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"Pomp and Circuitry"
The Venture Bros. episode
Episode no. Season 4
Episode 10
Written by Jackson Publick
Original air date September 19th, 2010
Episode Chronology
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"The Diving Bell Vs. The Butter-Glider"
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"Any Which Way But Zeus"
List of The Venture Bros. episodes

Pomp and Circuitry is the tenth episode of Season 4 and the overall forty-ninth episode of The Venture Bros.


Dean and Hank Venture are surprised that they have finally "graduated" from their educational sleeping beds, and must decide whether they should go to college. Dean meekly accompanies his father, Dr. Venture to his father's alma mater, State University. But Hank who did not receive his diploma decides to join the secret paramilitary organization S.P.H.I.N.X.. Despite showing great skills as a potential agent (even managing to avoid having his memory wiped), he is still rejected by the agency. Brock Samson comforts Hank, encouraging him to give up on trying to be a spy and wait until he gets his high school diploma. Immediately afterward, Hank bangs his head on his learning bed and his diploma (which had been caught in a paper jam) comes out. Hank happily shows it to Brock before the latter quickly tells him he has to be eighteen to join S.P.H.I.N.X., dashing Hank's hopes again and he hits his head on the bed once more.

In a subplot, the disgraced supervillain Phantom Limb escapes from Guild captivity and recruits a depressed Professor Impossible to help him recover his lost limbs so that he might wreak revenge on the Guild. At the end of the episode, Phantom Limb's body parts are restored and Richard has decided to join him as a villain in the re-formed Revenge Society, though he has difficulty trying to find a good villain name. The two are soon joined at One Impossible Plaza by a dethroned Baron Werner Ünderbheit, who says "Excuse me, I want to join up with you guys."

Episode Cast[]

First Appearances[]

Connections to Other Episodes[]


Shadowman 9: In the Cradle of Destiny


Cultural References[]


Chachi Arcola

Dune (1984)

  • During Hank's S.P.H.I.N.X. montage, he can be seen training with a robot resembling the fighter robot from Dune.

Funk & Wagnalls

  • Billy Quizboy describes the information imparted to Hank and Dean via their learning beds as "more dated than Funk & Wagnalls," a reference to the now out-of-print Funk and Wagnalls encyclopedia.

Gaëtan Dugas

  • Dr. Venture says the boys "have been around the globe more times than Gaëtan Dugas." Dugas was a flight attendant who was incorrectly regarded as the "patient zero" of AIDS.

Heidi (1881)

  • When Hank attempts to run away from home by joining S.P.H.I.N.X., Hunter Gathers refers to him as Heidi, the protagonist from the famous children's novel about a Swiss orphan girl's adventures across Europe.

Heidi Game (1968)

  • When Hank attempts to run away from home by joining S.P.H.I.N.X., Hunter Gathers refers to him as Heidi. This is a reference to the so-called "Heidi Game," a 1968 AFL match between the Oakland Raiders and the New York Jets that was interrupted by a scheduled broadcast of the 1968 television film adaptation of Heidi, causing East Coast viewers to miss the Raiders' come-from-behind victory in the final minutes of the game.


Lenny Kravitz

  • Hank says he feels "like that Jewish guy who lost all his powers when they cut his hair off." Brock presumes he means the Biblical strongman Samson, but Hank clarifies he was referring to singer/songwriter/musician Lenny Kravitz, whose musical style became more pop-oriented after he cut off his signature dreadlocks.

Pomp and Circumstance Marches

Pontifical Swiss Guard

Red Shoe Diaries

  • One of Hank's careers is Drifter, "like the guy from the Red Shoe Diaries," an "erotic anthology series" on Showtime in the 1990s starring David Duchovny.



  • Hank says he feels "like that Jewish guy who lost all his powers when they cut his hair off", prompting Brock to guess that he meant the Biblical strongman Samson.


The Albert Merrill School

  • Brock complains that the S.P.H.I.N.X. operative he is working with at the Vatican is a graduate of the Albert Merrill School. The Albert Merrill School was a vocational-technical high school located in New York City which offered computer, electrical, and engineering training to individuals without a high school diploma. The school's television advertisements (which featured singer Jimmy Randolph) were almost ubiquitous on New York City television stations. The school was successfully sued for admitting students it knew could never pass its courses (such as those who did not speak English).

The Aviator (2004)

  • Professor Impossible’s dark room with his limb stretched around as if it were paper, along with the glasses of urine, his disheveled appearance, and his mysophobia are all references to Howard Hughes' later years, as dramatized in the 2004 film The Aviator.

The Matrix film series

  • When Phantom Limb dons the sunglasses he steals from the guard before meeting Professor Impossible, they share a great resemblance to Agent Smith's sunglasses in the Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions films.

The Simpsons (1989 - present)

  • Hank lists one of his desired occupations as "Drifter". In The Simpsons' 1992 episode "Separate Vocations" (Season 3, Episode 18), Bart Simpson's career aptitude test results surprise the test administrator, who had pegged him for "a drifter". Like Hank, Bart romanticizes the idea of being a drifter, briefly fantasizing about a ragged adult version of himself unsuccessfully hitchhiking.

Vidal Sassoon

Walt Disney Concert Hall

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 Pomp and Circuitry the credit reads Kimson "Retiarius" Albert.
  • When Phantom Limb fights off Phage, he is wearing his older costume seen in Shadowman 9: In the Cradle of Destiny. Later however, he is seen wearing his then-current costume, implying the earlier instance was an animation error.
Preceded by:
"The Diving Bell Vs. The Butter-glider"
The Venture Bros. episodes
Original Airdate:
September 19th, 2010
Followed by:
"Any Which Way But Zeus"