Season 7 of Adult Swim’s The Venture Bros. arrives on home video today, so be sure to send your H.E.L.P.eR. bot out to pick it up. If you need a little extra incentive to check out the latest season of one of the funniest, smartest, and most rewatchable animated series on TV today, be sure to read up on my Blu-ray review and take a gander at our exclusive clip from its bonus features, or get caught up on Season 7 with my review here. If all of that still doesn’t convince you that The Venture Bros. is worth your hard-earned dollars, maybe a chat with creators/writers/actors Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer will.
I had a chance to chat with the multi-talented duo ahead of the Blu-ray’s release in order to talk about their writing process, the many meta references that pop up within the show, and the “intimate handshake” of suppositories; we spent far too long on that latter topic. Publick and Hammer also talked about this season’s deleted scenes, which can be seen on the Blu-ray, and why they were cut, along with other story mythologies they’d like to explore. They stopped short of confirming a Season 8, but you can still get a teaser as to what you might expect from another fantastic season of The Venture Bros.
Hey, thank you guys for doing commentary tracks on all 10 of your episodes for Season 7. I am that weirdo who sat there and listened to all of them, so I appreciate it.
Doc Hammer:: Oh I share your weirdo-ness. I’m a commentary hound. I still buy DVDs or commentary. That’s my problem. I think they’re awful and yet still do them. I love them. Aren’t ours terrible though? You can be honest with me. Aren’t they kind of bad commentary?
I listen to a lot of commentary tracks. The ones that really drive me nuts are where the people are clearly having a good time, but they don’t give you anything of substance. You guys talk about your writing process, your sources of inspiration, how to apply a suppository. All kinds of cool stuff I can use in my daily life. So I had a good time with it.
Hammer: I’m glad you were impressed with the suppository technique. Wait for your anus to take it. That is the hint that I always give out. Don’t just introduce it to your anus, but just let it grab it from you. It’s the most terrifying thing.
It’s like an intimate handshake really. [I’ll spare you the messy details, but we talked about suppositories for about 5 more minutes.] On the business side of things, Jackson, can you talk about how Juno Lee stepped up this season?
Jackson Publick: [He] basically runs the storyboard department and that’s a little more involved than the job of storyboard supervisor used to be … Juno’s a phenomenal director in his own. I needed somebody like that to kind of rein those guys in and just take a lot of stuff off my plate in terms of like when something isn’t working now instead of like some nailing the whole thing out myself. I go, “Hey, this isn’t working. Here’s why. Can you some nail something in and show it to me?” You know?
Publick: Having somebody I trust to both show me something when I got nothing or fix things without being told is just great. That’s a big shift. But I’ve also learned a ton. Juno’s been involved with the show for a couple of seasons on and off and actually trained most of the guys that came on in Season 5 when we had a really good team. So his imprint has been around for a while and I learned a ton from him and from the guys working under him.
Since the show has been on for a long time, do you ever get the time to reflect on the journey so far?
Hammer: I would say I both never think about it and I constantly think about it. Like I’m constantly like, “Oh my God, I’ve been doing this for 15, 16 years.” I’ll tell you this. My background is in painting. I’ll work on a series of paintings for six years and then I’ll show them and then it’s over in a few days and six years of work. People look at it, drinking a glass of wine, barely say anything. I’m used to not caring. All work. You know, I come from music where I worked on a record forever and then nobody gives a rat’s ass. So I’m pretty prepared to spend my entire life doing something and not give a crap about the outcome of it. At least people actually watched the Venture Bros. So it’s not super sad.
But the kind of things that I see are people that never heard of us. And then their friend goes, “Oh, have you seen the Venture Bros.?” So they go on Hulu and watch a super old pilot that none of us can stand behind, in the wrong aspect ratio. So they’re watching that and they’re going like, “Why did, my friend turn me on to this. This is crap!”
And I’m just praying that their friend also gives them a caveat of, “Just wait for it. It picks up. I promise you. It picks up.” And it’ll be something that you enjoy and it really starts to move. You just got to make it through Season 1. You just got to make it.
So, that’s my fear, is that the way people consume television nowadays is very different from what we started with. When we started, television was watched episodically, weekly, and that was how we dealt with it. Now people can just sit there and watch our entire show in two days. All of it. And I’m glad we make a show that actually holds up to that kind of viewing. But man, they have to make it through the fetal viewings of our original concept.
Well, speaking as an OG viewer, I’m glad you guys are still churning out quality content. It’s been great to watch the growth of the characters, and the writing, and the animation, over the course of seven seasons. Do you guys have an exit strategy in mind or do you just want to ride this crazy train as long as you can?
Hammer: We’re somewhere between. I doubt we’ll ride the crazy train til someone tells us to stop, but at the same time we don’t … we’re not sitting here forcing a big dramatic ending. I mean, we’re not into the idea of a big dramatic ending. We’re into the idea that these are real characters that keep going and if we stop telling their story, that’s all that happens, is we stop telling their story. And of course we’ll wrap up things that need to be wrapped up. But the aesthetics of a big flaming ending is super ungratifying. It’s really something for-
Publick: So you’re shooting down my “Hanknarok” story?
Hammer: Right. And the idea that they all have to go find specific crystals because of apocalypse happening. Yeah. Which is like the ridiculous problem with so many things is that they have to amp up what’s happening. I don’t feel bad shit talking this because it did start off so well, but there was a show called Heroes that began so beautifully and it turned into something where every season there was like this new apocalyptic fucking event. And I was like, “Jesus, can’t you guys just like deal with smaller hero problems?” Nope. Nope. Nope. It has to be like a big flaming thing and there’s something … I don’t respond to that. What I respond to is something a little closer to reality.
And even though Venture Bros. is wholly ridiculous, it’s a very real thing. And the Guild of Calamitous Intent is this organization that we created to explain how somebody could be a villain and not not get shot, to not just show up at somebody’s house with a menacing ray and somebody just jumps out and blasts him in the face.
So I think we’re interested in really the little details and petty problems that heroes and villains have instead of going like, “Oh, here’s a major cataclysmic event that our superheroes have to deal with.”
One thing in Season 7 that really hit home were the reveals of family relationships and the the love triangle with the brothers and Sirena. A couple deleted scenes feature Dean asking Orpheus about Triana. They added an interesting wrinkle to that love triangle. So why was that cut?
Publick: Oh purely for time. When we were editing the animatic because we’re on a budget and we’re on a time limit. We can only get so many minutes animated overseas, 20, 22 minutes. And then when we put our end credits on, its 22 and a half and that’s our hard time limit. With rare exceptions.
But, there was just like a little runner because we hadn’t used Orpheus in a long time. And I think the biggest thing was … there was a Dean scene with Orpheus that basically used to be two scenes and it got merged into one to save time and stuff like that. And then it just became the little straggler that’s like, “Well, I have to lose two seconds.” There’s no way around it. I have to lose two seconds. I don’t want to lose anything else, so we’ll lose the callback now to Dean asking about Triana.
I was bummed to leave that because it was kind of cute and a little nod to old history and stuff like that and gave Dean something to do in a room he didn’t have much to do in. But yeah, purely for time.
I’m glad I made it into deleted animatics though.
Hammer: Yeah, we’re hoping our viewers can do the math on those kinds of things. We have very astute viewers, overly astute viewers. We have a smarter audience than we can handle. And because of that they make a lot of those connections without us giving it to them. And it is a part of, because it’s a deleted scene, it becomes part of the show’s logic. It counts, as they would say. But I think people would take that information regardless of us showing it, that when a young man that lives in a compound with nothing, that he’s going to fall in love with this neighbor because that’s the only girl there and he will never let go of that. You know, Dean’s not going to let go of Triana ever. It’s just the way his brain is wired. It’s the first girl he’s ever seen and who gave him a kiss.
I don’t know if it’s officially been announced, but I think you both mentioned publicly that you’re in production on Season 8. If you can say, where are you in that?
Publick: Yeah, we’re not in production. We’re doing some writing.
Hammer: Yeah, we’re doing long phone conversations about what we’re interested in this season of what we have to get done and what we care about. Which are two different things. What we fetishize and where we want to see, sometimes has nothing to do with where we should show and we have to kind of make a happy medium between that.
Have you guys tossed around any other ideas for a three-episode arc, like the Morphic trilogy? Do you want to play with of that kind of structured storytelling in the future?
Hammer: I’ll tell you, we’ve been having conversations about extending that kind of arc throughout the season. You know, like what would it be like to make that season? That really gets closer to novelized television. But that’s a hard thing to do. And it’s also hard for us because every once in awhile we want to tell a story that doesn’t have a place directly into that. It only has a place tangentially with that plot line. So we’ll see what we can do. But we have been talking about doing that.
Publick: We’ve been inching towards that more in the last few seasons. You know, we’ve had more, full season arc kind of runners than we used to. Certainly the Blue Morpho stuff was … that was all of Season 6.
Hammer: And the Gargantua was all of The Venture Bros. That’s a runner that started in episode two.
Do you think we’ll ever get to see a spinoff story telling the history of the Saphrax Protocol, going back to the first villain and seeing that mythology play out other than just the ritualized version?
Hammer: You know, I would love to. I joke about like what we’ll do on the show’s over and I’m like, I’m writing the Guild of Calamitous Intent’s handbook. Like just going to write the entire thing, illustrate the entire thing and throw it out as a PDF, like a jackass, for free.
I love it.
Hammer: So do we think about that kind of stuff, all the time. Jackson always has these kind of OSI ideas. I have Guild ideas. We crawl up our own historical asses constantly, but really it’s two guys writing a show that we’d been writing alone for a long time. So going off on these tangents is just hard because we don’t physically have the time to do it, you know?
Anything you can tease for a potential Season 8? What would you like the viewers to be able to see?
Hammer: The Venture Bros. Right now we’re trying to not let people down. Sometimes in the past we have been capricious dick heads and we’ve opened doors and not let anybody in or out of the door. We just opened it like morons. This year we’re trying to be a little bit more disciplined and the doors that we open, we’re going to investigate.
So that’s all we can promise is that we’ll be true to our season ender and we’re going to pay off. We’re not just going to just kiss, we might go to second base. Is that, what is that? I don’t know what second base is. I’m never sure of that base.
Publick: That’s booby touching.
Hammer: Right. Definitely going to do that.
Publick: We’re going to touch your boobs.
Hammer: Right, second will be consensual only.
Hammer: Right. But second base, I think we hit upon this in the show, is that there was no female based equivalent. Like a woman touching a man’s chest isn’t as taboo is a man touching a woman’s chest. So we’re going to be brave. Yeah. We’re gonna get to that nebulous, sexist second base for you. I don’t know what that means.
I feel like that’s a perfect tease.
The Venture Bros. Season 7 is now available on home video. Here’s how you can get a chance at winning a copy for yourself, along with some awesmome action figures!
To enter, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Venture Bros.” Tell us your favorite character or moment, and we’ll choose the winners! U.S. residents only, sorry! Enter by Friday 6/7!