Western Animation / Captain Simian and the Space Monkeys

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They'll beat you up...unless you have bananas.

Captain Simian and the Space Monkeys (1996-1997) is an animated sci-fi series focusing on the exploits of a rag-tag crew of an interplanetary ship composed entirely of monkeys from Earth. They have been transformed into anthropomorphic, intelligent versions of themselves by the Applied Phlebotinum of the " ", a mysterious race of benevolent aliens whose name can't be spoken or written, only thought. The sworn enemy of the " " and the Space Monkeys is Lord Nebula, an immensely powerful being who wants to destroy the universe and recreate it in his own image. Nebula's second-in-command is Rhesus-2, a rhesus monkey whom he turned into a Hollywood Cyborg with several interchangeable brains. Sadly, it was canceled after one season.

Tropes:

  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Inside of the Primate Avenger, as seen in episode 14, "Apes of Wrath".
  • Action Girl: Shao Lin.
  • Affectionate Parody: The series lovingly satirizes various Science Fiction tropes and franchises.
  • Apes in Space
  • Attack Pattern Alpha: Used almost to the point of ridiculousness (which was probably intended).
  • Badass Crew: The Space Monkeys.
  • Being Half-Human Sucks: For Nebula, at least. After being dropped down a few levels in power after the two part opener, he is now susceptible to human maladies, from the common cold to indigestion.
  • Berserk Button: Don't hurt Gor's friends. Seriously. Just don't.
    • Gor's also not fond of needles. All Spydor had to do was imply that Gor would get a shot and he went crazy.
  • Big Bad: Lord Nebula.
  • Body Horror: Rhesus-2, whose body is an awkward-looking patchwork of fleshy components and angular mechanical pieces, topped with a grotesquely organic brain. We actually get to see his conversion from an unevolved monkey into a Killer Space Monkey cyborg in episode 4 ("The Ape Has Landed"), and even in silhouette it's... not pretty.
  • Body Swap: Captain Simian and Shao Lin in "Escape from the Plant of the Apes".
    • Voices Are Mental: Averted! The characters keep their own voices, but the voice actors imitate each others' distinctive cadences.
  • Brain in a Jar: Rhesus-2 is a cyborg with exposed, removable brains.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Lord Nebula is nigh-omnipotent in the first episode and about to carry out his grand plan, only to lose most of his powers thanks to the apes and spend the rest of the show trying to get them back.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Orbitron, after Gor accidentally crushed him.
  • Composite Character: Holoboon #3462-83B, in "Apes of Wrath", is basically a mixture of Captain James T. Kirk and Adolf Hitler.
  • Captain Superhero
  • Catch Phrase: "It just keeps getting better and better..."
    • "Gotta get that thing fixed..."
    • "The '   '."
      • "The who?"
  • Combining Mecha: Their ship, the Primate Avenger, can split up into five smaller ships, each piloted by one of the crew.
  • Danger Deadpan: Captain Simian.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Spydor, and especially the Captain himself.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: More of a straight and deliberate example here. In one episode Shao Lin purposefully uses the fact she is a female to distract a bunch of monkey mooks, before going wild on them.
  • The Dragon: Rhesus-2.
  • Dream Apocalypse: Played with. The crew and some villains find a crack in a wall where you can whisper anything you want and it will appear, but are warned by a guardian that it is really the ear of a sleeping giant who dreams the universe. Not believing this, they end up wishing for bigger and better weapons as they fight, only to actually wake the giant up, which causes the universe to start to disintegrate until they manage to make him sleep again with a Techno Babble 'lullaby'. However, in the end, appropriately enough, the whole episode is implied to be All Just a Dream.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: In "Gorilla My Dreams"note , Gor dreams of his Gormungus self destroying the Primate Avenger (This was a few episodes before he gained the ability to become Gormungus).
  • Dumb Muscle: Gor, who broke the intelligence amplifier partway through his amplification.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys
  • Evil Counterpart: Rhesus-2 to the Space Monkeys, especially Captain Simian. He shares Captain Simian's origin of being an ordinary monkey launched into space as a test pilot for an experimental rocket (though from the Earth-paralleling world of Terrestria) and being upgraded by an alien that intercepted him on his one way trip. He shares Dr. Splitz/Splitzy's combination of high intelligence & techno-wizardry with a less than conventional approach to science. He shares Spydor's love of fast-talking, albeit in the form of bad puns and cheesy action liners. And, like Shao Lin and Gor, he's a deadly combatant, if focused on blasting stuff over fisticuffs.
  • Expospeak Gag: Dr. Splitz/Splitzy is this trope.
  • Five-Man Band:
  • Gentle Giant: Gor. Unless he becomes Gormungous or his Berserk Button is pushed, that is.
  • A God Am I: What Lord Nebula is trying to accomplish.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Averted fiercely in a flashback that showcases Rhesus-2's predecessor being disintegrated by Nebula, complete with full on lingering shots of the bloody aftermath. And this was a kid's show.
  • Grand Finale: The last three episodes.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Lord Nebula is half-human, half-black hole.
  • How We Got Here: The first episode begins In Medias Res, with the Back Story revealed through a series of Flash Backs.
  • Hulking Out: After Gor receives the ability to become Gormungus.
    • In the same episode, a skinny bird-alien can turn into a monstrous skinned ape-looking thing. It does this by turning itself inside out...
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Spydor, Gor, and Dr Splitz/Splitzy hold this view, due to varying levels of cruelty they received from humans in the past. Captain Simian and Shao Lin, who had far more pleasant experiences with humans, don't share this mindset.
  • Humongous Mecha: Rhesus-2's "Lobe-iathan," which has a giant brain inside a clear glass dome.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each episode title features some kind of monkey-based pun.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: The aforementioned trope. In-Universe, Rhesus-2 loves spouting these off with a brain/mind related theme, drawing attention to his interchangeable brains.
  • Insufferable Genius: Orbitron (pre-crushing).
  • Killer Space Monkey: Without the "killer" part, of course.
    • Unless you count Rhesus-2...
  • Lady of War: Shao Lin.
  • Mind Rape: At one point, Rhesus-2 is punished for failure by being given back his original brain... which has the memory of his conversion. The last shot of the episode cuts away to a starfield as he screams.
    • Gets worse if you consider the implied Body Horror of said conversion.
  • My Future Self and Me: At the end of the Grand Finale, The Reveal is that Mandrax, "a mysterious mandrill with unimaginable powers" who has been helping the heroes, is actually Captain Simian's future self.
  • The Nameless: The " ".
  • Non-Indicative Name: Despite the show's title, only two of the crew are actual monkeys, the other three being apes.
  • Non-Lethal Warfare: The " " give the Space Monkeys non-lethal weaponry.
  • Physical God: Nebula. After his ship was destroyed in the two-part opener, he was able to rebuild it (and Rhesus-2) completely, by sheer force of will.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The Space Monkeys. We have a captain who is basically James T. Kirk as a chimpanzee, a scheming kleptomaniacal spider-monkey prone to get-rich-quick schemes, a golden monkey who never quite grows entirely out of the arrogance that comes from being a martial arts master who used to be considered an incarnate goddess, an orangutan with a split personality that sets him between a stuffy professor and a Southern US-accented hick grease-monkey, and a simple-minded gorilla with a massively destructive temper.
  • Red Shirts: The holo-boons, Hard Light baboons in red jumpsuits who exist to both enable this trope and avoid angering the censors.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Gor's eyes turn red whenever he gets angry.
  • Royal "We": Shao Lin was fond of this at first.
  • Running Gag: "The who?"
    • "Gotta get that thing fixed."
    • "Check. It's a ______ thing."
    • "Strangely soothing."
    • "And of course, cheese."
    • Nebula suffers from a different ailment every time he appears.
    • During the separation sequence for the Primate Avenger, Spydor's lack of thumbs results in many a Visual Pun, from him holding up a picture of a thumb to wearing a metal thumb that rises up when he turns a little crank.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: A peculiar variation, where Captain Simian says that they have to risk their lives to save someone because of a rule in the ship's manual...the ship's manual turns out to be nonexistent, but if it did exist, it should have that rule!
  • Shout-Out: The series references many famous Science Fiction films and series, including:
  • The Smurfette Principle: Shao Lin is the only female primate of the group. Then again, she's also arguably the most capable combatant, so it levels out.
  • The Starscream: Rhesus-2 sometimes shows a rebellious attitude towards Nebula. When Nebula is incapacitated in the series finale, he doesn't hesitate to take control for himself. When he uploads his brain patterns into the Holo-boon generator, turning them evil, they turn against him after driving off the Space Monkeys.
  • Southern-Fried Genius: Splitzy.
  • Split Personality: Dr. Splitz/Splitzy exemplifies this trope.
  • Strange Salute:
    • The Space Monkeys routinely congratulate each other by high-fiving with their feet.
    • The corrupted holoboons in "Apes of Wrath" make armpit farts to salute their supreme leader, Holoboon #3462-83B.
  • Sufficiently Advanced Aliens: The " ".
  • Turned Against Their Masters: A multi-level one in "Apes of Wrath": Rhesus-2 sabotages the Holoboon Generator aboard the Primate Avenger in order to slip the Space Monkeys a device imprinted with his brainwave engrams, causing the holoboons to turn on the Space Monkeys. He did so in order to use the holoboons as an invincible army to help him turn against Lord Nebula. But the holoboons then turn on him under the command of Holoboon #3462-83B. And then Captain Simian manages to slip his brainwave engrams into the holoboon generator, allowing him to subvert the holoboons back from Holoboon #3462-83B's command.
  • Transformation Trauma: Quite literally so; Rhesus-2's memories of actually undergoing his cyber-conversion are so traumatic, due to the intense agony they involved, that they render him nearly catatonic should he be unfortunate enough to plug-in his original brain, and even with his other brains, he retains enough subconscious recollections to make the memories his worst nightmare.
  • True Companions: The crew of the Primate Avenger, of course.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: It was vaguely implied that the Captain and Shao Lin may have had some feelings for each other (when they weren't verbally assaulting each other, of course).
  • Unstoppable Rage: When Gor gets mad... well, he's a gorilla. It gets even more dangerous when he's hit with alien technology that causes him to go One-Winged Angel ("Gormungous") when he gets mad. And they don't COMPLETELY reverse it...so he still does it for the rest of the series.
  • We Can Rebuild Him: In the pilot, Rhesus-1 is shown as a puddle of gore after evidently failing Nebula. But a later episode shows that, after his remains were spaced, someone else retrieved them and revived him.
  • Where No Parody Has Gone Before: Star Trek lampoons are all over the place in the series.
  • You Called Me X, It Must Be Serious: Any time the Captain was placed in real mortal danger, Shao Lin would drop her normally calm, professional demeanor and blurt out "Charlie!"

Alternative Title(s): Captain Simian And The Space Monkeys

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/WesternAnimation/CaptainSimianAndTheSpaceMonkeys