Code Monkeys is an American animated series on the video game-oriented television channel G4. The show was created by Adam de la Peña, the creator of Adult Swim's Minoriteam and Comedy Central's I'm With Busey, and follows the adventures of fictional video game company GameaVision in the early 1980s. The show first aired on July 11, 2007 and so far, two seasons have aired and the show has yet to be renewed for a third season. In September 2008, the show began airing on Teletoon in Canada.
The theme song of the show, appropriately named "Code Monkey," was written by Jonathan Coulton in 2006. The song itself has received excellent reviews. Becoming at least as popular as the show.
In a moment of boredom, while working on the pilot forMinoriteam, Adam de la Peña began writing a script for what would become Code Monkeys. After making a seven minute animation test, he began shopping for a network to broadcast the show. He settled with G4 because he thought they understood the premise of the show the most. G4 allowed him to make a full-length pilot and subsequently picked up the show for 13 episodes and after a successful first season ratings-wise, the show was picked up for a second season.
Several months before Code Monkeys began airing, G4 launched an elaborate advertising campaign for the show in which GameaVision was presented as a real game company. There were two commercial advertisements for the fictitious games "Crosswalk" and "Barfight", the games "Sir Eats-A-Lot" and "Floating Space Rocks" were featured in a "Cheat! G-Spot" segment, and "Barfight" was featured in an episode of Attack of the Show. G4 even created GameaVision's own website, featuring two playable games: "2 Card Monte", which cannot be won; and "Hangman", which contains fewer than 10 words, all of which are meant to insult the player.
Code Monkeys is presented as though it were an 8-bit video game. In keeping with this unique format, characters, backgrounds and other objects are rendered with an 8-bitcolor palette, occasionally leading to trouble animating specific objects. Each episode begins with a screen flashing "PLAYER 1 START!", although at the start of "Psychological Problems", this screen was preceded by a screen that was similar to the multicart loading of a game, which, in this case, resembles the 3-in-1 Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt/World Class Track Meet multigame, and the end of the show closes with a black "GAME OVER" screen, with a "kill screen" appearing after the production company logo in the first season. Before each commercial break, a small pause box typically appears in the middle of the screen which freezes the scene. On the two occasions when Jerry "died", a "Game Over/Continue?" box appears, with the "player" contemplating on selecting "No", but selects "Yes" to continue the episode anyway. Near the end of "Todd Loses His Mind", the episode "crashes" abruptly, forcing the "player" to eject the "game cartridge" to blow dust off its connectors, and the episode is reset to its beginning, thus negating everything that happened in the episode. The show also features status bars at the top and bottom of the frame, which display a running counter of points earned by the characters doing video game-like actions in each episode, a health meter for the current characters, narrative asides based on certain characters' actions or dialogue, and other humorous sayings or pictures based on an episode's story line. The show is entirely computer animated, with the exception of the "game crash" scene in "Todd Loses His Mind", and is done in-house at the G4 studios in Los Angeles. The original music for the show, video game-styled underscore, is composed by Jon and Al Kaplan. Other music prominently featured in the series includes music by Los Angeles heavy metal group Tinhorn. Jonathan Coulton’s song "Code Monkey" serves as the theme song of the show.
- Main article: List of Code Monkeys episodes
The plot of Code Monkeys revolves around the fictitious video game company GameaVision (a play on companies like Activision|ActiVision and ColecoVision) and its eccentric employees, mainly the slacker Dave and his high-strung friend Jerry. The entire series takes place in the city of Sunnyvale, California, one of the major cities that comprises the Silicon Valley. The humor in Code Monkeys is mostly grounded in toilet humor and black comedy, but some of the show's jokes stem from its numerous references to video games, past and present, but mostly those from the 8-bit era, including River City Ransom, Castlevania, Mega Man, Contra, Ikari Warriors, Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!, and [Super Mario Bros. This also extends to cameos from well known video game developers, who appear in the show pitching their ideas to GameaVision for the games that would later make them famous, usually to be rejected, insulted, and sometimes injured or killed off.
- 'Dave (voiced by Adam de la Peña) — Dave is the de facto lead programmer at GameaVision. Mr. Larrity refers to him as the star programmer in "Psychological Problems" Immature, irresponsible, and constantly high on marijuana, he focuses his attention more on playing games than actually making them. Dave often grosses out his co-workers by either throwing up in front of them, having his pants down at inopportune moments, dry humping random people or objects, or performing other lewd acts. A rampant hedonist, the only things that seem to motivate Dave are money, drugs, and sex. Most of the show's and characters' predicaments are caused by Dave's erratic and impulsive actions. Despite all this, Dave has flair to all of his actions and is a competent game programmer.
- Jerry (voiced by Matt Mariska) — Jerry is Dave's best friend, fellow programmer, and office-mate. Unlike Dave, Jerry is hard-working, responsible, and tidy. However, usually under Dave's negative influence, Jerry will succumb to sinful pleasures, often with disastrous outcomes. Jerry's running gags throughout the series deal with his unrequited crush on fellow programmer Mary, who can't stand him, fixing the damage Dave causes, sometimes making the situation worse, wetting himself when nervous or threatened, and his tendency to be quite effete at certain times.
- Mr. Larrity (voiced by Andy Sipes) — Mr. Bob "Big T." Larrity is the current head of GameaVision, a Texas billionaire who bought the company from Steve Wozniak, despite the fact that he knows nothing about video games, only that they're sure to make him rich. In addition to being ignorant, Larrity is violent, manic, bigoted, and possibly insane. He treats his employees with no respect, but still cares about them to some degree, particularly for Dave, Jerry, and Benny.
- Dean (voiced by Andy Sipes) — Dean is Mr. Larrity's extremely muscular, but retarded son. He is appointed by his father as GameaVision's Head Supervisor and occasionally, the company's official corpse disposer. However, Dean rarely interacts with the other employees and doesn't participate in any of the programming. He is likely to utilize uningenious violence to solve problems.
- Todd (voiced by Dana Snyder) — Todd is GameaVision's resident fantasy game designer, an obese, 33-year old nerd who is always seen wearing a horned helmet. Todd often acts and speaks pretentiously, considering himself to be GameaVision's greatest programmer and thus makes him the most despised employee at the company. He is also one of the more mentally unstable characters on the show, sometimes blurring the lines between his Dungeons and Dragons-inspired fantasy and reality, having an unhealthy obsession with "Lettuce Patch" dolls, especially with his personal favorite Tiffany, as well as having an incestuous relationship with his mother.
- Black Steve (voiced by Tony Strickland) — Black Steve is GameaVision's accountant and, as his nickname would imply, he is the only known black man working at the company. He is foul-mouthed and ill-tempered towards white people, animals with white skin or fur, and any inanimate object that is colored white. He relishes the opportunity to use his semi-automatic pistol against anything that angers him. Despite his position, Black Steve has contributed games to the company, mostly themed to his prejudice towards white people.
- Mary (voiced by Gretchen McNeil) — Mary is GameaVision's sole female programmer, and subsequently isn't taken seriously by any of the other sexist employees, with the exception of Jerry, who has a major, although unrequited, crush on her. Compared to her co-workers, Mary is considered to be the most level-headed employee at GameaVision. She is often accused of being a lesbian because of her strong beliefs in feminism. A majority of the games she designs are targeted at girls or revolve around women's issues in some way.
- Clare (voiced by Suzanne Keilly) — Clare is GameaVision'sreceptionist. The antithesis to Mary, Clare has many mannerisms common to the valley girl stereotype. She is airheaded, self-centered, self-conscious, and especially sexually promiscuous, even going as far as taking unconscious men back to her house and partaking in BDSM-related activities. Most of the time, she is treated with scorn and disrespect by the other GameaVision employees.
- Benny (voiced by Dana Snyder) — Benny is a Korean child, illegally adopted by Larrity to test the company's games. He is fed a diet of cigarettes, Pixy Stix, bags of pure sugar, and amphetamines to stunt his growth and keep him game-testing nonstop. As a result, Benny is constantly hyper and usually spends his time roaming through the building's ventilation and plumbing systems, making a side living selling things to employees. No game can be shipped without Benny's approval, which causes the programmers, namely Dave and Jerry, to repeatedly bribe him with, often illegal, treats and toys.
- Clarence (voiced by Lionel Tubbins) — Clarence is GameaVision's audio designer. Flamboyantly gay, he wears sparkly jumpsuits, sings most of his dialogue, and constantly makes blatant references to gay sex. He has also demonstrated the abilities to levitate and pass through walls, using "gay magic" which can be toggled on and off, possibly a play on the "fairy" pejorative of homosexuality. Occasionally, Clarence contributes homosexually-themed games to the company.
The minor characters are people at GameaVision that are physically present at the company, but have yet to have a significant role in the plot.
- Wendy (voiced by Julia Rose) — Wendy is an intern at GameaVision. Dave seems to have a sexual interest in her, introduced in the episode "IPO" and revisited in "Wrassle Mania" and "Drunken Office Party".
- Hank Summers — Hank is Benny's silent bodyguard. He is dressed in military fatigues.
- "The Unknown Employee" — The "Unknown Employee" is a background character that has been featured in every episode, but has yet to have any speaking lines. His name 'Tommy' is spoken once by Howard Scott Warshaw in the episode "Dean In Charge". He is often seen taking pictures, usually when the main characters are being physically hurt or humiliated in some way.
- Todd's Mother — Though never seen nor heard, Todd's mother has been referenced in most episodes. Todd has a relationship with her that for all intents and purposes seems to be incestuous
- Tiffany — Tiffany is Todd's Lettuce Patch doll. Due to Todd's eccentric behavior, she serves as Todd's "girlfriend". Tiffany and Todd get in fights from time to time, even though Todd is her "master".
Notable guest starsEdit
These are people, whether related to video game culture, culture of the 1980s, or to a lesser extent, stoner culture, who either appear as themselves or as other characters. Guest stars either have a cameo appearance, serve a role in the plot of a single episode, or in some cases, both. <!-- Characters should be listed in order of first appearance. -->
- Steve Wozniak — Co-founder of Apple Inc. He appears in "The Woz", "Vegas, Baby!", "Car Robber Sunnyvale", and has a nonspeaking appearance in "Trouble in the Middle East". He was beloved CEO of GameaVision before he sold the company to Mr. Larrity to fund a fictional version of Apple Inc, believing that the personal computer is the wave of the future, although Dave strongly disagrees. In "Car Robber Sunnyvale", he references the "Get a Mac" ad campaign when he compares the superiority of the Apple IIe to an IBM PC.
- Nolan Bushnell — Co-founder of Atari & founder of Chuck E. Cheese's. In "Stonervision", Dave hires him to "work" at Stonervision for a $1,000 a day. Bushnell is later carted off into a moving van when Stonervision bankruptcy|goes under. Chuck E. Cheese's is parodied in "The Great Recession" with a restaurant called "Stink E. Cheese".
- Burnie Burns, Matt Hullum, & Joel Heyman — Employees of Rooster Teeth Productions, famous for the Halo machinima series Red vs. Blue. They appear as prison guards in "Super Prison Breakout". Hullum used his "Sarge" voice for the Red Guard, while Burns and Heyman used their "Church" and "Caboose" voices respectively for the Blue Guards.
- David Jaffe — Game developer famous for Twisted Metal and God of War. He appears as a child in "Just One of the Gamers" and "Valley of the Silicon Dolls". In "Just One of the Gamers", he pitches God of War to Mr. Larrity, but his idea is rejected and is "fired" by Larrity, hiring Mitch, who is actually Mary disguised as a man, instead. In his later appearance, Jaffe and his partner Scott Campbell were hired to develop a teddy bear for GameaVision, but they are later killed by their creation, Jaffe by decapitation and Campbell by electrocution, when Dave and Jerry reprogram the doll.
- Gary Gygax — Co-creator of Dungeons and Dragons. Appearing in "Todd Loses His Mind", Todd, believing that he is his D&DpersonaPardue, forces Gygax to grant him more power in exchange for a "virgin offering", so that he can destroy GameaVision. Gygax knows about Todd and his weird habits when he states "Not again!" when Todd shows up at his house, which looks like a giant 20-sided die.
- Lorne Lanning — Game developer famous for the Oddworld franchise. Appearing in "Third Reich's the Charm", he pitches Oddworld to Mr. Larrity, but his idea is rejected, and he is subsequently electrocuted and thrown in a well by Dean. Somehow after escaping the well, Lanning later joins the staff at Hitler Castle, but he is mauled to death by a bear.
- John Romero — Game developer and co-founder of id Software and ION Storm. He was famous for Wolfenstein 3D,DOOM, and Quake while at id, but he was notorious for Daikatana while at ION Storm. Appearing in "Wrassle Mania", he pitches DOOM to Mr. Larrity unsuccessfully. He is also a womaniser like Dave, wanting to see Mary, Clare, and Wendy wrestle in gelatin.
- Tommy Chong — Actor famous for his stereotypical portrayals of hippie-era stoners. In the 420 episode, he appears as Laird Boony, who searches for the "magic weed" with the GameaVision staff.
- Howard Scott Warshaw — Game developer from Atari famous for Yars' Revenge and Raiders of the Lost Ark but notorious for E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial]]. In Dean in Charge, he was hired by Mr. Larrity to work for GameaVision, but Warshaw would later leave because of Jerry’s obsession with him.
- Ron Gilbert — Game developer from LucasArts famous for Monkey Island,Maniac Mansion, and Graphics BASIC. At the GameaVision office party, Dave insults Graphics BASIC and the fact that Gilbert's leaving GameaVision for LucasArts, to which Dave calls "LucasFarts".
- Eugene Jarvis — Game developer from Williams Electronics famous for Defender and Smash TV. In "Drunken Office Party", Dave insults Defender, because he claims it was too complicated, and Jarvis physically retaliates during the party. When Jerry attempted to apologize for Dave's actions on the day after the party, as Dave had convinced Jerry that it was him who wrecked the party, a still seething Jarvis attacks the duo with enemies from the game.
- Ed Boon — Game developer from Midway Games, famous for the Mortal Kombat franchise. In the episode "The Great Recession", Boon interviews both Dave and Jerry for entry-level jobs at Midway after GameaVision closes. However, when Dave plays hardball, Boon summons Goro by stating the MK infamous "FINISH HIM!!!" line to throw both Dave and Jerry out the window. The show incorrectly spells his name "Ed Boone".
- Steve Wiebe — Former world record holder for Donkey Kong and the protagonist in the 2007 documentary The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters. He appears as a younger version of himself in "The Great Recession", playing games at a restaurant in the Sunnyvale Mall, including a Donkey Kong parody entitled "Monkey Dong". Todd, while working at said restaurant, witnessed Wiebe's prodigious game playing skills and attempted to make Wiebe his protégé, but Wiebe wrote Todd off as a pedophile.
- Brian Posehn — American Actor known for his role as Brian Spukowski on Comedy Central's Sarah Silverman Program who portrayed "Stinkie", a former programmer turned mobile character in "The Great Recession". He was seen beaten and burned to death by teen aged punks in the mall.
- Kevin Pereira & Olivia Munn — Hosts of the G4 program Attack of the Show. They both appear in "The Great Recession" as employees of a Sunnyvale Mall food court stand called "Pink Pretzel". Kevin serves as the stand's chauvinistic manager, while Olivia portrays herself as a naїve 16-year old who has relations with Jerry and insults Mary by calling her "old" when the two GameaVision employees work at the stand.
- Jason Zumwalt — Voice of Roman Bellic from Grand Theft Auto IV in. In "Car Robber Sunnyvale", Zumwalt appears as Boris, an Eastern European voice actor who is paid five dollars for his work in the titular game. However, when the game becomes a huge hit, he attempts to collect his due royalties by forcing Dave and Jerry to do GTA-style "odd jobs".
- Micheal Jackson — Famous singer and maker of the hit single Thriller. Micheal Jackson came to Game-A-Vision in "The Kid Is Mine" to ask Dave to make a game to coincide with Thriller's release. However, Micheal finds his time at Game-A-Vision very hellish, as Larrity mistakes him for his sister La Toya Jackson and tries to woo him, and Clare tries to have sex with him. Micheal gets his face bit off by a tiger, has the spot where his face was covered in bleach, has his arm chopped off by an axe, and set on fire while recuperating in the hospital. Fueled by his traumatic time at Game-A-Vision, Micheal takes Todd's advice of Toddonia by making his own personal land, The Neverland Ranch, wears suits that keep girls and old men off him, and allows only little boys into the Neverland Ranch. Unlike the other guest stars on Code Monkeys, Micheal Jackson's sprites are taken from Micheal Jackson's Moonwalker
Recurring cultural referencesEdit
The show also contains many references to past and present TV shows, video games, movies, music, and historical events. Since this is the basis of much of the show's humor, this list only contains repeated references in the show.
- Atari Inc. — Atari is a central reference on the show since Code Monkeys is set in the early 1980s. All the games that Dave, Jerry, Mary, and Todd present are appropriate to the Atari 2600 console in an audio/visual sense. The E.T. video game is the central theme in the episode of the same name, and the game's creator, Howard Scott Warshaw, guest stars as himself in "Dean in Charge". Atari's co-founder Nolan Bushnell guest stars as himself in the episode "Stonervision", asking Dave and Jerry if they would like to play Atari with him
- The Legend of Zelda — The Legend of Zelda series is referenced in almost every episode. Mr. Larrity's office desk has three items with prices next to them, a reference of the merchant in the original game, and in the episode "The Woz", Wozniak has several masks from Majora's Mask hanging on his wall. He even puts on Majora's Mask while talking to Dave and Jerry. A picture of Majora's Mask is indicated as "Player 1" in the top left corner of the screen in the short time he is talking to them. Also, "The Unknown Employee" has a picture on his shirt that looks like the Master Sword.
- Mario' — The Mario series is a common reference on the show from the use of warp pipes to the characters' jumping animation and sound effect. In the episode "Stonervision", Jerry tries to give Mary a flower, which looks like the Fire Flower power-up, while asking her on a date. In the episode "Psychological Problems", Benny was flashing different colors, similar to Mario or Luigi when they collect the Starman power-up, suggesting he was "invincible" when he took Black Steve's brown M&Ms
- Nintendo — In addition to the aforementioned Zelda and Mario references, Nintendo itself is a common reference on Code Monkeys. GameaVision has a Japanese rival, a Nintendo parody called Protendo; in "The Take Over", Protendo attempts to buy out and liquidate GameaVision, but the GameaVision staff breaks the one-day efficiency record in order to prevent the take over, and in "The Revenge of Matsui", Protendo kidnaps Benny as revenge against GameaVision's actions in the earlier episode. In "Trouble in the Middle East", the ImpalaVision console looks similar to the North American Super Nintendo Entertainment System. The Power Glove and NES Zapper are shown in the window of the video game store in the episode "Car Robber Sunnyvale".
- Mega Man — In "The Woz", Dave and Jerry fight enemies that are from the game while jumping over a spike pit. Also, when Jerry failed to jump over said spikes, his death has a similar animation to Mega Man's death. The death animation also occurred in "IPO" while Jerry was working for a trash collection company to pay off his loan from GameaVision's failed IPO. Also, Needle Manis used as a drill in both "The Woz" and "Larrity's Got Back".
- Final Fantasy — Final Fantasy VII's main protagonist Cloud Strife can be seen as a background character in the episodes "Just One of the Gamers" and "The Revenge of Matsui". In "Third Reich's the Charm", Clarence calls in some cowboys to fight Hitler and his army in a Final Fantasy-esque fight sequence. In "Trouble in the Middle East", the pants-wearing cacti in the fictional country of Khakistan look similar to Cactuars
- Ikari Warriors — In "Super Prison Breakout", Dave and escaped prisoner Hondo embark on a shooting rampage Ikari Warriors-style while Jerry whines about them shooting everyone. This also happens in "Trouble in the Middle East", when Mr. Larrity, Dean, Mary, Black Steve, and Jerry travel to Khakistan to save Dave and Todd.
- Defender — In "Drunken Office Party", creator Eugene Jarvis guest stars on the episode and gets insulted by Dave's assertion that ' is too hard to play. The next day, Jarvis sends the enemies from the game after Dave. In "The Great Recession", the game is referenced by Ed Boon as one of the hit games Midway made.
- Spy Hunter — The show uses Spy Hunter's top-down perspective for car chase sequences, such as when Dave and Jerry attempted to stop a tractor-trailer containing several thousand units of the doomed E.T. video game in the episode of the same name. The game itself is referenced in "The Great Recession" when Ed Boon mentions it as one of Midway's hit games.
- John Hughes and his films — In "Todd Loses His Mind", Todd comes to Shermer High School, the setting of The Breakfast Club, to kidnap Molly Ringwald to complete the first part of his "quest" to destroy GameaVision. In "Dave's Day Off", director John Hughes visits GameaVision for inspiration for his latest film. Hughes shadows Dave for most the episode, and Dave's shenanigans prove to be the inspiration for not one, but several of Hughes' films.
- Grand Theft Auto — The Grand Theft Auto series is the central theme of the main plot in "Car Robber Sunnyvale". In said episode, Dave and Jerry create the titular game, which parodies the [[controversial gameplay of the series, the episode-centric character Boris is based on Roman from GTA IV, Jerry's arm is cut off by Boris, a reference to the character Phil Cassidy, and when Boris sends Dave and Jerry on missions, the view switches from Code Monkey's typical isometric perspective to the top-down perspective found in the early GTA games.
- Trailer Park Boys — The name of the town Gameavision is located in is called Sunnyvale, the same name as the trailer park where "Trailer Park Boys" takes place. In addition, the characters of Julian, Ricky and Bubbles are alluded to in the episode "Car Robber Sunnyvale" when Dave and Jerry visit the Canadians on a mission for Boris.
- Sonic The Hedgehog — Sonic was refrenced when Todd made his game from is inspiration from his hedgehogs he bought.Larrity tried to kill them.
- Doom- Doom was refrenced in "Psychologic Problems" The way Jerry, Dave, Larrity, and Clare's body resembled when they died was the same as the dead marines found throughout the doom games.