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Rusty Venture lives a pretty miserable life. Raised by an asshole of a father whose living memory overshadows his son in every way. Made to feel worthless for not living up to his father’s accomplishments, or hell, having any admirable accomplishments of his own. Given a life he didn’t ask for where he’s constantly attacked or kidnapped by super villains. Stuck raising two teenage boys. It’s not been easy for Rusty, and while he’s in no way inexcusable for the wreck of a life he leads, you do find yourself feeling sorry for the guy. And then there’s Spanakopita!, a yearly festival on the Greek island of Spanakopas, and the one time of year Rusty is actually happy.

Too bad, like anything good in his life, it’s all a sham.

To start with, spanakopita is a Greek spinach pie, not a festival or holiday at all. I doubt the island is even called Spanakopas, but to Rusty it’s the best vacation he’s ever had. It all began when he was a boy traveling to Greece with his father who, along with the original Team Venture, was attending the wedding of Jackie Kennedy, later Jackie Kennedy Onassis. When the former First Lady is abducted by L. Ron Hubbard it’s Team Venture to the rescue, all the while Rusty is accidentally kidnapped by some Greek fisherman down on their luck and looking to loot rich Americans’ yachts. Once discovered, the Greeks decide to ransom Rusty for even more money, and while awaiting the exchange they create the Spanakopita! festival to cheer up sad, afraid, little Rusty. There’s racing with goats, and sponge diving, and lifting little Rusty in the air while he’s tied to a chair. Y’know, all those traditional Greek customs.

Years later as an adult, Rusty returns to Spanakopas on the weekend he believes to be the festival, Spanakopita!, and seeing what a sad, pathetic, depressed man he’s grown into, the town continues to treat Rusty to the Spanakopita! of his youth. All while extorting him for outrageous sums of money, but hey, you get what you pay for, and can you really put too high a price on happiness?

Note: You should be yelling Spanakopita! out loud every time I type it for full effect.

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The fact that the festival it a total scam is obvious to everyone but Rusty, who brings along with him Pete and Billy in lieu of Hank and Dean. In a twist, Augustus St. Cloud is also visiting for Spanakopita! and he again serves as the villain, challenging Rusty for the Spanakopita! crown, but his true reason for being there is to exact his revenge on Billy. Armed with his Asian albino (Quickly, Pee Wyy, use your parkour!), a vast treasure trove of movie props and replicas (You poisonous snake, that belongs in a musuem!), and more money than Bill Gates and God combined, St. Cloud proves a formidable adversary.

But as I’ve been saying, the theme this season is zeroes becoming heroes, and in the end Billy saves the day. (Because he’s your archenemy! I can’t get involved, he’s my best customer.) And after an empowering and awesome Clash of the Titans-infused vision, Billy saves himself and Pete from a horrible, sun burnt fate – seriously, Pete bursts into flames if that hot Aegean sun touches him even for second – and gathers enough drachmas to be crowned Spanakopita!‘s champion. Continuing to come out on top, continuing to succeed, is the only way Billy can avoid the same fate as Rusty and avoid becoming an abject failure who relies on a fake Greek festival for any joy in his life.

Spanakopita!” is the best episode of the season so far, and that’s pretty funny considering our title characters appear for all of about a minute. But The Venture Bros. has always been about so much more than the boys. It’s also about Rusty and the sad, sham of life he has. In this episode we learned his happiest childhood memory is nothing but another kidnapping! A kidnapping by kind Grecian thieves who took pity on their hostage, but still, it speaks volumes about the sorry state of Rusty’s upbringing. And then there’s Billy, former worshiper of Rusty the boy adventurer, who after meeting his washed up hero must try in earnest to avoid the same fate.

Random Observations:

– Hank was still wearing The Countess’ strength suit. He’s still playing Destiny. You gotta love that kid.

– Seeing the original Team Venture in action again was such a treat. They’re a group of serious, grade-A douchebags, but I do love seeing them beat the crap outta L. Ron Hubbard’s ghost inside of a robot body.

– Loved seeing Bubo from Clash of the Titans, and really, every movie reference in St. Cloud’s disgustingly large collection.

– Hatred calling Brock for help was fantastic, so much so it’s making me miss Brock more and more. I know he’s in more of a support role this season, but come on, we all want more Brock!

– Plus, Brock’s illegitimate Greek children and their blonde mullets.

– The Albino Code

– “Boy cyclops and the ghost man.”

Make sure you pick up this week’s official t-shirt, available until 11:59PM June 30th, then it’s gone forever! There’s no better way to bring a little Spanakopita! into your own life. SPANAKOPITA!

The Venture Bros. airs Sunday at midnight on [adult swim].

Category: Featured, reviews, TV

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