Media Literacy and “The Venture Bros”

Posted on January 11, 2012 by

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There’s a passage in tonight’s Bignell reading that got me thinking about one of my favorite shows on TV, Venture Bros. “Parody and excessive representation…in TV comedy rely on the viewer’s ‘media literacy’, so that intertextual references can be recognised and their connotations made part of the comic character’s or scenario’s comic excess” (159). Venture Bros assumes a certain knowledge of old children’s cartoons like Jonny Quest, Scooby Doo, or GI Joe, Marvel Comics, b-movies, and vinyl-era rock music (Bowie, Eno, Pink Floyd, etc), and other assorted uselessness, and combines all of these to create barely comprehensible, sometimes offensive, usually hilarious serial adventures.

(Edit: I can’t get the Adult Swim player to embed here for some reason. Sorry about the ads.)

SPHINX is an army of secret agents with code names, not unlike GI Joe, who are apparently led by Hunter S. Thompson.

http://video.adultswim.com/the-venture-bros/sphinx-solves-problems.html

And here, Dean Venture finds himself lost in a collage of images from some of the more ridiculous album covers of the 1970s.

http://video.adultswim.com/the-venture-bros/dean-lands-in-a-floyd-hole.html

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