|"The Trial of the Monarch"|
|The Venture Bros. episode|
|Directed by||Jackson Publick|
|Written by||Doc Hammer|
|Original air date||23 October 2004|
"The Trial of the Monarch" is the twelfth episode in the first season of The Venture Bros.
A fantasy sequence dissolves into a courtroom, where The Monarch is noisily objecting to Hank and Dean's ridiculously overblown and obviously false testimony. The court erupts into chaos. Outside, a stranger kills the security guards. The judge rails against the Monarch's idiotic self-defense. The villain, being prosecuted by a midget lawyer ("Tiny Attorney") conjoined to the abdomen of a large, dimwitted man, is on trial for the killing of a police officer.
Dr. Venture complains to Brock that he would have called the police on The Monarch long ago if he knew he could have. Brock responds that the police do not interfere with Guild business and implies that the group of villains bear a grudge against The Monarch for some reason. Somewhere else, plans are declared to be 'ready'.
When the court resumes, The Monarch begins testifying on his own behalf. He begins with the furor caused by the publication of Flight of The Monarch, a "tell-all" book filled with "lies and pictures of also-lies." He threatens to kill all his henchmen until the hench-author comes forward; though #24 admonishes #21 for his role in authoring the book, an unnamed henchmen is subdued and delivered to the Monarch as the ostensible author. The Monarch later explains that the details in the book led to a fight with his girlfriend, Dr. Girlfriend. He accuses her of being mad with grief; she explains she went to her ex-boyfriend, the Phantom Limb, for emotional comfort. When the details of the Limb's flirtations get too adult, Brock takes Dean and Hank out into the hall; they become excited over gum.
In a flashback, the Monarch tries to get Dr. Girlfriend back and is rejected. At the court. Dr. Orpheus enters. Guild operatives, called Strangers, enter. Brock, familiar with their methods, feels Dr. Venture is in no danger. Another flashback, this by mind-reading, reveals that a drunken encounter with the missing cop led to a Stranger bribing the officer to simply move away. Strangers attack the Court, their target Tiny Attorney. Most in the court are frozen. Brock and the teens hide in the restroom. He orders memory wipes on the entire court. One Stranger asks for instructions regarding Orpheus, since necromancers are highly resistant to memory wipes; Phantom Limb replies that they are highly susceptible to hypnotic suggestion. Leaning close to the frozen Orpheus' ear, Phantom Limb whispers that The Monarch is a very bad man who wishes harm to the Ventures and is guilty of all charges. In return, the Guild will repay Orpheus with the archenemy he has so sorely wanted.
Dr. Girlfriend, still seems uneasy about setting up the Monarch, but Phantom Limb assures her that someone must be the patsy. Still distraught, she tells the immobilized Monarch that the Venture brothers, and not she, is responsible for all of this. As the group leaves the courtroom, one of the Strangers thanks Brock for not interfering and that they have twenty seconds until the freeze effects wear off. The boys and Brock take a seat next to Dr. Venture just as everyone awakens as if nothing had happened. As the Limb had predicted, Orpheus cries his fervent belief that The Monarch is guilty.
The final scene after the credits shows The Monarch wearing an orange prison jumpsuit over his black bodysuit. He is in the visitor's area, separated by a sheet of glass from Dr. Girlfriend, with whom he is speaking via a telephone. The Monarch affirms that he forgives Girlfriend and that they will start over with each other when he is released in a few decades. A reverse angle shot shows that his visitor is actually Henchman 24 dressed like Dr. Girlfriend, who uneasily asks if he can leave now.
- At the beginning of the episode in the boys' flashback Hank Venture and Dean Venture are dressed as Indiana Jones and Thomas Magnum respectively. Tom Selleck, who played Magnum, P.I., was originally slated to play Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Brock Samson is dressed as Michael Knight from Knight Rider. Also, the imagination-enhanced H.E.L.P.eR. appears to be modelled after the robot from the 1998 film Lost in Space.
- In an interesting coincidence, the boys also share the same outfits as Chip and Dale from Chip 'n Dale - Rescue Rangers. Though, the two Disney characters and the Venture Brothers could have just been paying the same homage.
- When Brock and the boys are done talking about the guild the next scene includes a face resembling that of Zordon from Power Rangers.
- The book that Dr. Orpheus uses in the courtroom is the necronomicon from the Evil Dead film series in look and name. The necronomicon originated in the writings of author H. P. Lovecraft.
- During their fight over the book, the Monarch sarcastically asks Dr. Girlfriend if Frank Frazetta designed her outfit. Frazetta is a noted fantasy and science fiction artist whose subjects are often scantily-clad. He further states with disgust that in one of the pictures, he can see her "Dirty pillows." This unusual term for breasts is a reference to a term the overprotective mother uses in Stephen King's novel Carrie and the film based on it. In the "behind the scenes footage" of a fictional live-action The Venture Bros. movie (found on the second disc of the season 1 DVD; this episode is also found on that disc), Dr. Venture uses the term to describe some of the details of a supposed love scene with Dr. Girlfriend.
- The biography The Flight of the Monarch makes numerous references to the early-80's New York City punk scene. In it, the Monarch is pictured with Lydia Lunch and Stiv Bators at the Danceteria, and Dr. Girlfriend is pictured skinny-dipping with Jim Foetus (a.k.a. Jim Thirlwell, the show's musical composer).
- The Monarch throws many obscure insults at the officer: Officer Poncherello (from CHiPs), Tom of Finland, and Fonzie (from Happy Days).
- The character Tiny Attorney is a parody of Kuato, a character in the movie Total Recall, who was a deformed twin growing out of a man's torso. Tiny Attorney's overall demeanor, complete with white suit, is that of the "Simple country lawyer" character, a parody of Ben Matlock and the Hyperchicken from the TV series Futurama, both of which may refer back to the 1960 film Inherit The Wind with Spencer Tracy.
- The Strangers' names, garb and operations are inspired by the antagonists of the 1998 science fiction thriller Dark City. It might also be a reference to the "strangers" mentioned in the lyrics of Oh! You Pretty Things by David Bowie, as they have often referenced Bowie lyrics before.
- The hair across the door appears to be a reference to the film Dr. No., the first in the 007 film franchise. James Bond does this to the closet in his hotel room to be aware of any intruders.
Connections to Other EpisodesEdit
- This episode sees the introduction of the characters Tiny Attorney, Watch, Ward, and Sovereign, as well as Strangers and The Flight of the Monarch. Monstroso and the Murderous Moppets are also mentioned for the first time, but will not appear until later episodes.
- The costume the Monarch wears during Hank Venture and Dean Venture's made-up witness statement is based on the one he wore in The Terrible Secret of Turtle Bay.
- This episode has its roots in the episode Tag Sale - You're It! in which Phantom Limb unsuccessfully tries to woo Dr. Girlfriend away from the Monarch. Phantom Limb's machinations against the Monarch — which he carried out for the sole purpose of reclaiming Dr. Girlfriend — forms the crux of Season 2 and came to a head in the episode Showdown at Cremation Creek (Part I).
- The red-headed woman sitting next to Phantom Limb in the courtroom reappears as a background character in the Season 3 episode O.R.B..
- To this date, most viewers haven't figured put what was going on in the episode. (What was the point of the trial?)
- The jury is made up of the show's cast and crew, as mentioned in the episode's DVD commentary.
- In the shot showing the Guild of Calamitous Intent's command center, Doc Hammer and Jackson Publick are shown on separate monitors.
- One of the animation directors (Kimson Albert) has a "nickname" inserted into his credits. The nickname is an unusual line or word from the preceding episode. For this episode, the credit reads Kimson "Mecha-Shiva" Albert.