Dr. Venture has certainly shown some moments of sheer stupidity in the past (after all, he wouldn’t have grown up to be the failed super scientist he is now if he was just all common sense all the time), but “Momma’s Boys” takes things to an even more extreme level of idiocy. But you know what the funny thing is? I’m completely okay with that.
Dr. Venture being tricked by Hank into believing he has found a new best friend named Teddy (who is really just a talking robot bear), and then further believing his “bestie” has been kidnapped after actually FINDING the bear in question, is easily one of the more ridiculous subplots we’ve seen in a Venture Bros. episode, but that’s not to say it wasn’t an absolute joy to watch it unfold. However, what starts out as hilarious ludicrousness somehow leads up to Dr. Venture meeting the real-life lunatic voice actor of the robot bear toy, and remaining none the wiser of his own stupidity. It is in this unique sense of unaware vindication of everything that’s happening around them which makes the immediate Venture family so endearing to watch all the time.
The inherent ridiculous nature of the story that drives along the plot of “Momma’s Boys” is prime feeding ground for all sorts of offbeat humor, which this episode has in spades. One of the funniest moments was Hank’s new alter-ego, Enrico Motassa, the leader of a ragtag band of “insane criminals” including Dermott, H.E.L.P.E.R., and Gary. Yes, Gary (A.K.A. Henchman 21) makes another supporting appearance in this week’s episode, whose purpose in life has resorted to living in the Ventures’ backyard and just sort of, I don’t know, doing stuff whenever it comes up. Hank isn’t really sure either, but it’s still great to see Gary be involved as Hank continues to grow as a character and try to discover himself anew (even if doing so means adopting completely made-up identities).
Unfortunately, the same cannot quite be said for Dean, whose new moody persona is pretty much unchanging to how it was in the last several episodes, and shows no real signs of progressing much either by the end of this week’s storyline. Once Dean’s secret late-night phone calls are revealed to be shared with Myra Brandish, the woman the Venture brothers once believed to be their mother, he schedules a meet-up with her, only to find himself a cog in the middle of an orchestrated prison break. However, Myra’s reveal seemed to happen too late into the episode, and her conflict gets resolved almost as quickly as it comes, leaving the remainder of the 22 minutes to revert back to Rusty and his search for Teddy, and Dean not all that visibly affected by everything that happened at the loony bin.
The second half of the episode does hit a minor slump and tends to drag on for a bit, especially in the parts with Myra and the One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest-infused crazy house, but everything manages to pick up again just in time for a more than fitting finale. I think the strongest point of the episode is how Dermott finds out that he is actually a Venture, and Dean’s unsettling reaction upon hearing the news. There’s also a few nice moments of showing how Dermott is gradually becoming more “Venture-y,” such as being able to communicate with H.E.L.P.E.R. now. One of the things I really love about The Venture Bros. is that, no matter how one-off or standalone a single episode might seem, there is always some little tidbit of information that works to push everything forward in the Venture universe.
In the end, “Momma’s Boys” is a solid, if not completely insane episode of The Venture Bros. that packs in the laughs and the absurdity faster than you can set your GPS to By Golly Gulch!
Den of Geek Rating: 4 Out of 5 Stars