Western Animation / Downtown

Sesame Street has succumbed to urban blight here.

Downtown, or MTV's Downtown, was an animated series on MTV on urban life, based on interviews with real people. The show followed an ethnically diverse cast who live in New York City, and presents their everyday lives through quirky, humorous, and imaginative perspectives from the characters. It was created by Chris Prynoski, a former animator on Beavis And Butthead, and produced by David McGrath. In 2000, Downtown was nominated for an Emmy in the category of Outstanding Animated Program.

Like many of MTV's other cartoons, it lasted only one season of 13 episodes. All released between August and November, 1999. There has been an outcry for a DVD release of the series. The use of an original score rather than licensed music would make such a DVD release easier. Prynoski sublimated the lack of an official Paramount DVD release by way of offering a promotional DVD via his blog, which includes all episodes of the series in DVD quality.

The creators of the series would go on to do Megas XLR, in which Goat is a recurring character, complete with the same voice actor.

Downtown features examples of:

  • Alpha Bitch: Chaka, though more to Alex than her classmates.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Chaka towards Alex.
  • Anything That Moves: Leah does this, to the point where she interrupts sex with one guy to hook up with another one right in the middle.
    • Goat as well. He has a "quantity over quality" approach to hooking up, making him far more successful in romance than most of the gang, but the quality of conquests is questionable.
  • As Himself: WWE's The Undertaker once "appeared" as himself when the gang went to a comic book convention.
  • Beneath the Earth: Fruity, Matt and Chaka venture into the subway tunnels in New York so Matt can tag the trains. While they wander around, they talk about all the crazy inhabitants of whom they've heard tell. Suggestions include survivalists, mole people, giant electric eels and transit cops who stage fights. And then there's the abandoned yet functional station they really DO stumble across...
  • Lady looks like a Dude: Jen disguises herself with just a hat and coat to follow Serena. Even the cops who stop and frisk Jen think she's a guy.
    • A dumpy guy in a knit hat.
  • Big Applesauce
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Alex is a National Merit Scholar and went to engineering school for two years, but doesn't like engineering. He seems content to work at a copy shop until he knows what he wants to do.
  • Butt-Monkey: No one in the series is particularly lucky, but Alex and Fruity get it the worst.
  • Cannibal Clan: The Cropsies from episode 12. It's an urban legend about inbred hillfolk living in the Jersey Pine Barrens, who allegedly kidnap travellers and either eat them or use them for breeding if they're women. The Cropsies turn out to be real, but are none of the things mentioned above, they're just the inhabitants living in the secluded parts of the Barrens.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Fruity. Oh dear lord, Fruity. He's not completely unsuccessful with the ladies, but the few people he manages to attract are either Axe-Crazy or not quite as pretty as the Halloween makeup and nighttime lighting made it seem.
  • Catholic School Girls Rule: Why Fruity first dated Patty, the meanest Catholic school-girl in town.
  • Cold Opening
  • Coolest Club Ever: Episode 3 featured the local dive under Alex's apartment being turned into a massively trendy, popular club. Chaka is thrilled, especially since she can sneak in through the back from within the apartment building. Alex, who has to sleep above the pounding techno music, is less thrilled.
  • Cool Loser: Alex. His friends...not so much.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Goat. His theory involves Pigmen and turning New York City into Toronto.
  • Creepy Crossdresser: The anime cosplayers in episode 5.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Jen.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Serena, being a goth and all.
    • When she changes from goth to "normal" look in the final episode, her skin isn't pale anymore, so it was probably just makeup.
  • Fake-Out Make-Out: Alex and Jen do this to fool their limo driver in "The Limo."
  • Friend to All Living Things: Mecca is very affectionate towards any animal she comes across.
  • Friends with Benefits: Alex and Jen discuss this in "The Limo."
  • "Friends" Rent Control: Averted, Alex first apartment on his own is a real shithole, and they even talk about how he had to jump at the opportunity to get it without checking it out first because of how difficult it is to find affordable housing in New York. Jen's apartment isnt much better, and she still has to have a roommate. The less said about Goats apartment, the better.
  • Furry Fandom: A furry art/comics/cosplay group appears on a comic book convention, right next to the booth that Fruity and Matt are manning for Starbase 51. Notable since this episode came out long before furries ever appeared in other mainstream media.
  • Garage Sale:
    Mecca: Oh, I love yards sales. You can get clothes so cheap.
    Chaka: Mecca, They have other people's sweat in them.
    Jen: Chaka, where do you think this stuff comes from, a time capsule? No, I buy it off people who think it's worthless, dry clean it and mark it up 1000%.
  • Good Angel, Bad Angel: Goat is talking to Alex about whether or not the fact that Serena is no longer dressing like a goth means that Alex should no longer be interested in her. Good Angel Goat starts with a point about how clothing doesn't make the person. Bad Angel Goat says that the clothing will just come off anyway.
  • Groin Attack: Goat delivers one to Jen under the belief that she was a man stalking Serena. Jen is unfazed and retaliates with one of her own. Apparently Goat's mother told him to always "go for the balls".
  • Halloween Episode: Also the series finale.
  • Imagine Spot: Descriptive depictions of the subject at hand frequently occur mid-conversation.
  • Known Only by Their Nickname: Goat and Fruity never revealed their actual names. Goat's first or last name *might* be Scott.
    • He does respond with, "How do you know my real name?" However, Desmond may also be one of his names.
  • The Load: Matt never let Fruity join in on his tagging ruins because he felt that Fruity would be this. He's pretty much right when he does take him and Chaka along, as Fruity quickly gets jealous over Matt's street cred and popularity among graffiti fans and almost gets them caught by the transit cops. He redeems himself by the end.
  • Mushroom Samba: Chaka eats some "funny" candy and starts tripping... in the middle of a Halloween parade in Greenwich Village.
  • Nerds Are Virgins: Alex's friends (one of them thinks "Laid" is a Star Wars character). Whether Alex himself is a virgin is nebulous.
  • The Not-Love Interest: Jen and Alex. In one episode they're so horny they do consider going beyond friendship, but then come to the conclusion it wouldn't make any sense.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: When Jen follows Serena, she goes to various places: to a shady back alley, an upscale apartment building, and a strip club. Jen assumes the worst. When Serena goes to Alex's copy store, Serena explains what she was doing at each place. She went to pick up some herbal medicines (the shady back alley), watered her aunt's plants (the apartment building), and retrieved some concert tickets (the strip club).
  • ...Or So I Heard: "And not an upscale strip club like Scores, but one where the girls have nasty implant scars... not that I've been there or anything."
  • Perky Goth: Serena. To some, her exotic goth style can seem off-putting, but she's a very likable, positive person.
  • "Rashomon"-Style: The second episode features one when Chaka and Mecca remember when they first met Matt and Fruity, and vice versa. All we really know for sure is that they were all in the park and Chaka was dancing in the fountain:
    • Chaka remembers herself as a voluptuous dancer that had the attention of every guy in the park, and that Matt and Fruity were lanky nerds.
    • Fruity remembers himself as a fit, confident skater, and Chaka as a plain, flat girl.
  • Relationship Upgrade: Of a sort: Serena comes to accept Alex for who he is as a real friend in the final episode, and of course the show was cancelled before another upgrade could happen.
  • Right Through the Wall: Jen's roommate Leah often does this, to Jen's annoyance.
  • Seinfeldian Conversation: A lot of the dialogue between the characters leads to this in one way or another.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: Alex has to explain this about Jen fairly often. Not to mention the Gender reversed version that Jen has to point out as well.
  • Stealth Pun:
    (Fruity, Matt and Chaka search the subway tunnels for the right spot for Matt to "tag" with graffiti.)
    Fruity: Get it over with already!
    Matt: Gotta find the right spot, B.
    Chaka: If only all guys were like you.
  • Subways Suck: In Episode 2, a battle-of-the-sexes train race of Chaka and Mecca vs. Matt and Fruity to get to Coney Island. Chaka acts impulsively and takes random trains while Mecca is too spineless to stop her. Matt looks at the maps, makes a plan and firmly sticks to it despite Fruity's complaints, but it was all for nothing when their train line ends abruptly due to construction. (They managed to walk the remaining 20 blocks.)
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Again, Fruity, and to a lesser extent, Chaka.
  • Those Two Guys: Matt and Fruity.
  • Unlucky Childhood Friend: Inverted with the relationship between Jen and Alex. Various characters assume that the two of them are or should be sleeping together, despite their vehement protests to the contrary. Although after a conversation about how desperately horny they both are, they attempt to hook up. It's a miserable failure.
  • Urban Legends: The show ran on them.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Pretty much all of the main characters, but especially Alex and Jen.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Mecca.
    • Chaka wears a blue wig in one episode.
  • You Need to Get Laid: Mentioned by Jen to one of Alex's friends. He thinks "Laid" is a Star Wars Expanded Universe action figure he hasn't heard of.