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Tear Jerker / The Venture Bros.

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    Season 1 
  • Speedy's death in the first episode. Even though he brought it on himself by trying to take on Brock Samson, it's still really sad. And he was so close to getting his wings.
  • For what a tremendous asshole he turned out to be, Jonas Venture Sr. seems legitimately devastated about Major Tom's death in the opening of "Ghosts of the Sargasso".
  • Race Bannon's death in "Ice Station Impossible!" turns tragic by thinking about it in hindsight. With his dying breath, Race asked Brock to tell Jonny that he loved him. Knowing this and then seeing that Jonny is a recovering drug addict with mental health issues caused by his father's terrible parenting, Race still loved Jonny like he was his own son.

    Season 2 
  • Powerless In The Face of Death's Cold Open show Rusty running away from home after the boy's deaths in order to escape the pain of losing them. More or less becomes a Mood Whiplash when it's revealed they've died many times before and Rusty keeps constant back up clones, but since he's run out of clones, who knows what will happen if Hank and Dean do die again?
  • When Rusty sees an alien save him in the form of his dad, he believes his dad is truly alive. His face and tone display are truly heart-breaking.
  • When the boys discover their clones, they go beyond a Heroic BSoD and collapse on the floor in a fetal position probably realizing they are one of many sets of clones. Fortunately, Rusty comes up with a good cock-and-bull story explaining them as a "Christmas gift" that they spoiled, so he'll have to give him something better when Christmas rolls around, but there's genuine pathos with Rusty, Brock and the boys before he's able to lie to them.
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    Season 3 
  • This Downer Ending from The Invisible Hand of Fate: Sgt Hatred is revealed as a high-ranking Guild mole in the OSI; Hunter is reassigned to Guam, Brock is reassigned to the Venture Compound as punishment for the failure of the Billy-Phantom Limb-infiltration and explosion; Phantom Limb wakes up his now-superpowered self destined now for a long, though eventually ignominious career with the Guild; and Billy is delivered to a devastated Pete White. No other imagery in the show so far has so perfectly captured the theme of failure.
  • Brock saying what ever he has to tell Hank and Dean to get them away from danger "The Family That Stays Together, Slays Together Part 1"
    Dean: But we're a family! We stick together through thick and thin!
    Brock: No. You guys are the family. I'm just a guy who was hired to protect you.
    Hank: But we... love each other...
    Brock: I don't love you boys! It was a job! Nothing more! Now that it's over, you'll only get in my way.
    • Takes a turn for the heartwarming and Funny Moments later when it turns out Hank didn't buy it for a second, correctly dismissing it as the "Lassie trick".

    Season 4 
  • Handsome Ransom: Captain Sunshine is a sad, sad man who makes Rusty look well-adjusted. He has no sense of personal boundaries or acceptable behavior, he can't connect with people outside of the superhero gig, his beloved teen sidekick is dead and he has no way to cope. He lives with the man who made him what he is today and constantly belittles him. The Monarch slays one of the Wonderboys and gets away with it because Sunshine has no idea how to deal with him. Even the townspeople mock him behind his back. It's sobering to think how close Hank and Dean came to that fate.
  • The scene in The Better Man where the Triad are recalling the grossest moments of their lives goes from black comedy to suddenly completely depressing when Jefferson tells his. When he was 10, he watched his mother get raped and killed by vampires, and he was totally powerless to save her.
  • Dr Orpheus losing his daughter to his ex and her new husband. Its pretty clear he misses her and can't get around to see her often.
  • Rusty's explanation on why he focuses on Dean and neglects Hank in Every Which Way But Zeus. He's trying to be a good dad, supporting Dean's Super-Scientist dreams, and pushing Hank towards ditching the bullshit Boy Adventurer's lifestyle like he wants. What makes it worse is that he's wrong: Dean's the one who wants a normal life, and Hank loves being a Venture. So Rusty's attempts at being a good dad are only hurting his kids more. Even when Rusty's trying to do right by his kids, he fails.
    • This line really stands out in that explanation.
    Rusty: "That boy reminds me of myself so much I want to apologize to him."
    • It can also be seen as heartwarming depending on your perspective. Remember, Deans dream jobs are: Boy Reporter, Boy Detective, Marine Biologist, and Husband. While he doesn't want to be a Super Scientist, those jobs (especially the first two) share the spirit of the Super Scientist/Boy Adventurer who wants to make the world a better place. And while Hank doesn't necessarily share that sentiment towards the lifestyle, which Rusty picks up on, Hank does love the adventure and weirdness that comes with that lifestyle, and Rusty tries to discourage him from that because of the danger it represents (especially now that the backup clones are gone). Also, in their ongoing character development, Dean has become a pretty competent Engineer (he was able to fix HELPER) and Businessman, which combined could make him a decent Super Scientist, while Hank has become decently Badass (as per his episode as a "Batman" and his skill at evading Wide Wale's Goons). So Rusty is both right and wrong about Hank and Dean.
  • The ending of Any Which Way But Zeus. Generally seen as a happy moment of friends reuniting, but people often miss seeing the tall bearded man looking around desperately, and we see his chin start to shake from suppressed sobs right before the camera cuts away. Many people don't know what to make of it, then you notice his costume and you realize who he is U.S. Steel, and you remember the first gladiator fight seen in episode. 21 fighting Ghost Robot who is "serving under the hero, U.S. Steel", and you remember 21 killed him!
  • The scene in Everybody Comes To Hank's where the identity of Dermott's actual father (and mother, for that matter) is revealed. The situation is played heart-breakingly realistic and is only exacerbated by the music that accompanies it.
  • The Season Finale: "Operation P.R.O.M." has quite a few to give to us.
    • During the Season's finale confrontation between Molotov and Brock. Samson is hit with one hell of a Bait-and-Switch. After showing that she finally took off her chastity belt, a hopeful Brock thinks that what she meant by the whole mission being done out of love, was to finally make love with each other... before being cockblocked by Molotov yet again. Then immediately revealing that the person whom she has truly fell in love with was Monstroso. This pretty much shows that despite being the Ultimate Badass, even Brock isn't safe from the show's main theme of failure. The short solemn face he makes after Molotov decides to commit suicide, just really seals the deal.
    • Gary's revelation during the titular prom. After being called out by 24's ghost for not caring about him anymore, 21 meekly admits that although he loves 24, he has to let him go. Accidentally getting a rather tipsy but jovial Dr. Orpheus' attention and have him join in. Surprisingly he can't see 24, even though he is a master necromancer and can communicate with the dead. 21 tells Orpheus that 24's ghost is with them right now and he has his friend "Mr. Wendall", from the Arrested Development video, with him. Orpheus corrects 21, saying that the man he is thinking of is Baba Oje, who is not dead, and that Mr. Wendall was just the title of one of the band's songs. When 21 looks to 24 to see if this is true, 24 is gone. Orpheus accidentally helps 21 realize that 24's ghost, that he's been talking to this whole time was in fact just a figment of his own imagination. Gary just immediately breaks down into sobs as his best friend 24 was never a ghost, and that his best friend is well and truly gone.

    Season 5 
  • Dean burning his learning bed and his old things. The music was sad enough, but when he reaches for his stuffed Giraffe, you can tell he's not enjoying it. This line sells it.
    Dean: I'm sick of living my life in a box! I don't wanna be a scientist, or a boy adventurer, or even a Venture Brother anymore.
  • Ben's speech about why Doctor Venture chose to clone his sons is truly heartbreaking, especially for parents who lost a child.
    Dean: It's just...it's just so wrong!
    Ben: Have a kid one day, Dean. Hold its lifeless body in your arms, and then tell me how wrong it is. Your grandpap and I perfected genetic engineering because God or whatever gave us a perfect map to do so. Jonas, me, and, yes, your dad saw it as nothing more than a fucking Band-Aid for a really big boo-boo. Hey, you...you want a beer?
  • Those poor baby gorillas.
    • Especially so when you see Hatred's face when he's forced to shoot the baby gorillas (after he had killed their parent gorilla). Immediately after that, as the team is setting camp in the bio dome, Hatred is briefly shown to still be affected by this.
  • The Monarch's complete & utter denial that Gary quit. He's absolutely convinced that Gary is still his top Lieutenant, on a deep cover infiltration of the Venture Compound, even months later.
    • Meanwhile, poor Gary has been pushed to the side when SPHINX joins up with OSI. He's not allowed to join OSI due to his criminal past, so he spends his days as the only inhabitant of SPHINX headquarters. And it's still better than working for the Monarch in his mind.
  • The Monarch's freakout when he learns about a certain tidbit about his childhood.
    • To elaborate, The Monarch finds an old picture of himself as a child playing at the Venture Compound with Rusty with his parents and Jonas Venture, and he has absolutely no memory of this. Also from the same ep, the old SPHINX crew hijacks Gary's operation to get revenge on the OSI in a blaze of glory as their cyanide capsules will activate in a year. Especially with the old SPHINX commander losing his girlfriend and never fully moving on and another member having a wife and baby that he'll never see again.
  • The whole reason behind why Spanakopita is both sad and pretty messed up. The whole event is basically a Stockholm Syndrome holiday since it was only created to try and cheer up Rusty when he was a kid after they kidnapped him. His kidnappers had a change of heart when they were utterly heartbroken at Rusty's reaction after he discovered that his Dad had never responded to their ransom. The kid was utterly devastated as he felt so alone and scared, Rusty cried long and hard as his captors just couldn't stand to see a boy so sad. The saddest part of the thing is that Spanakopita is the only time that Doc ever acts or feels so truly, genuinely happy. Not even White has ever seen Doc so remarkably happy before in all of his life.
    • Man, Rusty's dad's treatment to him can be a general downer. Not only does his Dad ditch him on a boat all by himself for some fancy wedding, but instead of coming back later that day the guy was gone for several days. I know he was off fighting bad guys and saving one of the Apollo's, but he never called his Son or anything like that. His dad just went off and just wanted to do his own thing like usual while he was utterly clueless at how much his son was heartbroken as he was kidnapped with him not knowing tell much later on.
    • Jonas wasn't just off doing his own thing. A friend of his was mentioned to have been on the Apollo's and the attempts weren't possible because the action lasted over several days as the kidnappers attempts at reaching him show. This arguably makes things worse as for once Jonas isn't being the willfully negligent jackass he usually was. Just further proof of how the boy adventurer life could be traumatic, even the positive parts of it could have long term circumstances.
    • Though you have to admit, he does get some points at the end when he lets Rusty leave the room with his happy memories intact before going Papa Bear on his kidnappers.
    • Was that really for Rusty's benefit, or because they had the nerve to try and kidnap the son of the great Jonas Venture? Either way, as mentioned above, leaving Rusty alone for so long was even more unintentional than usual.
    • Also, this moment from the same episode:
    Pete White: B-Billy!? Are you awake!?
    Billy Quizboy: White!? White, what did that monster do to us!?
    Pete White: Billy!! The s- the sun is coming up!!
  • The ending of O.S.I Love You. Brock attempts to kill off Molotov once and for all, ending his constant chase against a woman who will probably never love him for real and would prefer to just play mind game after mind game. Now, a lot of previous watchers of the Venture Bros knew he wouldn't do it, but what they didn't expect was being ordered by his own comrades to let her go, revealing that she now works for the O.S.I because they're paying her more; after all, she's a mercenary. The sad thing is, it looked like Brock was really going to do it, and Molotov offering him a handshake after the announcement feels like a punch in the gut for people who were really hoping Brock could leave her behind.
  • In Bot Seeks Bot, Councilman #1's last words are repeating "Where is my wife? I think the plane is going down." this is sad enough on its own, but it's also revealed that he was a cyborg built by Jonas Venture Sr. out of a friend of his who died in a plane crash. And The Monarch's parents ALSO allegedly died in a plane crash. And that picture of The Monarch with Rusty as a kid has his parents, Dr. Venture, and a plane. And yet The Monarch doesn't seem to recognize Vendata either...
    • Confirmed, see Season 7
  • From The Devil's Grip (Season 5 Finale), there's The Monarch's soul-crushing heart-to-heart with Rusty after giving up on trying to torture him. The two of them really do have a lot in common, and are both really put down, with Doc admitting that he'd rather have The Monarch keep torturing him than realize how similarly depressing they were. And even though The Monarch tells Dr. Mrs. The Monarch that it was all a ruse to crush Rusty's spirit, before hamming it up about how he's "CRUSHED DR. VENTURE", his tone and returning to looking at the aforementioned picture make it clear it affected him as much as Rusty. Who, despite being a child star, is now hitchhiking home, with even his own bodyguard flying his Hover Tank above him in a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
    • And from the same episode, Action Man bids farewell to Dr. Entmann, who he accidentally killed with his rocking chair. He also admits to Hank that he's been trying to hook up with a woman named Rose, who turns out is Billy's mother. Meanwhile, Colonel Gentleman is saddened by all the friends he's lost over the years and how empty his home has become. All the adventures they've had, only to be so lonely.
    • Also the boys' reaction to reading Sgt. Hatred's note about Doc having most likely died, and that he's probably committing suicide and burning their house down, leaving the boys with their godfathers to learn everything all at once.
  • Gary's character arc in season 5. The very morning after he decides to quit working for the Monarch and work for SPHINX because Good Feels Good, he gets kicked off of SPHINX because everyone else went back to work for the OSI. He can't join them due to his past as a henchman so he spends his time patrolling the compound by himself in an empty warehouse. He screws up fighting bad guys and when tries to get recruits, he ends up recruiting the original, villainous SPHINX members and they perform a mutiny on him. At the end of that, he loses the SPHINX airship and, by accident, his warehouse base gets blown up. By the end of the season, he finally gets some long due respect from Sgt. Hatred, only to lose his friendship when they both get manipulated by the Moppets into becoming enemies again. This all ends in a "Shaggy Dog" Story when he then goes back to being a Henchman again as he started missing his old life. The only positive thing about it is that he finally avenged 24's death by rallying the other henchmen to presumably kill the Moppets, revealed to be the murderers.
  • In Bot Seeks Bot, when Dr. Venture sees Vendata, he cries out, "It's him!! The metal man from my nightmares!!" Then in Season 7 it's revealed that Vendata (accidentally) strangled him as a kid.

    Season 6 
  • JJ's Heroic Sacrifice in All This And Gargantua 2. Rusty looked genuinely heartbroken as he helplessly watched his brother float away to his death.
    • There's also the scene where Rusty finds out that JJ is slowly dying due to literally all of his organs failing, and Billy having just left the room after saying there was nothing he could do to help. Rusty went there to call JJ out for giving Rusty a crappy room. JJ is incredibly happy to see his brother and jumps into his arms. Rusty, looking a bit weirded out, catches him. JJ says that being in Rusty's arms feels like home. Rusty asks why JJ is acting his way, at which point JJ tells Rusty what's happening to him. Rusty's lower lip quivers for a moment, then he hugs JJ tightly to his chest and sadly tells him, "I don't know what to say." There's nothing to lighten the scene, either, no jokes or gags or anything. Just two brothers genuinely bonding for quite possibly the first time in their entire lives. JJ sacrificing himself only a mere few hours later is just icing on the cake. It's probably the most heartbreaking examples of Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other in the whole series. And then, after all that, JJ leaves Rusty his entire corporation in New York as well as a swanky new home. It's clear that JJ really, truly loved his big brother.
    • Mrs.Monarch's tearful call to the Monarch when she finds out that he's heading up to Gargantua 2, right after they found out that the Sovereign was planning on blowing it up.
  • The Monarch and Mrs.Monarch's crumbling relationship in Season 6.

    Season 7 
  • 21's nightmare at the beginning of The Rorqual Affair. It's clear he still feels extreme guilt over all the deaths he caused as Kano in the previous season, as ghosts of The Wandering Spider, Wes Warhammer, and others lecture him. It also offers an unexpected but soul-crushing look at his family life — for presumably the whole series, his mother has believed him to be living with his uncle and has no idea about anything he's been up to.
  • In Arrears in Science:
    • The Blue Morpho's terrible, terrible life. While he's built up in season 6 as a Sociopathic Hero and fanatical enforcer of Jonas Venture Sr, the truth is much more sad. He's one of very few people that was tormented anywhere near as much as Rusty. Not only did the fanatical loyalty detailed by Dr. Z stem from Jonas Sr. blackmailing him with a sex tape into doing terrible things such as murdering Jonas' arches and seducing Dr. Z, but Jonas seduced his wife. Then, when he died in a plane crash, Jonas Sr. rebuilt him as a borderline brainless cyborg to serve as a glorified butler, threw him in the trash, and then planned to steal his robot body. In short, Jonas took everything from him.
      • The flashback revealing the incident that lead to Dr. Z finding him and rebranding him as Vendata: He was monitoring Scamp when he looked over at Rusty and it triggered a memory of when he and the Monarch were playing, which devolved into seeing his son screaming as the plane fell from the sky, reliving his last moments as a fully fleshed human. To everyone else, he was choking Rusty, but to him, he was trying to land the doomed plane to save his family. By the time he came out of it, Kano had already acted and tore his head off to save Rusty, and for doing that to his oldest friend before he was forced to give him to Jonas, he made a vow of silence as a reminder to himself for taking a 'Great Man' from the world.
    • Action Man starts having a stroke. Gentleman then addresses Orpheus as a Dracula and asks him to teleport them out of there to a hospital. At first Orpheus gets offended by (again) being called a vampire and then stops himself when he remembers that a man is dying in agony in front of him. He then meekly apologizes because there's nothing he can do to help. This is the same man that Orpheus smugly told was going to have a stroke over 2 years ago. Now that he knows Action Man a bit more, he feels horrible about what's happening and that he can't do anything to stop it.
    • Monarch only finding out his father was alive at the last minute before he died yet again, the only words Monarch says to him before he combusted being a simple one word question of "Daddy?"
  • In episode 4 Hank visits his comatose father. He's at his most self-aware, acknowledging that he's not the favorite, and feels he's being punished for his loyalty. Rusty wakes up, says he's always loved him... and it turns out he's hallucinating someone else.
  • From The Stinger of "The Forecast Manufacturer":
    • Kimberly wakes up an unconscious S464, declaring her love for him only to realize he has no memory of her after the Guild wiped his mind. She cries bitterly as he grabs her wrist to incapacitate the "OSI insurgent".
  • While Hank was certainly being smothering with his overabundance of messages to Sirena, he still went out in a horrible blizzard to make sure she was okay. At the end of the episode, he finds her...in bed with his brother Dean. Sirena tries to deny that this is what it looks like, until Dean just sadly admits that it is, looking ashamed. Hank is still too out of it from his concussion to fully process it, but he just sounds hurt by the whole thing. There is a Mood Whiplash when the two acknowledge Scare Bear and Hank's subsequent relief he wasn't hallucinating him before passing out.
  • The fact that Dean made a list of all the things he was never able to say to Hank that takes pages to get through. While some of them are funny, others have him admit that they're not as close as they used to be anymore and that Dean misses it sometimes. That he's being overwhelmed by all the changes in his life and just wishes they could go back to when it was just them at the compound.
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  • Doc Hammer and Jackson Publick's beautiful summary of what the late David Bowie meant to them. Even if The Sovereign was never the real Bowie (or even voiced by him), he was still a big presence on the show, being quoted and referenced multiple times. To many fans, Sovereign is still one of the first things that comes to mind when they think of Bowie.

    Doc Hammer: "He's more than a human being; he's this thing that we've all had since childhood. None of us got to call him up and have lunch with him and stuff. And that hasn't changed. That will never change. The music and what he did to style and our hearts is untouchable. There's so much of David Bowie that lives in us that never goes away. I think his influence that is immortality. He lives in anybody who has a fucking idea about culture. At least we have that, and we always have that. He gave that to all of us."

    Doc Hammer: "So, no he won't be adding to that anymore. But I am forever filled with so much Bowie that - I'm honestly stymied. I've been stymied since I found out. I just don't know what to do with the information. And I've been fully aware of it that we're not always going to live in a world with Bowie. It was kind of obvious that he wasn't doing well for a long time, but it's stymieing. Losing Leonard Nimoy and David Bowie were huge events in my life. It really is that kind of loss of the father that I chose. You know? These people raised me. I would be a different person without them being in the world. So, it's hard. It's hard. But I can pacify myself knowing that what he's done is there. He will be affecting lives of people who have never heard his name, will eventually learn his name and have their lives changed by David Bowie. Still."

    Doc Hammer: "I don't know if it will ever feel real because his influence is so much larger than we could understand. Like, I'm saying, some 14-year-old next year is going to find out about David Bowie, and his world is going to change just like ours did. And we never got to sit with David Bowie and have him as a man affect our lives. We just had his deeds and the promise of Bowie."

    Jackson Publick: "He's also so much bigger than life that he's bigger than death, you know?"

    Doc Hammer: "Yeah. He'll be affecting us for a very long time to come. He's part of the pantheon, you know? Ultimately, I feel bad for his kids and Iman, and the people who knew him, and had the luck to have them touch their personal lives. I didn't have that luck. I just had–what he did affected me deeply. And that's still out there. That's still affecting me and it always will."

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  • Jackson confirming that the show had been cancelled after seven seasons, in spite of being renewed for and having plans for an eighth.
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