Western Animation: Spicy City

Everyone thinks animation is for kids; well, they are wrong.

Everyone thinks South Park was the first TV-MA-rated cartoon to be created for American television; they are also wrong.

The first was a forgotten show that is Spicy City, from the mastermind of Ralph Bakshi, a Tales from the Crypt-style anthology series, only the genre is noir-erotica-sci-fi rather than horror, hosted by a woman named Raven who spends her time at a futuristic lounge, telling stories of the characters that reside in the titular city.

After having a major case of creative differences/Executive Meddling with certain projects, HBO contracted Bakshi to develop a cartoon series for them after hearing that Trey Parker and Matt Stone were developing South Park. Spicy City managed to beat South Park to the run, but when it got aired on TV, it wasn't so popular as South Park.

Needless to say, Spicy City has developed a cult following. As of 2013, the show hasn't been released on any home video medium.

Tropes that have to do with Spicy City:

  • Art Shift: In the episode "Love is a Download", when a character enters into a virtual reality universe, he resembles the look of video games.
    • In "Mano's Hands", everyone has three fingers and a thumb. This is the only episode to do this, as every other episode has four fingers plus a thumb.
  • Brain Uploading: Otaka from "Sex Drive" is a computer genius who has been creating lifelike AI prostitutes, excect he's really kidnapping living prostitutes and uploading their brains into a computer.
  • Corrupt Cop: A few, Margo and the Detective Pair in "Sex Drive."
  • Death by Cameo: Bakshi provides the voice of one of the goons in the episode "Sex Drive". He is later killed off by being given the Kiss of Death.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Margo from "An Eye for an Eye"
  • Downer Ending: Tears of a Clone ends with the Detective returning a clone of the Old Man's daughter instead of the real one. He passes off the near-braindead clone as her by claiming she's been brain-damaged by the experiments. The old man takes her back, and the Detective goes to Raven's bar, unnerved because he could't save the real daughter and lost his informant to the ordeal. The episode closes with the real daughter still trapped in the lab, crying and begging her father to rescue her.
  • Executive Meddling: The reason why the show never saw a second season became a mystery to fans of the show. It was eventually explained that HBO wanted to replace Bakshi's writers, including Bakshi's son Preston, with a more professional team of writers.
  • Genre Savvy: The Executive in Sex Drive who sees the prostitute on his balcony. He beckons her to come in, and secretly takes a gun from his desk, because a prostitute who got up to the top floor of a guarded business building without notice is very suspicious.
  • Hey, It's That Voice!: Charlie Adler and Candi Milo are among the few professional voice actors in this show. They are not hard to miss.
  • Interactive Narrator: Raven mostly sets up the plot, but in "Tears of a Clone" she refers the main character's services to the Old Man, warns Mano about chasing after a mob boss's girl in "Mano's Hands", and is the main character of "Raven's Revenge".
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: If you're looking for the show to watch, good luck finding an official copy that isn't bootlegged. HBO has not bothered to release the show on VHS, DVD, or even Blu-ray. Ralph Bakshi himself doesnít know when it's finally getting released to home media format.
  • Kiss of Death: Happens in the episode "Sex Drive".
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • After being freed, Viper frees all the Prostitutes Otaka kidnapped, and then they all attak and kill him when he returns to his hide out.
    • "An Eye For An Eye."
    Raven: Margo wanted a piece of everybody. Now everybody's got a piece of Margo.
  • Little Black Dress: Raven
  • Lesbian Cop: Lolita Nisa at the end of "Sex Drive", her lover, Viper, a cop as well, is more Bi the Way.
  • Ms. Fanservice: A lot of the women in this show follow this trope, mostly the hostess, Raven.
  • Narrator: Raven. In the last episode, she's the main character.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: In the episode "Sex Drive", Stern's character design is based off Ralph Bakshi himself. Matthew Flint voices the character, while Bakshi voices another character in the same episode.
  • "Not If They Enjoyed It" Rationalization: Viper to Lolita in "Sex Drive". Viper doesn't go all the way as she was just trying to subdue Lolita to get the tape, but when she's done, Lolita enjoyed it.
  • Screwed by the Network: HBO did this on the finale of the show. See What Could Have Been for details.
  • Shout-Out: "Mano's Hands", at least in name, to "Manos" The Hands of Fate.
  • Spiritual Successor: It is speculated that Spicy City is this for Frank Millerís Sin City series. There are a few similarities between the two.
  • The Renaissance Age of Animation
  • Unwilling Roboticisation: Viper in "Sex Drive" though she still looks human on the outside.
  • What Could Have Been: When Bakshi saw that Spicy City had mixed reception, he started to plan out episodes for a second season. However, HBO wanted to fire Bakshi's writers and replace them with HBO employees. Needless to say, Bakshi refused and HBO ended up canceling the show altogether, so one can wonder what would have happened if a second season had been approved. We might have received more serious adult animation over comical animation for adults.
  • Working Title: While the show was being developed, it was called Spicy Detective.