The Venture Bros. Review: “The Bellicose Proxy” (Season 7, Episode 6)

The floor for being a villain is pretty low. After all, an archenemy is just a guy who hates you a lot. He doesn’t even have to be particularly good at hating you or being particularly skilled at hating you. He just has to dislike you for some petty reason — like beating him on a game show decades ago.

Recap (With the Big Idea)

Col. Gathers’s S.P.H.I.N.X (Sphinx!) was about curtailing those dangerous individuals that had world-domination capabilities without going through proper channels. However, just going through the proper channels doesn’t make someone a worthy villain. More is needed than costume and an albino for someone to really commit acts of malice.

Augustus St. Cloud is annoying and pathetic. He’s not threatening. He barely puts in the effort to arch Billy Quizboy. He can get beaten up by an old lady. The only thing he has is his money, but money can’t by class or skill. Even The Monarch and 21, his Big Villain mentors, see him as a pest only to be dealt with so The Monarch can rise in rank.

(By the way, this episode really makes The Monarch’s operation look good, doesn’t it? Early in the series, his army of incompetent henchmen, inability to focus on a master plan, and his constant ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory made the Monarch look like a real loser. Compared to St. Cloud, “The Terrible Secret of Turtle Bay” Monarch comes off as Dr. Freakin’ Doom!)

Yet, I’d argue St. Cloud is still “evil” in a sense. He’s the negative hoarder to Billy’s positive geek. He wants things just to have them. He’s totally self-absorbed and yet lacks any self-awareness. He thinks his money can solve all of his problems. He doesn’t compete and really doesn’t seem interested in improving in the least. St. Cloud is as much of a fat whiny slug as the creature in the Guild women’s restroom. (Hell, at least Turnbuckle, the villain that started the Equally Matched Aggression Levels law in the first place had some limited fighting skills.)

The Monarch and Rusty improve their own protagonist/antagonist relationship through the training of their seconds. Rusty’s patronizing to Billy, but he does try to calm his friend’s nerves during his first superfight. Sure, it could be because Billy looks up to Rusty and Rusty maybe feels a little guilty about letting his friend down. Still, that’s Rusty exhibiting “dad’ behavior. The Monarch…well, The Monarch at leastĀ tries to mentor St. Cloud; if he could only coach his old henchmen like that, he probably could be a more effective villain.

Notes

  • Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer sometimes get it into their heads to ram a character many fans find unpleasant into the ground — or at least until some fans give in and like them. (See Sgt. Hatred and the Moppets, for instance.) For some, St. Cloud is the newest in this line.
  • The torture Dr. Mrs. The Monarch mentions is real. It’s called scaphism and it was an ancient Persian method of execution. You’d be buried between two boats and, well, the stuff she mentioned would happen.
  • Also, the “creepy looking building” is indeed real. It’s a facade for a subway ventilator in Brooklyn.
  • The Action Man is not mentioned during the scene with Col. Gentleman and Rose Whalen. I assume they wouldn’t have him die off-screen, would they?
  • St. Cloud’s level 6 lightning gun goes missing in the fracas. I assume that’s going to be a major plot point going forward.
  • Once again, Dr. Z seems like a really great guy to hang out with.

Quotes

St. Cloud: “Oh goodie, I’m being hazed by my Big Villain. I’m wearing my rubber panties just in case you tickle me. I always make wee-wee when tickles.” (Ugh, the lines somehow worse when you hear it in St. Cloud’s little baby voice.)

21: “Do you have any superpowers, you know, bit by a radioactive bug or anything?”
St. Cloud “Well, I do have lupus, fibromyalgia, and restless leg syndrome.”
21: “Maybe we can work with the restless leg. Super Restless Leg.”

Dr. Venture: “Billy, it’s a scroll. Hello? It’s like being scared of a book report on the Declaration of Independence.”

Welcome to your demise! Forthwith and forever after, your days are numbered. The aformentioned antagonist will be your undoing. The laments of your children will mix disturbingly with the villainous laughter of the aformentioned constituent of the mighty Guild. For her/his/their pleasure and amusement, your bowels will be wrenched for your torso and used to crown the head of the aformentioned antagonist as pinguid(?) laurels. The meager brains once housed safely in your skull will be scooped out and and used with great irony to lubricate the machine that was employed to scoop your brains from your skull. Your eyes swill be plucked from their sockets and turned to face your now empty sockets as to guarantee your dying observations will be both dizzying and disturbing.

Dr. Venture: “Come in, Brock. We have a Guild level 1 arching attempt..”
Brock: “So? What do you want — an aspirin or something?” (Another joke completely made by the voice acting.)

Billy: “I’m doing what I do best, which is to secretly cower.”

Rose: “I’ll let you take the first swing, and if you don’t put me down I’ll beat the living shit out of you til my arthritis kicks in. And I just took my Humira.”

St. Cloud: “Penis.”