‘The Venture Bros.’ Enjoy Some ‘Spanakopita!’

Yesterday, The Venture Bros. did something as a show you might think was impossible. But, nonetheless they did it: By the end of this episode, you’re going to feel really, really bad for Rusty.

The basic thrust of this episode is that Rusty goes, every year, to the small Greek island of Spankos for their annual festival of Spanakopita. Generally he drags the boys and Brock along, but since both Hank and Dean are growing up, Venture is heading out with Billy and Pete White, established in a rather hilarious opening where White desperately tries to get out of it before finally admitting the sun will probably kill him.

Needless to say, the festival is not all it seems. But Billy and Pete have other problems: St. Cloud, their legal archnemesis, has shown up to once again try and buy everything in reach.

It’s a bit more low-key of an episode after the last three, not least because St. Cloud, as an antagonist, is more of a petty bully than anything else, and this show does better with a deeper, or at least more elaborately deluded, villain. They do, however, let rip with a truly ridiculous Clash of The Titans parody that probably cost most of their budget to pull off, it’s that elaborate .

The episode is largely about how deluded Rusty is: He’s been coming back to this island for years, because as a kid, he was kidnapped off his dad’s yacht and he was too busy fighting L. Ron Hubbard to notice. Rusty was ignored for so long, and the residents felt so bad for the kid, that they tricked him into thinking that there was a festival on the island. And the show firmly establishes that once Jonas Sr. bought the farm, Rusty has been back every year since: He’s that desperate to recapture something, anything, in his life that does not miserably suck.

A few notes:

  • The L. Ron Hubbard fight is hysterical in more ways than one, especially since the entire fight is with a robot who looks suspiciously like, well, L-Ron, making it one of the nerdiest references the show has ever deployed.
  • Hank still has that strength suit from SPHINX.
  • Brock once again only gets a brief, although hilarious, cameo; thankfully the Brock teasing ends next week, since the episode is titled “O.S.I. Love You”.
  • This episode firmly answers the question with “Can Jonas Venture be any more of a dick?” with a firm “Yes”; short of “What Goes Down Must Come Up”, we haven’t really seen Jonas be a crappier human being than he is here.