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Old 11-09-2018, 09:10 AM
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Valentein Valentein is offline
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Default You Think I'm a spy? I KNOW you're a spy! - Talking About Spy Groove

So, I watched this one-season, 2000-made cartoon when I was a juvenile cishet allo going through puberty, so I was primarily attracted to the overt sexuality of the show. On a lark, I put on videos to pass the time on a long car trip and was reminded of how surprisingly modern the format is - primarily running on snappy dialogue, banter, and (of the time) pop culture references, this show is very much in the vein of the Venture Bros, Sealab 2021, Harvey Birdman, and - ultimately, and more directly - Archer.

What really stands out is what happens over the ending credits of each episode - the two leads, often accompanied by their superior in their unnamed agency or other characters that appeared in that episode, will just have a casual conversation about something that happened in the episode - usually something completely innocuous, like a very long conversation about one of the agents getting tricked by a villainess' robotic double, and whether that counts as 'kissing a robot' if he was unaware she was a robot. All the characters talk over each other, and the actors stay in-character for a shitty nerd argument over technicalities. It's delightful.

The bad - as part and parcel of a show with overt sexuality doing a farcical rendition of a James Bond spy world, misogynistic tropes abound - and a lot of homophobic subtext. Fortunately, it's not the only source of humour - one of the main schticks of the show is a narrator presenting whatever spy gadget is being used at the time as some sort of designer model, available at named high-end shops. The other comes from pretty much every character being a celebrity pastiche - the two leads are Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, a British archaeologist central to the villain's plan in one episode is obviously Hugh Grant, a Spanish pop star villain is Ricky Martin. Hell, the villain of the first episode is a John Waters pastiche. These characters all appear along straight up cameos of celebrities - my understanding is one of the comedian duo responsible was known for celebrity impressions, but I could be wrong on that.

Finally, the plots of the episodes themselves - they follow spy movie clichés, but there's often some ingenious twist that still pays off the foreshadowing.

For instance: (Spoilered just in case someone doesn't want spoilers on a show old enough to vote)
A villain, obsessed with getting on a celebrity magazine's Top Ten Eligible Bachelor list, invites everyone on that year's list to a party on a high-spped train. Build-up suggests he's going to kill them all: "Eleven bachelors get one, one bachelor gets off."

It's soon revealed that the actual plan is to have specialized robots seduce them using chemicals to put them into a suggestive state, and then manipulate them into marriage - making them no longer bachelors.

The dialogue style and the clever plot twists were absolutely an influence on my creative output, and I personally find the show still fun to watch, if for nostalgia's sake and to identify the pop-culture or celebrity references that went over my head when I was younger.
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2000 , spy groove , teletoon

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