Using his magic umbrella, Killinger locks the two of them in the room and says they will not be released until they have reached a compromise. Opening his umbrella, he flies upward like Mary Poppins (but gets caught on something off-camera and asks for assistance).

Back in the Ventures' car, Brock tells Hank and Dean that Myra used to be "Powerkat" on the television program American Gladiators. When the show was cancelled, she went insane. Every few years, Brock says, she breaks out of her psychiatric hospital and either kidnaps the boys, tries to kill Dr. Venture, or burns down the house. When Dean questions why they don't remember her, Brock nearly reveals that the boys are clones, but then trails off without answering him. Hank and Dean feel they are not getting the truth, and Dr. Venture angrily exclaims, "All right! So I f(bleep)ked her! What of it!?"

After the closing credits run, a post-credits scene depicts Dr. Killinger (offscreen) whistling and calling the oni to him. The trunk of Dr. Venture's car opens, and the oni flies up into the air to rendezvous with a hovering Killinger. The oni seems to moan disconsolately. Killinger says that the oni failed to reunite Brandish and Venture, but that it did manage to save the boys. Killinger concludes by saying: "Compromise, my friend, is the essence of diplomacy, and diplomacy is the cornerstone of love." Killinger then flies off, sighing in a singsong voice, "Sweeeet love..."

Cultural referencesEdit

  • Dr. Henry Killinger is an amalgam of at least two characters, one real and one not. The first is Dr. Henry Kissinger, the German-born American political scientist and diplomat who served as National Security Advisor and later concurrently as Secretary of State under President Richard Nixon. His role as a critical advisor to Nixon during the Vietnam War (and in particular his strong advocacy of a secret massive bombing campaign in Cambodia and Laos beginning in 1970)[2] led protestors against the war to give him the nickname "Dr. Death."[3] Kissinger's heavy German accent, which many people find difficult to understand, is a widely recognized trait of his.[4] Kissinger was notably short, paunchy, and not athletic,[5] and his wide-hipped, obese physique has been parodied before by the Monty Python comedy troupe in the song, "Henry Kissinger."[6] Killinger also derives many characteristics from the fictional character of Mary Poppins, most notably the use of a magical umbrella which enables him to fly and the "magic murder bag" (similar to Poppin's "magic carpet bag").[7] Killinger, like the title character in most of the Mary Poppins stories, arrives in a male-dominated and dysfunctional setting; has magic powers; is kind but brusque, efficient, and business-like; and understands the emotional and living needs of the main characters far better than they themselves do.[7]
  • Dr. Killinger's black-and-red mask (see infobox, above) depicts the outline of a human skull but also contains delicate, curving lines similar to Maori facial tattooing.[8] Such facial tattooing was usually adopted only by high-status, adult Maori men in their 30s,[8] which might also possibly indicate Killinger's status (either among supervillains or magicians). Evidence for this may be found in the third season episode "The Doctor Is Sin," where Dr. Orpheus admits that Killinger is "somewhat more magical" than himself or The Alchemist. The Maori do not believe that facial tattoos have magic qualities,[9] while Killinger clearly has magical abilities and devices.
  • The film's cold open, in which The Monarch's flying cocoon headquarters attacks his accountant's office, is reminiscent of The Crimson Permanent Assurance short film which is both prologue to and "attacks" the "main feature" in the motion picture, Monty Python's The Meaning of Life.[10] In The Crimson Permanent Assurance, accountants create a pirate ship out of their building in the film's prologue, and then midway through the film the "supporting feature" "attacks" the feature film (e.g., the accountants, swinging on ropes, burst through the windows of a modern skyscraper and attack an office of modern business executives).
  • The Monarch's demand that his entrance during the attack on the accounting office be filmed, and refilmed when they attack the Venture compound, is similar to General Douglas MacArthur's insistence that his wading ashore at the Philippines on October 20, 1944, be filmed and re-filmed until the publicity-seeking MacArthur was satisfied.[11]
  • Henchman #21's suggestion that The Monarch's henchmen adopt "pedi-blades" (ice skates) as a weapon is similar to the use of ice skates as a weapon in the 1981 James Bond film, For Your Eyes Only. The weapons prove just as ineffective in this episode as in that motion picture.
  • Dean Venture and Myra Brandish repeatedly murmur "ten and two...ten and two" while driving. This is a reference to the safe-driving practice (commonly taught in American driver's education courses) of placing the hands at the 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock positions on the steering wheel.[12]
  • While backing up in his car, Dean Venture imitates the beeping sound of an OSHA-required commercial vehicle "backing-up" alarm (adopted in the United States by regulation in 1980).[13]
  • The scene where Hank and Dean find a blonde woman in a red dress unconscious in the road is reminiscent of a similar scene in the 1978 motion picture Superman. In that scene, Lex Luthor has his accomplice, Eve Teschmacher, wear a red dress and blond wig and pretend to be injured after an automobile accident (so that Luthor's other accomplice, Otis, can reprogram the nuclear missile Luthor intends to use in his plot to destroy California).
  • The Master appears as Catherine the Great's horse, in a reference to a legend in which the Russian ruler was allegedly crushed to death when her servants lowered a horse on top of her during an attempt to engage in bestiality.[14]
  • Henchman #24 mentions that Dr. Killinger's Blackguards have "removed the Tekken 3 game from the lounge." He is referring to the Tekken 3 fighting video game, released in 1998—almost a decade prior to this episode.[15]
  • The black guards serving the Monarch bear resemblance to the BATs (Battle Android Troopers) from G.I. Joe season 2.
File:Bates Motel.jpg
  • The design of the "cheap motel" at which the oni stops (and where Myra Brandish has hidden Hank and Dean Venture) is similar in design to the Bates Motel in Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 horror film, Psycho.[16] Both are single-story wood frame structures; both are set beside a two-lane highway in a flat, desert-like area; both feature a large neon sign set many feet in the air on metal legs; both structures have an L-shaped design; and both have single-door cabins set in a long row with windows (each Bates Motel room has a double-window, but the rooms in this motel are one long window).
  • Brock Samson claims that Led Zeppelin's lyrics are about love, longing, and hobbits—a reference to the Led Zeppelin songs "Ramble On" (from the 1969 album Led Zeppelin II), "Misty Mountain Hop" (from the band's untitled 1971 album, commonly referred to as Led Zeppelin IV), and "The Battle of Evermore" (also from Led Zeppelin IV), all of which contain references to the works of J. R. R. Tolkien.[17]
  • Myra Brandish sings the song "Hush, Little Baby," a traditional lullaby, while preparing for the boys to wake.
  • While speaking in baby-talk gibberish to Dean Venture, Myra Brandish keeps calling him "Jimmy Dean," a reference to the late country music singer, actor, and purveyor of his own brand of Jimmy Dean Sausages (also mentioned by Myra)
  • Henchman #24 says Dr. Killinger is a "great guy," and compares him to the title character on the Mr. Belvedere sitcom (broadcast on the ABC network in the U.S. from 1985 to 1990). Mr. Belvedere was an English butler who helped his dysfunctional American family overcome various obstacles and become more civilized,[18] similar to the service Dr. Killinger performs for The Monarch and his henchmen in this episode.
  • Henchman #21 declares that Dr. Killinger has no idea what it means to "live by the sword." This is possibly a reference to the teachings of the Chinese philosopher and warrior Sun Tzu.[19] But it may also be referring to the Biblical phrase (attributed to Jesus) "Live by the sword, die by the sword," which may be interpreted as how a person lives their life affects their destiny or that those who live by violence will die by violence.[20]
  • Henchman #21, alarmed at the way #24 has come to see Dr. Killinger in a positive way, calls him a "pod person," a reference to the 1956 science fiction film Invasion of the Body Snatchers.[21] In that film, invading aliens land six-foot (two metre) long pods on Earth and place them in people's homes. A duplicate of each human being grows in each pod, taking on the original person's memories. The pod person, who declares there is no invasion and nothing is wrong, then kills and disposes of the original individual.
  • While trying to convince Hank and Dean that she is their mother, Myra becomes distracted and says, "So true, funny how it seems, always in time but never not for dreams." She then cries "I bought a ticket to the world, but now I've come back again!" These the first lyrics and chorus to the Spandau Ballet song "True" (from the 1983 album of the same name) respectively.
  • When Myra tells the boys that she is their mother, they are disinclined to believe her. She then says, "Search your feelings boys, you know it to be true!" This statement is very similar to a scene in the film The Empire Strikes Back, where Darth Vader tells Luke Skywalker that he is Luke's father. Luke, too, rejects Vader's claim, but Vader responds, "Search your feelings. You know it to be true."[22]
  • Myra Brandish shouts "Rusty, why have you forsaken me?" This is a paraphrase of one of the sayings of Jesus on the cross, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
  • The Spider-man web-shooters which Henchman #21 has strapped to his wrists (and which he uses to attack Dr. Killinger) seem to be the Triple Action Web Blaster developed by Toy Biz, the toy division of Marvel Entertainment.[23] Both the real-world toy and the devices in this episode feature a can of silly string in red with black spider-web markings in a dark blue holder strapped to the wrist and activated by a toggle which lies in the palm.
  • Henchman #21 screams "Semper fidelis tyrannosaurus!" ("Always faithful terrible lizard!") as he is dragged out of Dr. Killinger's room. As Killinger notes, #21 meant to say "Sic semper tyrannis" ("thus always to tyrants"), a phrase used by the murderers of the Roman dictator Julius Caesar in the 1599 William Shakespeare play of the same name as well as by John Wilkes Booth during the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.[24]
  • Dr. Venture and Dr. Orpheus agree to jointly rent a pornographic film, probably via pay-per-view on their motel television (a service a large number of hotels and motels in the United States offer).[25]
  • Myra bemoans her failed romantic relationship with Dr. Venture by saying she broke the rules, and then quotes the rules: "Never let your guard down. Never let them out of your sight. Never fall in love." This is a not-quite-verbatim quote of similar rules from the 1992 romantic-thriller film The Bodyguard.[26]
  • During the assassination attempt on Dr. Venture (during which a young Myra Brandish saves his life), Dr. Venture is dressed as the Roman god Mercury. The Ford Motor Company produces cars under the brand name Mercury, which are also named after the Roman God Mercury.
  • Myra Brandish's black costume has a number of seams, hems, and other stitches in it in odd places, similar to the costume which Selina Kyle (Catwoman) created out of a black plastic raincoat in the 1992 movie Batman Returns.[27]
  • Henchman #21, upset that he has had to use #24's Nissan Stanza to retrieve Dr. Girlfriend, bemoans that the car "doesn't even burn nitrous." This refers to the use of nitrous oxide in high-performance racing vehicles to improve engine performance.[28]
  • While driving with Dr. Girlfriend, #21 says that he once helped paint #24's Stanza with tempera paint, and when it rained the paint ran—making the vehicle appear as if it had been tie-dyed.[29]
  • Henchman #21 tries to get Dr. Girlfriend to recall spin art, an art genre popular in the 1960s. Spin Art was also the brand name of a popular toy (marketed by Rapco) which produced this kind of art.[30] Spin art was a popular form of entertainment at carnivals in the United States in the 1960s as well. #21 mentions that he used to go to Six Flags Magic Mountain and make spin art.
  • Myra Brandish apparently is a cat hoarder. Cat hoarding afflicts women three times more often than men, and cat hoarders often see their animals as a surrogate family (much as Myra does).[31] Cat hoarders believe they are rescuing their cats, and do not realize that they also are endangering them[31] (a situation similar to the relationship Myra has with Hank and Dean).
  • The conference room Dr.Killinger set up bears a similarity to the conference room from the Stanley Kubrick movie Dr. Strangelove.

Connection to other episodesEdit

  • Dr. Henry Killinger has a minor speaking role in the second season two-part finale "Showdown at Cremation Creek (Part I)" and "Showdown at Cremation Creek (Part II)" as the person who officiates at the wedding of The Monarch and Dr. Girlfriend. He later is a main character in the third season episode "The Doctor Is Sin," where he helps Dr. Venture overcome his sense of failure by trying to turn him into a supervillain.
  • One of The Monarch's henchmen is seen using a netgun during the mistaken raid on The Monarch's accountant's office. Earlier in the season, in the episode "Hate Floats," Brock Samson says he has never seen a netgun which actually works. (He was admiring Phantom Limb's netgun, which did work.)
  • Dr. Byron Orpheus is seen petting his cat, Simba, in this episode. The fact that he had a cat was first depicted in the season one episode, "Eeney, Meeney, Miney... Magic!"
  • Dr. Venture tells Dr. Orpheus that Brock Samson could not see the oni, and chalked its alleged existence up to "the diet pills." Dr. Venture was first seen ingesting diet pills in the season one episode "Careers in Science." Other characters in the show have also assumed that Venture is addicted to diet pills, as noted by Roy Brisby in "The Incredible Mr. Brisby" and Professor Richard Impossible in "Ice Station – Impossible!"
  • The existence of a doorway to another dimension ("the Necropolis") in a closet in Triana Orpheus' bedroom was first revealed in the second season episode, "Escape to the House of Mummies Part II" Dr. Orpheus wipes the memories of the closet from Triana's mind to protect her in that episode, and would do so again in the season four episode, "The Better Man."
  • This is the second appearance of Dr. Orpheus' mentor, The Master. He first appeared as the mythological creature Cerberus in the second season episode, "Escape to the House of Mummies Part II"
  • Hank Venture worries that Myra Brandish will touch Dean and himself "inappropriately." When Dean says that has never happened, Hank reminds him that Sergeant Hatred did so previously, alluding to Hatred's ongoing problem with pedophilia—mentioned in the third season episodes "Home Is Where The Hate Is" and "The Buddy System" and explored more fully in the fourth season episodes "Handsome Ransom," "Return to Malice," "The Revenge Society," and "Self-Medication." (Dean did not remember the sexual abuse, Hank says, because Dean was passed out from drinking too much wine.)
  • Hank also says that "most" of his sexual experiences with Sgt. Hatred "were awful," implying that some of them were enjoyable. This is not the first time Hank has admitted to enjoying homosexual sex, as this was also implied in the second season episode "Guess Who's Coming to State Dinner?"
  • It is not surprising that #21 has toy Spider-man web-shooters in his possession. #21 first revealed that he had a closet full of collectible comic book-related toys and memorabilia in the first season episode "Are You There, God? It's Me, Dean" and again in the second season episode "Hate Floats."
  • Dr. Venture agrees to watch a hard-core pornographic film with Dr. Orpheus. The last time he attempted to watch such a movie was in the episode "Victor. Echo. November." Venture watched The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas thinking that it was pornography, not knowing it is actually a musical.
  • Henchmen #21 admits that he once passed out and suffocated Mr. Mostly Mittens, The Monarch's cat. Mr. Mostly Mittens would be mentioned again (and seen, in stuffed form), in the season four episode, "Return to Malice."
  • The car which Dean Venture is learning to drive in is the same car Dr. Venture was unveiling to the public during the assassination attempt, and the same car which Dr. Venture and Myra Brandish made love in. The vehicle can be identified by the "Venture Industries" signage along the running board.
  • Henchman #24's Nissan Stanza is seen once again. It was first seen in the episode "Hate Floats," then mentioned in "Victor. Echo. November.," then seen being stolen by a prostitute two episodes previously in "Fallen Arches."
  • Myra's claim that Hank and Dean are 19 years old naturally confuses the two boys, who believe they are 16 years old. The boys are unaware that they are clones and have died at least 13 times, as revealed in the season two premiere, "Powerless in the Face of Death."
  • Myra also mentions "the lie machine" that Hank and Dean sleep in, a reference to the chambers they sleep in at night which subliminally provide them with education (as first seen in the first season episode "Home Insecurity") and keep them from attending a regular school.
  • Myra calls Dr. Orpheus "Dracula." That is a common epithet many people use to describe him; Dean Venture first used it in the episode "Eeney, Meeney, Miney... Magic!"
  • Henchman #21's love (or lust) for Dr. Girlfriend forms in this episode. It is discussed in greater detail in the season four episode "Pinstripes & Poltergeists."
  • While accusing Orpheus of attempting to seduce him in the car, Dr. Venture says Orpheus is trying to get him out of his "speedsuit." Venture mentioned the speedsuit (which is really just a jumpsuit) previously in the episode "Hate Floats" when he purchased one for Dean Venture.
  • Dr. Venture angrily accuses Dr. Orpheus of trying to have homosexual intercourse with him in the episode. This is not the first time that Dr. Venture's homophobia has manifested itself. In the episode "Love-Bheits," three episodes previous to this one, Hank Venture recalled that his father had attempted to isolate the "gay gene"[32] and wipe it out. Congressional hearings and protests prevented him from completing this work (Hank says).
  • Brock Samson's laudatory opinion of the music of the rock band Led Zeppelin was first noted in the first season episode "Eeney, Meeney, Miney... Magic!" (which also featured Dr. Orpheus) and emphasized in the season two episode "Twenty Years to Midnight."

Production notesEdit

  • The Wilhelm scream can be heard just after the first explosion during the raid in the show's "cold open."
  • One of the animation directors (Kimson Albert) has a "nickname" inserted into his credits. The nickname is an unusual line or word from the episode. For this episode the credit reads Kimson "Magic Murder Bag" Albert.
  • The music heard in the episode during Myra's flashback is the song "Mitre Storm," performed by the band Jasper McVain (music by Doc Hammer and Max Vanderwolf; lyrics by "Bess" and Terrence Fleming). "Jasper McVain" is a side project created by Doc Hammer, and which includes Hammer, actor Terrence Fleming (the voice of Col. Bud Manstrong on the series), and Max Vanderwolf (singer in the band Last Man Standing). "Jasper McVain" previously contributed the song "Revv Me Up" for the episode "Mid-Life Chrysalis."



  1. Angelou, Maya. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. New York: Random House, 1997. (Originally published in 1969) ISBN 055338001X
  2. Totten, Samuel; Parsons, William S.; and Charny, Israel W. Century of Genocide: Critical Essays and Eyewitness Accounts. New York: Routledge, 2004. ISBN 9780415944304
  3. Pinch, Trevor and Swedberg, Richard. Living in a Material World: Economic Sociology Meets Science and Technology Studies. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2008. ISBN 0262662078
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Preceded by:
"Guess Who's Coming to State Dinner?"
The Venture Bros. episodes
Original Airdate:
September 24, 2006
Followed by:
"¡Viva los Muertos!"