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"Eeney, Meeney, Miney... Magic!"
The Venture Bros. episode
Eeney Meeney Miney... Magic.png
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 5
Directed by Jackson Publick
Written by Doc Hammer
Production code 1-04
Original air date 4 September 2004
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"The Incredible Mr. Brisby"
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List of The Venture Bros. episodes

Eeney, Meeney, Miney... Magic! is the fifth episode of Season 1 and the overall fifth episode of The Venture Bros.


A booth-like machine in Dr. Venture's lab opens, from which ominous green light and smoke pour. A figure silhouetted by the light comes into view from the depths of the gadget. H.E.L.P.eR. moves towards the newcomer, beeping and waving its arms, but is subdued with an arcane gesture. In the compound's living room, Hank Venture and Dean Venture are playing with an Ouija board. Dean asks if he will find true love and the indicator moves by its own power to indicate "YES". Immediately afterwards, a strange grey-haired and bearded man silently enters the room. Before the boys can react, the stranger renders them unconscious with a twitch of his fingers.

The next morning, Dean wakes his father to tell him about the previous night's events. Dr. Venture explains to Dean that the stranger is merely renting out space in the compound because Venture Industries could use the money. He takes Dean to see the man, who introduces himself as Dr. Byron Orpheus, a sorcerer. When Orpheus's teen-aged daughter, Triana, arrives Dean is immediately smitten with her. Dr. Orpheus sends the younger duo off to eat breakfast while he and Venture discuss the difficulties of being single parents.

Meanwhile, Hank wakes Team Venture's bodyguard Brock Samson from a nightmare concerning a dead football player named Tommy, and Hank is nearly strangled to death as a result. After some discussion Brock and Hank head to the lab to repair H.E.L.P.eR. When Hank spots the booth, he is entranced, walking towards it in a dazed state. He sees a blissful vision of his father offering to play catch as his mother (heard but not seen) offers them grilled cheese sandwiches. Brock notices Hank's near-hypnosis and forcibly stops him from entering the booth; he glances towards the machine, however, and walks into it in the same trance-like manner.

Dean and Triana make small-talk while eating breakfast, Triana remaining cool while smitten Dean approaches incoherence. Meanwhile, Orpheus and Venture arrive in the lab, discussing the new invention. Orpheus trips over Hank, still prone on the floor after being tackled by Brock. Hank tells them that Brock is now inside the booth, which has no controls on the outside, as the locking mechanism is on the inside.). As Dean fantasizes in his room about saving Triana from a dangerous situation, Hank intrudes and explains that Brock is trapped inside the booth and that they have to save him.

Orpheus learns that the machine probes the user's brain to manufacture hallucinations of his or her deepest desires, or as Venture puts it, it's a "Joy Can" primarily intended for masturbatory uses (hence the lock is on the inside of the machine). Questioning Dr. Venture further, Orpheus disgustedly demands to know if the booth is powered by the heart of an orphan (which Dr. Orpheus refers to as a "forsaken child") to which Dr. Venture replies "Well, maybe, kind of, I mean, I didn't use the whole thing!" Inside the booth, Brock fulfills his dreams, first by receiving forgiveness from Tommy whom we saw during his nightmare, who is revealed to be a team-mate Brock accidentally killed during college football practice. Tommy then disappears, as Brock's clothing becomes that of a Native American warrior, and ninjas begin to rain down from the sky while Brock is assaulted by cowboys, dinosaurs, and polar bears driving cars mounted with machine guns. Brock proceeds to kill them all brutally; his garb then changes to a tuxedo, and a bed materializes, when Molotov Cocktease appears from nowhere to finally consummate their relationship.

While the two doctors are arguing, the boys manage to get inside the machine wearing tinfoil hats. Thinking quickly, they wrap a urine-soaked shirt around Brock's head to block the machine's effects; it works, but they can not find a way to open the machine. Outside the booth, Dr. Orpheus has concluded that true love is the key to opening the machine, but is fruitless at inspiring it. Triana enters the lab, looking for her father. When her voice penetrates the booth, Dean's feelings of love open the doors at once. With Venture's reluctant agreement, Orpheus destroys the foul machine with arcane bolts.

Episode Cast[]

First Appearances[]

Connections to Other Episodes[]

The Terrible Secret of Turtle Bay (pilot)

The Incredible Mr. Brisby

Past Tense

  • Tommy the football player--seen unharmed inside the Joy Can--is revealed to be Tommy the deaf quarterback in Past Tense. Brock Samson accidentally killed him during a practice session in his freshman year of college, which led to a revocation of Brock's scholarship and his enrollment in the military.[2]
  • Dean Venture brags about Brock killing a guy to Triana, yet in Past Tense he refuses to believe it when Hank Venture says that Brock kills bad guys.

The Better Man

  • Dr. Orpheus mentions losing his wife, Tatyana, to the persistent advances of a young necromancer, The Outrider, though he names neither of them in this episode. The Outrider makes his first onscreen appearance in the Season 4 episode The Better Man.

Operation P.R.O.M.

  • Dr. Orpheus mentions losing his wife, Tatyana, to the persistent advances of a young necromancer, The Outrider, though he names neither of them in this episode. Tatyana makes her first onscreen appearance in the Season 4 episode Operation P.R.O.M.

Cultural References[]

Adam and the Ants

Alien (1979)

  • The learning beds in the boys' room are nearly identical to the hibernation pods used in the movie Alien.

American Sign Language

Arcade (1993)

  • The Joy Can, a machine powered by the heart of an orphan, was likely a reference to the 1993 B-movie Arcade, where the villain is a video arcade machine that is powered by a dead little boy's brain cells.

Burger King

David Koresh

  • Triana sarcastically calls Dean "David Koresh" in a reference to the word "compound" when Dean says "So, I'll see you around the compound?" David Koresh infamously lead the Branch Davidians sect, who secured themselves inside a compound in Waco, Texas for two months in 1993, fighting ATF and FBI forces until a fire claimed everybody within.

Doctor Strange

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe

Gladiator (1930)

  • Brock Samson was expelled from State University after accidentally killing his fellow college football teammate, Tommy, an incident which still haunts him with guilt to this day. A similar incident occurs in the 1930 Philip Wylie novel Gladiator, a book which heavily influenced the pulp action and superhero genres.

Kolchak: The Night Stalker (1974-1975)

  • Dean apparently watches reruns of Kolchak: The Night Stalker, a 1970s television series about a newspaper reporter who investigated mysterious crimes with unlikely causes, particularly those that law enforcement authorities would not follow up. The show often featured supernatural, sci-fi, and fantasy elements.

Led Zeppelin

  • When Hank is shuffling through a box of Brock Samson's cassette tapes, he finds the 1979 Led Zeppelin album In Through the Out Door and ask if he and Brock can listen to it. Brock refuses, stating that "Zep sold out on that one", and the album brings back memories of the only woman he ever loved (most likely Molotov Cocktease).

Lord Byron


  • Dr. Orpheus is a powerful necromancer, meaning he can communicate with the dead and command a variety of magic, often associated with death.


  • In ancient Greek mythology Orpheus was a legendary musician, poet, and prophet. The major stories about him are centered on his ability to charm all living things and even stones with his music, his attempt to retrieve his wife, Eurydice, from the underworld, and his death at the hands of those who could not hear his divine music.


  • Doc Hammer says he named Dr. Orpheus after the Cult of Orpheus, or "Orphism", because he wanted the character "to have a credible feel to the people who are familiar with magick with a k."[3]

Poltergeist (1982)

  • Dr. Venture begins a scene dictating sternly at the Joy Can, "Hank, you get out of there!" Dr. Orpheus urges him, "Be cross with them!", and he shouts, "Boys, this is your father, you come here this instant!" This is a reference to Poltergeist, parallel to how the spirit medium Tangina instructs Carol Anne's father to call her back from the rift in the closet.

Snapple "Real Facts"

  • Dean's statement that "penguins have an organ above their eyes that converts seawater into freshwater," apparently learned in his subliminal learning bed, is quoted directly from Snapple's Real Facts #131.[4]


  • Dr. Orpheus resides in the advanced arachnid research centre, a reference to Spider-Man comics.

Steve Ditko

The Lion King (1994)

"The Veldt" (1950)

  • The idea of a room filled with potentially deadly simulations comes from the Ray Bradbury short story "The Veldt", in which a married couple worry that their children are becoming too obsessed with a virtual reality room in their house and attempt to wean them away from it, but are eaten by a virtual pride of lions for their efforts.

Total Recall (1990)

  • The brothers wrap Dean's shirt around Brock's head after peeing on it. This is a reference to the movie Total Recall where a character wrapped a wet towel around his head to disrupt a tracking device.

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 this episode, the credit reads Kimson "In Twain" Albert.
  • The live-action actor, credited as Tom Vollette, who translates Tommy's speech into American Sign Language is stated in the episode commentary as still learning ASL, and the film was rotated, which might account for the actor's "frantic" tone, as he seemed to have balance problems.


  • The American Sign Language translation is largely accurate, though when Tommy says "It was my fault not wanting to give you the football", the actor signs a muddled "My fault not want/give football." It should also be noted that football is signed differently than the interpreter would have been used to seeing it, but which may just be regional differences.
  • In the credits, for some reason, Hank Venture's name is listed as "Hank VentureCol.", an unusual typo.
  • Mia Barron is not credited for her voice acting as Molotov Cocktease in the credits, probably due to mistake.

Preceded by:
"The Incredible Mr. Brisby"
The Venture Bros. episodes
Original Airdate:
September 4, 2004
Followed by:
"Ghosts of the Sargasso"


External Links[]