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"¡Viva los Muertos!"
The Venture Bros. episode
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Part of The Groovy Gang
Episode no. Season 2
Episode 11
Directed by Jackson Publick
Written by Ben Edlund
Production code 224
Original air date 1 October 2006
Episode Chronology
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"I Know Why the Caged Bird Kills"
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"Showdown at Cremation Creek (Part I)"
List of The Venture Bros. episodes

¡Viva los Muertos! is the eleventh episode of Season 2 and the overall twenty-fourth episode of The Venture Bros.

It was written by Ben Edlund (creator of The Tick), and is notable for being the only episode of The Venture Bros. not written by Jackson Publick or Doc Hammer.

Plot

The beginning of the episode is told from the first-person perspective of one of the Monarch's henchmen as the Monarch and his men prepare to storm the Venture compound again. It goes badly as the henchman sees a blood-drenched Brock Samson in the process of killing his fellows; he attempts to escape, but his neck is broken by Brock and the screen goes black, indicating his death.

After the title sequence, the episode continues from the perspective of the henchman as he is resurrected as a Frankenstein-esque monster, reanimated by Dr. Thaddeus Venture himself. As he becomes aware of what has happened, he attempts to strangle Dr. Venture, and is hastily re-killed by Brock and subsequently re-resurrected.

Meanwhile, outside the Venture compound, a van containing a quartet of aging hippies and their large dog comes upon the Venture compound. The newcomers resemble the cast of the Scooby-Doo series, as well as certain infamous criminals of the late 60s and early 70s. Ted, an overbearing bully, decides that the compound must be haunted and that, by implication, there is a mystery to be solved, and forces everyone to join him to investigate. The rest of the group seems uninterested, as Val spouts radical feminist vitriol from the SCUM Manifesto, and once makes a sexual advance on Patty, implying that she is a lesbian. Patty, however, just wants to go to her parents' house, as she has for the last 10 years, and Sonny is repeatedly ordered to kill everybody by the dog Groovy, which is apparently possessed by a German-accented demon who only Sonny can hear. Ted bullies his peers into coming with him, with the exception of Sonny and Groovy, who he orders to search for clues on their own, enticed by a pill bottle of "groovy treats."

Inside the compound, the Ventures are eating in the kitchen with Venturestein, and Venturestein learns he now has an African-American cranium complete with an afro hairstyle. Dr. Venture explains his experiment: he can put corpses and dead people to good use as manual labor and keep them productive even after death. The zombie seems perturbed by the presence of Brock, who in turn is genuinely put off by Venturestein, but the zombie begins to cheer up when the boys teasingly tell him that "Brock bad" for killing him. Dr. Orpheus arrives and informs Dr. Venture of his plans to have a get-together in his portion of the compound. Orpheus is suspicious about the resurrected corpse, and invites Brock, who he suspects is troubled, to the event which he promises will be both spiritual and therapeutic in nature.

Later, Hank and Dean are distraught when they can't find "African America" on a map. They mention that they can't get into their "learning beds" because Venturestein has been put in one to learn how to "socialize" (though actually he is learning how to be a child laborer, watching old training films produced in the 1960s). The boys hear odd noises in the hall and investigate. Venturestein, upon hearing the word "zapato" (shoe) from the phrase "Viva los zapatos" which almost literally means "Long live the shoes!," he smashes out of the bed and crashes around the compound, hoping to find one.

Meanwhile, the hippies come across Dr. Orpheus and Venturestein and assume that the compound is a Dracula/Frankenstein factory. Sonny and Groovy come upon Hank and Dean, and Sonny is scared out of his wits. In a flashback, we see that he and Groovy murdered the boys two years earlier in a cave. Sonny "freaked out" after bumping into the boys, Groovy tore Hank's throat out and Sonny beat Dean's head in with a flashlight; Ted helped to toss the boys' corpses into a mine shaft. Sonny, unaware that Hank & Dean have been revived from death numerous times via cloning, concludes that Hank and Dean are "g-g-g-g-GHOSTS!!!"

Brock is now clearly in a funk, and after several failed attempts at throwing knives for target practice, decides to go to Dr. Orpheus' party after all. Meanwhile, Dr. Venture is thrilled to find that the military wants to use his reanimated corpses as soldiers, providing a much more lucrative business deal. When confronted with the shortage of corpses around the compound, he blithely asks Brock to go kill some people; Brock refuses.

After introductions of the other attendees (including the Order of the Triad and the Amazonian mystic Don Rio), Dr. Orpheus passes a round of drinks made from psychotropic plant vines (similar to a ritual DMT ceremony). Don Rio excitedly relates the story of his sexual encounter with a dolphin as Dr. Orpheus and the others begin vomiting with the onset of the hallucinatory effects. Brock knocks back the strange brew and complains of the wretched taste. In a moment of pre-hallucinatory regret Brock admits that he feels bad about killing the henchman that became Venturestein. "Yeah, he was just this guy, this guy in a butterfly suit who got in over his head. I could see it in his eyes that if I just let him go this one time he'd never come back but, then I also thought you know, 'kill him'." Brock vomits, accuses the Amazon shaman of poisoning him, then collapses to the floor. Brock's hallucination begins by riding nude on the back of a pink dolphin in the middle of a vast, pink ocean. The dolphin tells Brock that the path to happiness is through empathy; however, the dolphin is soon harpooned by Brock's ex-mentor Hunter Gathers (post-op). Hunter blasts into the air with Brock, telling him (while he is hugging onto Hunter's breast) that Brock works for the government and so is "beyond Good and Evil"; his entire job is to hunt and kill people, and that "You can't teach a hammer to love nails. That dog don't hunt." Brock then awakens from his trip, and charges out of the party in a confused, homicidal rage.

Sonny in the meantime has told Ted of the resurrected Venture boys ("No groovy treats until you find a clue, dirtbag!"); the arrogant Ted doubts him until the boys find the hippies in a dark corridor. Ted produces a gun, intending to put those 'zombies' out for good, and the hippies pursue the terrified boys. Hank and Dean run into a dark lab room, only to find many life-support tubes holding their many yet-to-be-animated clone-slugs. Both boys fall to the floor and curl up in the fetal position, whimpering. The hippies run into the clone lab and Ted prepares to shoot the brothers. However, Venturestein enters behind them sending the five in a panic and Ted opens fire on Venturestein, accidentally shattering one of the clone tubes. Venturestein slips on a lifeless Hank clone slug, which sends him toward the hippies, and, in the process, grabs a growling Groovy, breaking his neck. As the others run, they have the misfortune of running into Brock, at whom Ted makes the mistake of pointing his gun. Brock grabs Ted and starts to twist and snap his wrist, at which point the gun goes off and shoots Sonny in the chest, and then headbutts Ted in the forehead, killing him instantly (Val and Patty—who took no part in the attempted murder of the Venture brothers—manage to escape, while Sonny briefly babbles to himself before dying). Brock snaps out of his rage when he see the boys on the floor, and realizes the shock of seeing their clones has sent them into a catatonic state.

Dr. Venture arrives and tells his sons the clones were supposed to be their Christmas present: a whole army of them, doing their chores and dangerous missions, etc. The boys leave, happily and oblivious to the nature of the clones. Dr. Venture counts the new corpses, and briefly contemplates killing the clones for his death quota before Brock stops him.

After the credits, Brock is seen driving Venturestein (wearing Hank's Batman mask) to buy him prostitutes' services as a way to make up for his murder. Venturestein thinks he can pay for their services with a shoe made from Groovy's severed paw, but Brock assures the monster that he will pay for their services. Venturestein, now obviously over his fear of Brock, cries out "Brock good!" Unfortunately, he punches through the car's roof when he says this.

Episode Cast

First Appearances

Connections to Other Episodes

Powerless in the Face of Death

  • Another death sequence of Hank and Dean is revealed in this episode. Two years before the events of this episode, they were murdered by Sonny and Groovy in a cavern somewhere in Baja California. This was not referenced in the list of Hank and Dean's deaths in Powerless in the Face of Death, as neither Brock nor Dr. Venture had been around to see how they died and so would obviously be unable to give an explanation of how it happened to Dr. Orpheus.[1]
  • Dr. Orpheus receives the junk mail of Hector Molina, a former member of Team Venture who lived on the compound until Powerless in the Face of Death.
  • Ted calls Dean and Hank the "boys from Brazil"; this is a reference to the novel and film The Boys from Brazil, which is about an attempt to clone Adolf Hitler. This was foreshadowed by a line about how the Venture Brothers were once killed in Brazil in the episode Powerless in the Face of Death.

Hate Floats

  • One of the henchmen being killed by Brock in the opening scene is one of the Henchmen recruited in Hate Floats.[2]

The Family That Slays Together, Stays Together (Part II)

Blood of the Father, Heart of Steel

Cultural References

American Beauty (1999)

  • The scene in which Brock shows up to Dr. Orpheus' party drenched by rain alludes to a similar scene in American Beauty.

Angry Kid

  • One of the attendees at the Death Vine ritual appears to be Angry Kid[3], the featured character in a series of stop motion animations from Darren Walsh at Aardman Animations, depicting the mini-adventures of a 15-year-old brat known as "Angry Kid".

Braindead / Dead Alive (1992)

  • In the opening scene there is a portion in which Brock is killing men with a lawnmower. This references the 1992 Peter Jackson film Braindead, known in North America as Dead Alive.

Carlos Castaneda

Catch-22 (1963)

David Berkowitz (Son of Sam)

  • Sonny resembles David Berkowitz, also known as "Son of Sam," a paranoid schizophrenic and serial killer active between 1976 and 1977. He claimed to believe that his orders to kill came from a demonically possessed dog owned by his neighbor.
  • The dog, named "Harvey", similarly provided the inspiration in this episode for the talking canine called Groovy. Berkowitz later recanted the claims of possession while in prison, during his six consecutive life terms.

David Bowie

  • Brock riding naked on the dolphin seems to be yet another in a long line of references to David Bowie, who has a tattoo of a naked man riding a dolphin on the back of his left calf.

Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus (1818)

Frankenstein (1931)

  • The opening dialogue spoken by Dr. Venture to Brock during the resurrection is similar to that of Dr. Frankenstein in the 1931 film Frankenstein.

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

  • When Col. Gathers claims that Samson is 'beyond good and evil', he references F.W. Nietzsche's philosophical tract of that name, which has both been used as opening to serious philosophical enquiry and (ineptly) used as a justification for murder.

Hamlet

  • Upon seeing the Venture compound for the first time, Ted exclaims that "something's fishy in the state of Denmark." "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark" is a line spoken by Marcellus in Shakespeare's play Hamlet, and has come into general use to mean "something is wrong here".

Jonestown Massacre (1978)

  • When Dr. Orpheus passes around the cups of Death Vine Extract, Brock asks, "Is this some kind of Jonestown deal?" He is referring to the Jonestown Cult suicides in which members drank poisoned Flavor Aid.

Keebler Company

  • After Brock ingests the Death Vine Extract potion and begins feeling ill from it he calls Don Rio a "Dried up little Keebler!" and accuses the laughing shaman of poisoning him. The Keebler Company, a major manufacturer of cookies and crackers, markets their products with commercials featuring animated elves. The shriveled Don Rio bears a passing resemblance to the Keebler Elves.

M*A*S*H (1972-1983)

  • The start of the episode being seen through the eyes of future Venturestein and 21 calling him "Tex" are references to an episode of M*A*S*H, which was witnessed through the eyes of a soldier called "Tex" by his friends.

Patty Hearst

Pink Floyd

  • The mentions that Brock and Dr. Orpheus make to Brock being a "tapestry of quiet desperation" are references to the Pink Floyd song "Time" which contains the line: "Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English Way" (this quote is presumably a reference to the Henry David Thoreau book Walden).

RoboCop (1987)

  • The resurrection scene is an homage to the movie RoboCop.

Scooby-Doo

SCUM Manifesto (1967)

Ted Bundy

  • Ted resembles Ted Bundy, a charismatic sociopath and serial killer active between 1974 and 1978.

Valerie Solanas

Valhalla

  • During Brock's hallucination, Col. Gathers mentions Valhalla, the Norse heaven to which only valiant warriors may ascend. Gathers seems to be fulfilling the role of a valkyrie, one of the women that select the worthy and bring them there.

Walden (1854)

  • The mentions that Brock and Dr. Orpheus make to Brock being a "tapestry of quiet desperation" are references to the Henry David Thoreau book Walden in which Thoreau claims that most men in urban contemporary society "lead lives of quiet desperation".

Young Frankenstein (1974)

Production Notes

  • 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 ¡Viva los Muertos! the credit reads Kimson "Quiet Desperation" Albert.
  • The title is Spanish for "Long Live The Dead Ones!". The correct way of writing it would be "¡Vivan los Muertos! (The Dead Live!)" though the name is an obvious homage to the Elvis Presley song, "Viva Las Vegas". The title may also refer to the Traditional Mexican Cry or "Grito" that is shouted on the Country's Day of Independence, every September 15, in which the Cry, "Viva Mexico!" (long Live Mexico!) is uttered by the country's President and the citizenry.
  • Ben Edlund previously helped develop the stories for the episodes Careers in Science,[4] written by Doc Hammer, and Guess Who's Coming to State Dinner?[5] written by Jackson Publick.

Trivia

  • Doctor Venture's "To Do" list consists of these goals:
    1. Beat god at his own game
    2. Get money
    3. Increase my word power
    4. Push-ups!
    5. Make everything go my way

References

Preceded by:
"I Know Why the Caged Bird Kills"
The Venture Bros. episodes
Original Airdate:
October 1, 2006
Followed by:
"Showdown at Cremation Creek (Part I)"
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