"From the Ladle to the Grave: The Shallow Gravy Story"
The Venture Bros. episode
Episode no. Season 4 Special
Directed by Jackson Publick & Juno Lee
Written by Doc Hammer,
Jackson Publick
Production code S2
Original air date August 28, 2011
Episode Chronology
← Previous
"Operation P.R.O.M."
Next →
"A Very Venture Halloween"

From the Ladle to the Grave: The Shallow Gravy Story is a mockumentary special that aired between Season 4 and Season 5 of The Venture Bros.

Plot[edit | edit source]

This documentary-style special shows us the story of Hank and Dermott's band, Shallow Gravy. Since H.E.L.P.eR. had been temporarily dead, he objected to their original name of Shallow Grave, so Hank decided to change the name to Shallow Gravy instead.

After the documentary, a music video of Shallow Gravy's smash hit song Jacket plays.

Episode Cast[edit | edit source]

Episode Transcript[edit | edit source]

See: From the Ladle to the Grave: The Shallow Gravy Story (transcript)

Connections With Other Episodes[edit | edit source]

A Very Venture Christmas

  • The Christmas party shown in this episode is the same one from A Very Venture Christmas. This means that most of those events weren't just a dream of Dr. Venture's.
  • Brock mentions that he gave Hank his old bass for Christmas.

The Buddy System

Tears of a Sea Cow

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

Blood of the Father, Heart of Steel

Everybody Comes to Hank's

Operation P.R.O.M.

Cultural References[edit | edit source]

3rd Bass


  • Dermott's microphone stand has a colorful scarf tied to it, a hallmark of the rock band Aerosmith.


Behind The Music

  • The entire special is presented in the style of VH1's documentary television series Behind The Music.

Billy Joel

  • The scene from the Jacket music video where Dr. Venture and Sergeant Hatred sit at the kitchen table with fire in the background is a reference to Billy Joel's 1989 music video for "We Didn't Start The Fire".
  • Hank mentions that they actually set their kitchen on fire to film this scene.

Bob Dylan

Brian Eno


  • The scenes from the Jacket music video of Dermott standing atop a cliff with his arms spread are a reference to Creed's 2002 music video for their single "One Last Breath".


Devil's plaid

DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince

Duran Duran

  • Dr. Venture performs the Duran Duran song "Rio" when he "invents" karaoke in the flashback at the Christmas party.

Dymaxion car

Jack the Ripper

  • The concept for the Shallow Gravy single Jacket was originally inspired by famed historical murderer Jack the Ripper.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Joy Division

  • During Shallow Gravy's Jacket music video at the end of the episode, there is a brief scene of Dermott and Hank carrying a picture of H.E.L.P.eR. (and another with a photo of Brock Samson.) This is a reference to Joy Division's music video for "Atmosphere", wherein people in various white and black robes are seen carrying a large picture of Ian Curtis, the deceased frontman of Joy Division. It is also comical to note that H.E.L.P.eR. was briefly dead (and Brock was "missing" for a significant amount of time.) 
  • The strong melodic bassline and drum beat are highly reminiscent of Joy Division, as is the Martin Hannett-like production style ("It sounds like it was recorded on the MOON!" - Hank).
  • Dermott referring to the song as "overproduced" is a direct reference to Joy Division bassist Hookey, and his views on their Unknown Pleasures album.



  • Pete White applauds Shallow Gravy for having a real robot in their band, unlike those "phonies" in Kraftwerk. Kraftwerk are famous for writing songs about robots, using repurposed machines in their music, and performing live with animatronic versions of themselves.

Martin Hannett

  • The narrator refers to Shallow Gravy producer Billy Quizboy as "a hydrocephalic Martin Hannett".

Patton (1970)

  • The scene from the Jacket music video of Dermott and Hank wearing Eisenhower jackets in front of a giant American flag is a reference to the 1970 film Patton.

Pearl Jam

  • The scenes from the Jacket music video of Shallow Gravy running through the woods intercut with words written in chalk on a blackboard are references to the 1992 Pearl Jam music video for their song "Jeremy".

The Beatles


  • Dermott says "I think we're being shut down" when Dr. Venture asks them to keep the noise down, a line from the 1987 music video for the U2 song "Where the Streets Have No Name". The music video featured a live performance by U2 on the roof of a liquor store in downtown Los Angeles, surrounded by a crowd of over a thousand people, before being shut down by the police over security concerns. U2's performance was inspired by The Beatles' famous rooftop performance in 1970.

Production Notes and Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • The episode is referred as "From the Ladle to the Grave: The Story of Shallow Gravy" by adult swim although the episode itself uses the subtitle "The Shallow Gravy Story".
  • This is the first episode where Titmouse Inc. did the animation instead of World Leaders Entertainment.
  • Hank's mnemonic for remembering the four strings on his bass guitar: Every Adversary Dies Gloriously.
  • Co-creators Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer are shown in Dermott's yearbook as "Christopher Esson" and "Eric Faulkman". Jackson's real name is Christopher McCulloch and Doc's is Eric Hammer.
  • Jonas Venture Sr. is shown debuting the "New for 1966" model of H.E.L.P.eR. robot to the buying public.
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