You can say this for cartoon network, they certainly know how to get a good laugh out of the properties. This week on Reference Humor, we’re going to take a look at one of the early mainstays of Adult Swim, The Venture Bros. This show is perfect for our purposes as the entire series is just one big send up of the Johnny Quest franchise. As always bold numbers represent the time at which the reference happened and Spoilers abound for a wide variety of films. Scroll down at your own risk. Okay, let’s get started.
00:00 The episode title “Everybody Comes to Hank’s” is a reference to the unproduced play “Everybody Comes to Rick’s”. That play would eventually be adapted into the classic film Casablanca (1942).
1:09 Gelato is Italian ice cream. A gigolo is a male escort.
1:39 Dr. Venture and Sgt. Hatred have Music Man tickets. The Music Man is a Tony-award winning musical written by Meredith Wilson that premiered in 1957. It follows con man Harold Hill as he tries to con a small town in Iowa into buying musical instruments. (Fun fact I once played Charlie Cowell in this show.)
3:43 Hank puts on a brown fedora and holds a leather bullwhip he says came with the hat. These items are identical to the ones owned by Indian Jones in the film Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981).
4:02 Wearing his PI hat, Hank begins spouting old-timey nonsense PI jargon. A nod to the slang made popular in 1920’s and ‘30s noir films. He does this throughout the episode whenever he is wearing his hat. Unlike those old noir movies, here no one really understands what he’s talking about.
4:17 The show shifts to black and white animation another nod to early black and white noir cinema.
5:43 Enter the femme fatal, a common stock character in noir films.
6:29 Al says that he is Hank’s “His Girl Friday.” This is a reference to Rosalind Russell’s character in the classic film His Girl Friday (1940).
6:49 “On you like Sid on Nancy” This is a reference to the film Sid and Nancy (1986) which portrays the real life dysfunctional relationship of the Sex Pistols’ bassist Sid Vicious and his girlfriend Nancy Spungen.
12:56 Orpheus and the Alchemist discuss why the character of Samantha on the TV series Bewitched (1964-1972) didn’t just use her magic to solve all of her husbands problems.
16:00 The revelation that Nikki had slept with both Hank and Dr. Venture and that Dermot was actually Hanks half brother is reminiscent to the twist at the end of Chinatown (1974) where it is revealed that Evelyn is Katherine’s mother and sister.
20:40 In his message to himself, Hank says, “Get your ass to Mars.” In the film Total Recall (1990) the main character, whose memory has been altered similarly to Hanks, tells himself in a message to “Get your ass to Mars.”
Well that is it for that episode, which qualified more as an homage episode than a reference buffet. But still quite a lot for us to work with. You know the drill, if you know a reference I missed leave it in the comments section and I’ll check it out.