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 SitcomCode 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. Then there's Mr. Larrity, a hot-headed, money-grubbing, borderline insane Texas millionaire who becomes Gameavision'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 (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 "Jerk A-lert"/"Todd A-lert"/"Douche" meter when Todd starts talking, question marks appearing when Larrity starts making bizarre comments, or a "BORING" meter that fills up whenever someone, usually Jerry, makes a needlessly dramatic speech).Sadly, Code Monkeys only lasted two seasons (2007-2008), with the first season on DVD and the entire series available on Netflix (in the US). 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
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.
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.
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, Clarence and his gay Yakusa friend, 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 bombs the hell out of the country.
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) and Todd's office (with dungeon) are exceptions). (However, there isn't a set floorplan either, so rooms can shift around depending on the episode.)
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.
But Not Too Black: Averted. Black Steve's rap group, "Black Steve and the Black Attack Squadron (Honky Killer International), featuring Blackie Blackersonnote wassup!", receives thunderous applause from the all white crowd.
Butt Monkey: Clare has an unfortunate tendency to end up in this position.
Couch Gag: The Content Warnings. Not in season 2, however, all episodes use the same one from "The Take-Over" (although "Benny's Birthday" has an additional disclaimer that resembles the warning of Robot Chicken).
Do Not Do This Cool Thing: In the episode "The Story of 420", First Lady NancyReagan forces Game-A-Vision to put warning labels on all of their games stating "Playing this game increases the likelihood that you will engage in drug use and deviant sex". While Larrity objects at first, he's then extremely happy as the labels cause their game sales to skyrocket to the point where Reagan then has to ban them from having the labels on their games.
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, and Dave got a Lightsaber from nowhere).
Floating Timeline: While the characters themselves don't age, the show seems to jump all over the 80s depending on the episode's requirements. For instance, in "The Story of 420", it seems to take place 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 they're in court to defend themselves.
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.
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.
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.
Noodle Incident: In "Stonervision", when Dave and Jerry's replacements are revealed to be undercover government 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.
Also, 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.
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.
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'.
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.
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.
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.)
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 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.
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).