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The Venture Bros. episode
Pinstripes and Poltergeists
Season 4
Orig. Airdate Dec 13, 2009
Writer(s) Doc Hammer
Director Jackson Publick
Co-Director John Schnepp
Production # 4-47
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The Better Man 47 The Diving Bell Vs. The Butter-glider


The Monarch makes his move on Dr. Venture, just as he's distracted by problems with zoning regulations. But how does Monstroso play in and what are his ultimate plans? And how does it all relate to Brock Samson and the mystery of SPHINX?


  • The Monarch, in hopes of finally taking down Dr. Venture, allies himself with Monstroso, a super-villain lawyer - a combination which Dr. Mrs. The Monarch likens to "a shark with grenade launchers attached to its head."
  • 21 continues to see his friend 24 as either a ghost or a figment of 21's mind.
  • Due to Monstroso's meddling, Dr. Venture needs to dedicate 75% of his compound to "do-good-ing" or lose the compound to Monstroso's company, the Mammoth Corporation.
  • In an attempt to lease a section of the compound to Billy Quizboy and Pete White Dr. Venture stumbles upon SPHINX's base in his own backyard.
  • It is revealed that Shore Leave, Mile High, Brock, Hunter and the rest of SPHINX were disillusioned by the "hot bureaucracy" the OSI "poured in [their] laps." In order to make a difference, they took up the mantles of their former nemeses, SPHINX, who had been obliterated in the "Pyramid Wars of '87." The new SPHINX takes on the villains the OSI won't, e.g. those who refuse the costumed life and the rules that go with it.
  • 21 gets his wish and takes on Brock in an epic fistfight, revealing that his training over the prior year has been astonishingly effective. Even Brock is impressed by his skills.
  • Bonus - Speedy makes a cameo appearance for the first time since S01E01.
  • Bonus - according to #24 a human soul doesn't manifest until the being is one year old, or maybe six months.


The episode opens on a conversation between Henchman 21 and his friend, Henchman 24. The nature of their conversation reveals that Henchman 24 is a ghost, but whether or not he is "real" or a product of 21's imagination is not made clear. Their conversation is interrupted by The Monarch, who enters 21's room and demands that he suit up for a mission.

The show's usual title sequence is replaced by a S.P.H.I.N.X.-themed sequence.

Brock Samson and Shore Leave perform a S.P.H.I.N.X. operation, disrupting the evil scientist Dr. Schumpmaker's attempt to weaponize volatile sulfur. Shore Leave is captured.

Back at Dr. Schumpmaker's laboratory, Schumpmaker and his two remaining employees interrogate a flippant Shore Leave. Suddenly Brock drops from the ceiling, killing the nameless scientists and incapacitating Schumpmaker. Shore Leave explains to Schumpmaker that S.P.H.I.N.X. terminates only villains who do not abide by the rules of organized villainy mandated by institutions like the Guild Of Calamitous Intent, and then kills him.

Meanwhile, The Monarch heads to a meeting with supervillain Monstroso. Monstroso, a devil-themed Guild supervillain, attorney, and CEO of a legitimate, non-villainous company called Mammoth Corporation, agrees to help the Monarch destroy Dr. Venture's livelihood by legal means.

At the Venture Compound, Sergeant Hatred discovers Dr. Venture using his sons' computer to unwittingly respond to chat messages from some of Hatred's pedophile associates, and advises him not to respond to them, or to an Nigerian money offer. As they talk, Dr. Venture receives an email from Mammoth Corporation informing him that his compound is in violation of zoning regulations established by Col. Lloyd Venture, his grandfather, which require that seventy-five percent of his property be dedicated to "the care and upkeep of American rightness and the active defense of her civil needs." Venture comes up with several ways to bring his property into compliance.

At S.P.H.I.N.X. headquarters, Colonel Hunter Gathers, the apparent leader of S.P.H.I.N.X., receives information about Monstroso's plan to take over the Venture Compound.

The Monarch, bored with the lack of action in Monstroso's plan, reveals the nature of the plan to Dr. Mrs. The Monarch who reacts with shock, warning him of Monstroso's reputation as a double-crosser (it is implied in an earlier episode that Dr. Mrs. The Monarch has a history with Monstroso). 21, overhearing that conversation, then uses access codes he obtained from a stolen BlackBerry mobile device to gain access to Mammoth Corp's computer system and finds documentary evidence that The Monarch inadvertently forfeited his position as Dr. Venture's archenemy with the Guild to Monstroso, who intends to claim Venture's property as well as The Monarch's. Ominously 21 announces: "I know what I have to do."

At the Venture Compound, Dr. Venture attempts to convince Master Billy Quizboy and Pete White to rent out one of the manufacturing facilities on the grounds. When they enter the building they discover that S.P.H.I.N.X. is using it as a headquarters. Gathers reveals to the Venture team that S.P.H.I.N.X. used to be the name of a supervillain organization that was wiped out by the Office Of Secret Intelligence during the "Pyramid Wars" of 1987. Gathers and other O.S.I. agents formed S.P.H.I.N.X because they could no longer tolerate the ineffectual bureaucracy of O.S.I. Billy asks to join S.P.H.I.N.X. but is refused. Venture sees S.P.H.I.N.X. as the solution to his zoning problem, but the S.P.H.I.N.X. operatives refuse to endanger their clandestine existence by declaring themselves as residents at the compound. The compound's perimeter monitoring system interrupts their conversation, informing the group of an intruder at the front gate.

21, the intruder, disables several security devices, then calls on the ghost of 24 for assistance. 24, however, refuses to help him until 21 agrees to display his uncanny ability to associate celebrities with their signature perfumes for some of 24's spectral friends — namely the dead Monarch henchman Speedy and former President Woodrow Wilson. After 21 impresses the two ghosts, 24 explains that he is only able to survey the compound because he can not interact with solid objects. He enigmatically suggests that this may also be because he is nothing more than a hallucination, then vanishes.

Back at his headquarters The Monarch rails against Monstroso to Dr. Mrs. The Monarch. The Murderous Moppets, Kevin and Tim-Tom, arrive and inform them that 21 has stolen the Monarch Mobile and probably intends to attack Monstroso. Dr. Mrs. The Monarch tells an incredulous Monarch that this development puts him in the clear: Guild regulations don't allow disciplinary action against the Monarch for 21's actions, but if 21 succeeds, then the Monarch's problem with Monstroso will be solved. The Monarch optimistically agrees.

At the Venture compound 21 encounters Brock and challenges him to a fight. Brock defeats 21 but comments favorably on his improved skill.

Inside S.P.H.I.N.X. headquarters Gathers promises Dr. Venture that he will solve his problem with Monstroso. Billy has had his memory wiped, and Gathers informs White that his memory will not be wiped because he poses no threat. Hank and Dean Venture walk in on the group, and Gathers directs Mile High to wipe their memories as well.

Outside, 21 awakens after having been knocked unconscious by Brock, and explains his plan to ambush Monstroso. Brock tells him to think bigger, and the two leave. A short time later, as Monstroso sits at his desk doing paperwork, 21 (dressed as a Jedi so as not to incriminate the Monarch) enters the villain's office and demands that Monstroso tear up the contract he made with The Monarch. Monstroso (who is approximately twelve feet tall) scoffs and advances on 21. As he does, Brock enters the room and the two launch themselves at Monstroso. The action freezes while they are in mid-air, and the credits run.

In the post-credits scene, a blood-covered but apparently uninjured Brock sits in Dr. Venture's kitchen at night, eating a bowl of cereal. Hank walks sleepily into the kitchen without noticing him and gets himself a glass of water. As he exits, he murmurs a sleepy, "Good night," to Brock, who responds, "Good night Hank." Offscreen Hank's glass hits the floor and he exclaims, "Brock!?"

Fun Facts[edit]

  • This episode contains the first on screen appearance of Henchman 24 since his death in Season 3 (other than his skull). Henchman 21 is the only one who can see him; whether this is because he is a ghost or a figment of 21's imagination is unclear.
  • This is the first on screen appearance of Monstroso. He was last mentioned in Showdown at Cremation Creek (Part 1).
  • When Henchman 21 and the Monarch arrive at Monstroso's office to sign some paper work, Monstroso]repeatedly offers a cigar to the Monarch in reference to the progressive rock song Have a Cigar, by Pink Floyd.
  • Shore Leave affectionately calls Brock by a number of pun nicknames-
    • Brock Ness Monster, referring to the Loch Ness Monster;
    • Brock Lobster, referring to Rock Lobster, a 1978 song by the B-52's.
  • The faux-titles for SPHINX makes several references to the opening of the Japanese animated series Cowboy Bebop.
  • Brock and Shore Leave are shown taking a bath in a red liquid near the episode's start; it's briefly referenced that they're bathing in tomato juice, an old home remedy for getting rid of skunk smell.
  • The dialogue at the start of 21 and Brock's fight has a number of call backs to their first (onscreen) meeting in Tag-Sale -- You're it! : "Brock Samson, at last we meet", "Do I know you?", "Boo."
  • The booming voice of the giant SPHINX statue is a possible homage to Olmec from the early nineties show, "Legends of the Hidden Temple".
  • At the beginning of the episode, when the Monarch catches twenty-one talking to the skull (of the ghost of twenty-four), (@noon fifteen), the Monarch says,"21, You got to knock this, "Alas poor Yorick" crap off". This is the second reference this season, to William Shakespeare's Hamlet. (See Perchance to Dean for the first.) In said play, while holding up the skull of Yorick, Hamlet states, "Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio, a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy. He hath bore me on his back a thousand times, and now how abhorr'd in my imagination it is! My gorge rises at it." Hamlet Act 5, scene 1, 179–188.
  • When Sergeant Hatred discovers Dr.Venture checking his email, Dr.Venture says that he would do it on his computer but "The commodore 64 gets a little buggy." A commodore 64 has an 8-bit operating system and is from 1982, most computers today have 64-bit.

[edit] Voice Talent
Voice Talent
Patrick Warburton Brock Samson
Chris McCulloch Hank Venture
The Monarch
Sgt. Hatred
Henchman 24
Hunter Gathers
Pete White
Dr. Schumpmaker
Sky Pilot
James Urbaniak Dr. Venture
Doc Hammer Henchman 21
Shore Leave
Dr. Mrs. The Monarch
Billy Quizboy