So, I’ll just start off by admitting a mistake. Last week I said the next episode was the Billy Quizboy origin, but I was wrong. That’s actually the next episode after this week’s Venture Bros. installment. I think that might have been next in the running order, but Adult Swim is notoriously bad at that, and we’re just going to stick with the DVD order. Trust me, I hate myself for this mistake more than you ever could. But it’s OK, because this week we get to look at “Home is Where the Hate Is”, the episode that finally brings Sgt. Hatred into the regular cast.
“You know what’s insane? That you slept with a guy who read The Secret. You want the secret? Yeah? Your ex-boyfriend’s pathetic. Shhh, don’t tell anyone. Secret.” – The Monarch
The scene opens in a suburban neighborhood, with a paperboy on a bike delivering the morning news. When the camera pans around, we see that the paperboy is a robot, and there’s sign welcoming visitors to “Malice”. It’s a gated community for supervillains, and we see the Monarch moving into his new home. (The cocoon is parked outside.) Inside, the Monarch is burning all of Phantom Limb’s old stuff and feeling uncomfortable with his new domesticity. Dr. Mrs. The Monarch tries to cheer him up by telling him they were invited to Sgt. Hatred’s party. Cut to the Venture Compound. Hank and Dean are outside when suddenly red clouds roll in. A laser from the sky burns a giant flaming “H” into the ground in front of them, then after an announcement that Sgt. Hatred is there for his new archenemy, a flying tank lands and gun-wielding henchmen file out. Cold Open!
–At the end of the season premiere, we saw the Monarchs move into Phantom Limb’s old place, and this is the follow-up. Phantom Limb apparently owned a lot of self-help books (The Secret was fairly new when this episode aired, by the way.), and also a plush version of himself. (It’s in one of the boxes, and it is the most adorable thing.) This scene not only references the Farrah Fawcett TV movie The Burning Bed, but also the Jam (who had a song titled “A Town Called Malice”.) And then we’ve got Sgt. Hatred – note that the opening references how the Monarch has been having henchmen steal his equipment for years, which has been referenced several times beginning in Season One. And now he’s the full-blown archenemy of the Ventures. We’ll learn more about him over the season, but I just want to point out that I love his voice. (Brendon Small did his voice last year, but Jackson took over when he became a regular.) He’s always yelling, even when he’s not. It’s just so funny to hear him say things.
“I’ve been at this a lot of years, and the one thing I’ve learned is that there’s no reason on God’s green earth that arching has to be a completely unpleasant experience for either of us. Speaking of green earth, what do you got out there? Kentucky Bluegrass? That is lush. I’m gonna say it again: LUSH!” – Sgt. Hatred
After the opening, bloodied henchmen return to the hover tank. Sgt. Hatred gushes about how great it is to work with Dr. Venture. Doc apologizes for Brock’s overreaction (he’s standing there, covered in blood), as Hatred was just there to introduce them – he even gives Doc a welcome basket of okra. Hatred explains that just because they’re archenemies, that doesn’t mean they can’t get along.
–Hee! Sgt. Hatred is so enthusiastic about this – he’s even impressed by the moving walkway and the landscaping. This seems like the way that arching is supposed to work in this world. It’s supposed to be a formality with clearly-defined rules. Which never quite worked out with the Monarch because he authentically hated Doc. Sgt. Hatred just hates him professionally.
“What? You’re kidding right? Let me give you a hint. You know how every time you talk to me, there’s another guy next to me? That’s 24.” – Henchman 21
Back in Malice, 21 is having everybody sign a get well card for 24, who’s laid up after being stabbed by the Moppets. The Monarch and Dr. Mrs. break it to the henchmen that they don’t get to stay in the house – henchmen will have to live in the cocoon. But Tim-Tom and Kevin claim the other henchmen are picking on them, so Dr. Mrs. agrees to let them live in the house. Back at the Compound, Hatred has Doc fill out some basic arching paperwork, in a sequence that’s much funnier than you would expect from paperwork.
–So, it looks like 24 was the henchman who got stabbed at the end of “Shadowman 9…” It’s hard to tell, since he looks exactly like all of the other henchmen. Well, certainly that’s the worst thing that will happen to 24 all season, right?
“Man, he’s a delicate one, isn’t he? They usually don’t break the skin like that. We got a bleeder here – eighty-six the non-lethal. We’re going full Nerf on this one.” – Sgt. Hatred
Sgt. Hatred invites Doc and Brock to his party and then shoots Doc, because that’s what villains do. Even though it’s only a rubber bullet, it still breaks the skin and leaves Doc bleeding out. That night, Monarch refuses to go to the party and instead leafs through a Guild book to find a new archenemy. And then the Ventures show up at the door, mistaking it for Sgt. Hatred’s place. Dr. Mrs. gives them directions, and suddenly Monarch is very interested in going to the party.
–Man, did I laugh when Hatred shot Doc. And even watching it now, knowing it’s coming, it’s still hilarious to me. When Monarch goes through the Guild Facebook, two of the enemies he rejects are Dr. Quymn and Dr. Dugong, both of whom will be showing up later this season.
21: “Look, no offense, but I’m in no mood to play babysitter to the Ritalin twins tonight. My life sucks quite enough already, thank you. I have big boy problems.”
21: “I wish.”
When the Ventures reach the party, Hatred panics when he sees Hank and Dean. Due to his past, he’s not allowed within 50 feet of a minor. Monarch convinces Doc to stay and says the henchmen will babysit the boys. When they arrive at the cocoon, 21 promptly tries to put them to bed, but they protest. Back at the party, everybody plays that game where you have the name of a famous person on your back, and people treat you like that person. Dr. Mrs. The Monarch has “Jacqueline Onassis” and can’t get it, even though she dresses just like her. Monarch uses this opportunity to vent at Doc and calls him a “brainless failure who lives off your father’s name and fortune”. (Doc: “I’m George Bush?”) Brock grows bored with the game immediately.
–I think it’s hilarious that Dr. Mrs. has no idea who Jacqueline Onassis is, and can’t even pronounce the name. I also like the way they set up the party – it’s a small gathering of villains and it doesn’t have a lot of the usual faces who pop up in crowd scenes. Apparently Sgt. Hatred doesn’t know Truckules or the plug-faced guy. About the only named character there is Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Nightmare Coat (one of the Monarch’s old bosses). We can also see Chairman Wow (who’s only been named in the commentaries), and the woman Dr. Mrs. talks to is Vain Gloria (Again, named in the commentaries and also in the 2011 Christmas song).
About a year ago, I was at a party where this same game was employed. It ended horribly because somebody had “Hiawatha”. First off, how is that even something you come up with? Second, some people don’t know the difference between Hiawatha and Pochontas and answered most of the questions incorrectly. There was an argument.
Also, we have to talk about Sgt. Hatred’s sex offender status. It’s been established already (back in “I Know Why the Caged Bird Kills”) that me may have molested the boys in the past. But I think it’s clear that Doc and Brock don’t know that it happened, or they never would have brought them to the party. (Or seated Hank next to Hatred at the wedding.) Honestly, I think this is handled pretty well, all things considered. It’s just a reference here, but they deal with it head-on in Season Four. It makes me super uncomfortable, but next season does some interesting stuff with the idea of a recovering pedophile.
“Dude! I think I just saw Schindler’s dingus!” – Hank Venture
21 brings Dean in to entertain 24 in sick bay – Dean’s wearing a clown nose in full Patch Adams mode. Hank and 21 run off to have fun. At the party, Hatred shows Monarch his basement where he crafts in the equipment. Monarch isn’t impressed by any of it, until Hatred shows off a micro explosive, a microchip-sized bomb. Monarch palms it when nobody’s looking. Hank and 21 spy on the Moppets while they watch Nell and plot to kill everybody. The Moppets catch sight of 21, assume the other guy has to be 24, and head off to kill them. Back at the party, Doc tries hitting on Dr. Mrs. again, still convinced that they had sex back in “Mid-Life Chrysalis.”
–Once again, they’re pairing Hank with 21 and Dean with 24, and that never fails to amuse me. Also, the Moppets think Nell is Silence of the Lambs. And Liam Neeson does appear in Nell, so Hank is largely correct. According to the commentary, the scene with Doc and Dr. Mrs. The Monarch is meant to prove that the two never had sex and set the message boards straight. Apparently it didn’t work, because this is a debate that still happens.
“I’m watching this PBS special on giant crossbows.” – Brock Samson
The Moppets search the cocoon for 21 and 24, who take off running with Hank and Dean (despite 24’s injuries). Brock heads off to watch TV by himself, which is the cool thing to do at a lame party. Doc yells at him for not bodyguarding, but Brock explains that the Guild has rules and Doc is perfectly safe. The Moppets find a tracking device that allows them to follow 21 and 24. At the party, Doc is bad at charades. The Monarch slips the micro explosive onto Doc’s back, and then gets mad at not getting a point for his turn at the game. (He talked!)
–Brocks’ fascination with giant crossbows is awesome. Also, I don’t think there’s ever a payoff to the bit establishing that Sgt. Hatred has a huge cat (Brock: “I thought it was a guy in a cat suit.”). Certainly not in this episode, but possibly later. We’ll see, I guess!
“It all makes sense! The filled ashtrays, the burning pine scented hair spray…” – The Monarch
The boys and the henchmen disappear into a hedge maze. At the party, the Monarch catches his wife smoking outside and they argue about it. Sgt. Hatred talks the Monarch into the hot tub for some relaxation. 24 realizes that they have tracking devices in their costumes, so the Moppets can track them. In the tub, the Monarch gets tired of Hatred ribbing him and bringing up Phantom Limb. Hatred reveals he knows that the Monarch has been stealing from him and he’s been biding his time. He can’t hurt the Monarch because of Guild rules, but he’s going to get revenge by making Dr. Venture’s life wonderful. Monarch reveals that the explosive has been planted on Doc’s back. At that moment, Brock pushes Doc outside to go tubbing and get to know his enemies. The villains start to panic. The Moppets find 21 and 24, but after a stabbing spree, they realize it’s just their empty costumes. The timer ticks down, and it only lets out a bubbly fart – the explosive was ruined by the water. And then naked 21 and 24 run past.
–Hee! I really like the way that Hatred makes himself known here. He asserts himself, and we see that he’s arching Doc to make the Monarch miserable. Which is nice, because he’s been played for kind of a chump for most of the episode. Dude just hates Monarch more than he hates Doc. Also, in the commentary, Jackson and Doc indicate that Brock knew about the explosive and he sent Doc out there so that the water would ruin it. That’s not really clear from the episode itself, but it’s also not necessary.
Also – rear view of Monarch’s scrotum and a quick shot of Doc’s package. Yep. Uncensored DVD’s, everybody! And this is where we see that the “H” on Hatred’s face is only the beginning – he’s got the whole word going down his body. Try not to think about where the “D” is.
“I say, follow your dreams. Even if they’re about a giant spider with your father’s head and he keeps stealing your penis.” – Dean Venture
In the tag, Hank puts his clothes back on. (He got naked too, because he thought there’d be a waterslide.) Dean gives 24 advice, and then they leave the party. Presumably the Moppet situation has been dealt with.
–Hee! I’ve got nothing to say, but it’s a funny tag.
That’s it for this week. Next time, it’s really and truly the Billy Quizboy episode. You’d better prepare yourselves for the nozzle.