The Venture Brothers

Season 1 Episode 11

Past Tense

Aired Sunday 12:00 AM Oct 16, 2004 on Cartoon Network
out of 10
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Episode Summary

When Brock and Dr. Venture are kidnapped from the funeral of a college friend, the boys inlist the aid of the original Team Venture: a group of superscience adventurers who worked for the boys' grandfather in the sixties.

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  • Dr. Venture, Brock, Mr. White, and Baron Underbheit are kidnapped attending the funeral of a college pal, and it's up to Hank, Dean, and the original Team Venture to rescue them.moreless

    We learn a bit about Dr. Venture and his friends' pasts in this episode. While the men are imprisoned by their supposedly dead friend, they flashback to their time together in college.

    There we learn that not only were Doc and Brock roommates, but Doc went to school with a few people who would end up becoming his arch enemies, Baron Underbheit and the Monarch. We learn more about Brock, how he was kicked out of school for accidentally killing a football teammate during a game, and that was why he left to join the army.

    But despite the sometimes seriousness and dark humor of the episode, it's still generally kept light, with flashbacks zoomed in and out in a "Happy Days" checkered style.

    And except for Brock, Doc and his friends were your average college dorks, pulling pranks on each other and playing Dungeons and Dragons.

    We also learn a bit about Jonas Venture's past by meeting the original Team Venture led by Colonel Horace Gentleman: Kano, the Action Man, and Otto Aquarius.

    A solid episode that explores the characters' pasts and gives a wider view of their universe.moreless
Steve Park

Steve Park

Mike Sorayama

Guest Star

Steffen Vala

Steffen Vala

College Student

Guest Star

T. Ryder Smith

T. Ryder Smith

Baron Underbheit, Otto Acquarius

Guest Star

James Urbaniak

James Urbaniak

Dr. Thaddius S. "Rusty" Venture

Recurring Role

Christopher McCulloch

Christopher McCulloch

Col. Horace Gentleman, Mr. White, The Action Man, The Monarch

Recurring Role

Doc Hammer

Doc Hammer

Dr. Girlfriend

Recurring Role

Featured Episode Clip

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (7)

    • Trivia: Brock only received his special Army training because his scholarship got cut off (after he killed his own team's quarterback in training).

    • Trivia: Dr. Venture went to college with Baron Underbheit and Mr. White. Also Brock was his roommate in college

    • Trivia: Baron Underbheit's first name is Verner.

    • Trivia: Young Dr. Venture also mentions that the Monarch was in his creative writing class. Although he doesn't mention him by his real name, he describes him as having eyebrows that "stick out to here" and writes very detailed poems about monarch butterflies.

    • Trivia: Dr. Venture lost his virginity when he was 24. It was most likely how Hank and Dean were conceived.

    • Near the end of the episode, when White and the Baron are still chained to the wall and the Venture crew are leaving, the Baron mysteriously gets his jaw back.

    • In this episode, Dean denies ever seeing Brock kill someone, but in "Eeny, Meeny, Miney... Magic!", he was bragging to Triana about seeing Brock kill someone with a bag of party snaps.

  • QUOTES (13)

    • Hank: What was Underbheit like back in the old days?
      Mr. White: Well, except for the metal jaw, pretty much the same. Total dick.

    • Hank: So, how come you're not old and stuff like the others?
      Otto: Oh, but I am. I'm half-Atlantean and so I age differently.
      Dean: Wow. How do you get to be like that?
      Action Man: A drunk sailor's gotta have his way with your mer-mom.

    • Action Man: The old fake coffin trick. Gadzooks, you think I would have remembered that one from 'The Case of the Old Fake Coffin.'

    • Dr. Venture: Oh come on! You're going to kill me because I had fake sex on graph paper with a girl who barely spoke to you in real life?!?

    • Brock: This is you! You did this! I'm gonna kill you!
      Underbheit: Brilliant deduction. You've discovered my brilliant plan to chain myself to an albino!

    • Hank: It feels weird seeing someone else fly the X-1.
      Col. Gentleman: Don't worry, boys. Despite Kano's racial handicap, he's an excellent pilot. Why, he can land this on a puffin... or a Smurf.

    • Dr. Venture: Is my tie on straight?
      Brock: Yeah. You can't miss with a clip-on.

    • Dean: And Brock made "special friends" with their queen. You can't put a price on that. (Brock smiles)

    • Dr. Venture: Why is it every time I need to get somewhere we get waylaid by jackassery?

    • Hank: You see dead guys all the time.
      Dean: When?
      Hank: Dude, just last week Brock killed two dervishes with a pillowcase full of coats. Right in our bedroom!
      Dean: He knocked them out!
      Hank: Oh, sing yourself another lullaby, Baby Dean. The police took them away in body bags!
      Dean: Sleeping bags! Those were sleeping bags!

    • Hank: Okay, this is getting weird! You're not going to tell me you went to college with the Monarch, too? Where did you go to school--Super Crazy No-Way School?!?

    • Col. Gentleman: Careful, lad – his hands of those are strong enough to crush a boulder, but delicate enough to crush a butterfly.

    • Col. Gentleman: Yes, little Rusty had a penchant for getting himself kidnapped about once a fortnight. I remember one time, I believe it was during 'The Case of the Metal Mandingo'...

  • NOTES (4)


    • Team Venture:
      The concept for the original Team Venture is based loosely on the old Doc Savage pulp novels - in the Venture Brothers creator's words, "a calculatedly international group of superscientist-adventurers orbiting around a singular godlike genius." However, Doc Savage's team were all American. Also, there were a number of other such pulp-hero teams that used a central hero and a team of (relatively) lesser lights - the Shadow and the Avenger among others also surrounded themselves with teams of experts.

    • Otto Acquarius:
      Otto Acquarius' name is presumably a reference/in-joke to Dr. Octopus, whose real name is Otto Octavius. Other then the fact the octopus is a sea creature, there doesn't seem to be much other connection. Acquairus more closely resembles Abe Sapien the fishman from the comic book and movie Hellboy.

    • Mike Sorayama: Leslie Robots
      The robots are a copy of Hajime Sorayama (a pinup illustrator)'s "Sexy Robots". They were featured in Heavy Metal magazine, hence Dr. Venture's line "I read that magazine too..."

    • Brock: He's not going to do anything. It's hallowed ground.
      Unless it's some kind of Guild of Calamitous Intent thing, Baron Underbheit must be a Highlander fan, since no fighting on hollowed ground is one of the Immortals' rules. Since a lot of the episode is in flashback, which was another big Highlander thing, there seem to be several riffs on that series. And finally, Col. Gentleman sounds suspiciously like Sean Connery, who played Ramirez in the first two Highlander (even if his character here is more like Sir Allen Quartermain from League of Extraordinary Gentlemen).

    • Venture's Dorm
      There are ton of cultural references in Venture's room most noticably the posters. They include Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon cover (but with different colors), some random Yes poster, and in one shot the first Led Zeppelin cover poster. Also, during the first D&D game we see, they are listening to music very similar to Pink Floyd's Comfortably Numb.