"The Buddy System"
The Venture Bros. episode
Dermont getting punched by Dean
Episode no. Season 3
Episode 31
Directed by Jackson Publick
Written by Doc Hammer
Production code 3-30
Original air date 29 June 2008
Guest Stars

Brendon Small as Action Johnny
Dana Snyder as The Alchemist

Episode Chronology
← Previous
"Home is Where the Hate is"
Next →
"Dr. Quymn, Medicine Woman"

"The Buddy System" is the 31st episode of The Venture Bros. and is part of Season 3. The episode introduces a new, retired arch-villain, Dr. Z (who later appears in the episode "Self-Medication"). A new recurring character, Dermott Fictel, who is hinted to be Brock Samson's son in this episode, makes his first appearance.


The episode begins with a commercial for Rusty's Day Camp for Boy Adventurers. It cuts to Dr. Venture sitting at an autograph table on the front lawn of the Venture compound voicing his appreciation for his fans to a less than impressed Brock Samson. They are approached by Tim-Tom and Kevin, the Murderous Moppets, who are disguised as children to infiltrate the day camp for The Monarch. Only Brock sees through their deception.

Billy Quizboy, Action Johnny, the Order of the Triad, and the Ghost Pirate Captain are all hosting booths at the day camp where they make presentations to the kids. Johnny is no longer using narcotics, but he is still highly unstable and ingesting large amounts of Xanax. Hank and Dean Venture meet another teenager, Dermott Fictel, who wears an old, beaten-up Army jacket and is rude, obnoxious, and a pathological liar. Dermott impresses Hank by boasting that his father is in "black ops" and he never met him, but Dean does not like Dermott.

Dr. Mrs. The Monarch catches The Monarch talking to Tim Tom and Kevin on his laptop and accuses him of "arching" Dr. Venture again. She has also designed a new costume which is more butterfly-themed than her previous one.

Brock is confronted by Dermott while giving a judo demonstration. Dermott smugly insists that his hands are registered as deadly weapons by the government and that he could easily defeat Brock in combat. Brock is clearly angered, but is interrupted by Dr. Venture before he can attack the teenager. Dr. Venture picks up all the kids on a trackless train and takes them to see one of his father's old experiments, a dome called the "E-den" containing a self-contained biosphere. Hank and Dermott insult Dr. Venture during the ride on the people mover.

Unfortunately, Dr. Venture had not entered the E-den since his father died. Venture, Billy, and the children discover a human skeleton tied upside-down to a St. Andrew's cross. A gorilla attacks the group, and Venture manages to calm it a bit. Most of the children escape from the dome, but Dermott (trying to impress Hank Venture) shoots Billy with a spring loaded pellet gun—causing Billy to yelp in pain, and causing the ape to attack again. Billy emerges from the dome with his mechanical hand ripped off and says he saw a child get disemboweled in the dome, prompting Dr. Venture to darkly remark "not like on T.V, is it, boy?"

Meanwhile, Brock seeks advice from Dr. Orpheus concerning his frustration with the obnoxious Dermott. Brock concludes that it is wrong to attack Dermott himself, but it is okay to get another kid to do it. He attempts to train Dean to beat up Dermott, but Dean proves too physically weak to do so. Unable to find Hank, Brock attempts to recruit the Murderous Moppets for this purpose, but decides against it when they imply they will stab the boy to death. He also tells The Monarch through the spy camera in Tim Tom's cap that Doctor Venture misses him.

All of the characters meet up at the main stage for the day camp's big finale. Action Johnny is joined by a special guest, Dr. Z, who once was Johnny's arch-nemesis and tormented the boy endlessly. Dr. Z impresses the crowd of children with his villainous tone of voice. In a loving, almost endearing way, he asks if he can shoot at Johnny from a helicopter or drop scorpions on him. (Dr. Venture refuses to give his permission for this.) Johnny has a complete emotional breakdown and is carried away by Brock. Dermott makes fun of Brock to Hank, Dean, and Triana Orpheus, who are all sitting in the seats watching the show. When Dermott insults Dean while sexually insulting Triana, Dean becomes enraged and beats Dermott badly with his fists. Dr. Venture wants to break up the fight, but a smiling Brock keeps him back—insisting that kids will be kids.

Suddenly, Sergeant Hatred (Dr. Venture's arch-nemesis) arrives in a hovertank, and his henchmen burn some of the Venture compound's shrubbery with flamethrowers. Brock kills one of the henchmen, and Sergeant Hatred and Dr. Venture call a truce to discuss the situation. They conclude that Hatred misread his schedule and attacked at the wrong time. Dr. Venture introduces Hatred to Dr. Z, who turns out to be the soldier's childhood hero. In a montage sequence set to 'Laugh-in' style '60's pop jazz, photographs are shown of Hatred embracing Dr. Z, Triana appearing impressed by Dean's flexed bicep (he's actually forcing it up with his hand), Hank putting an unconscious Billy's hand in warm water (a reference to the urban legend that a sleeping person will urinate when their hand is placed in a bowl of warm water), and Dr. Venture blocking the camera from getting a clear view of Hank and Dean's clone maturation/storage chambers.

At the end of the night, parents pick up their children on the steps of the Venture Compound. Dr. Venture has cloned the dead child and manages to fool the parents into believing the clone is the original, despite it being barely viable. Hank talks to his new friend Dermott some more before Dermott gets into a car with his mom, whose face is hidden in darkness. She asks if he met "him," to which Dermott replies "Yeah, he was okay. Are you sure he's my real father?"

In the post-credits scene, Dr. Mrs. The Monarch congratulates and embraces the Moppets for a job well done, saying they were "perfect as always". The Moppets check out her bosom and comment on how much they both like her new costume and like hugging her in her new costume, whereupon she tells them to stop hugging her.

Cultural referencesEdit

Wikiquote has a list of quotes from The Buddy System

  • Dr. Venture dismisses the idea of a cartoon series called "The Venture Brothers."
  • Action Johnny is Jonny Quest, and Dr. Z is meant to be Dr. Zin, one of Jonny Quest's archnemeses.
  • The words and bizarre sentence structure that Dr. Venture uses to try and talk to the gorilla are taken from Koko and her online chat on AOL. His insistence that he "needs a kitten" is also a reference to Koko.
  • Dermott says that Triana looks like a Suicide Girl, a reference to an erotic Web site featuring pinups of goth/alternative girls such as Triana.
  • When asked by a camper "what happened to him" since his identity as Rusty as a boy, Dr. Venture responses, "I left Neverland and married Wendy," a Peter Pan reference used commonly as a metaphor for growing up.
  • Dermott states when drawing his pellet gun that "Mr Action has just joined the server", a reference to online multiplayer first person shooters.
  • A number of references involve the Pirate Captain:
    • The Pirate Captain's exhibit aims to cultivate interest in small-time diversionary menace (as opposed to the decidedly more grandiose career of super-villainy)... "chasing off meddlin' kids, and wearing rubber masks." This is a reference to his original character role as a parody of Scooby-Doo villains in "Ghosts of the Sargasso". The Captain then gives several instances of this endeavor, straight from Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!:
      • A ghost miner 49er is from "Mine Your Own Business"
      • The ghost pirate captain is Redbeard from "Go Away, Ghost Ship"
    • The Pirate Captain claims he has met Cher, and "the guy who did the voice for Inspector Gadget" (Don Adams). Both Cher and Adams made guest appearances on The New Scooby-Doo Movies.
    • The Pirate Captain also expresses admiration for his career by noting he looks like Johnny Depp, an obvious reference to the Pirates of the Caribbean films.
    • During the snapshots The Pirate Captain poses like rum mascot Captain Morgan.
  • The Monarch's computer resembles the original iBook G3, except it has his butterfly logo where the Apple logo would be.

Connections to Other EpisodesEdit

  • Having been previously introduced in the episode "Twenty Years to Midnight," this is the first time the Johnny character is referred to as Action Johnny.
  • Dr. Z. is a parody of Dr. Zin, one of Jonny Quest's more notorious enemies. Since the show creates many parallels between Jonny Quest and Action Johnny, this explains why Action Johnny is so distressed over Dr. Z's appearance.
  • In this episode Dermott is hinted to be Brock Samson's son but his actual father will be revealded in Everybody Comes to Hank.

Goofs Edit

  • Dean gives Dermott a pretty bad beating (a black eye, facial bruises and a busted lip) at 5:30pm. Yet his mother picks him up at twilight (2 hours later at most), and Dermott doesn't have a mark on him.
  • For a brief moment, the cross guard of the Sea Captain's sword changes color. From yellow to red.

First AppearencesEdit

Production notesEdit

  • One of the animation directors (wikipedia:Kimson Albert|Kimson Albert) has a "nickname" inserted into his credits. The nickname is an unusual line or word from the preceding episode. For "The Buddy System" the credit reads Kimson "Spinning Murder Top" Albert.
  • The Wilhelm Scream can be heard when Brock Samson attacks one of Sergeant Hatred's henchmen. It can be heard during the commercial which opens the episode, when the lightbulb that looks and sounds like Dr. Venture introduces Action Johnny.
  • During the beginning scene with Rusty Venture light bulb introducing you to the camp, in the background there are photos scrolling by of Doc Hammer as a child.
Preceded by:
"Home Is Where The Hate Is"
The Venture Bros. episodes
Original Airdate:
June 29, 2008
Followed by:
"Dr. Quymn, Medicine Woman"

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