Reflecting on Venture Bros. Season 5

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It’s safe to say Venture Bros. is one of my favorite shows of all time. I buy each season on DVD so I can pore over all the various extra features and commentary tracks. While I was saddened by Season Five’s relative length, I was not disappointed by the season’s overall quality. By the end of the season, we may have seen more emotional growth than the other seasons combined.

When the season ended, I was actually feeling depressed. The first thought that went through my head is “There is no way this ends well. For anyone.” If you take a moment to review, almost all the characters look destined to repeat the same failures till the day they die. While it’s long been said that failure is the beating heart of the show, repeated failure is what defines these characters’ lives more than anything. The Monarch never defeats Rusty. Rusty never really succeeds as a Super Scientist. Brock never sleeps with Molotov… the list just goes on and shows no signs of stopping.

Then I rewatched the season a few times over the past week, leaving it on as I clean and such. My outlook has completely turned around. There is a lot going on, so I’m going to hit a couple small points/examples and then talk about what I feel is the most important piece.

Success is coming to the larger Venture Family. Let us take Billy Quizboy for example. He has become a doctor and has illustrated multiple times that he is actually a better super scientist than his idol Rusty Venture. Scientifically, Billy has been more important and effective in the past two season than Rusty has been the whole show. When Rusty needs something done, he calls Billy.

Hank and Dean are actually growing up to be amazing young men. Hank is a musician, is a skilled fighter, and owns his own business. Again, greatly surpassing Rusty.

While the failures and shortcomings of Rusty Venture are many, we’re even seeing a turnaround for him as well. Possibly the most important development of any of the characters. He has never been a good super scientist, but luckily he seems to be giving it a rest. Over the course of this season we witness Rusty more or less retire. He finishes the contract he got from his brother, helps clean up a mess one of his previous inventions made, but really he just keeps his head down and stays at home with the boys.

To me, this is the biggest and most important change towards success of any of the characters. Rusty has been attempting, and failing, to compete with the legend of his father for his entire life. Jonas succeeded and excelled in almost every facet of his life. It seems that after failing to live up to his legacy, Rusty has moved on and is now succeeding in the one thing that his father never did: being a dad.

In the past two seasons we have seen Rusty: offer himself up to be kidnapped to protect his family, respect the wishes of his son’s privacy, and even attempt to involve his sons in more projects. Possibly the most telling is him actively parenting Dermot after finding out that he is his father. A man that stole kidney’s from his sons and frequently showed little interest in parenting is actually trying to do what he thinks is right. It’s an amazing turn around and we’re seeing that Rusty is actually turning out to be a pretty decent dad.

My first impression of sadness and the inevitable unhappy ending for the show is now being replaced by optimism. I am now hoping that the ending we see is that Rusty, Hank, Dean, and Dermot leave the super science game and just become a normal family. I could live with that ending.


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