Western Animation: Code Monkeys

Code Monkey like you... (I love you, whores!) note 

PLAYER 1 START!

Travel back in time with us, to the early 1980s, The Golden Age of Video Games. In those days, men were men, women were women, and "high-end graphics" were ones in which the sprites were more than one color.

This is the setting for G4's animated Sitcom Code Monkeys, which revolves around the antics at Game-A-Vision, a fictional video game company. Aside from Jerry, an amiable everyman game programmer who's more than a bit of a pushover, Jerry's mischievous, obnoxious friend and stoner Dave, and Mary, the put-upon sole female programmer, most of the crew at Game-A-Vision are crazy, stupid, or some combination of the two. There's Mr. Larrity, a hot-headed, money-grubbing, borderline insane Texas millionaire who becomes Game-A-Vision's owner in the premiere episode and shows a fondness for wildly complicated schemes; Mr. Larrity's dimwit jock son Dean; Todd, a fat, narcissistic, and often creepy uber-geek; "Black Steve", the ill-tempered accountant and token black guy; Clarence, the outrageously gay audio designer who always talks in a sing-song voice; Clare, the flirtatious receptionist; and Benny, a mouthy, hyperactive Korean kid who lives in the basement and works as a play tester.

Much of the show's humor comes from spoofing not only the video game industry, but Video Game Tropes as well. The animation style is entirely in 8-bit style pixel art (which resembles River City Ransom sprites), complete with status bars at the top and bottom of the screen that display absurd things depending on the action in the show (like a health meter that decreases when someone gets injured or killed, a "Douche" meter when Todd starts talking, question marks appearing when Larrity starts making bizarre comments, etc, etc.).

Sadly, Code Monkeys only lasted two seasons (2007-2008), with the first season on DVD; the entire series was available on Netflix (in the US) until 2014. The theme song lives on as the theme song for Film Master Adam's Review show.

This series features examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: One of the show's many very, very dark implications is that Todd's sexual obsession with his mother is as a result of Stockholm Syndrome after being frequently abused, possibly sexually, by her.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Teddy Ticklebum; in this case it was intentional, when Dave reprograms Teddy with the source code from a violent game and then pisses on him. This was to make the prototype shut down and the other employees get their pay restored; unfortunately, Teddy goes on a rampage and kidnaps Tiffany, resulting in Dave, Jerry and Todd confronting him on a rooftop, until he's disintegrated by Mary wearing Metroid-style armor.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Clarence is tan, so we're not quite sure what he is, beside, you know, gay.
  • Anal Probing: Todd and Dean get abducted by aliens in one episode and are anally probed while forced to suck on a strange mechanical appendage.
    • At the end it's revealed that the aliens were really a homosexual military platoon who do this to Todd every week.
  • Angry Black Man: Black Steve
  • Artistic License: While ostensibly set in the early 1980s, a few pop culture references from the late 1980s, early 1990s, and even the 2000's (as Clare once mentioned Tony Hawk) creep into the characters' dialogue.
  • Art Shift: Sort of. When John Romero pitches Doom to Larrity, the show switches over to a First-Person Shooter perspective.
  • Auto Erotica: In "The Story of 420" Larrity reveals that he dated Nancy Reagan before she met Ronald (who he calls a "senile old coot") and that they engaged in some "backseat wrasslin'".
  • Ax-Crazy: Mr. Larrity.
    Dave: Jerry, Larrity is crap-house crazy; he snacks on venison pops, he might just kill us one day for taking the last diet soda or passing out flyers for a rager at his house—I don't know!
    Jerry: That was you?!
    Dave: Do you really need to ask?
  • Basement-Dweller: Except for the fact that he is actually employed, Todd is pretty much this trope Up to Eleven. He actually has a dungeon in his office!
  • Been There, Shaped History: The Game-A-Vision staff regularly has oddly profound effects on the world at large. Most dramatically, they basically forced Michael Jackson's transformation from a young black heartthrob into an effeminate light-skinned weirdo.
    • Mr. Larrity apparently had something to do with the Three Mile Island nuclear meltdown in Pennsylvania in 1979 (see below).
  • Big Damn Heroes: Dave (who was presumed dead) and a former Protendo game programmer jump in when Larrity faces Matsui, Protendo's leader, on the company's rooftop when they came to rescue Benny in the Season 1 finale, and then Jerry shows up with Mary, Clare, and Clarence, and helps disable the force field holding Benny, and are shortly followed by Dean and Black Steve, who came in a helicopter (after finding themselves excluded from the trip and going to Hawaii) to rescue everyone after Matsui triggers the Protendo building's self-destruct.
    • Then, in "Trouble in the Middle East", most of the Game-A-Vision crew comes to the rescue of Dave and Todd in Khakistan, kicking ass and taking names shortly before the US drops some cluster bombs.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Takeda's brother (who didn't seem to have a name) actually speaks perfect Japanese. Subverted with Noshi discussing the "merger" over the phone; he was actually speaking in English. The subtitles are just there for the sake of being there.
  • Bizarrchitecture: The Game-A-Vision offices, while looking fairly standard from the outside, has all sorts of videogame-style stuff, from Mario-style warp pipes to pits full of crystal spikes, secret vaults and rooms, turtles and bats moving around freely, and a large basement (Todd even has a dungeon!). The offices and other rooms that are frequented by the cast are quite normal, though (Clarence's office (it's accessed via warp pipe) excepted). However, there isn't a set floorplan either, so rooms can shift around depending on the episode. The video-game style parts were mostly dropped after the first couple of episodes, though.
    • On a related note, the Game-A-Vision conference room got an unexplained makeover between season 1 and 2; Larrity's office also gained a new carpet styled after a dollar bill.
    • In addition, the laser cage thing Matsui used to hold Benny captive in the season 1 finale had an NES lookalike as its' base, and inexplicably had an NES Max sticking out, which apparently functioned as a self-destruct button.
  • Black And Black Morality: Take a good look at the behavior of the main cast throughout the series, then try to come back and say this doesn't apply.
  • Black Comedy: "It's as if someone took one of my babies, except that baby was made of money, not useless baby meat."
  • Black Comedy Rape: Both Todd and Dave get raped by KITTY. Also, the episode "Super Prison Breakout" contains numerous rape jokes. In the second season there is also a running Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male joke about Clare's habit of abducting unconscious men and forcing them to have sex with her.
  • Bland-Name Product: Occasionally, like in the mall, where Black Steve works at "H&R Black". Protendo is a Captain Ersatz for Nintendo; Bellecovision is an analog of Colecovision.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Most of the cast.
  • But Not Too Black: Averted. Black Steve's rap group, "Black Steve and the Black Attack Squadron (Honky Killer International), featuring Blackie Blackersonnote ", receives thunderous applause from the all white crowd.
  • Butt Monkey: Clare has an unfortunate tendency to end up in this position. Jerry also tends to be a victim.
  • Camp Gay: Clarence, Up to Eleven
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Larrity and Dean exhibit plenty of traits of this trope, but Todd really takes the cake.
  • Content Warnings: Spoofed. The show contained a different gag disclaimer at the beginning of each episode, such as this one from "Super Prison Breakout":
    This Show...
    A) Contains content that may not be suitable for all audiences.
    B) Might use the word (beep) a lot.
    C) Rocks.
    Viewer Discretion is advised.
    • "The Story of 420" poked fun at this backfiring with video games.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Larrity.
  • Couch Gag: The Content Warnings. In season 2, however, some episodes reuse the one from "The Take-Over" ("Benny's Birthday" has an additional disclaimer that resembles the warning of Robot Chicken).
  • Crossing the Burnt Bridge: In the Stonervision episode. Of course, this was seen coming a mile away.
  • Creepy Child: Benny often qualifies.
  • Deep South: Larrity exhibits a lot of redneck stereotypes of the American south. He's stated to be from Texas.
  • Does This Make Me Look Fat?: In the episode "Third Reich's the Charm":
    Todd: "Does this shirt make me look fat?"
    Clare: "No, vision makes you look fat, Todd."
  • Defcon Five: They got it right in "Trouble in the Middle East", as a US rear admiral explains what they think Khakistan is up to with all the ImpalaVision game consoles they stole, an animation on the top of the screen correctly goes from DEFCON 5 to DEFCON 1.
  • Drugs Are Bad: The episode "The Story of 420" featured then-First Lady Nancy Reagan, infamous for her anti-drug crusades in the 80's, ruining 420 for the Game-A-Vision staff by confiscating a huge supply of marijuana on the Mexican border. Later on when she's at Game-A-Vision, Dave unintentionally gives her the inspiration for her real life "Just Say No" campaign.
  • Eagle Land: Parodied in "Trouble in the Middle East".
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Larrity's voice was at first lower and deeper, some of the on-screen fonts were a bit different originally, and the first episode had Hammerspace used more frequently (for instance, most of the staffers once emerged from behind trash cans and such, while Todd came down from the ceiling; Dave got a Lightsaber from nowhere to cut open a dead donkey at the beginning of the ep), and the first few episodes had areas of the Game-A-Vision offices filled with video game-style stuff (see Bizarrchitecture).
  • The Eighties
  • Expy: A lot.
  • Floating Timeline: While the characters themselves don't age, the show seems to jump all over the 80s depending on the episode's plot requirements. For instance, in "The Story of 420", it seems to take place in or after 1985, given that they watched a copy of The Goonies while high, yet the next episode, "My Pal Jodie" takes place in 1981, as Dave's game heavily inspired John Hinckley to shoot President Reagan and Dave's in court to defend Game-A-Vision.
  • Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: The lesbian mermaids sighted by the team on their submarine voyage. Averted with Clare, who, despite being someone that Really Gets Around, finds the thought of being with another woman kind of disgusting.
  • Karma Houdini: Let's see, a misogynistic, homophobic Corrupt Corporate Executive who keeps his one of his eight dead wife's stuffed body on display, a delusional Psychopathic Manchild who keeps a dungeon, and an outrageously nasty workplace bully... none of whom really ever suffer for it. Yeah.
    • Also Black Steve, who is routinely abrasive, racist and violent, even literally getting away with murder on occasion. No one EVER calls him on any of this.
  • Kill Screen: Used over the copyright notice at the end of each episode of Season 1. In Season 2, it's replaced with a random sprite from the episode.
  • I Minored in Tropology: Black Steve speaks fluent Japanese, as well as conversational Arabic.
  • Instant Awesome Just Add Ninjas: Ninjas in Protendo's employ kidnap Benny in the 1st season finale; Larrity briefly mistakes them for black people. Later on, Matsui summons salarymen to attack Larrity, who then comments "You're all actually ninjas, aren't ya?" Cue the men changing into ninja garb, to which Larrity replies: "I knew it, always with the gosh-darn ninjas!"
  • It Will Never Catch On
    • A Running Gag in the show consists of famous video game designers pitching their big game to Game-A-Vision, only for Larrity to shoot it down (and occasionally for Larrity or someone else to literally shoot them down, or otherwise harm them).
    • Additionally, when Wozniak tells the company that he's planning on moving into the personal computer industry, Dave mentions that it'll be a passing fad, like MTV.
  • Ivy League for Everyone: Black Steve became an underground wrestler to pay for his Ivy League education at Dartmouth.
  • Japan Takes Over the World: In "The Takeover", this is what Larrity believes is going to happen as he comments: "Now as y'all know, these sneaky bastards are gonna own everything in America, within the next 6 or 7 weeks."
  • Magical Queer: Parodied by Clarence, who is so magically queer that he can fly and phase through walls. This ability is even referred to as his "gay magic". It previously served as the trope page image.
  • Mighty Whitey: Parodied with Jerry's game White Karate Master. Also played straight in the season 1 finale, in which Benny is rescued by pretty much exclusively white Game-A-Vision employees.
  • Murder Simulator: "My Pal Jodie" has a Shout-Out to the infamous Taxi Driver assassination attempt when John Hinckley is revealed to own a Game-A-Vision game about impressing Jodie Foster, culminating in attempting to assassinate President "Ray-gun".
  • Noodle Incident: Many of them, usually involving Mr. Larrity:
    • In "Stonervision", when Dave and Jerry's replacements are revealed to be undercover CIA agents, Larrity freaks out and runs off a list of things that he expected them to arrest him for: an "illegal elephant", a "psychic hotline scam", an "accident at a shampoo factory", the "white slavery ring", something to do with the Three Mile Island nuclear accident(!!!!!!!!), a "wombat mill", a "torture academy", "getting them eagles drunk", and "I did not know they were cookin' meth in the back of that bondage club!" As it turns out, they're actually going to arrest him for tax evasion. Then, when Dave and Jerry ask Larrity for help for payment to a drug lord, he leverages this info to the agents, provided they drop the charges; the agent asks if it's the "bondage club meth ring" charges, then Larrity informs him it's the tax charges he wants dropped.
    • In "The Great Recession", when a young video game player is harassed by Todd and he is arrested, the cops recognize him from the "Renaissance Fair sting". He responds "And I say to you, officer, the 'Baubles for Bosoms' scandal was a set-up!" A Spinning Paper shortly thereafter says "Ren Fair Pervert Nabbed!" with a picture of Todd in his "Pardue" outfit, lifting up his "skirt", which is thankfully censored.
    • In "Larrity's Got Back", shortly after getting his butthole removed, Mr. Larrity's busy berating Black Steve for doing something that ended up getting Larrity "smack-dab in the middle of a federal investigation!" And it's the fourth time that month! Whatever he did wasn't discussed.
    • In "Psychological Problems", according to the insurance agent, Larrity somehow got raped by a white tiger at some point. In addition, the front of the building was blown off somehow; this might be a reference to "Todd Loses His Mind", but the episode was "reset", making the canocity of that ep questionable. If it did happen, then clearly it didn't injure anybody; if not, then this was an unrelated incident.
    • In "IPO", Larrity says that hopefully, having stockpiled valuable objects will make "people forget about those silly little war crimes", at which point the bottom screen bar displays the text "Arbor Day Massacre", blood-splattered.
    • "The Revenge of Matsui" has a lot of them. First, while flashing back to the ninja attack, Larrity comments, "And for only the 9th time in my life, I was completely powerless." Later at the pier, Dave reminds Jerry of how one time Jerry's dad told them the Super Bowl was fixed (because, like Larrity, he smelled of "whiskey and whores"). Jerry then gets tearful and tells Dave to shut up. Then, later on, Larrity says he stole their submarine from the Russians toward the end of the Vietnam War; this may or may not have something to do with him "owing them about a billion dollars and they're being total dillholes about it", according to Larrity.
  • Ninja Pirate Robot Zombie: Dave and Jerry's games Ninja Pirate Robots and "Lunch Lady Zombies".
  • Obviously Evil: A prison called Rapeville, and "Hitler Castle".
  • Oddly Small Organization: Game-A-Vision was supposed to be one of the top companies in the video game industry, yet the main cast, the Asian-looking guy, and some others tend to be the only seen employees on a regular basis. There are some one episode-only employees, and some unnamed ones, like other accountants and one guy from HR who got killed off by the malfunctioning Teddy Ticklebum.
  • Old Master: Yodatsu
  • One Steve Limit: Averted with Steve Wozniak and Black Steve (though the former rarely shows up again after the first episode, and the latter isn't even named Steve).
  • Parental Incest: Heavily implied with Todd and his mother.
  • Pet the Dog: After Jerry squanders his million dollars from a stock increase and throws himself into huge debt troubles, Dave (who's become an actual millionaire because he actually deposited and saved his money) decides to help his friend out and pay off Jerry's debts.
    • Larrity also gets a moment during "Third Reich's The Charm", when Jerry protests, as a half-Jew, about spending four days kissing up to the Hitler family. His response is: "Alright Jerry, I understand. Since you're only half a Jew you'll just come for the first two days." While it heavily showcases Larrity's ignorance, it's also a shockingly unexpected and nigh-unprecedented display of compassion on his part, as it implies that if Jerry had been a "full Jew", not even he would sink so low as to force him to kiss up to the Hitler family at all.
    • Also in "Todd Loses His Mind", when, Larrity hands him a gun for potential suicide after "all the nightmares you're surely gonna have", after Todd assaulted Jerry and put his face in an 'Ass Sandwich'.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: Pretty much every white male in the cast is a total bigot, though this is usually played for laughs.
  • Prison Rape: The prison in the series is actually called Rapeville.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Todd, an extreme example of a Basement-Dweller who often has difficulty telling fantasy from reality.
  • Punny Name: Bellecovision sounds like "bleak-o", which is how they sounded according to Dave in the pilot.
  • Qurac: Khakistan; where the primary export and crops are khaki pants (which inexplicably grow on cacti). However, the US started offering pants subsidies allowing The Gap to flood the market with cheap knockoff khakis, forcing Khakistan into recession. Hence, King Huj Asman comes up with the episode's hair-brained plot.
  • Really Gets Around: Clare.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Whenever a character gets angry, their eye pixels turn red.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: "Code Monkey" by Jonathan Coulton. This was what provided the final title, as the working title was "Dave and Jerry VS The World".
  • Reset Button (Literally: After going (more) insane in the episode "Todd Loses His Mind", Todd successfully blows up the Game-A-Vision building with the staff inside. The screen gets all glitchy, & the viewer is treated to a live-action scene of somebody resetting their "Code Monkeys" cartridge. The episode ends with a repeat of its first scene.)
  • Running Gag: Any time someone utters the word "point", the point counter goes up.
    • Dave is able to get free drinks or candy from the break room vending machine by forcefully humping it. He is the only one that can make that work, apparently.
    • During the first season, if you look in the break room, you can see a series of pictures on the wall that shows two horses humping, then one getting pregnant, then having the baby.
  • Samus is a Girl: Parodied at the end of Valley of the Silicon Dolls, when Teddy Ticklebum is blasted to bits by Mary wearing Metroid-style armor.
  • Scary Black Man: Major John Hondo, who Dave and Jerry meet in "Super Prison Breakout".
    Hondo: You're alright for a little white dude.
    Dave: And you're alright for a large, threatening, sociopathic black man.
  • Shout-Out (Grand Theft Auto in the second season finale)
    • Lots considering the genre and style of this show. The infamous UR MR GAY meme makes an appearance in The Revenge of Matsui.
    • Mr. Wozniak has Majora's Mask hanging on his wall in the first episode.
    • Game-A-Vision gets visited by agents Dana and Fox.
    • During Mr. Larrity's flashback in "The Revenge of Matsui", the tractor trailer that the ninjas jump out of is identical to G1 Optimus Prime, down to the blue stripes on the trailer. (Neither Roller or the Combat Deck Auto-Launcher are present, though.)
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: For Game-A-Vision as a whole, Bellecovision serves as this.
  • Sociopathic Hero: You think?
  • Special Guest
  • The Stoner / Stoners Are Funny: While Dave is well established as a stoner throughout the series, the episode "The Story of 420" showed that most of the Game-A-Vision staff smokes marijuana.
  • The Straight Man: Jerry to Dave (...and often the rest of the main cast as a whole). Mary to a certain extent, though she occasionally pulls some pretty insane stunts herself.
  • Suck E. Cheese's: There was one in "The Great Recession" where Dave, and later Todd, got jobs at the mall when Game-A-Vision went out of business.
  • Suckiness Is Painful: The E.T. video game is so bad that it traumatized Benny, caused a child in the hospital with cancer to die, and made a little boy's parents divorce and caused his baby sister to die.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: In "Just One of the Gamers" Mary feels disrespected at work because she's a woman. She disguises herself as a guy named Mitch. This eventually leads to...;
    • Sweet on Polly Oliver: In "Just One of the Gamers" Jerry has the hots for Mitch, Mary's male alter-ego. He eventually breaks down and declares himself gay for Mitch but is relieved when she reveals herself as Mary. However, Dave insists that he's still gay.
  • Those Two Guys: Dave and Jerry, the show's primary characters.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: In the episode "Third Reich's the Charm". The Nazi store they operated, the "Harsher Image", reappears in "Valley of the Dolls", where Larrity is trying to buy an indoor rollercoaster with a solid-gold car, only to find his credit card was rejected.
  • Token Minority: Lampshaded repeatedly by Black Steve.
  • Took A Level In Jerk Ass: Dave in Season 2.
    • Jerry in Psychological Problems. While it was expected that everyone would make fun of Todd for the Cock Goblin, Jerry is usually the one that's the nicest to him (although it was fairly ridiculous that Todd couldn't see the innuendo until the shock therapy at the end).
  • Work Com
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: The focus of the episode "Drunken Office Party".
  • With Friends Like These...: Dave, towards Jerry.
  • World of Ham: Yep.
  • You Cloned Hitler!: Adolf Hitler apparently has clones. Larrity keeps one in the freezer as "insurance".

GAME OVER