Code Monkeys
R1 - America - Shout! Factory
Review written by and copyright: Jeremiah Chin (21st August 2008).
The Show

Since its merger with Tech TV, G4 TV has moved away from being about video games and technology and instead has pursued the small hipster-nerd demographic and the larger young male dude demographic; essentially becoming a poor-man’s SPIKE TV, annoying in different ways, but equally irritating. Its original programming is fairly sparse and it’s only animated effort “Code Monkeys” (2007) is about par for the course for the network since it suffers from the same problems as their other programming: it thinks it’s a lot cooler or edgy than it really is.

The show follows two friends, Dave (voiced by show creator Adam De La Peña) and Jerry (Matt Mariska) who work for video game company Gameavision in the 1980’s. They go on strange adventures like breaking out of prison and design terrible games, drinking, barfing, going to strip clubs; basically attempting to be “South Park”(1997-Present) centered on post-college screw-ups with jobs. There’s office pranks and fights involving their boss Larrity (Andy Sipes) a Texas billionaire who bought their company from Steve Wozniak, Black Steve (Tony Strickland) Gameavision’s black accountant who has inexplicable rage, and sometimes even Mary (Gretchen McNeil) second wave feminist and game designer who is never given credit and acts as Jerry’s crush.

While the animation style and concept are clever enough, setting an 8-bit animation style in the midst of the 8-bit era of video games, there’s even a life bar at the top and segue title cards between bits. Other than the initial cleverness, it gets fairly gimmicky after a few episodes, though some of the puns that transition segments can be fairly entertaining. The rest of the writing however is incredibly bad, an odd Frankenstein made with the body of 8-bit 80’s nostalgia and an attempted edgy comedy brain which just doesn’t work for me at all. The acting doesn’t rise above the low standard of writing and is overall fairly uninspired. Most of the voice actors sound almost bored with their own characters movements, even when they get excited they more just change the pitch of their voices rather than really emoting anything.

Overall “Code Monkeys” is an example of how bizarre comedy isn’t just something where if it is out-there, weird or off beat, it doesn’t mean it’s actually funny. “Code Monkeys” is a clumsily written show with some little nuggets of comedy hidden in with a lot of, at best, mediocre humor.

Here’s a rundown of the episodes from this series consisting of 13:

- "Wizard of Woz"
- "E.T."
- "Stonervision"
- "Super Prison Breakout"
- "Just One of the Gamers"
- "The Take Over"
- "Larrity’s Got Back"
- "IPO"
- "Todd Loses His Mind"
- "Third Reich’s the Charm"
- "Wrassle Mania"
- "Vegas, Baby!"
- "The Revenge of Matsui"

Video

The show is presented in the standard television 1.33:1 aspect ratio, and the transfer looks exactly as it does on TV. The 8 bit graphics look clean, and because of the way the show is presented the actual action of the show occurs in widescreen in the center, while the rest of the frame is taken up by a video-game style heads up display that makes some of the puns and other visual jokes. Sometimes this just gets more annoying than anything, and again is a clever idea that just turns into a gimmick after a few minutes.

Audio

The sound track of the show is presented in English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound as on TV, and again since the show uses a lot of 8-bit music the quality is pretty clear, the audio quality of the voice acting is also well balanced and the levels are all good, but again the quality of the acting by the actors is sub par for the most part. The 8-bit music is all actually well done and matches the visual style of the show to a T.
There are no optional subtitles available for these episodes.

Extras

Across the two discs there’s a bunch of special features including an interview, featurettes, some fake commercials and some DVD-ROM content among other things.

DISC ONE:

There are two “Original Commercials” which are fake ads for two different games made by Gameavision:

- “Barfight” runs for 31 seconds.
- “Crosswalk” runs for 31 seconds.

“Gaming Tips” featurette runs for 1 minute and 1 seconds which is a joke segment from G4’s TV show “Cheat!” that offers tips and tricks on a couple of Gameavision games.

There’s also some DVD-ROM content where you can access the flash game “2 Card Monty” after putting the DVD in your computer where the player always loses and is insulted, along with 5 wallpapers on the disc which are called “Binary”, “Dave Body”, “Dave Head”, “Jerry body”, “Monkeys” and “Staff” which are available in different resolutions for your background.

There are also some start-up bonus trailers as well for:

- “Sam and Max: Freelance Police: The Complete Animated Series” runs for 1 minute and 5 seconds.
- “ASSSSCAT!” runs for 44 seconds.
- “The Passion of Greg the Bunny: Best of the Film Parodies vol. 2” runs for 1 minute and 43 seconds.

DISC TWO:

The first real live feature is Adam De La Peña interview which runs for 18 minutes and 31 seconds, where show writer, creator, and voice actor De La Peña discusses the show from conception through creation and production but the audio and video quality is pretty severely lacking. De La Peña’s discussion of video games and the reason for the show could be interesting, but he’s trying so hard to be funny it’s frustrating to listen to.

Next is the “A Look Behind the Scenes of Code Monkeys” featurette which runs for 8 minutes and 22 seconds, De La Peña goes through the offices of “Code Monkeys” and introduces a lot of the designers and producers who work on the show and a few who double as voice actors, but there’s still the presence of his attempts at comedy which again make it hard to watch.

The “Daily Pranks” segments is a collection of shorts that are almost deleted scenes of pranks Dave would play on Jerry or the rest of the office. They include:

- “Coffee Break” runs for 26 seconds, Dave makes coffee from his feces.
- “Dave’s all time favorite” runs for 16 seconds, Dave punches Dean.
- “Explosive Turds” runs for 16 seconds, Dave microwave his poo.
- “Soda Machine Humping” runs for 26 seconds, Dave and Jerry hump the soda machine.
- “Simian Skull Crew” runs for 1 minute and 28 seconds, a monkey attacks Claire’s head.
- “Cripple” runs for 31 seconds, Dave’s office is disgusting.

“Gameavision’s ‘Hangman’” is another DVD-ROM flash-based game that has hangman made of dirty words like impotent.

“Downloadable Posters” is the final DVD-ROM feature filled with posters of the fake games or interlude cards that appear in the show which include “Commando”, “E.T.”, “Hondo”, “Sunnyvale map”, “Suspects” and “Tony Dakota.”

Overall

The Show: D Video: A- Audio: B Extras: D Overall: C-

 


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