Everyone thinks South Park was the first TV-MA-rated cartoon series to be created for American television; they are also wrong.
The first was the forgotten show that is Spicy City, from animation mastermind 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 the stories of the characters that reside in the eponymous city.
After having a major case of creative differences/Executive Meddling with certain projects, HBO contracted Bakshi to develop a cartoon 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 unfortunately proved to not be as popular as its competitor.
Needless to say, Spicy City has developed a cult following. As of 2020, the show still has not received any kind of home video release and it's currently up in the air whether or not the series will be released on HBO Max.
Tropes that have to do with Spicy City:
- Air-Vent Passageway: Nisa crawls through an air vent in pursuit of Virus in "Sex Drive". It's even depicted as gross enough to have roaches scuttling around inside.
- 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.
- Bittersweet Ending: Every ending other than "Tears of a Clone" and "Sex Drive".
- "Love is a Download": Lem gets Alice away from her Bastard Boyfriend, but Jake never gets any comeuppance and starts looking for another girl.
- "Mano's Hands": Stevie finds his rhythm and a new friendship with Mano's surviving hand, but they are now on the run from Big Vinnie.
- "An Eye for an Eye": Ernie finally brings Margo to justice, but during their fight, she kills Ernie's wife.
- "Raven's Revenge": Raven escapes, but the man who saved her life dies in the process.
- Brain Uploading:
- Otaku from "Sex Drive" is a computer genius who has been creating lifelike AI prostitutes, except he's really kidnapping living prostitutes and forcibly turning them into cyborgs.
- The private investigator in "Love is a Download" developed a means to upload one's consciousness onto the internet.
- Corrupt Cop: A few, Margo in "An Eye for an Eye" and the Detective Pair in "Sex Drive."
- Dark-Skinned Blonde: Virus.
- 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-brain dead 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 couldn'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.
- Happily Ever After: "Sex Drive" is the closest any of the stories get to an unambiguously happy ending. Lolita and Viper are now a couple and have new jobs as police officers, Otaku was killed by the prostitutes he kidnapped, and the two Dirty Cops got their "brains screwed out".
- 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".
- Kiss of Death: Happens in the episode "Sex Drive".
- Laser-Guided Karma:
- After being freed, Virus frees all the Prostitutes Otaku kidnapped, and then they all attack and kill him when he returns to his hideout.
- "An Eye For An Eye."Raven: Margo wanted a piece of everybody. Now everybody's got a piece of Margo.
- Little Black Dress: Raven
- Manipulative Bitch: Margo
- Ms. Fanservice: A lot of the women in this show follow this trope, mostly the hostess, Raven.
- Narrator: Raven tells the stories. 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: Virus to Lolita in "Sex Drive". Virus 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.
- Professional Sex Ed: Bruja from "Mano's Hands" helps Stevie track down the hands, but notices that he suffers from a serious lack of confidence, which she fixes. She apparently did the same for Mano, saying that all the music lessons in the world couldn't produce a pair of hands the way she did.
- Shout-Out: "Mano's Hands", at least in name, to Manos: The Hands of Fate.
- Sisterhood Eliminates Creep: The Mad Scientist Otaku abducts sex workers, drains their consciousnesses, reworks them to be obedient, and then sells them as VR sex programs. One, Virus, is turned into a cyborg because Otaku needs someone to run a few errands for him. She gets restored to her old self by rookie cop Nisa and in turn returns all her colleagues' minds to their bodies. Armed to the teeth, they wait for Otaku, who doesn't yet know that he's been thwarted, to come back.
- Spiritual Successor: It is speculated that Spicy City is actually an adaptation for Frank Millers Sin City series. There are a few similarities between the two.
- Unwilling Roboticisation: Virus is forcibly reprogrammed as a Honey Trap in "Sex Drive".