My Gym Partner's a Monkey
My Gym Partner's a Monkey is a Cartoon Network animated television series that aired from 2005 to 2008.
The series revolves around a human kid named Adam Lyon who gets transferred to a school of anthropomorphic zoo animals because of a clerical error making his last name "Lion". There, he meets up with an anthropomorphic Geoffroy's spider monkey named Jacob P. "Jake" Spidermonkey, who he becomes friends and gym partners with, thus earning the show's title.
- Misleading title: Jake isn't Adam's gym partner in most of the episodes. But it was called "My Classmate is a Monkey" in a few countries such as Mexico (where it was called "Mi compañero de clase es un mono") and Japan (where it was called "クラスメイトはモンキー"). In Spain the show was named "A Monkey in My Classroom" ("Un mono en mi clase") and in France the show was named "Mon copain de classe est un singe (My classmate is a monkey)".
- The show’s premise, as mentioned at the beginning of the theme song, is a nonsensical and indolent idea for a kids' show.
- Barely any originality, as there are several similarities to other shows such as:
- Whatever Happened to Robot Jones?, due to its similar premise where a character enrolls in a school where everyone is a different species.
- Wayside, also due to its similar premise and the main character/protagonist being the buttmonkey; though, it surprisingly can't be a rip-off unless you count the book series that came before, as it was released only a month after the TV movie adaptation was released two years before the actual TV show adaptation, so it was probably in production around the time that the movie was.
- The Ren & Stimpy Show, due to its frequent usage of gross-out, toilet humor, surreality, and gross-out close-up shots and the two main characters being a polar opposite duo, with the goofy dumb one frequently irritating the more rational one.
- Fosters Home for Imaginary Friends, which came out a year before this show, with Adam and Jake being Mac and Bloo, Mac and Adam going to a foster home/middle school for imaginary friends/animals, and having the same feel as one another.
- Johnny Test, which came out the same year as this show, with Adam and Jake being Johnny and Dukey, but the roles are swapped, as the animal is the obnoxious one and the human boy is the rational one unlike in Johnny Test where the human boy is the obnoxious one and the animal is the rational one.
- Overuse of stereotyping, specifically of the nerds and the bullies.
- Lots of nonsensical episodes. For example:
- The episode "The Butt of The Jake" was centered around Jake turning his butt into a face and making it talk. What'd you expect? And later, he inflates his butt with helium and blocks out the Sun.
- In "The A Word", Jake breaks off his friendship with Adam because the latter said the A-word (ape), which is set up to be a slur against monkeys, but then subverted when Jake says he was upset that Adam didn't use the A-word on him, since it's a compliment to monkeys. How confusing is that?
- The episode "Shiny Thing" is the most painfully atrocious because of a few reasons: Jake brings a glass doorknob to school which is against the rules and mesmerizes everyone in the school except for Adam. Jake uses it to control the entire school and they end up studying about "Monkey Butts" (which is considered toilet humor), Adam later states that the glass doorknobs belong to his mother and if they all break, she'll punish him, and in the end, all of the glass doorknobs break when Principal Pixiefrog shouts out Adam's name (referring to him as "Mr. Lyon") for bringing shiny things to school.
- Mean-spirited and sadistic nature mostly targeted toward Adam, the main protagonist.
- Speaking of Adam, almost every episode in this show is an Adam torture scenario, since most of the abuse he suffers is undeserved and mean-spirited, the worst example being "The Hyena and the Mighty".
- Unfunny attempts at humor as all the jokes on offer are nothing but fart jokes, toilet humor, animal puns, and butt jokes, especially in the episode "The Butt of the Jake".
- The theme song, while okay, just repeats the title over and over again like six times and the lyrics don't even make sense. The word "Monkey" is even repeated by Jake during the chorus, which is annoying and obnoxious.
- Some plot holes. For example:
- How has Adam not been eaten by any of the animals yet? As he's very clearly a human, as mentioned a few times by himself in the earlier seasons, including the first episode.
- Why would he get transferred to an animal school just because his last name is similar to the name of an animal (Lyon =/= Lion), couldn't you tell he's not one by his appearance (as mentioned above) and his usage of English?
- In one episode, the school starts serving human food in the cafeteria, but some of the food is made of animals.
- Adam gets flanderized in the fourth season; his venting about his problems and personal life were cranked up to where he can't go a second without yammering about his personal life, and he has also become a narcissist; making him less likable than is Seasons 1-3. Though it at least makes his butt-monkey role more justified (depending on your opinion).
- Jake Spidermonkey is arguably one of the worst (if not the worst) characters in the series, mostly because he constantly abuses Adam for no reason at all, and his voice is grating just like SpongeBob in the fourth through seventh seasons of SpongeBob SquarePants. It didn't help that Jake was voiced by Tom Kenny, who is well known for voicing SpongeBob and other iconic cartoon characters.
- This show is extremely hyperactive and thus can get annoying.
- The idea of a school full of animals is kind of interesting, but doesn't work here since it's too similar to Wayside and Whatever Happened to Robot Jones? and the fact that anthropomorphic animals are a cliche.
- The character designs are great.
- There were some good episodes such as:
- “Animal School Musical”
- “Le Switcheroo"
- “Nice Mouscathe”
- “A Whole Zoo World”
- That Darn Platypus" (depending on your view).
- “A Thanksgiving Carol” (which ended the series on a high note)
- The TV movie, The Big Field Trip, was pretty okay.
- Speaking of the series finale, "A Thanksgiving Carol", it is a surprisingly great, emotional, and heartwarming episode that was a good send-off to the series. Also, it is a great holiday episode about Thanksgiving and has a funny parody of A Christmas Carol.
- The theme song, while repetitive, is pretty catchy. Plus when Jake cuts Adam off assuming that he's going to say "butt" when he intended to say "neck", that was pretty funny.
- The twist endings are superb.
- Adam Lyon, Ingrid, Slips Python, Kerry Anderson, and Lupe Toucan are all likable characters.
- The show did improve a bit in later seasons.
- The voice acting isn't that bad when there is no screaming.
- The animation is great since it was the first Cartoon Network Studios show that was animated by Saerom Animation, which later on animated The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack and Regular Show.
- Somehow, this show is self-aware on how bad it is, especially due to the fourth wall gags seen in episodes like "Animal School Musical", "A Very Special Boy", and "Lonely Lyon" actively responding to the actual criticism the show got online.
- It’s amazing how a show like this handles criticism better than Teen Titans Go! and The Loud House.
- A lot of the stock music cues are awesome (and most of them weren't even used in SpongeBob); from the funky and fresh "Frisco Nights" to the moving pieces "Forgiveness" and "Starting Again".
Episodes with their pages
- This series was originally in Best Shows & Episodes Wiki, However, due to the mixed reviews and the Bad qualities, it was removed from said wiki and moved to this wiki at the end of 2020.
- The aforementioned episode, "The Butt of The Jake", was banned because it was deemed too vulgar and "butt-filled" for younger audiences.
- Another episode, "Amazon Kevin", was banned in Australia in the wake of Steve Irwin's death.
- Despise the flaws, the show was very popular in some countries, like Brazil, and Southeast Asia.
- The creators of this show later went to work on Littlest Pet Shop.
The show was a rating success for Cartoon Network. On the series' Cartoon Network "Fridays" block two-episode premiere at 9:00 and 9:30 P.M. EST, the first episode was seen by 1.2 million and the second by 1.3 million children ages 2–11, according to preliminary data from Nielsen Media Research. The 9:30 P.M. telecast ranked as the #1 telecast on all television, broadcast, and cable, with both boys 6–11 and boys 2–11 in the time. The series went on top of Friday's block ratings, gaining millions of viewers.
The show has a 6/10 on IMDb and had a 6.5/10 on TV.com, and, despite its mixed reviews from the critics (according to Wikipedia), is mainly disliked/criticized for its gross-out/toilet humor, mean-spirited nature, the premise, and unlikable characters.
In his review for the series, Mr. Enter named Jake (who is a character) as the 4th worst cartoon character of the 2000s.
William Barker of Web Wombat gave the King of the Jungle DVD a positive review, awarding it with a score of 70%, saying: "With an original – dare I say unique? – premise, My Gym Partner's a Monkey makes for a somewhat refreshing change from superheroes and mutants, and the cut-out animation style is captivating, though far from novel. It's not the most impressive cartoon show I've ever seen, but it's quite cute and fairly amusing – even for the older primates among us."
Larisa Wiseman of Common Sense Media awarded the series three out of five stars, saying: "It's difficult to tell what age group the show's producers were aiming at – the animation style and slapstick by themselves would seem to appeal mainly to grade-schoolers, while the jokes and life lessons are aimed at the tween set. The sly humor may even give some adults the occasional laugh-out-loud moment. Overall, My Gym Partner's a Monkey is commendable for its effort to include a subtle message in each episode. Younger viewers will probably find Jake's sometimes annoying goofiness amusing, and will find the storylines entertaining."