|"Escape to the House of Mummies Part II"|
|The Venture Bros. episode|
"Still? He's been doing that all day."
|Directed by||Jackson Publick|
|Written by||Doc Hammer|
|Original air date||16 July 2006|
|List of The Venture Bros. episodes|
Escape to the House of Mummies Part II is the fourth episode of Season 2 and the overall seventeenth episode of The Venture Bros.
Parodying old adventure series, the episode is intentionally convoluted, full of non sequiturs and open ended digressions, with key plot elements purposefully omitted. The "Part II" in the title is a joke; there is no Part I. The next episode preview at the end of the episode (a first for the series) promises an equally non-existent part III.
Previously on "The Venture Bros." ... the team found themselves involved in a convoluted time travel epic involving an Egyptian cult of Osiris and historical figures such as Dr. Sigmund Freud and Caligula, with plenty of various adventure and action clichés in abundance.
After the "recap" of the nonexistent episode Escape to the House of Mummies Part I, we join the team who are now trapped in a room deep within a pyramid, apparently in the present day. The only possible exit is through the head of a jackal sculpture on one wall, but even Dean's slender shoulders are too broad for him to squeeze through. Exasperated, Dr. Venture heaps derision on his sons' shortcomings as boy adventurers, and begins to crawl through the opening himself. However, he is stopped when the walls, from which spikes now protrude, suddenly begin closing in.
The team is out of ideas, until Hank suggests they call Dr. Orpheus for help. Venture balks at the idea, and Brock sarcastically tells the boys to prepare for death since their father would rather let them all die horribly than ask Orpheus for help. Fuming, Dr. Venture contacts Orpheus (who is using his magic to rake leaves in the compound's yard) and explains the situation, although he cannot provide their exact location. Without explanation, Orpheus urges Dean to imagine his daughter Triana, naked and tongue-kissing him. When Dean complies, Orpheus uses the strong emotional response to locate them and disable the trap's mechanism, as well as their wrist communicator watches. Dr. Venture then crawls through the jackal's head, leaving the rest of the team in the momentarily-safe room while he seeks help.
Dr. Venture flies the X-1 back to the Venture Compound (damaging the statue out front when he hurriedly lands) and rummages through his laboratory for the equipment he needs to rescue his sons and Brock. Orpheus enters, and Venture's irritation towards the necromancer leads them into another debate on the relative merits of science versus magic. Completely forgetting the urgency of the current situation, they agree to settle the issue with a bet: whoever can shrink themselves the most proves his method is "better." They agree to meet back in the lab the next day to hold their contest. As he leaves, Orpheus reminds Venture he sold Jonas Sr.'s shrink ray to Pete White and Master Billy Quizboy at the tag sale. Venture, clearly having forgotten this, is rather unsettled.
Brief scenes show the progress of Brock and the boys, who have managed to escape the cell on their own. The boys have adopted a "friendly" mummy, and Dean is decapitated but remains alive (apparently through "pyramid power"). Brock, Dean, and Hank, presumably stealing the cult's time machine, abruptly end up in the 1800s. Brock puts Edgar Allan Poe in a headlock, apparently out of amusement over Poe's large head. Just as abruptly, Poe travels back to the present day with Hank, Dean, and Brock.
In search of the shrink ray, Dr. Venture breaks into the Conjectural Technologies mobile home and trashes the place. White and Quizboy catch him in the act and berate him for not simply asking for the object. At Quizboy's prompting, White admits that he disassembled the shrink ray: he couldn't get it to work, and somehow concluded that "a treasure map or something" was jamming its components. Venture initially despairs at the small paper bag that contains the parts, but the three resolve to work together to reassemble it.
While the ray is being assembled, Triana enters her room to find her father standing in front of the closet, from which unearthly light pours out. Stunned and upset, Triana berates him for not telling her that her closet was actually a portal to Hell (a necropolis, as Orpheus phrases it). Not only did she think she was going insane, but her resulting fear of the closet has prevented her from changing clothes for a long time. Orpheus says that he just thought it was a phase that teenagers went through, like Archie and Jughead. When her anger fails to fade, Orpheus casts a sleep spell on her and erases the event from her memory.
Meanwhile, Brock and the boys have used the time machine again... but thanks to Hank, have only traveled to the previous morning. As a result, they (along with Poe and Sigmund Freud, who has joined the proceedings without explanation) witness their own capture by the Osiris cult.
In the otherworldly necropolis beyond Triana's closet, Dr. Orpheus approaches the throne of The Master. Sitting on the throne however, is a three-headed dog which snarls at Orpheus, prompting the necromancer to strike it with a fireball. The dog (voiced by H. Jon Benjamin) complains to Orpheus about the attack, revealing that it is actually Orpheus's teacher in animal form. They begin a long discussion about Orpheus' lack of friends while the master sorcerer licks his own crotch with another of his heads (and pontificates on the pleasures thereof).
Back at the compound, Venture, White and Quizboy have become distracted from fixing the shrink ray by a "guilty pleasures" questionnaire whose intent Quizboy apparently misunderstands. After finally reassembling the device, they test it on H.E.L.P.eR. and successfully shrink him to an inch or so tall. Deciding that they need to test a human subject, Venture claims that his family needs him and White cites his albinism as an obstacle. Quizboy attempts to beg off due to his virginity, but the others force him to "volunteer" himself. The ray seems only partially successful: successive shots first shrink his lungs, then his head.
Brock, the boys, and their time-lost companions Poe, Freud, and the similarly-unexplained Caligula have apparently teamed up with an earlier version of Brock and are planning an assault on the Osiris cult.
Orpheus and his teacher now lie on the ground, looking up at the stars and pondering how insignificant the sight makes them feel. With a few more words of encouragement, the master admits that Orpheus is one of his best students and urges him to win the "incredibly gay" contest against Venture.
White, Quizboy and Venture finally conclude that trying to repair the shrink ray is a hopeless effort. Venture glumly acknowledges that he is unable to even repair anything his father built, and that he has always been a failure. Quizboy, however, shows him an old "Rusty Venture" lunchbox that he bought on eBay. The front depicts the young Rusty in his boyhood adventurer days, riding a pterodactyl. Venture reflects that he might not be a very good super scientist, but he was a darn good boy adventurer. White agrees and Quizboy admits that Rusty inspired him to become a boy genius.
Orpheus approaches and states that he can make himself no smaller than he already is, and concedes the contest to Venture. Grudgingly, Venture admits that he did no better. In sudden camaraderie, the group leaves for Orpheus' section...but Orpheus mentions a nagging feeling that they have forgotten something. As Venture returns to turn off the lights in the lab, he steps on the still-miniaturized H.E.L.P.eR.
After the credits is a teaser for the (supposedly) upcoming episode Escape to the House of Mummies Part III: somewhere/when, Hank is shivering in an Arctic wind, begging Brock to kill him. Brock turns to his other self, and tells him to cut open the body of Poe so they can stuff Hank inside and save him from hypothermia. The other Brock slices open the carcass of Poe, recoiling with the comment "and I thought he smelled bad on the outside!" The first Brock stands with the shivering Hank in his arms, and lets out an anguished scream of "DOOOOOC!"
- James Urbaniak: Dr. Venture
- Patrick Warburton: Brock Samson, Brock Samson 2
- Michael Sinterniklaas: Dean Venture
- Chris McCulloch: Hank Venture, Pete White, Ibis Priest, Edgar Allan Poe, Additional Voices
- Steven Rattazzi: Dr. Orpheus
- Doc Hammer: Master Billy Quizboy, Executioner, Believer, Additional Voices
- H. Jon Benjamin: The Master
- Lisa Hammer: Triana Orpheus
- Soul-Bot: H.E.L.P.eR.
Connections to Other Episodes
- Dr. Orpheus argues with The Master over why his wife left him, explaining it was because of the persistence of a younger man: The Outrider, who appears in the season four episode The Better Man.
- Dr. Orpheus says the he thought Triana wearing the same clothes every day was just a phase that teenagers go through, like Archie and Jughead from Archie comics.
- The time traveling party in this episode contains several historical figures, including Sigmund Freud, similar to the 1989 time-traveling comedy film Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure.
- When delineating his powers, Dr. Orpheus claims that he could make Dr. Venture believe himself to be "a very special episode of Blossom!" Blossom was a 1990s sitcom starring Mayim Bialik that did indeed employ the "very special episode" advertising gimmick popular as a promotional tool in the 1980s and 1990s.
- Number one on Dr. Venture's list of "guilty pleasures" is actress Bonnie Bedelia. When Billy Quizboy asks if Dr. Venture means "the mother from Die Hard", Venture responds "The stone fox from A Mother's Right: The Elizabeth Morgan Story, yes."
- Caligula's pleasure at teaming up with Hank is a joke on the Roman emperor's alleged pansexual desires, as well as another jest suggesting Hank might be gay.
- The Master appears in the form of Cerberus, the three-headed guard dog of Hades in Greek mythology, but initially calls himself Argos, the pet of Ulysses, only for Dr. Orpheus to correct him.
Clarissa Explains It All (1991-1994)
- Hank references the Nickelodeon show Clarissa Explains It All when he demands "Yeah, Clarissa, explain it all!"
- Brock Samson notes with glee that he has always wanted to put famed American author Edgar Allan Poe in a headlock, exclaiming "That thing is like a pumpkin!"
- Edgar Allan Poe's admission that he hid the Hand of Osiris in the basement, under the floorboards, is a reference to the famed Poe short story The Tell-Tale Heart (1843).
History of the World, Part I (1981)
- Nonexistent episode Escape to the House of Mummies Part I is a reference to Mel Brooks' History of the World, Part I, which is a historical joke in its own right. Despite the preview, no sequel has been released, and the "Part I" of the film’s title is merely a nod to The History of the World (the book) written by Sir Walter Raleigh while prisoner in the Tower of London; he had only managed to complete the first volume before being beheaded.
Mister Rogers' Neighborhood (1968-2001)
- The Master tells Dr. Orpheus that his wife (Tatyana) left him for being "a wussy" who spent his free time "like Mister Rogers in a cape."
- Dr. Orpheus tells Triana that her closet is a porthole to the Necropolis, the fabled City of the Dead.Osiris
- The Cult of Osiris in this episode worships Osiris, the god of the afterlife, the underworld, and rebirth in ancient Egyptian religion.
- Dr. Orpheus brags to Dr. Venture that, upon winning their "shrinking" wager, "I, like the Puss in Boots shall gobble you up bones and all!" In the European fairytale Puss in Boots, the eponymous cat tricks a shapechanging ogre into shrinking into the form of a mouse, after which the cat quickly eats him.
- Billy Quizboy dismissively tells Pete White that he holds a gun "like a guy who plays Riven." Riven was the 1997 sequel to the popular 1993 puzzle-solving computer game Myst. Both games used a point-and-click first person perspective that didn't involve guns or any other weapons that need to be aimed with precision.
- After Dr. Venture directs Hank and Dean to get Caligula and Sigmund Freud back to the time machine, he explicitly forbids his sons from letting Freud ask them questions about their father. Sigmund Freud was the founder of psychoanalysis and the formulator of the "Oedipus complex" theory, a psychoanalytic concept that proposes children feel unconscious sexual desire for their opposite-sex parent and hatred for their same-sex parent.
- The closing tag scene is a reference to Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back. In that film Han Solo slices open a Tauntaun and lays Luke Skywalker's freezing body inside the warm carcass. Han's reaction to the odor of the dead beast is, "And I thought they smelled bad on the outside!"
- After using the shrink ray in reverse on Billy Quizboy, Pete White says Billy looks "like Tobey Maguire in a bad Hulk costume."
- The Ibis Priest who leads the Cult of Osiris wears a mask that looks like the ancient Egyptian god Thoth.
- After using the shrink ray in reverse on Billy Quizboy, Pete White says Billy looks "like Tobey Maguire in a bad Hulk costume."
- When Pete White only manages to shrink Billy Quizboy's head (not the rest of his body) with the shrink ray, Billy retorts "Nice shot, William Burroughs." Famed author William S. Burroughs is known for writing groundbreaking works like 1959's Naked Lunch, pioneering the cut-up method of Brion Gysin, and fatally shooting his second wife, Joan Vollmer, in the head in 1951 during a drunken "William Tell routine" gone awry.
- Dr. Venture mocks Billy Quizboy's euphemistic circumlocution regarding his virginity by calling him Wordsworth. William Wordsworth was one of the most famous English Romantic poets, helping to launch the Romantic Age in English literature.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Escape to the House of Mummies Part II|
- 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 Escape to the House of Mummies Part II the credit reads Kimson "Mummy Mum Muggy" Albert.
- The opening bit is the first time in the show's run in which it has not been letterboxed.
- The Master was originally going to assume different forms during his conversation with Orpheus, including that of Orpheus' estranged wife. The idea was nixed as potentially being too confusing in an already-confusing episode.
- The gag of having Dr. Venture break into his friends’ place to retrieve the shrink ray (rather than simply ask them) was Ben Edlund’s idea.
- Triana's statement about wearing the same clothes for so long may be a nod to the fact that, traditionally, cartoon characters wear the same outfits in every episode. A similar joke occurred in Are You There, God? It's Me, Dean when Hank complains about wearing the same clothes two days in a row, and The Monarch points out that he wears the same clothes every day. Doc Hammer and Jackson Publick stated in the season one DVD commentary that they hated this and tried to give the main characters several different outfits.
- The Robot Cannon referred to in the subtitle for Escape to the House of Mummies Part III: Mystery of the Robot Cannon is, in fact, a cannon that fires robots.
- When Triana confronts her father about the portal to the necropolis in her closet, she says she's been scared of that closet her entire life. However, she and Orpheus only moved to the Venture compound within the last couple of years.
- Teenagers are very prone to exaggeration and hyperbole.
- The Orpheus family has been living in the compound for a while. We don't really say how long a period of time season one spans, or how much time has elapsed since the beginning of this season, nor how long they had been living there before the boys discovered him (it definitely wasn't Triana's "whole life" though).
- Orpheus no doubt had a similar portal to another dimension in whatever other homes he lived in prior to his arrival at the Venture Compound.
- Orpheus's complete remodeling of the old arachnid research wing hints at some magical manipulation. It's very possible he has magically recreated Triana's childhood home, in order to ease the trauma of divorce, make her more comfortable and prove to the courts that he should have custody of her.
- Doc Hammer stated (perhaps half-jokingly) that the same closet has followed Triana around.
- Someone closely resembling Brock wearing Race Bannon's clothes can be seen on the back of the Rusty Venture lunchbox; Rusty and Brock, however, first met in college.
- Response from Jackson Publick's blog: "Billy owns a very rare and valuable misprint edition of the 1972 Rusty Venture lunchbox, featuring a mis-colored Jonas Venture Sr. Only 1,200 of those were produced before the Thermos Co. fixed the error."
- Billy and Pete did not actually purchase the Shrink Ray at the Tag Sale. Doctor Venture snatched it from Billy's hand and declared that "no one gets the shrink ray" when they annoyed him with their haggling and criticism.
- When Dr. Venture returns to the Venture compound, he searches for a "Zero-Point Magnet" while he discusses Brock and the boys with Dr. Orpheus. When Dr. Venture is crouched his shirt becomes untucked, however his "speed suit" is a short-sleeved jumpsuit, as mentioned in the episode Hate Floats.
- The subtitles for Billy's line "This is clear evidence of an arching!" sequence incorrectly display "This is clear evidence of an arson!"
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July 16th, 2006
"Twenty Years to Midnight"