A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Venture Bros. is a violent, sexualized cartoon that's in no way intended for children. It's a parody of a cartoon style that was popular in the late '60s/early '70s (particularly Jonny Quest), and as such will probably hold little interest for younger kids. The humor is usually either tongue-in-cheek or overtly absurdist, with clever dialogue and over-the-top situations. For grown-ups into smart writing, biting social commentary, and sharp animation, it's one of the funniest cartoons out there. Just wait until the kids are asleep.
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What's the story?
In parody cartoon THE VENTURE BROS., which is part of Cartoon Network's Adult Swim line-up, the titular brothers, Hank and Dean Venture (voiced by Christopher McCulloch and Michael Sinterniklaas, respectively), are a pair of bumbling, naive teenagers whose father, Dr. Venture (James Urbaniak), is a world-renowned super-scientist. Actually, he's the son of a world-renowned super-scientist, constantly cowering in his late father's shadow and trying to live up to the Venture name -- the more he fails, the more he retreats into a fog of prescription painkillers and booze. Brock Samson (Patrick Warburton) is a shadowy figure, a former government agent gone seriously homicidal, who has sworn to protect the boys at all costs. The Ventures' primary nemesis is The Monarch (McCulloch again), a megalomaniac intent on taking over the world while wearing a butterfly costume, who is assisted by Dr. Girlfriend (Doc Hammer), who has the body of a supermodel and the voice of a Bronx wrestler.
Is it any good?
For a certain segment of the population, there's simply no funnier cartoon on television than The Venture Bros. The jokes are fast and furious, the tone is very mature, and the animation recalls a bygone era when people actually cared about the look of cartoons. That said, with its edgy content and mature tone, this isn't one for the kids.
Early episodes were self-contained genre parodies, since the cartoon was initially seen as a short-lived effort. But as the series progressed and it started to look like there was long-term potential, some continuity began to creep in. Plot lines developed that required attention and, strangely, a sense of caring.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why networks air cartoon series like The Venture Bros. that aren't intended for kids. Why do people automatically tend to associate animation with children? Is that assumption as strong now as it used to be? What are the differences between cartoons made for kids and those aimed at adults?
What do you think about the violence in The Venture Bros.? How does the comic tone affect how you react to it? Does it make the showfunnier? What's the impact of media violence on kids?
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