Apr 25, 2015
The Venture Brothers
The Venture Bros (2003-2015), created by Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer, throws out a few homophobic slurs, usually "That's Gay!", and a few gay-stereotyped characters, notably swishy secret agent Shore Leave. But with all the gay, bisexual, transgender, genderqueer, and gay-subtext activity going on, who has time to notice?
1. The snippy, sarcastic Rusty Venture, a grown-up Jonny Quest, son of a famous super-scientist trying to follow in his father's footsteps -- and failing miserably.
2. Hank and Dean, his two absurdly naive teenage sons (Hank is muscular and dimwitted, Dean petite and brainy).
3. Surly bodyguard Brock Samson.
But that's just the beginning of a huge cast of super-scientists, arch-enemies, henchmen, and secret agents, all with complex histories and past interactions, all bound by bureaucracies and traditions. There are secret agendas, changing alliances. People change, develop new interests, take on new jobs.
The Monarch's favorite henchman, Number 21, quits to go rogue, briefly become his own super-villain, and then joins the unlicensed superhero team S.P.H.I.N.X., with former antagonist Brock Samson.
By the fifth season, the cast has become so large, and alliances changed so often, that you need a scorecard to figure out what's going on.
And gay-subtext relationships. I like Billy Quizboy, a failed game show champion who is living with his former mentor, the albino Pete White, while they try to break into the super-scientist business.
And Number 21's relationship with the tall, stentorian-voiced Number 24. When he dies, Number 21 is so distraught that he asks Dr. Venture to clone him. Apprised that the clone will be a baby, with none of Number 24's memories, he says "I don't care. I'll raise him as my son. Just bring him back!"
See also: Jonny Quest