Sunday, March 16, 2014

"What Color Is Your Cleansuit?" is the premiere episode of the fifth season of The Venture Bros. It was written by Doc Hammer and Jackson Publick (aka Chris McCulloch), and aired on June 2, 2013. That was a full NINETEEN months after the fourth season ended with the one-hour "Operation: P.R.O.M." on November 21, 2010.

In the meantime, the producers had managed to get out the 11-minute mockumentary "From the Ladle to the Grave: The Shallow Gravy Story" on August 28, 2011, and the hour-long "A Very Venture Halloween" on October 28, 2012.

But this was band-aid stuff. Sure, season four was 16 rather than 13 episodes long, including an hour-long season finale. That gave the series four extra half-hour episodes. But this meant that season five ran just eight episodes, including a 60-minute "What Color Is Your Cleansuit?". While fans got the same amount of air-time, the number of stories was far, far less.

"What Color Is Your Cleansuit?" has three basic story lines. In the first, Dr. Rusty Venture gets a phone call from his brother, Dr. Jonas Venture, Jr., who reminds him that the ionic shield array for the soon-to-be-rebuilt Gargantua 2 space station is due in three months. Having already spent the money, Dr. Venture hires interns from nearby State University for his "Palaemon Project" -- a crash project set up in the old "E-den" biosphere (last seen in season three's "The Buddy System"). The Doc sets up castes of workers: Fratboys in orange cleansuits to do the heavy lifting, genius physics students in white cleansuits to do the science...and, true to form, a cadre of submissive geeks and nerds in green cleansuits to cater to Doc's every need (fix lunch, do laundry, get him a cool drink). Doc even calls each of his personal assistants "Tom" or "Tommy" or "Thomas" even through their real name might be something else. Billy Quizboy and Pete White are hired to help supervise the geniuses.

Things quickly begin to go wrong. One of the hunkier whitesuit interns gets caught in a dimensional portal that tortures him, to the shock and horror of Dr. Orpheus.

Billy points out that the radiation generated by the ionic shield first sterilizes and then alters the DNA of the kids in white and orange. The guys in orange start mutating into massive, sharp-teethed humanoids with a taste for "Tommies", while the kids in which start growing super-huge craniums and an extra pair of arms. The radiation may also have affected Sgt. Hatred, who has grown a massive set of breasts.

Meanwhile, Hank and Dermott set up a HankCo in the Venture garage and begin making money off the interns. Dean, for his part, gets a crush on one of the female interns. In a dream sequence, he fights off Cylons while she clings to his leg. As the dream ends, both the Cylon and the girl cop a feel of his genitalia.

In a second, if minor, plot thread, The Monarch engages in some sexual role-play with Dr. Mrs. The Monarch. Only, "Kahl Drogo" sounds a bit too much like "Carl Drogo" (from the movie Rocky IV, and things go wrong. It gets worse when Pupae Twin Kevin shows up... The Monarch misses Gary (Henchmen #21), who is still trying to be a "good guy" and resurrect S.P.H.I.N.X. The Monarch can't believe he's actually defected to the other side, so he tries hard to hook up with Gary to find out the secrets he's gotten out of Venture.

The third (and major) plot thread in the episode is Billy Quizboy's new arch-nemesis, Augustus St. Cloud. St. Cloud has been a non-speaking background villain ever since season one's "Tag Sale – You're It!" ("oooh! Girlie magazines... Ahhh, Sarah Michelle Gellarrrrr...!") It turns out St. Cloud has purchased Dr. Venture's old hovercraft, which Billy wanted so he could scavenge the power plant from it. Venture also sold H.E.L.P.eR., and Billy and Pete decide to invade St. Cloud's luxurious home to get him back. Their plan fails, miserably, of course. It turns out that Billy outbid St. Cloud for a piece of sci fi movie memorabilia, and St. Cloud has decided to join the Guild of Calamitous Intent in order to get back at him. While St. Cloud bribes Guild agents Watch and Ward, other Guild operatives steal the Ark of the Covenant and several chairs from him!

St. Cloud challenges Billy to a quiz-off.

The best thing about St. Cloud's lair is just how much stuff is in there! You can see Venture's hovercraft, and a Viper from the orginal Battlestar Galactica and a TARDIS from Doctor Who.....

Vincent Van Gogh's "Sunflowers".....

and the head of Jabba the Hut's doorway droid from Return of the Jedi, the head of the rancor from Return of the Jedi, and the eye and eye-stalk of the garbage compactor beast from Star Wars.

All's well that ends well, however. The inept Dr. Venture has to develop a cure for the mutated interns. But at the same time, The Monarch has been developing a drug to turn Venture and his family into mutants. Dr. Mrs. The Monarch, realizing that The Monarch needs Dr. Venture to have a purpose in life, betrays him and discovers a real cure. Everything comes down just in time, as the white and orange mutants (who finished the shield array weeks ago) are planning to take over the world, and only wimpy Dean Venture can stop them -- if he can out-duel the muscular white mutant Martin.

The show guest-stars Aziz Ansari as Martin, who is drawn really hot.

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