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Western Animation / Code Monkeys

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


In the early 1980s, The Golden Age of Video Games, 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 G4TV'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, sadistic, or some combination. 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, and has recently returned via the new NBCUniversal streaming service Peacock (as the remnants of G4 are now administered by them via NBCU's acquisition by Comcast in 2009). The theme song lives on as the theme song for Film Master Adam's Review show. However, creator Adam de la Pena has dropped a hint about a potential return. In 2022, a Kickstarter campaign for a Spiritual Successor titled Burning Earth was pitched, thought it failed to launch.

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.
  • All for Nothing:
    • In "E.T.", Dave and Jerry managed to stop a truck from shipping the titular awful game. Mary reminded them that the truck was just the first shipment and more was already en route across the United States.
    • The story of "Stonervision" can be summed up below with Dave's lack of foresight.
    • In "Thrid Reich's the Charm", Dave and Mary make a bet to see if Dave's Hitler game is not only approved, but intentionally sells badly, though it was also way to remind their boss of quality control. If Dave succeeds, Mary has to date Jerry. If not, Dave has to shave Larrity's back for a month. After all of the trouble and chaos dealing with a Cease & Desist order from the Nazis themselves, Dave loses because, while his game did sell badly, Larrity quickly put Todd's game on market as well to more than make up for the potential loss. Not to mention they all learn beforehand that Belicovision already made a game similar to Dave's (and a better one at that).
      • Larriy invested a great deal of merchandise for Dave's game but, even after dealing with the injunction, it was all supposedly scrapped when learning what occurred above.
    • "Psychological Problems" has Todd's game project "Cock Goblin" approved and under production, courtesy of Dave. However, everyone who helps him is actually firing rapid jokes innuendos because of the title alone. After being admitted into a psychiatric ward, it takes some shock therapy to finally make him realize he has been tricked. Once his wording of "Cock Goblin" finally sinks in the ending, his reaction of disgust implies that he cancels his dream game.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Clarence is tan, so we're not quite sure what he is, beside, you know, gay.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Todd is stated by his brother to be autistic, and it's evident, but thanks to his mother's abuse and other various issues, that's not the extent of what affects him.
  • 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.
  • Arc Words: Many characters remind the audience that "this is the 80s", showing what is, or is not, possible or acceptable in the series' setting.
  • 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!
  • Bait-and-Switch: In "Third Reich's the Charm", Dave pitches his Hitler-centric game. Mary and Jerry are offended by the concept, and Clare, Clarence, and Todd seem equally so (the pitch is censored). It would later be revealed that the latter three were more offended by the low-quality graphics. Clare seems to be in between since she would rather have a game about spaghetti and unicorns than Hitler punching a kitten.
    • Played with in terms of the end of the first season. Larrity talks about taking their business to the next level, with the screen teasing the title "Super Code Monkeys". The Game-A-Vision crew find themselves at the Killscreen that take place at the end of each episode and, being weirded out, turn back.
  • 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).
    • A sugar and caffeine-high Jerry created E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, thus making him indirectly responsible for the video game crash of 1983. Dave was also responsible as he ditched the advance screening of the movie for a trip to a strip club and completely makes up the movie's plot that same night.
    • Game-A-Vision is responsible for inspiring several John Hughes films after he spends a day shadowing them for story ideas.
  • 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.
    • And in "Third Reich's The Charm", some cowboys burst into Hitler Castle (allowing the Gameavision crew to escape), and defeat Hitler's forces before he shoots himself.
  • 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.
    • 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 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, though it's implied that Claire suffers actual rape in her cell. In the second season there is also a running Double Standard Rape: Female on Male joke about Claire'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; Kansas Instruments is a counterpart to Texas Instruments.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Characters like Dave tend to mock Dean for his stupidity, but it usually results in them getting punched in the face.
  • 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: Claire has an unfortunate tendency to end up in this position. Jerry also tends to be a victim. Todd's storylines mostly center around this in the second season.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: 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.
  • Cool Car: Larrity's Cadillac convertible, "Big Red" — equipped with an Ejector Seat, smokescreen, and bull horns on the front.
  • 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, Dave convinced Jerry to start their own company with the same name with a game they just finished. They flipped the bird and give up their stuff to everyone, expecting an instant hit, but Dave seriously Did Not Think This Through of the risks and consequences, as described below, and they end up returning to Game-A-Vision.
  • 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.
  • Defcon 5: 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.
  • Did Not Think This Through:
    • In "Stonervision", Dave convinces Jerry to leave Game-A-Vision to form their own company with no backup plan in mind. Dave took a loan from a drug lord and soon gets a death threat after their first game tanks hard (mostly thanks to Larrity and Benny's sabotage), landing the company in debt. It took a sting operation against the drug lord to fix this and the two soon returned to Game-A-Vision.
    • In "IPO", the staff receives some stock to hold onto. Black Steve, instead, convinces them to make use of it with a workaround, allowing them all to live their dreams. Dave convinces Jerry to live life via paying strip dancers. Unfortunately, they all leave right before a brokerage representative investigates Game-A-Vision to recommend them to investors. As a result, the stock drops, forcing everyone to return to work and Jerry performing additional jobs to make ends meet. Surprisingly, only Dave makes millions by shorting his stock instead of spending it all on porn like he wanted, though he sacrifices his riches to help Jerry escape debt.
  • 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."
  • Double Entendre: The series is filled with it, but the episode "Psychological Problems" milks this trope throughout because of Todd's "Cock Goblin" project.
  • 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.
  • Eagleland: 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 '80s: The show takes place here during the rise and fall of the video game industry.
  • Expy: The show revolves around video game companies from the 80s. Most of the companies are Bland Name Products from Real Life counterparts.
    • Many other characters are this as well:
  • Evil Versus Evil: 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.
  • 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.
  • Foreshadowing: In "Stonervision", during a scene transition you can see just above Jerry and Dave's game is a game called "Hitler in Hell" from Bellecovision. Then in "Third Reich's the Charm", the cowboys who rescued the Gameavision staff comment on how Dave's game about Hitler was much worse than Bellecovision's game- Mr. Larrity gets pissed off at Dave for that (though one wonders if Dave even knew about that other game).
  • Freaky Is Cool: A psychiatrist in "Psychological Problems" is sent to Game-A-Vision to review if the employees' mental state makes the company in general qualified for insurance. In reality, she wants to find someone outside the "Garden Variety Level" of crazy that could inspire her to make a best selling book. It turns out that Todd fits this description and offers to "insure" Game-A-Vision in exchange for him (though she would rather have them all killed because they were all nuts in their own right).
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: 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.
  • Girl on Girl Is Hot: The lesbian mermaids sighted by the team on their submarine voyage. Zigzagged with Clare, who, despite being someone that Really Gets Around, may or may not find the thought of being with another woman kind of disgusting Depending on the Writer.
  • Gratuitous Ninja: 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!"
  • Hurricane of Euphemisms: Enforced in "The Story of 420", where the cast are forced to list as many euphemisms for marijuana as they can while playing hacky-sack or else be burned alive.
  • Idiosyncratic Wipes: A kind-of example: between scenes there's a short transition animation that ties in with something from the previous scene- ie, in "Stonervision" when Jerry warns Dave not to burn their bridges while they prepare to resign from Game-A-Vision, we then see Dave using a flamethrower to literally burn a bridge.
  • I Minored in Tropology: Black Steve speaks fluent Japanese, as well as conversational Arabic.
  • 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. Dave also finds the idea of a company named after a fruit ridiculous when visiting Woz.
  • 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." Coincidentally, Real Life Japanese company Nintendo would be the one that plays a prominent role in saving the American video game industry from the market crash.
  • Karma Houdini: About half the cast, none of whom suffer in the long term, even if they do get occasional comeuppance.
  • 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.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The Matte of the "game screen" provides some Flavor Text, reacting to the events and dialog taking place in each episode. Nonsense such as Larrity's noodle incidents are often treated with "????? ?????".
  • 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.
  • Mermaid Problem: Discussed briefly when Dave puts a mermaid sex scene easter egg in one of his games. Dave says you do her in her flipper.
  • 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.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: Parodied in "Trouble in the Middle East", when both Dave and the United Nations believe that the theft of the new Impalavision video game consoles will lead to Khakistan being able to target nukes at the US. The theory's wrong though, and the real plot is much smaller: steal the consoles and then make scads of money selling the consoles back to the Americans to bring Khakistan out of recession.
  • 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, made by Dave, about impressing Jodie Foster, culminating in attempting to assassinate President "Ray-gun". Whether or not Dave's game influenced Hinckley into the attempt on President Reagan is rendered moot because he lacked the receipt that proves he had purchased it, thus acquitting Dave.
  • Noodle Incident: Many of them, usually involving Mr. Larrity:
    • In "The Woz", he comments at the end of the episode "That's the second time I've eaten shit this week!", after having unknowingly eaten brownies that Dave had taken a dump in.
    • 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 blood-splattered text "Arbor Day Massacre".
    • "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.
    • In "Valley of the Silicon Dolls" Mary expresses reluctance at assaulting people to get them to buy video games instead of dolls- Larrity threatens to start stocking the lady's room with "Mexican tampons again", at which point Mary goes along.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: 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. Wendy, an intern for the company, usually appears.
  • Oh, My Gods!: An odd variant- Mr. Larrity once "swore to Goat" that the crew would have their jobs the next morning following the 1983 video game crash. Mary noticed
    Mary: Did he just swear to Goat?
  • 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.
  • Potty Failure:
    • Whenever Larrity's father pisses himself, it means there's oil in the vicinity.
    • Jerry has a tendency to piss himself when scared, but sometimes when he's excited to meet someone he looks up to, like Steven Spielberg.
    • Dave loses control of his bladder sometimes while high.
  • Prison Rape: The prison in the series is actually called Rapeville. Clare has suffered this during her time there, though she didn't seem worse for wear by the time they leave.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Todd, an extreme example of a Basement-Dweller who often has difficulty telling fantasy from reality.
  • Punny Name: Belicovision 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 hare-brained plot.
  • Rags to Riches[/Riches to Rags: The Game-A-Vison staff leave the company after borrowing from their IPO stock, using their new money to live their lives, only to return when their lack of foresight leads to the stock dropping (quitting right before a stock broker visited to determine if the company can be recommended). Jerry suffers the most after Dave convinces him to spend his money frivolously, but Dave himself decides to short his stock and made millions, only to sacrifice it to help Jerry out of debt.
  • Really Gets Around: Clare.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Whenever a character gets angry, their eye pixels turn red.
  • Reset Button (Literally: After going (more) insane in the episode "Todd Loses His Mind", Todd seems to have successfully blow 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.)
  • Retail Riot: Over the Lettuce Patch Dolls in "Valley of the Silicon Dolls"- represented as a Big Ball of Violence. Larrity takes most of the staff to the toy store in an effort to get people to buy more games and in turn, restore his fortune- but the staff, including Black Steve, get their asses handed to them.
  • Running Gag:
    • Any time someone utters the word "point", the point counter goes up.
      • The episode "The Story of 420" adds 420 points whenever someone says "420".
    • Some characters point out that there is a regular Christmas and "Jew Christmas".
    • Both the novel and movie adaptation of The Color Purple are referenced a few times.
      • Todd pitches a game idea based on the book, with Steven Spielberg writing down the details. The movie would be made later.
      • Dave lies to Black Steve that Jerry hates it, leading to Black Steve forcing Jerry to watch it.
      • Benny drives away Spielberg from adopting him after expressing dislike for the movie, telling Larrity that he refuses to lie otherwise.
    • Larrity settles his money disputes via "wrasslin'" in "E.T." so he can pay less or get paid more. He wins against Steven Spielberg, but loses against Neil Diamond. He and George Lucas end their match in a draw, though Larrity sucker punches him.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Scapegoat: Dave and, by extension, Jerry are responsible for the "E.T." game debacle and the impact it follows, but Larrity pulls some strings to make sure the blame is shifted to Belicovision.
    • Mary suffers this a lot by Dave in Season 2.
  • 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:
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: For Game-A-Vision as a whole, Bellecovision serves as this.
  • Sociopathic Hero: Most of the cast have some underhanded ways to get the job done.
  • Special Guest
  • 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. Game-A-Vision would have been destroyed by rioters who played the game if Larrity hadn't conspired to shift the blame to Bellecovision .
  • 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.
  • 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. Then again, it ends up being part of Dave's weed dream.
  • 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.
  • Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth: Todd is so boring and creepy that in "Super Prison Breakout", a serial killer hung himself just to get away from Todd, and in "My Pal Jodie", John Hinckley (the guy who shot President Reagan to impress Jodie Foster) keeps trying to get away from him during the trial (to no avail); he even follows him to the mental hospital!
  • Those Two Guys: Dave and Jerry, the show's primary characters.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: In the episode "Third Reich's the Charm", Dave creates a Hitler-centric game in hopes of having it approved then tanked in sales, as part of a bet against Mary. It leads to an encounter with the Nazis themselves and even Adolf Hitler himself awakening from carbonite. According to Larrity, the Nazis were trying to create toys and merchandise to become popular as a way of getting revenge for their defeat in WWII.
    • 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: Black Steve is the sole African-American at Game-A-Vision. Benny is the only Asian (Korean). Everyone else is Caucasian.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: 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: Focuses on the business of video games in an 8-bit visual format. Hilarity Ensues with video game elements.
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: The focus of the episode "Drunken Office Party", where Jerry Took a Level in Jerkass while drunk and must find a way to make amends for his co-workers. It is revealed in the end that Dave was the Jerkass and made Jerry believe he did it, eventually manipulating him into giving up his Hawaii trip.
  • Whole-Plot Reference:
  • With Friends Like These...: Friends they may be, but Dave often finds ways to exploit Jerry's naivety.
  • Video Game Interface Elements: The show is made in an 8-bit video game style, so everything from 70s and 80s video games apply here, from scores to health bars, to an occasional Interface Screw.
  • World of Ham: Yep.
  • You Cloned Hitler!: Adolf Hitler apparently has clones. Larrity keeps one in the freezer as "insurance".