Cult Cartoon Essentials

Cult Cartoon Essentials: Spicy City

Created by Ralph Bakshi, Spicy City was a one season show that lasted for six episodes in 1997. The show was a science fiction anthology series set in a futuristic Spicy City with each episode introduced by Raven (voiced by Michelle Phillips), a nightclub hostess who also cameoed in each tale. The show worked in some ways like a forerunner to Black Mirror which would come many years later.

The first episode, Love Is a Download, followed a lady, Alice (Mary Mara) seeking to escape from her abusive boyfriend Jake (John Hostetter). She finds true love with Lem (James Kean)  a boxer in a virtual world where she roleplays as a geisha. The boxer though, offline is a washed-up veteran now working as a “virtual investigator.” The lady’s angry boyfriend hires him to find her in the virtual world and delete her avatar. This would either force her to come back to reality or turn her brain-dead, which the boyfriend doesn’t mind at all, since he’s primarily interested in her hot body anyway. Things complicate when the expert realizes that the girl he’s suppose to delete is his beautiful geisha!

Further episodes dealt with a wide variety of issues such as in Mano’s Hands a gangster cuts off a bongo player’s hands, he soon discovers that they have a life of their own; Tears of a Clone saw a detective going in search of a rich man’s daughter, only to return with her clone instead; An Eye for an Eye saw a ruthless female cop named Margo, known for betraying and blackmailing people, gets her comeuppance when she is arrested for killing her partner’s wife. Episode 5, Sex Drive,  A female police detective who’s being mistreated by her co-workers and a cyborg prostitute uncover a plot to suck the intelligence from men with virtual prostitutes.

The final episode, Raven’s Revenge, Raven is hounded by futuristic police forces for being a plague carrier. A mysterious guilt-ridden man offers her his help to get to the bottom of things!

According to the 2008 book “Ups & Downs”. Unfiltered: The Complete Ralph Bakshi, a second season was approved, but the network wanted to fire Bakshi’s writing team and hire professional Los Angeles screenwriters. When Bakshi refused to cooperate with the network, the series was cancelled.

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