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storypaint ([personal profile] storypaint) wrote2008-06-12 12:07 pm

Writer's Commentary: Three Ways that Thaddeus Venture Dies

Comm: none
Words: 693
Title: Three Ways that Thaddeus Venture Dies
Fandom: Venture Brothers
Pairing: gen
Rating: G
Spoilers: Heavy spoilers for Shadowman 9 (episode 3x02)
Disclaimer: The Venture Brothers is the property of Doc Hammer, Jackson Publick, Adult Swim, and other subsidiaries that I am not involved with. This fanfic is a derivative of canon material that is not my property. I do not profit from these writings. The opinions and actions expressed in these stories are not necessarily the views and beliefs of the original author or me.

Excerpt: The square glasses are coming back into style again, right? And turquoise?

To read this fic without commentary, click here.

Welcome to the Special Writer's Commentary Edition of Three Ways that Thaddeus Venture Dies. This is kind of like watching a movie with the commentary turned on. It details the motivations and little details that went into writing
this fic. I haven't done a commentary in a while, so it's about time!

First, the inspiration. Basically, it's the same inspiration everyone had after watching 3x02-- what if Dr. Venture really would have signed that contract? Part 1 of this fic came to mind immediately.

Then I thought of an alternative-- I really wanted to put the Monarch in there, so Part 2 was born. I wasn't sure how to end that one-- I was half-writing a scene in my head with Brock and the boys, but it didn't work out.

Part 3 seemed necessary-- a return to canon ideas. But we've already established Dr. V is having money issues-- and the theme of failure, which is sort of the theme of the series and this fic.

1. ready for anything

He signs the paper and the pain in his palm is only a low burning compared to the pain in his head. He's given something of his father's legacy away again, but he can't quite put his finger on what and he doesn't care anymore, he can't. The square glasses are coming back into style again, right? And turquoise?

I almost wrote this in first person. I'm glad I didn't.

Brock bursts in and he feels a moment of shame, but Killinger handles it. He finds Brock a new job, a better one. Then he plans Venture's first arch job.

I wish there was a smoother way to transition here. I can see these things happening, but the writing is sort of abrupt.

"How do you feel about Venomous Venture?" he asks in that clipped accent of his. Hank squeals, "Cool!" Venture nods. It doesn't really matter that he isn't venomous, right? They could work something out later if they needed to. He had some sort of snake venom in the labs somewhere.

Every villain needs a name, right? That was the first one that came to mind. It was just cheesy enoguh to work.

That's what he is thinking about when the laser blasts hit him in the face. It isn't Jonas Venture Jr.'s intention to hurt his brother. He believes mostly in nonviolence now. But there is a malfunction in the security robots-- not the sort that melts one's face into tragic disfigurement, but a greater one.

Here is my very first vision of this story-- without Brock, Dr. Venture would be dead. And not even on purpose, because Jonas isn't really malicious like that. It's Rusty that holds the grudge.

Thaddeus Venture is dead before his troops are at the door. Killinger turns to Hank. Dean is screaming and it seems like he'll never stop, but Hank's world has been reduced to two slits in a mask.

I took a long moment considering this. Dean seems to be Hank's favorite, if you look at the episode where he tries to mold him into his little clone ("It's a speed suit!"). But Dean is too whiny to do well as a villain, and Killinger really seems to have bonded with Hank. They played hide-and-seek and "Uncle Henry" was going to take him rock-climbing. I think Hank would have been Killinger's choice for Venture's successor. He plans really far ahead.

"Will you?" Killinger asks. Slowly, Hank nods.

I am... the Batman. Batman is pretty dark for a superhero, you know.

2. strictly third-rate

He signs the contract. He wears the costume and he fills out the thousands of applications and he even spends several hellish evenings at Guild parties. Sucking up to the Monarch, the fscking Monarch, and he has enough self-respect left to hate himself for doing it.

Every time I think about Dr. V sucking up to the Monarch, I laugh. It wouldn't be easy for either of them.

The stuff he does is low-brow-- ray guns and elaborate plans and those traps that take ten minutes to kill and nine-and-a-half minutes to escape. Hank, Dean, and Brock disappear one day and he doesn't notice for almost a week. The boys move in with Jonas (curse them! curse all of them!) and Brock gets a new job.

Mediocrity is Rusty's curse. He had all these feelings of inferiority from his father, which Killinger explores, but that doesn't erase the fact that he just isn't very good at what he does most of the time. He can be smart, but a lot of times it seems like he gets lucky. Mediocre scientist = mediocre villain. Again with the theme of failure.

He could clone them-- even Brock, he'd saved DNA just in case-- but it wouldn't be the same. So he sighs and goes on. Eight-minute traps with seven-and-a-half minute escapes. A standing invitation to dinner shouted after him as he goes home each time, defeated. The occasional jail visitation, staring at his sons (so tall! when did that happen?) from behind the bulletproof glass.

This mention of cloning is the only idea I retained from the Part 4 I almost wrote. I chucked that section as being useless, but I thought I could address the idea for sympathy. And wouldn't Jonas do that-- "My hot wife is making a casserole! Come back when you have some band-aids on those laser burns, your boys miss you!"

Killinger is long gone the day Thaddeus Venture dies, alone in a compound that has one-hundred people on regular staff (including the cleaning lady, who refuses to wear a uniform, but she gets the ring out of the tub so Venture lets her stay). It isn't suicide, or a blown trap-- just old age.

It's almost a week before someone dares to investigate the weird smell in the labs.

Alone in the middle of a crowd. Isn't that utter failure in your life-- no one coming to look for you when you're gone?

3. overdosed

He doesn't sign the contract, but he signs plenty of them afterwards, watching Venture Industries shrink before his eyes. The boys can't play on the lawn anymore, he rents that to the government for mine-testing. Industrial Building #4 makes shoe polish now.

This episode makes it pretty clear that the Ventures are having financial trouble. They didn't get the government contract, so what are they going to do? It's amazing, really, that Rusty has been able to hold onto the homestead for so long.

Sometimes Hank and Dean ask him why he has to sell, but their father doesn't answer their questions, preferring to shout at them until they go away. He fires Brock because he has to. Brock doesn't ask for much, but he has nothing to give.

I wanted Brock to stay, but honestly, he's a gun for hire. He's only been with the Ventures for a couple of years and he has his own life. I wouldn't blame him for leaving, either.

The day before he signs the papers to sell the rest of the compound, Thaddeus Venture overdoses on "diet pills" and drowns in his own tub. Newspapers eagerly speculate whether the scientist's death was suicidal, but Jonas Venture Jr. puts on a tiny suit and plans his brother's funeral. Brock comes and sits in the back row, but he doesn't cry. No one does, really, except for Dean, and sometimes Dean cries when they're out of waffles.

Well, he wasn't very nice. Do you really expect funeral sobbing? Dean excepted, of course.

The Monarch comes in late and sits down next to Brock. He's dressed "incognito," but he hasn't managed to hide the eyebrows. Brock grunts professionally.

The Monarch thought it would feel better to be attending his (former) archenemy's funeral. Really, it just feels sort of empty.

Maybe the Monarch realizes that there but for the grace of God go I, if you pardon the expression. Dr. Girlfriend made him competent. Venture didn't have that luxury. Plus, he didn't get to kill him, which must have been at least slightly disappointing, no matter what he promised his wife.

I was toying here with a Part 4-- venture dying of old age in the remnants of his compound, Brock sticking around for sentimental reasons, but it just didn't fit. That isn't the sort of life he leads. He should have been dead ten times over already, after all. So I thought this quiet, flat ending was best.

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