the best show on Television

Posted: October 12, 2010 in Comic book reviews

I’m not very good at praising things. It doesn’t come naturally to me. When I talk about liking something it sounds forced and insincere.

I don’t think that just because I like something it’s necessarily good.

For instance, I love pro-wrestling. And pro-wrestling is garbage. I know that, and I’d never try to push it on anybody.

When I’m on the road in a hotel, I watch CSI. I don’t know why. I am never surprised; the killer is always the smoking teenager.

So me liking something doesn’t make it good. And I know that. That being said, the best show on Television is The Venture Bros.

And it’s also my favorite.

This show is amazing. My last post, (the too long one I wrote about snobbery,) started as this piece. Praise for a cartoon. But I want everyone to understand; this show isn’t just good. It isn’t just funny. This show is the best.

The show is smart, and artfully crafted. And it’s the best kind of smart; unapologetic. It might seem lofty to identify a cartoon such as this as arty, but I certainly believe it appropriate. It’s the kind of show that defies genre.

It’s the funniest show currently on, but it doesn’t smack you over the head with a million jokes a minute. What it does is create a world that is a constant joke.

The world is an amalgam of several comic and fantasy worlds blended with the “real worlds” of glam-rock and gonzo-journalism.

It lifts characters like Johnny Quest directly from our nerd mythos, and places him next to Hunter S. Thompson, who in this world, serves as the head for a Black Ops organization.

It is simultaneously a parody and an homage.

It doesn’t try and take the comics and cartoons of our childhood and put them in the “real world.” Instead it explores all the aspects of the fantasy world that would be commonplace; The waves of grunts and goons that the heroes kill are in a union, a giant three headed hell hound is terrifying, and licks its crotch vigorously.

While it doesn’t shy away from gross out humor, it does its best to treat it as a grown up world would. It doesn’t rely on shock to win you over, it counts on it’s characters dealing with the shock to do illustrate the humor. When a character undergoes a sex change operation, his protege tries to be supportive, but he’s also got to sneak a peak at his junk because he’s curious.

What also separates this show from anything else on television is the way it stays honest with it’s universe. The show has a more rigid and thorough continuity than any comic book universe I’ve encountered that has this many ridiculously powered beings in it.

When people die, or don’t, it matters.

People age and have real side story problems that are both hilarious and meaningful and carry consequences.

While I love The Simpsons, Bart’s my age. How many times has his school year ended?

This show is a story that is moving forward. It demands new ideas, because new things are happening. It also demands you pay attention if you want to keep up. It has sharp and witty dialogue that will not slow down for anybody. The characters are engaged in what they’re doing, and they don’t care about you.

While the shows humor is very much spoof oriented, it doesn’t just hack out a reference like Family Guy or recent Southpark, no it places it in positions that actually make sense.

It doesn’t have to give away the gag, it expects you to make the connection. You grew up with the same nerd cannon the writers did. It expects you to understand why something’s funny, and goes further than making a simple joke.

It wouldn’t just be funny if it hurt for the Human Torch to “Flame On.” It would also be tragic. So when the Professor responsible for the accident keeps him sedated for 3 seasons of episodes, it keeps getting funnier.

It also doesn’t point out every joke it makes. In one of this season’s episodes a main character’s mind is erased, but he wants to leave himself a message.

He says to his future self “Get your ass to Mars… Nah, I’m just messing with you.”

That’s a line from Total Recall, but it doesn’t just say, Hey, remember Total Recall! Wasn’t that awesome! It uses the line correctly, the way a person really would.

The characters behave normally in an anything but normal world. And it makes the world one giant organic joke.

In addition to the uproarious humor of the show, the show also has some of the best point-blank action in current animation.

Some if it’s silly, but so is all cartoon violence. Some of it is just plain and simple bad-ass.

In a season 2 episode Brock Sampson pulls a Zen-ninja move off where he falls into a moving car that would be a stand out spot in any Hollywood blockbuster.

In a recent episode this season there’s a scrap between abducted minions that is every bit as exciting as the best battles I grew up with on Saturday Mornings. I suppose that’s what makes me love this show. It is irreverent and clever in that smart-ass nerd way, but is still reverential to the source material.

The writers are writing something THEY Love. And expect you to love it too.

Well I sure do.
I hope you’ll love it as much as I do, but if you do. Don’t tell everybody. Okay?

For those of you already on board with the show; here are my favorite moments from this season:

The Diving Bell and the Butter Glider: The Henchmen having a meeting and bitching about Sgt. Hatred not having the aversion to firearms Brock had is great. As is the line: So that’s what happened to the 7s. But my favorite part was 23’s ghost messing with 21.

Pomp And Circuitry: When the boys are writing down their dream jobs and they both want to be different types of gladiators, I laughed my ass off. But the line. “and what have I got to show for it? A metal plate in my chest. Karate Vatican Monkey Blood on my hands.” Is priceless.

Any Which Way but Zeus: The conversation in the jet about strippers needing a mandatory retirement age was the best dialogue I’ve seen on TV in a long time. Seriously. Too funny. Even better than Shore Leave, the openly gay Shipwreck parody calling out White as a sissy.

Everybody Goes to Hank’s: Get your ass to Mars! Not just a funny reference, a hilarious notion. Hank HAS to tell himself what happened, but that’s enough.

Summer of Dean: The Spider-man character that secretes webbing from his lower half cracked me up. What was even better, they never mentioned it! Brilliant. As was the minor aside where Dr. Impossible identified Fat Chance as a former assistant later in the episode.

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Comments
  1. the prattman says:

    his number is 24, not 23! Your mistake will live on forever in the tubes. IDIOT!

    “This show is a story that is moving forward. It demands new ideas, because new things are happening. It also demands you pay attention if you want to keep up. It has sharp and witty dialogue that will not slow down for anybody. The characters are engaged in what they’re doing, and they don’t care about you.”

    This is my favorite part of the show. I work with a guy that would love it, but I implored him to wait until he could see seasons 1-3. You can’t start in the middle; this show rewards you for keeping up. It makes it all worth while.

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