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Western Animation / Moonbeam City

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"Moonbeam City. Always a fire burning, always a ghetto blasting. Always... my home."'
Dazzle Novak

A 2015 animated series on Comedy Central detailing the illustrious and ill-advised misadventures of Dazzle Novak (Rob Lowe), an egotistical and easily-distracted detective of the eponymous city's Police Department. He is, however, Moonbeam City's top cop; which partially explains why his beloved metropolis is plagued with rampant crime and corruption. Working alongside (or more often against) Dazzle in his cases are his assistant, junior cop/tech genius Chrysalis Tate (Kate Mara), his police chief (and part-time lover), Pizzaz Miller (Elizabeth Banks), and his envious fellow officer/rival, the childish and clumsy Rad Cunningham (Will Forte).

With an art style inspired by both tech artist Syd Mead and late pop artist Patrick Nagel, a Synth-Pop soundtrack, and an ethos drenched in the nouveau-vice trappings of The '80s, Moonbeam City oozes style (and other, less savory, fluids) in this high-action police comedy-drama gone wonderfully, terribly wrong.

The show was not renewed for a second season, due to low ratings, and was cancelled. It is now one of Comedy Central's shortest lived animated series.


  • A Real Man Is a Killer: A good deal of Moonbeam City's criminal element commit felonies to prove their manhood.
  • Abhorrent Admirer: A male example with Mayor Jaxxon aggressively harassing and bullying Pizzaz into sleeping with him to keep the police department active, much to her disgust and shame.
  • Animesque: The series was partly inspired by City Hunter.
  • A-Team Firing: Dazzle's level of marksmanship alternates between allowing him to shoot off the neck of a champagne bottle in such a way that its contents evenly pour into the surrounding glasses, and making him miss targets that are just a few feet away.
  • Action Girl: Chrysalis. And to a much lesser extent, Pizzaz.
  • Aerith and Bob: An unusual variant: the major recurring characters all have fantastical first names and mundane last names.
    • Subverted by "Rick from Forensics".
    Dazzle: Rick? What kind of name is "Rick"?
  • Alternate History: Several real world social media ads for Moonbeam City set it in 2015 (the year it began airing), but in an alternate timeline where the culture and fashion of the '80s never gave way to the '90s, instead simply evolving and giving rise to technology that we didn't quite have yet in the real 2015.
  • Always Someone Better: The police department in the form of the fire department.
  • Asshole Victim: Dazzle Novak, Pizzaz Miller, and Rad Cunningham.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The ridiculously large revolver Dazzle uses during the Firearms Aptitude Test in Episode 9. That said, it seems to actually be a grenade launcher, which is supposed to be used two-handed.
  • Bad Boss: Pizzaz keeps her underlings in line by threatening them with bodily harm, deportation, and the prospect of being buried alive. She also approves and participates in the physical abuse heaped on the department's interns. The Mayor is worse, fostering newsworthy crisis instead of preventing them, and keeping the police department only because he's sexually extorting Pizzaz to sleep with him.
  • Bad Cop/Incompetent Cop: Dazzle and Rad are both incompetent and psychotic. The fact that they're the number one/two cops of the city speaks of how shitty the Moonbeam City Police Department must be.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: In a report on murder statistics, Dazzle describes how many people are stabbed, shot, fall into a bucket of knives and guns that stab and shoot them and "shabbed" (stabbed with a knife shot out of a gun).
  • Buffy Speak: Dazzle's "serious" monologues ultimately devolve into this in very short order.
  • Butt-Monkey: Rad Cunningham, who has suffered years of largely deserved suffering and abuse by the time the series starts.
  • Canada, Eh?: Rad. Not only do the Cunninghams (who kidnapped him as a toddler) hail from Canada, but his wealthy biological parents do as well.
  • Carpet of Virility: Rad. He is even required to use clippers to shave his body hair down to an acceptable level.
  • Cat Fight: Between Pizzaz and her older sisters in episode 6, though Pizzaz mainly stays out of it beyond slapping Panache.
  • Covert Pervert: The usually prudish Chrysalis doesn't bat an eye at seeing Dazzle naked and agrees that his nudity engorged director's cut of Spokes is superior to the censored televised version.
  • Cowboy Cop: Dazzle and Rad. Though it's less about doing whatever it takes to see justice done and more along the lines of doing whatever they want no matter how illegal it is.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: The core cast is highly eccentric, but quite deadly in the right circumstances.
  • Curse Cut Short: Once Pizzaz promises to be nicer to everyone, she gets to see Dazzle's car disaster in the office, and after that she lets out "You MOTHER-" [Moonbeam City logo appears, producer company logos are shown, credits]
  • Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon: Many of Pizzaz's outlandishly colorful threats are kin to this with the caveat that she's deadly serious about all of them.
  • Da Chief: Pizzaz, in a rare female version of this.
  • Death Glare: Pizzaz frequently uses this on Dazzle to keep control of him, complete with Venetian blinds shadows across her face. In Episode 4, she gives him a glare which causes him to back down and attend the CPR class (mostly), even though he initially refuses on the grounds that it's his birthday.
  • Defector from Decadence: Pizzaz is actually one of five heiresses to the laser mogul that built Moonbeam City. When her abusive sisters' greed squandered their supply of lasers, and the city fell into chaos as a result, she disowned them and became a police officer in an attempt to restore peace and order.note 
  • Development Hell: In-universe example as Dazzle channels Francis Ford Coppola and his Troubled Production of Apocalypse Now during his creation of Spokes.
  • Dirty Cop: By the time episode 7 rolls around, there are at least 700 corrupt cops operating in Moonbeam City including Interrobot.
  • Dirty Coward: Rad Cunningham. This ends up being his downfall in "Lights! Camera! Reenactment!", and he cowers and vomits in fear while the cops are exploring the Moonbeam Maniac's lair in "The Strike Visualizer Strikes Again". The latter leads to this little moment after the killer threatens to destroy the city:
    Pizzaz: What's the plan?
    Rad: Plan?! The plan is to trample anything that moves in our frenzy to get out of the city! I'll push over children. Pizzaz, you take the elderly and infirm.
    Chrysalis and Pizzaz: (in unison) SHUT UP, RAD! ...JINX!
  • Don't Make Me Take My Belt Off!: Or it'll be time for Pizzaz to WAKE THE SNAKE!
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Averted. Pizzaz's four older sisters: Charisma, Sophistica, and Accoutrement Miller, emasculating their husbands and literally castrating them is meant to be seen as wrong, and it's clear Panache was heading this way with Dazzle when she begins ordering him around. Only when Pizzaz angrily intervenes does Dazzle shake off the "Miller Husband" effect and remember who and what he is.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Dazzle, Pizzaz, Rad, and many other characters in the series, as the show's character designs are based upon the art of 80s pop artist, Patrick Nagel.
  • Epic Fail: Rad's tryout for the role of Dazzle in Dazzle's Crimezappers episode. And also what really happened when he tried to stop the mugging.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Ruthlessly exploited by Pizzaz during the seventh episode.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: Chrysalis manages to attract the amorous attentions of the fetching Quasar Daniels. Although it's mostly because she has a cop fetish, gender be damned.
  • Expy: Dazzle can basically be described as Archer only somehow more incompetent, more immature and worse at his job. That said, he doesn't willfully abuse and needle his coworkers anywhere near as frequently as Archer, so there's that. He also looks and dresses like Ryo Saeba.
  • Extreme Omnisexual: Dolphins and Prisons (as in, the structures themselves) are fair game for Dazzle.
  • Family Theme Naming:
    • Pizazz and her sisters Panache, Charisma, Sophistica, and Accoutrement. Besides all not really being people names, they can be said to all be good things to have. The show's five Miller sisters can also be said to be references to the three heiresses of Robert W. Miller, co-founder of fashion monolith Duty-Free Shopper Ltd. and iconic '90s socialites.
    • Dazzle's father is named Razzle. Razzle's father was named Frazzle.
  • Fanservice: All of the Moonbeam City firefighters are shirtless and wear only their bunker pants, including the Chrysalis-esque female member whose bunker pants' suspenders cover her nipples for modesty.
    • Dazzle and Pizzaz in Episode 7, "Cop Con". In their first love scene together, Pizzaz's skirt is used as a Modesty Bedsheet for both her and Dazzle, whereas in their second, her right arm and the shredded window curtain barely cover the absolute minimum on her body. Dazzle is wearing boxer briefs for some inexplicable reason.
  • Fantastic Drug: The designer drug Glitzotrene the police department invents to create a drug epidemic.
  • Fat Bastard: Accoutrement Panorama Miller, one of Pizzaz's four older (and evil) sisters.
  • Fiery Redhead: While she's usually soft-spoken, Chrysalis becomes one of these when the action heats up.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: The pursesnatcher that Dazzle fails to kill in the first episode manages to become the ruling crime lord of the city within a single day. Luckily he's killed by Dazzle's poorly-built stage by the end of the episode.
  • Guyliner: Rad puts on a lot of it.
  • Hard Light: In this universe, lasers are a naturally occurring valuable resource that's drilled for like oil. It's depicted as alternatively splattering harmlessly on people in neon colors or vaporizing some poor laborer that had just tapped a new well. They come in multiple colors and the mundane, recreational uses we have for them in real life are considered decadent and wasteful.
  • Heel Realization: It takes being chained to a radiator and being left to die for Dazzle to fess up to how poorly he's treated Chrysalis as his partner.
  • Henpecked Husband: The men who marry the older Miller sisters are totally emasculated and somewhat fearful of their wives, and as a marriage requirement they have to be castrated.
  • Hidden Depths: Apart from indulging in vice, Dazzle enjoys tinkering in his workshop to create various odd gadgets and knickknacks. He also possesses passionate (if warped) artistic aspirations.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Chrysalis is generally forced to play this to Dazzle.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: How Diablo Malo meets his end.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: All the characters resemble highly stylized versions of their voice actors.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Dazzle considers using live jellyfish an acceptable means of interrogating someone. Then there's the massive, intimidating, and violent Interrobot that was built exclusively for this purpose.
  • Kavorka Man: Being disguised as a janitor doesn't impair Dazzle's ability to charm exotic women.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Rad is frequently a victim of this. In Episode 4 he captures a dolphin to help Howlligan run a dolphin racing business, then threatens the dolphins, saying disobedience means being fed to sharks. At the end of the episode, Rad is trapped in a poorly run Russian aquarium, stuck in his orca suit, and electrocuted by car batteries dropped in the water.
  • Latex Perfection: Some of Dazzle's disguises. Others fall into the Paper-Thin Disguise territory.
  • Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics: One episode has Dazzle giving a long presentation about the occurrence and type of murder that occurs in Moonbeam City. He concludes with the fact that the numbers are incomplete because 90 statisticians get shot every second.
  • Literally Shattered Lives: Pizzaz's father is cryogenically frozen, and during a fight between the Miller sisters his body is knocked to the ground and shattered.
  • Loony Fan:
    • Rad to Vex Mullery of Crimezappers. Upon actually meeting him, Rad asks if he ever got the fan letters he wrote... or the death threats he sent when Vex didn't write back.
    • Dazzle to Von Groff. Even after hearing Von Groff admit not only did he do the killing but also greatly enjoyed it, Dazzle tries to think that the former was possibly innocent.
  • Mad Artist: Von Groff, who killed a lot of people for his bowling cartoon.
  • Malaproper: Dazzle and Rad are extremely guilty of this.
  • Mark of the Supernatural: Mayor Eo Jaxxon's eyes change to a sinister gold.
  • Never My Fault: Panache and the older Miller girls blame Pizzaz for not getting their dad's money, even though they thought it was smart to treat her (their dad's favorite) like garbage before smacking and fighting each other like animals right in front of him.
    Commodore Miller: I said no one gets anything!
    Charisma: No one gets anything?!
    Panache: This is all Pizzaz's fault!
    Pizzaz: MY fault?!
  • Not in Kansas Anymore:
    Dazzle: We're not in Kansas anymore. (beat) This ain't your daddy's Kansas. Anymore. (beat) Kansas, we have a problem.
    Chrysalis: Can you stop?
    Dazzle: Of course I can..."sas".
    Chrysalis: Dammit!
  • Not Helping Your Case: The time the Miller sisters were given to make a case over why one of them deserves the family fortune was spent with them ganging up on Pizzaz and then beating the crap out of each other. Not surprisingly, their father decides none of them gets the money and they then blame Pizzaz for it.
  • Not So Above It All:
    • By the end of the series premiere, Chrysalis gets swept up in prioritizing the success of Dazzle's career as a stage manager over putting a stop to Diablo Malo's drug empire.
    • In the second episode, having expressed concerns about the wisdom of hosting mandatory child-raves complete with ecstasy at the beginning, Chrysalis shows up in the rave at the end clearly stoned out of her mind on some kind of party drug.
  • Not So Harmless: Chrysalis is probably the nicest out of the four main protagonists. That said, her position as Dazzle's partner was largely attained via threatening to blackmail him with a sexual harassment claim and she has no problem with putting a bullet in your head if you're a criminal.
  • One-Hour Work Week: Dazzle appears to have a surprising amount of free time in which to pursue whatever non-law-enforcement-related enterprise he's become interested in in any given episode. The Cop-Con episode reveals that he can afford to do so because he keeps what he confiscates from criminals and suspects.
  • Only Sane Man: The Sanity Ball shifts from Pizzaz to Chrysalis on a regular basis, usually depending on whichever has had it with Dazzle and/or Rad's nonsense.
  • Parental Favoritism: Commodore Miller clearly favors Pizzaz over her four sisters, but he has a very good reason for doing so. Pizzaz is his only child who didn't love him just for his money while Panache and the others ruined the company and the city he founded by wasting the resources. The Commodore even says Pizzaz's the only one who ever made him proud.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: In contrast to Dazzle, who is merely immature, Rad is outright childish and all the more dangerous for it.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: And pastels in general.
  • Really Gets Around: Dazzle so much that when he first meets Chrysalis he's absolutely sure they've already had sex and feels that he needs to be reminded what her name is.
  • Recycled In Space: It's Archer with a neon '80s flair.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Dazzle is the Blue to Rad's Red.
  • Red Right Hand: Bonus points for it being the actual right hand. Accoutrement and Charisma Miller have mutilated their "slapping" arms to give themselves an edge over their sisters. Accoutrement's been putting steroids into her arm, making it huge and muscular compared to the rest of her body, and Charisma replaced her arm with an aerodynamic mechanical blade.
  • Retirony: Exaggerated when Flash Delaney is murdered by the Moonbeam Maniac literally seconds after retiring.
  • Rich Bitch: Panache, Charisma, Sophistica, and Accoutrement Miller. After blowing through Commodore Miller's money and laser resources, they went on to establish fraudulent charitable organizations to try and get into their dad's good graces and get his money. Sophistica Miller runs a "Luncheons for Causes" organization dedicated to raising money for "cause-related luncheons," and Charisma promotes "Gala Awareness," which is awareness for charitable galas.
  • Running Gag: Whenever Pizzaz threatens to fire Dazzle or do something horrible to him, the lighting on her face shifts to mimic the sun through window blinds even when (especially when) that's physically impossible. It's evidently genetic as her sisters can do the same thing, with their own distinct light patterns.
  • Serious Business:
    • Von Graff's "strike visualizations" are treated as serious art.
    • The Miller sisters are all vicious slappers, to the point that one of the sisters took steroids to "enhance her slapping arm", and the other replaced her arm with an "aerodynamic mechanical blade".
  • Shout-Out
    • The entire subplot of Dazzle taking over production of his Crimezappers episode is a blatant reference to Apocalypse Now.
    • The two Slut Burger food truck employees from Episode 6 ("Lasers and Liars") have more than a passing resemblance to Jem and Pizzazz.
  • Sigil Spam: Rad's clothes and possessions are blitzed with the letter R or his name in its entirety.
  • Skewed Priorities: Rarely does Dazzle stay on task. His rival, Rad, also has a tendency to drop whatever he's doing to one-up him.
  • Sleazy Politician: The mayor of Moonbeam City.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Once a year, at Moonbeam PD's weekend-long "Cop Con" event, Dazzle and Pizzaz enjoy multiple rounds of passionate, unrestrained lovemaking in order to satisfy their mutual attraction, affection, and deep-seated desire for each other. The rest of the year they return to their mutually antagonistic bickering, though in Eps 7, 9, and 10, Pizzaz shows clear signs of being in love with Dazzle.
  • Sleeping with the Boss: See "Slap-Slap-Kiss". Also, in Episode 5, Pizzaz is forced to sleep with Mayor Eo Jaxxon to keep the Police department from being absorbed by their much more functional Fire Department.
  • Slut-Shaming: One chunk of the abuse Pizzaz's sisters throw at her is calling her a whore and a slut, and telling her to "cross her legs".
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat: Many a Bond One-Liner is flung during Dazzle and Rad's feud.
  • Sociopathic Hero: Dazzle shows more sympathy to both his fictional identities, and idiotic social gatherings, than he does those of the public he is supposedly sworn to protect.
  • So Proud of You: Commodore Miller to Pizzaz after his frozen body is shattered to pieces by accident.
  • Sound-Effect Bleep: A synth sound is used to bleep out profanity. Originally used for several 'unsavory' expletives, by the seventh episode only the word 'fuck' is bleeped.
  • Start of Darkness: Moonbeam City used to be a splendid habitat built upon Commodore Vector Azimuth Miller's bountiful laser-mining operation; within a single generation, it went from a desolate marshland to an enormous, glittering metropolis. Unfortunately, the Commodore's four older daughters squandered the family fortune on mindless self-indulgence and inane causes. When the lasers ran out, so did most of the jobs, and with such a flimsy social infrastructure preventing more from manifesting, the majority of the population fell into poverty and crime; a spike in civil unrest that the relatively new and understaffed Moonbeam City Police Department was ill-equipped to handle.
  • Strictly Professional Relationship: Chrysalis, to Rad in Episode 10 when he suggests hopefully that the two of them end the day's adventure by making out, 'with tongue'.
    • Though given how kindly she treated him in the previous episode, her distrust (and shutdown) of his sham wedding, and their interaction both at the pool and after she reveals his true heritage, this could be a case of ship tease, or possibly even a future romantic relationship, if the show is given future seasons.
  • Surveillance as the Plot Demands: Crimezappers is capable of pulling up footage recorded in the sewers. This gets lampshaded by Rad and given a Hand Wave as "Sewer Cam" by the host, Vex Mullery.
  • Unholy Matrimony: Figures into Episode 10, "The Wedding of Rad (Lie)", with Pizzaz acting as its "priest", and Chrysalis as its heroic party-crasher.
  • Technicolor Eyes: Pizzaz, although this could be due to the wild neon The '80s color scheme the show has.
  • Theme Naming: Relevant characters in the series aren't actually named with names real people would have. Aside from the main 4, other significant charaters's first names include "Panache", "Vector", "Nocturne", "Quasar", "Quench", and "Talc". Characters seem to be named by Rule of Cool rather than anything more connected to reality.
  • Unknown Rival: The Moonbeam City Fire Department; what's worse is, they actually rescue people while being just as outlandish as the police.
  • The Unpronounceable:
    • Aiaiaia, the beautiful chime-playing mall singer that Dazzle manages in "Mall Hath No Fury". She doesn't even know how to pronounce it, in her homeland the Shah would cut of a woman's elbows if she spoke her own name.
    • The singer Rad finds is this even more so.
    Rad: She's got bigger chimes and an even more unpronounceable name. What is it again, baby?
    Singer: (Screeches like an eagle) [When written later in the episode it's spelled "UAKPASIA9;A"]
  • Verbal Tic: Dazzle has a tendency to go "Okay! Okay! Okay!" when having sex, rather than the more traditional "Oh yeah."
  • Vice City: Moonbeam City. Mostly due to the fact that its greatest law enforcer is a self-absorbed jerk-ass, which implies that his fellow officers are even worse at their jobs than he is.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Though not the villain of the series as much as he is the Rival, Rad has a completely embarrassing and pathetic one when it's revealed his Crimezappers heroism was a total lie. He admits, while sobbing hysterically, that he chickened out trying to stop the robbery, ran away, and fell in the shit-filled sewer. Then he crapped his pants, and accidentally ate some of the shit. And that he liked it. The admission ends with Rad weeping "What's wrong with me?! with his eyeliner streaking down his face. He's later dubbed "Poo-Cop".
  • Will They or Won't They?: Fans speculated this about Dazzle and Pizzaz, who seemed to have pretty clear unresolved, belligerant sexual tension during the first six episodes, and who showed stronger-than-expected loyalty to each other at the end of "Lasers and Liars". Then the next episode, "Cop Con" aired, and we find out that they do. And that they have before. Multiple times. Every year, in fact. Even more surprising, it is actually an annual, weekend-long "tradition" which Dazzle and Pizzaz passionately share.
  • Wretched Hive: Moonbeam City's crime rate is astronomically high: according to a presentation given by Dazzle, over 20,000 people in the city are shot, stabbed, or "shabbed" every 11 seconds. The sixth episode explains that the city was originally a Boom Town thanks to the discovery of underground laser reserves. However, once the wells ran dry, there was no social safety net to prevent the rise in crime.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Chrysalis can't find it in herself to shoot or manhandle a juvenile delinquent. So she has Dazzle do it.
  • Your Makeup Is Running: When Pizzaz or Rad cry, their mascara/eyeliner runs down their face. In Pizzaz's case, it's a single line straight down each cheek. For Rad, it's more of a "melting candle" effect, with multiple streaks flowing away.