Code Monkeys follows the day-to-day events that happen in Gameavision, a videogame company. Dave and Jerry are the main characters and the star programmers. Dave competes with the boss, Mr. Larrity, for being most womanizing, insane, and generally unstoppable character in the series. So yes, for the most part, this is a show about being completely wacked out and crazy. There's a kind of stream of consciousness style that Code Monkeys follows. Episodes start with one idea and then go wildly off on tangents. The show frequently calls up old stereotypes and touches on subjects that are usually a guarantee someone in the audience will be uncomfortable. A pretty good example of this is the character Benny. Benny is a Korean child that the company legally adopted to be its game tester. Mr. Larrity feeds him cigarettes to keep his growth stunted as well as a steady supply of sugar to keep him hyper enough to keep playing. Yeah, you know if this is your kind of show by now.
Sometimes I wished this show would turn more toward the social commentary side and make more of a statement about the era. Code Monkeys appears to be set in the late 1970's to early 80's, though it's not strict with its timeline. So from time to time, you'll hear little time-sensitive references that are good for a quick laugh. Dave mocks the ever amiable Wozniak for getting into home computers, which Dave says will never take off. At an electronics show, there's an iPod predecessor called the cPod that allows you to take 50 cassette tapes with you on the go (resulting in a guy getting crushed under its weight). There are also lots of guest appearances from people in the games' and electronics' industry, but they are generally brought in to show that Gameavision will consistently shoot down the best ideas. In one episode, Lorne Lanning pitches Oddworld to Gameavision. He's promptly electrocuted with a cattle prod and hauled off.
Season One has lots of little extras, including a few simple games from Gameavision. These games are great for showing just what a horrible game company it really is. It meshes with the 80's gaming theme as well, since those of us that were around back then can attest to the horrible shovelware that was produced. You don't know the true meaning of the phrase until you look up the history behind the Atari game E.T., which, by the way, very appropriately makes an appearance in the Code Monkeys series. There are also downloadable backgrounds for your computer. There are also interviews with creator Adam De La Pena, as well as commercials from G4 and other promo material. Overall, it's a pretty well-rounded offering.
I was a little more excited about this series before watching it than I was afterwards. It all sounds great: a show done in 8-bit graphics, a status bar that changes throughout the show, videogame references abound at every corner. After watching the First Season, I'm a bit less enthusiastic. This is a show to be taken in small doses. There are funny bits here and there, but it all becomes a little numbing when it's back to back. And perhaps it doesn't help that the pixelized graphic style is a little emotionally limiting, but Code Monkeys does manage to do pretty well with that restriction. This doesn't have the structure of something like Southpark, but as far as gamers having their own comedy series, this is equally messed up. And that's a good thing. I look forward to seeing the show improve even more in the next season, but for now, there are some horribly inappropriate laughs to be had here.