Crude humor the likes of South Park condensed into an 8bit pixel world chock full of nods to gaming classics and guest spots from gaming legends.
That’s what G4 promised and that’s what they delivered with their original animated series called Code Monkeys.
Created by comedy writer, Adam de la Peña, it sported crass humor that use the South Park method of targeting everyone and opened up with Jonathan Colton’s “Code Monkey”. Set during the mid 1980’s, the plot focused on game developers and best friends Dave and Jerry as well as their other wacky coworkers and boss at fictional game studio GameaVision during the high of the 8bit gaming era.
The cast would usually get entangled in a major part of gaming history or make fun of some current or past trend.
From GTA to them accidentally making the the disastrous E.T. game. One of my favorites is when they show the GameaVision staff was the inspiration for the majority of John Hughes’ movies.
The main cast was made up of slacker Dave (voiced by Adam de la Peña himself) and the polite and courteous (but prone to cry) Jerry. Representing the unappreciated large amount of women who game was the angry and disrespected Mary. The only black co worker and company accountant Black Steve, who was quick to anger and served as the smartest character on staff. The receptionist full of Daddy issues and immense amounts of kink was Clare. Playing both possibly kidnapped 10 year old Benny and the co worker no one likes Todd was long time fan beloved voice actor of Master Shake from Aqua Teen Hunger force, Dana Snyder. The gay magical and flying music producer Clarence that everyone loves. Boss’s son and idiot frat boy Dean. And finally the boss, quick to shoot Texan Big T Larrity who buys the company from apple Co founder Steve Wozniak in the first episode.
The actual Steve Wozniak…
Yes, the actual Steve Wozniak voiced the character. He wasn’t the only famous person that geeks love who appeared on the show. John Romero the creator of the Doom game series, Steve Wiebe who is the former Donkey Kong world champion and focus of the documentary “King Of Kong”, and Howard Scott Warshaw who made the Atari E.T. game and Yars Revenge are just a few of the stars who appeared.
Code Monkeys was mostly funny and managed to age well when taken as satire of gaming and it’s community. Not sure if that’s a sign that things never change or that the issues of gamers never really evolve.
Gender representation and employee exploitation are just a few that the show subtly hits on though make no mistake that this show sports a gross humor you should expect from a cast where the main creator and voice actors are some of the early talent from Adult Swim.
Some of the joke and nods to pop culture will be lost or found that brand of “really?” Comedy by some people.
Though the ratings from the show’s first season was amazing and the second by all account was just as good the show disappeared. At first put on hiatus with reruns airing regularly, it eventually became clear the show was just gone…
No words of its fate would come for a long time till Adam de la Peña spoke of G4’s lack of commitment to a season 3. If you look around the net now, there are so many different explanations for what happened to the show that G4 was so excited to create. The build up to the show’s first episode was so tremendous and hyped and the reception was so great, it’s still a wonder it was gotten rid of the way it was.
Those who are fans of the show need not worry (too much) though. Adam de la Peña would go on to create two series in the style of Code Monkeys, readily available online on Geek and Sundry. A space series called OUTLANDS, filled with loving jabs at the Sci fi genre.
and Your Dungeon My Dragon, which is filled with the tropes of fantasy games and media.
The Skyrim parody episode is my particularly my favorite.
Though the shows both are short when it comes to its run, it still means Adam is around making us laugh (sometimes when we shouldn’t). Code Monkeys has had it’s first season put on DVD, it’s second season I can not find to be officially ever released. I was lucky enough to have the shows digitally recorded.
Code Monkeys is the type of shows that most nerd shows attempt to be. The nods to gaming and nerd culture was genuine, none felt forced and a lot of it was clever. Code Monkeys had the spirit of a generation behind it.
That was Code Monkeys, next time Cheat!.