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"Pinstripes & Poltergeists"
The Venture Bros. episode
Monstroso's degrees
Episode no. Season 4
Episode 8
Directed by Jackson Publick
Written by Doc Hammer
Original air date December 13, 2009
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List of The Venture Bros. episodes

Pinstripes & Poltergeists is the eighth episode of Season 4 and the overall forty-seventh episode of The Venture Bros.

A new supervillain, Monstroso, is introduced and the audience learns more about the shadowy secret-agent organization S.P.H.I.N.X. which Brock Samson had joined in the Season 4 premiere Blood of the Father, Heart of Steel.

The episode marks the end of the "fall 2009 season" of the series, with the final eight episodes of the season not aired until the summer of 2010.[1]

PlotEdit

The episode opens on a conversation between Henchman 21 and his friend, Henchman 24. The nature of their conversation reveals that Henchman 24 is a ghost, but whether or not he is "real" or a product of 21's imagination is not made clear. Their conversation is interrupted by The Monarch, who enters 21's room and demands that he suit up for a mission.

The show's usual title sequence is replaced by a S.P.H.I.N.X.-themed sequence.

Brock Samson and Shoreleave perform a S.P.H.I.N.X. operation, disrupting the evil scientist Dr. Schumpmaker's attempt to weaponize volatile sulfur. Shore Leave is captured.

Back at Dr. Schumpmaker's laboratory, Schumpmaker and his two remaining employees interrogate a flippant Shoreleave. Suddenly Brock drops from the ceiling, killing the nameless scientists and incapacitating Schumpmaker. Shoreleave explains to Schumpmaker that S.P.H.I.N.X. terminates only villains who do not abide by the rules of organized villainy mandated by institutions like the Guild Of Calamitous Intent, and then kills him.

Meanwhile, The Monarch heads to a meeting with supervillain Monstroso. Monstroso, a devil-themed Guild supervillain, attorney, and CEO of a legitimate, non-villainous company called Mammoth Corporation, agrees to help The Monarch destroy Dr. Venture's livelihood by legal means.

At the Venture Compound, Sergeant Hatred discovers Dr. Venture using his sons' computer to unwittingly respond to chat messages from some of Hatred's pedophile associates, and advises him not to respond to them, or to an Nigerian money offer. As they talk, Dr. Venture receives an email from Mammoth Corporation informing him that his compound is in violation of zoning regulations established by his grandfather, which require that seventy-five percent of his property be dedicated to "the care and upkeep of American rightness and the active defense of her civil needs." Venture comes up with several ways to bring his property into compliance.

At S.P.H.I.N.X. headquarters, Colonel Hunter Gathers, the apparent leader of S.P.H.I.N.X., receives information about Monstroso's plan to take over the Venture Compound.

The Monarch, bored with the lack of action in Monstroso's plan, reveals the nature of the plan to Dr. Mrs. The Monarch who reacts with shock, warning him of Monstroso's reputation as a double-crosser (it is implied in an earlier episode that Dr. Mrs. The Monarch has a history with Monstroso). 21, overhearing that conversation, then uses access codes he obtained from a stolen BlackBerry mobile device to gain access to Mammoth Corp's computer system and finds documentary evidence that The Monarch inadvertently forfeited his position as Dr. Venture's archenemy with the Guild to Monstroso, who intends to claim Venture's property as well as The Monarch's. Ominously 21 announces: "I know what I have to do."

At the Venture Compound, Dr. Venture attempts to convince Master Billy Quizboy and Pete White to rent out one of the manufacturing facilities on the grounds. When they enter the building they discover that S.P.H.I.N.X. is using it as a headquarters. Gathers reveals to the Venture team that S.P.H.I.N.X. used to be the name of a supervillain organization that was wiped out by the Office Of Secret Intelligence during the Pyramid Wars of 1987. Gathers and other O.S.I. agents formed S.P.H.I.N.X because they could no longer tolerate the ineffectual bureaucracy of O.S.I.

Billy asks to join S.P.H.I.N.X. but is refused. Venture sees S.P.H.I.N.X. as the solution to his zoning problem, but the S.P.H.I.N.X. operatives refuse to endanger their clandestine existence by declaring themselves as residents at the compound. The compound's perimeter monitoring system interrupts their conversation, informing the group of an intruder at the front gate.

21, the intruder, disables several security devices, then calls on the ghost of 24 for assistance. 24, however, refuses to help him until 21 agrees to display his uncanny ability to associate celebrities with their signature perfumes for some of 24's spectral friends — namely the dead Monarch henchman Speedy and former President Woodrow Wilson. After 21 impresses the two ghosts, 24 explains that he is only able to survey the compound because he can not interact with solid objects. He enigmatically suggests that this may also be because he is nothing more than a hallucination, then vanishes.

Back at his headquarters The Monarch rails against Monstroso to Dr. Mrs. The Monarch. The Murderous Moppets, Kevin and Tim-Tom, arrive and inform them that 21 has stolen the Monarch Mobile and probably intends to attack Monstroso. Dr. Mrs. The Monarch tells an incredulous Monarch that this development puts him in the clear: Guild regulations don't allow disciplinary action against the Monarch for 21's actions, but if 21 succeeds, then the Monarch's problem with Monstroso will be solved. The Monarch optimistically agrees.

At the Venture compound 21 encounters Brock and challenges him to a fight. Brock defeats 21 but comments favorably on his improved skill.

Inside S.P.H.I.N.X. headquarters Gathers promises Dr. Venture that he will solve his problem with Monstroso. Billy has had his memory wiped, and Gathers informs White that his memory will not be wiped because he poses no threat. Hank and Dean Venture walk in on the group, and Gathers directs Mile High to wipe their memories as well.

Outside, 21 awakens after having been knocked unconscious by Brock, and explains his plan to ambush Monstroso. Brock tells him to think bigger, and the two leave. A short time later, as Monstroso sits at his desk doing paperwork, 21 (dressed as a Jedi so as not to incriminate The Monarch) enters the villain's office and demands that Monstroso tear up the contract he made with The Monarch. Monstroso (who is approximately twelve feet tall) scoffs and advances on 21. As he does, Brock enters the room and the two launch themselves at Monstroso. The action freezes while they are in mid-air, and the credits run.

In the post-credits scene, a blood-covered but apparently uninjured Brock sits in Dr. Venture's kitchen at night, eating a bowl of cereal. Hank walks sleepily into the kitchen without noticing him and gets himself a glass of water. As he exits, he murmurs a sleepy, "Good night," to Brock, who responds, "Good night Hank." Offscreen Hank's glass hits the floor and he exclaims, "Brock!?"

Episode CastEdit

Connection to Other EpisodesEdit

Dia de Los Dangerous!

  • Speedy has a brief appearance as one of 24's friends from the afterlife. He was a rookie seen in the Season 1 episode Dia de Los Dangerous! who was given a mercy killing by other henchmen as they could not get him out of Brock Samson's choke hold.

Are You There, God? It's Me, Dean

  • This is not the first time that Master Billy Quizboy has attempted to get Pete White to give him a high five hand-slap. Billy also asked Pete to high-five him in the first season episode, Are You There, God? It's Me, Dean. White declined to engage in the gesture in that episode, but gave a half-hearted completion in this episode after Billy complained about being left hanging.

Tag Sale – You're It!

  • When 21 confronts Brock in the Venture compound, 21 says, "Brock Samson, at last we meet." Brock replies, "Do I know you?" These are the same lines spoken by these two characters in the Season 1 episode, Tag Sale – You're It! Brock even leans into 21's face and says "Boo!", hoping to scare him off as he did previously, although this time there is a different reaction.

The Trial of the Monarch

  • This is Monstroso's first appearance in the series. He was first mentioned in The Trial of the Monarch, where The Monarch accuses Doctor Girlfriend of having had a sexual relationship with him.

Powerless in the Face of Death

Hate Floats

  • Henchman 21 reveals in the second season episode Hate Floats that, except for himself and 24, most of The Monarch's henchmen had "joined up with Monstroso's crew".

Assassinanny 911

Escape to the House of Mummies Part II

Guess Who's Coming to State Dinner?

  • Following the rules established by Abraham Lincoln's ghost in the episode Guess Who's Coming to State Dinner?, Henchman 24's ghost is incapable of interacting with physical objects, although he aids Henchman 21 by reconnoitering for him. He may be able to interact with certain objects that have not been established yet, as Lincoln's ghost could touch objects with his face on it such as pennies and $5 bills.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Kills

Showdown at Cremation Creek (Part I)

The Doctor Is Sin

  • The laser defense system Dr. Henry Killinger installed in The Doctor Is Sin is still fully operational.

The Invisible Hand of Fate

  • Master Billy Quizboy comments "I hate you" to Col. Hunter Gathers after he mentions Billy's mechanical hand, a reference to the mission Gathers sent Billy on (in which Billy lost his eye) in the Season 3 episode, The Invisible Hand of Fate.
  • This is not the first time that Master Billy Quizboy has had his memories erased. As revealed in The Invisible Hand of Fate, Billy has had his memories wiped repeatedly by the O.S.I., Pete White, and Doctor Venture.

Tears of a Sea Cow

  • First mentioned in I Know Why the Caged Bird Kills and later built upon in Tears of a Sea Cow, 21 once again shows that he has sexual feelings towards Dr. Mrs. The Monarch. Even 24 states to The Monarch (who is unable to hear him) that "21 wants to nail your wife" and the fact that he photoshopped her head onto many soft core porn pictures under a file labeled Special Software. At a later point, 21 accidentally peeks at her cleavage while she congratulates him, flashbacking to his first sexual experience - the reading of an abandoned pornographic magazine found on a hike.

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

Blood of the Father, Heart of Steel

Return to Malice

  • Henchman 24 is shown to be haunting 21, while previously through Season 4 it was ambiguous as to whether or not 21 was just obsessively talking to 24's skull. Given the closing to Return to Malice, in which 21 is confused when the skull moves itself, it appears as though he may have only recently discovered 24's ghostly existence.
  • The closing to Return to Malice suggests that 24 is not as incorporeal as he suggests, as that episode ends with a Henchman's hand crossing a name off of 21's list, yet when 21 enters the room it is empty and 24's skull has moved. (This was later revealed to be the work of the Moppets Tim-Tom and Kevin.)

Cultural ReferencesEdit

Anton LaVey
  • Monstroso has many physical traits similar to Anton LaVey, the founder of the Church of Satan. He even has LaVey's famous demon cowl, which Monstroso puts over his head for the purposes of "Guild Business".

Betsy Ross

  • Col. Hunter Gathers asks Shore Leave "do you think Betsy Ross works here?", a reference to the seamstress who sewed the American Flag.

Billy Elliot (2000)

  • The after-credits scene is reminiscent of a scene in Billy Elliot in which the titular character hallucinates his dead Mother appearing as he gets himself a glass of milk from the fridge.

BMX bikes

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

Chippendales

Daredevil

  • Monstroso appears to be partially based on the Marvel Comics superhero Daredevil, a "devil"-themed costumed adventurer who also has a career as a lawyer.

F-15 Eagle

Firefly (2002-2003)

  • Henchman 21 holds the time he met the cast of the television series Firefly in the same high regard as Christmas, his first BMX bike, and holding his own in a fight against Brock Samson.

Hamlet

Harvard University

I Dream of Jeannie (1965-1970)

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)

James Bond

Jonestown Massacre (1978)

  • When 21 says he should tell others about the revelations 24 gave him about souls and such, 24 facetiously replies that he should write it down on a golden plate or get aviators and a compound in Guyana. The aviators refer to cult leader Jim Jones, who was known for wearing Ray-Ban Aviator sunglasses, and the compound in Guyana refers to Jonestown, the headquarters of Jones' Peoples Temple and the site of the infamous Jonestown Massacre.

Kingpin

  • Monstroso is primarily based on the Marvel Comics supervillain Kingpin, a crime lord surrounded by masked men in suits and known for his massive size. Originally a Spider-Man villain, the Kingpin eventually came to be the archenemy of the superhero Daredevil.

Loch Ness Monster

  • Shoreleave tells Brock to "go all Brock Ness Monster on them," an allusion to the Loch Ness Monster.

Mormonism

  • When 21 says he should tell others about the revelations 24 gave him about souls and such, 24 facetiously replies that he should write it down on a golden plate or get aviators and a compound in Guyana. The golden plate is a reference to Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, which established the religion of Mormonism.

National Rifle Association

  • Sgt. Hatred has an NRA sticker on one of the upright lockers in his room.

Pinstripes and Polkadots

POW/MIA flag

  • Sgt. Hatred has a red POW/MIA flag on his wall, a flag commonly displayed by U.S. military veterans and other concerned citizens.

Rasputin

Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In (1968-1973)

  • Shore Leave uses the phrase, "...you bet your bippy"—a slightly altered version of the catchphrase "you bet your sweet bippy" used on the sketch comedy television program Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In.

Star Trek

Star Wars

Superman

  • Col. Hunter Gathers tells his S.P.H.I.N.X. aide who has brought him news to "stop playing Jimmy Olsen," a reference to the news reporter in the Superman comics.

The B-52's

The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy (1979)

  • When 21 asks 24 the meaning of life, 24 responds "The color twelve" before asking 21 to "Ask me something less Hitchhiker's Guide." This is a reference to the novel The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, which states that the answer to life, the universe, and everything is "forty-two".

The Pink Panther (1963)

Tupac Shakur

  • 21's tattoo across his abdomen reads "Hench 4 Life," similar to the way rapper Tupac Shakur had the phrase "Thug Life" tattooed across his stomach.[3]

UFO Hunters (2008-2009)

William-Adolphe Bouguereau

Production NotesEdit

  • 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 Pinstripes & Poltergeists the credit reads Kimson "Brockness Monster" Albert.
  • The "S.P.H.I.N.X. Theme" is credited to "WEEP" which is Doc Hammer's band.

ReferencesEdit

  1. Clark, Christian. "Seeing More Venture Bros. in HD." Animation World Magazine. March 18, 2009. Accessed 2009-03-21.
  2. Taylor, Charles. "The James Bond Title Sequences." Salon.com July 29, 2002; Chapman, James. Licence to Thrill: A Cultural History of the James Bond Films. New York: Columbia University Press, 2001. ISBN 0231120494
  3. White, Armond. Rebel for the Hell of It: The Life of Tupac Shakur. New York: Thunder's Mouth Press, 2002. ISBN 1560254610


Preceded by:
"The Better Man"
The Venture Bros. episodes
Original Airdate:
December 13th, 2009
Followed by:
"The Diving Bell Vs. The Butter-Glider"