O.K., so last week I said that Family Guy has become a crude hollow shell of its past self, padded with nothing but cheap jokes that only appeal to the lowest common denominator. This week, however, I’m gonna try to convince you to love another show for basically the same reasons. Say hello to Code Monkeys, the comedy of 8-bit proportions.
Original Run: 2007-2008
No. Of Episodes: 26
Premise: Code Monkeys follows the exploits of the fictional game company GameaVision during the 1980’s. The main characters are Dave and Jerry, the company’s top game programmers. Dave is a hedonistic slacker who claims he gets his best game ideas when high, while Jerry is hardworking and high-strung. The duo do their best to keep the company a- float after it gets bought by “Big T” Larrity, a rich and possibly crazy Texan who knows nothing about video games.
The first thing you have to know about Code Monkeys is that it takes its moniker as a “comedy of 8-bit proportions” very seriously. Every episode is presented like a classic 8-bit game. The top and bottom of the screen are used to keep track of a character’s health, points, power-ups, and what have you. This used to make off screen jokes, not unlike The Colbert Report’s “The Word” segment. Episodes even start by flashing “PLAYER 1 START!” end with a “GAME OVER” screen, and “PAUSE” between commercial breaks. There are constant in-show references to classic and modern games, even to the point of having an entire episode revolve around the creation of the notorious E.T. Atari game.
Episode plots are extremely ludicrous and cartoony. Some episodes deal with certain aspects of the gaming industry, from corporate takeovers, the Japanese market, and violent videogame controversies. Others deal with topics that sprang up in the 80’s, like the wrestling boom, the Reagan assassination attempt, the Iran Contra Scandal. These episodes usually exaggerate these issues to the extreme. Then there are the REALLY crazy episodes, like the one where the group goes to Hitler castle, defrost Hitler, and then have to have a group of cowboys beat him Final Fantasy style.
Needless to say, the show is not left wanting for offensive material. Just look at the main cast. Calling these characters “eccentric” would be putting it mildly. Besides Dave, Jerry, and Larrity, there is Dean, Larrity’s moronic son and company supervisor who can only count to 4. Black Steve, the company’s accountant who really, really seems to hate white people. Mary, GameaVision’s only female programme,r with equal hatred for every man around her. Claire, the promiscuous secretary. Benny, the illegially adopted Korean son of Mr. Larrity whose sole purpose is to test the company’s games. Todd, the show’s breakout star and resident creepy nerd (voiced by the Aqua Teen Hunger Force’s own Dana Snyder). And finally Clarence, the flamboyantly gay audio designer who can use magic for some reason.
If you’re a gamer, then this show is practically begging you to watch it. The amount of in-jokes and cameos from the likes of Steve Wozniak, Gary Gygax, Dave Jeffe, and many, many more make this a must see for long time gaming aficionados. Anyone else….it depends. If you’re a fan of irreverently offensive humor, then you’ll probably enjoy this. If not, then you probably won’t.