Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Wow. That's like a nightmare.

[In which I indulge in overanalysis]
SLIDE ONE:


Doc Venture just finished (while wiping off his glasses) recounting his 16th birthday poolside party and an incident with a shrink ray. He is still in his pajamas and Hank is shirtless so both are unshielded and vulnerable and intimate in that sense. Hank is visibly distraut at his father's trauma. His eyebrows peak questioningly as he submits his judgment on his father's recounting. Doc's scowl and furrowed brow speak of deep, complicated feelings, and also a frustration that Hank has incorrectly but innocently misinterpreted his feelings on the experience.

SLIDE TWO:

Doc's eyebrow arches. His face still holds a sneer, his brow is still knitted. Observe his legs akimbo, as if he has scooted forward on his seat, or is leaning forward as he gives vent to his frustration.

SLIDE THREE:

Lot going on here. Hank's hands are shoved into his theighs, a vulnerable or unsecure gesture: his father is letting him into his inner life and Hank doesn't want to appear judgmental, just attentive. Doc's torso is now straight and tall. He uses finger quotes, typically a mocking or sarcastic tool (from a man who is commonly mocking or sarcastic or mean) but his upright posture and facial expression (grievance aired), and his on-edge legs akimbo stance indicate that he speaking quite seriously.

SLIDE FOUR:

Doc's arms fall between his legs. His torso slumps. The furrowed brow looks not so much frustrated (see Slide 2) or contemplatative (Slide 1) but rather inquistive instead. Consider his passive body stance. This is a confession, but the arched eyebrows and scowled mouth indicate that empathy or even sympathy is not sought.

ALTERNATE INTERPRETATION:

Not a tender confession and show of grudging acceptance by Doc, but rather an egotistical and selfish aggrandization of Doc's adolescent trauma over and above anything anyone else anywhere could ever have experienced much less comprehend. Consider the trials and trauma of Hank and his brother Dean (witnesses or participants many times over to death and violence, thier father's failures and shortcomings, abandonment by Brock): is Doc's public humilation at his birthday pool party truly any worse than what his own sons have experienced? But to follow this line of thought a little further, Doc's insistence of the greatness of his pain in the face of his own sons' arguably equal or greater traumas underscores the depth of Doc's damage. In other words, Doc is a man with ISSUES.

-d.d.

Note: The above sequence is pretty much my favorite sequence in the entire Venture Bros. so far. Nothing encapsulates the complete lack of irony for which I love and adore this program more than this incredibly adult and sincere conversation. Ever since I saw it I've wanted to write something about it, and the sort of slideshow presentation used above is what resulted and seemed to work best.

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