tag sale

Tag Sale – You're It!

"Tag Sale – You're It!" is the tenth episode in the first season of The Venture Bros.


Dr. Venture is having a tag sale, but such a tag sale is going to be profitable and interesting only to certain types of people - adventurers, heroes and supervillains. After a shot of the special agents the government (whom Doctor Venture refers to as Brock's little "ska band".) is sent in to help keep things from potentially getting out of control, we learn Hank has set up a lemonade and grinder stand with Dean, Triana and H.E.L.P.eR. as his employees, and is taking his proprietorship a little too seriously, making demands of his three workers.

The Monarch, Dr. Girlfriend, and henchmen 21 and 24 meanwhile get to the sale and thus far are having a blast, the Monarch himself being particularly chipper (all the while making insulting comments about the wardrobe choices of some of the other villains). As they wait in line, they cringe in disgust when Baron Ünderbheit must take off his lower jaw for the metal detector. In the same line, Master Billy Quizboy and Pete White talk about Dr. Girlfriend's deep voice and rumors of her having a baboon's uterus transplanted into her. This leads to suspicions of her being a transsexual. Despite this, the two unsuccessfully hit on her anyway, proposing a hero / villain type arrangement, and attempt to impress her with Billy Quizboy's hydrocephalic head and Dr. White's albinism.

Dr. Venture is merely attempting to enjoy making some cash and relaxing in the sun, having sold a prototype lightsaber to #21. Apparently, the fact that it cost over $2 million in parts alone was too much for Kenner to stomach, and the Army passed on it, due to the fact that they no longer sword fight. To Dr. Venture's dismay, Dr. Orpheus comes in, asking how the yard sale is going and more importantly, how glorious the life of a super-scientist must be, having enemies and adventure at every turn. Dr. Venture wryly remarks Dr. Orpheus can have that life, to which the necromancer admits that he frankly envies Dr. Venture. Upon encountering the Monarch, Dr. Orpheus unsuccessfully tries to make him Orpheus's personal arch-enemy by slapping him and giving him a magically-induced hotfoot.

When the Monarch makes a quick, unsuccessful trip to a porta-potty, Dr. Girlfriend is found, and hit on, by the Phantom Limb, who mocks the Monarch to her displeasure. When the Monarch returns, he admits that the tag sale is getting flat-out boring. He shoots a small projectile from his wristbands that hits Baron Ünderbheit in the back of the head, who mistakes a civilian shopper for the deed. Ünderbheit's attack quickly causes the tag sale to become a destructive riot. Hank's business is torn down with him temporarily knocked off his feet by a flying shoe, and Brock immediately begins pounding down various evildoers. When #21, thinking he now has power with his lightsaber, attempts to use the weapon against Brock, the saber passes right through him, it was simply a light-projection, with no offensive capabilities. #21 flees. Meanwhile, Dr. Orpheus gladly joins in the fight, attempting to shout out amongst the fighting that he needs an arch-enemy and is happy to make one, and incorrectly assumes Dr. Venture is going inside to protect the front of the compound when he merely is going off to count the profits.

Meanwhile, Monarch and Dr. Girlfriend have sneaked into the Venture Compound to find a working bathroom. After that mission is successful the duo now need something to do, preferably something that would strike at the heart of their arch-enemy. They can find nothing, despite wandering through most of the Venture compound, and figure Dr. Venture's lab ought have something. The Monarch is unimpressed by Dr. Venture's lackluster workstation. After having toured the house and deciding that Dr. Venture's life is really quite pathetic and pitiable, The Monarch is ready to give up harassing Dr. Venture entirely when he and Doctor Girlfriend are surprised and attacked by some of the government agents. After a brief scuffle where The Monarch quite handily defeats the agents, he poses and gives an impromptu and melodramatic monologue on how he, the Monarch, would still destroy Dr. Venture. Other members of the Venture family await the end of the monologue in another room. The two villains use a grappling hook to escape other agents, but end up simply hanging near the ceiling for several hours, until it is safe enough for them to leave.

Cultural references

  • Henchmen 21 and 24 argue over who would win in a fist fight between Lizzie Borden and Anne Frank.
  • A member of Depeche Mode is observed as present at the sale by the Monarch (the show's creators are avowed fans of the band). The Monarch is amazed that said Depeche Mode member is there with "a girl," having thought that all members of Depeche Mode are gay.
  • The Monarch's comment that his effort to defecate was "all sound and fury, signifying nothing" is a quote from Shakespeare's play Macbeth, although the original line does not refer to intestinal ailments.
  • Upon finding his battery powered microphone Dean says, "Breaker, breaker one niner this here's the rubber duck you got a copy on me, come on"; this is a reference to the C.W. McCall song "Convoy".
  • The United States Secret Service stands guard over the Venture compound during the yard sale.
  • 21's movements before he attempts to attack Brock Samson are clearly a reference to the Star Wars kid.

Connections to other episodes

  • First appearance of Phantom Limb.
  • Technically, this episode marks the first mention of the Guild of Calamitous Intent - though "Home Insecurity" aired before this episode on Adult Swim, the production codes (as well as the order on the DVD) list it as happening immediately after this one.
  • First appearance of Baron Ünderbheit (initially mentioned in "Dia de los Dangerous!" and seen in the opening since "The Terrible Secret of Turtle Bay"), though "Home Insecurity" aired first (see above).
  • Many of the villains present at this yard sale reappear in "Fallen Arches" waiting in line for their chance to "Arch" Dr. Orpheus and his team, the Order of the Triad.
  • The man with the robot arm who punches the villain with the electric-socket chest plate and electric prong face reappears in "The Trial of the Monarch" as one of the Strangers guarding the door to the courtroom, and in "Powerless in the Face of Death" at the former henchman support group. This character is indicated as "Rick Danger" in the episode's DVD commentary track and named for the series' storyboard revisionist and character designer, Rick "Danger" Lacy. He makes appearances throughout the show most times when background extras are present.
  • As the Monarch and Dr. Girlfriend make their plan to break past security and access the interior of the compound, we see a rack behind them that has lab coats and jump suits on sale, as signified by the sign. Much later, in the episode "Hate Floats", Dr. Venture keeps insisting throughout the episode that they should be called "speed suits".

Production notes

  • According to the DVD commentary, the name of the ghost-like creature that annoys the Monarch is "The Intangible Fancy." The Intangible Fancy would make another appearance in season 2 ("Fallen Arches").
  • On the DVD commentary, Doc Hammer refers to one of the agents (Mister Five) as "Agent Hank", referring to his similar appearance to Hank Venture.
  • One of the animation directors (Kimson Albert) has a "nickname" inserted into his credits. The nickname is an unusual line or word from the preceding episode. For "Tag Sale - You're IT!" the credit reads Kimson "Little Water Baby" Albert.
  • The Wilhelm Scream can be heard very faintly, when Number 21 confronts Brock Samson.


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