Stuff going into/coming out of the Gowanus Canal is a particularly gripping form of local entertainment. Every time some poor animal or human is spotted in its iridescently polluting still waters, we gather around the twitters and local TV news to root it on (or in the case of the guy who swam the canal, take an office pool on what kind of super villain he would eventually mutate into). The case of the Gowanus dolphin was one of the saddest though: a poor ocean creature wandered into the canal in January 2013 and couldn’t get out, eventually dying like so many mafia bodies before it.
So we know that lots of local crime stories make it onto TV in the form of your Laws and Order and the like. But now the Gowanus dolphin, tragic hero of modern Brooklyn, got a guest role on TV last week on one of the best shows of all time: The Venture Brothers.
The episode of the Adult Swim show titled “It Happening One Night” aired on March 6. For some background on the context here without going into the whole twisted canon of the show (which is worth getting into, if you like smart art pop comedy with an endless supply of punny villain names and a look at villainy as one big bureaucracy): In this episode, the Venture family, now relocated to Columbus Circle, becomes the target of “arching” by a Legion of Doom knockoff called The Doom Factory, whose lair is submerged below the canal.
They’re described as “a new breed of post modern artsy villain;” which means they’re Andy Warhol Factory knockoffs (not some modern Gowanus industrial steampunk style villains, sadly). OG Venture nemeses The Monarch and Henchman 21 want to disrupt them, so they hop on water scooters and seek out the lair in the canal, presumably scooting by the Whole Foods at one point.
Then the Monarch clips the dead dolphin carcass with his scooter thing and falls into the water, and says “It went in my mouth! Dead dolphin juice in my mouth,” to which 21 responds “dude that is like the least horrible thing in this water!”
The Venture Brothers is made in New York, so it makes sense they would be doing a sly nod to this local dolphin-based tragedy. RIP Gowanus dolphin, maybe some day we’ll clean up the disgusting slice of waterway in which you died. Even if this plan seems as far fetched as putting your villain lair under the canal.
Catch the episode here if you have a cable log in, or on Amazon.