At first I wasn’t even sure I liked The Venture Bros. or was just hit by the main characters’ train wreck (minus the cool machism of Brock Samson), but the show ultimately taught me to love myself a little more. Long before season two told me that anyone could be comfortable, I knew I had a connection to this wild franchise that is now getting its own movie. One Venture bros. Character, in particular, opened me up to more personal reflections and deeper analysis of the show.
Pete White is a major supporting character in Venture bros., a brilliant computer scientist with a boast and wit of his own who deserves attention because of his apparent lack of melanin. But what is most important to me, he’s an albino. In fictional worlds, characters with this mutation are often cast in villainous roles, so it’s refreshing to see someone with my condition who exists outside of this trope. To be fair, he has a little cocaine problem (because of course someone with albinism and the surname White would stuff their noses with white powder), is somewhat callous, ungrateful, passive-aggressive and, as the show describes, a “star fucker” , but who has no faults? Luckily people like Shore Leave and even Sergeant Hatred have put him in his place now and then, but other than that I see him as a role model in many ways.
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White and I have a lot in common, aside from our mutual love for video games, especially this one Grand Theft Auto Series. Like him, I was in a situation where I was talking to a friend about why a certain girl didn’t notice me and got the answer, “She’s hot and you’re an albino.” All of my branding either includes my last name or indicates that I’m an albino, my original blog Into the Pale Wilds refers to both. White, whose college radio show was called “The White Room,” does the same. I’m not sure where the marketing aspect ends and the call for identification begins, but I think we both got a little overflowing.
It’s easy to dismiss Pete White as a joke, especially for those who have seen only a few episodes. It shines through in small moments, but I also died of laughter the first time I heard White explain to the other characters why he just couldn’t have a fun day in the sun: “Do I have to spell it for you? People? I am an albino. This is not a fashion choice. My body literally hates the sun on a molecular level. ”I knew from that one joke that I had found a new line to respond with, and that the character understood me. One of the first quotes we hear from him is “We freaks need to stick together,” which is oddly touching and a nod to the outsider culture that’s so prevalent in the dark comic book adventure genre.
Venture bros. loves its black humor, bathes in its vulgarity, and hits a few buttons on the way down the drain, so it’s no surprise it treats a character with albinism as a joke and trots out the genetic mutation for a laugh. This was reserved at times, allowing Pete autonomy alongside his characteristics that were part of the story. His sensitivity to the sun was exaggerated, but seeing him with sunglasses and an umbrella brought him into my reality. It was representation in the strangest form.
White is known as The Pink Phantom, an indication of his complexion and something I’m incredibly familiar with. I don’t mind being called white or pale, but at a young age pink was just a step too far and it’s a visible trait I’ve struggled against all my life. A longtime friend once tried to lovingly call me “Pinky” as our loved ones like to try, but I hated the name and was grateful when they got the hint. White, however, embraced and nicknamed the pink, something I’m not sure even now I could do. In one facet, I see his consolation in calling himself things like The Pink Pilgrim, as if it surpasses me in comfort with the condition, but I am also reminded that just because we both have albinism, we don’t have the same experience share with it.
Sometimes I feel a juxtaposition between our relatable experiences (called “pale face” or Casper) and a lesser-known heroic science life and albino code that he clearly knows more about than I do. I’m also jealous of any person in my mutated position with a better fashion sense – what my best friend says they all are – especially the albinos who have learned to wear colors other than black. Pete wears his dressed up new wave club look with a natural swagger.
I attended and attended Dragon Con with a couple of friends in 2012 Venture bros. Panel with the creators of the show, Doc Hammer and Jackson Publick. It was hilarious, despite all the smoke breaks (a running gag for their presentation). We got to the large conference room a few minutes late, so our seats were further back. During the Q&A part, I decided to ask a question. My friend used his cell phone to get the attention of the man walking around with the microphone. When it was my turn to speak, I didn’t ask about the upcoming special, the new season, or the rumored problems with Adult Swim, as I usually do. I wanted the makers to address something remarkable from my final iteration of the show: their treatment of Pete White.
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I started by thanking them for putting the character on the show and was excited to see an albino in a good role, and they seemed to accept the questions in our back and forth and realize me, too Had albinism. When I referred to their jokes and asked them how they would answer “for their crimes against albinism” they seemed nervous and unsure of how to react. They made typical jokes about pink eyes and cooking in the sun, but by the time they continued it was clear they knew more about the disease and had done some research. They sincerely shared how much they enjoyed writing White and Billy, with Hammer discussing their relationship and what it meant to him while Publick compared the character to his father (he claims in the DVD commentary that White’s voice was on his Father based). . That part of the panel ended with them hinting that there would be more albino humor in the next season.
The fans were then introduced to a villainous albino ninja, and with a new character came a new round of jokes based on albinism. In a way, it wasn’t what I wanted, but I was also happy to see more of White and have these characters on screen, even as a joke at the expense of my stamina. Having that moment with the creators and understanding where they came from with the humor strengthened my connection to the show. Even if it’s not always a one-to-one representation, it’s still important to see it in some form. I don’t necessarily want to be more like White – unless we can get this fashion thing sorted out – but the new movie gives me the chance to see an old friend I’ve known for almost eighteen years, someone I think that he’s genetically linked to, and that will mean a lot.