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Code Monkeys: Season One (DVD Review)

3 Aug, 2008 By: Brendan Howard

Code Monkeys

Street 8/5/08
Shout! Factory
$19.99 two-DVD set
Not rated.

“Code Monkeys” would make a great addition to Cartoon Network's Adult Swim lineup alongside odd offerings such as “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” and “Fat Guy Stuck in Internet.” Like those shows, “Code Monkeys” is simultaneously a parody of pop culture and a loving homage to it.

The animated series, which airs on the video-game-focused cable channel G4, follows the adventures of an odd-couple pair of programmers in the 1980s: the tightly wound Jerry and his prank-loving, irresponsible buddy, Dave. Everything is animated to look like a classic 8-bit video game, and the work these programmers do at the fictitious GameAvision looks like Atari 2600 nearly-no-bit graphics: blocks and pixels.

The writers and animators use this unique graphic medium to mock everything from video game flops such as E.T. — The Extra-Terrestrial and hits such as Doom to modern next-gen games such as God of War.

Video game fans will get every reference and thrill at guest appearances by Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak, Doom creator John Romero, and more. But non-video-game fans will at least get all the sex and poop jokes.

“Code Monkeys” does do Adult Swim shows one better by toning down the constant irony and sarcasm and building some sympathy for the fall guys and gals: poor nervous Jerry, the token girl Clare, and the wild Texas tycoon Larrity's stupid son.

As much as creator Adam de la Peña would seem to like to kick everyone around, viewers will grow to love the characters in a way that's impossible on many of Adult Swim's ultra-ironic offerings.

Available as CD-ROM extras on the two-disc set are printable posters, screenshots, and the hilariously bad video games "Hangman" and "2 Card Monte." In an interview and a walk around the office, de la Peña offers tongue-in-cheek answers to fans and an irreverent attitude toward his very irreverent show.

Adult Swim fans note: Dana Snyder, the voice of Master Shake, handles voice work for the most irritating GameAvision employee, Todd.

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