Planet of the TV Monkeys: Our Favorite Small-Screen Simians

By Tim Surette

Aug 05, 2011

If you've turned on the television even once in the last few weeks, you damn well know that Friday marks the release of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, a new entry of the classic franchise that set back human-monkey relations for decades. (We're okay with them now, as long as they ride little tricycles.) Since the world will be taken over by apes any day now, we thought we'd list out our favorite TV simians in hopes that they'll spare us and give us a banana. And while we're on the topic of "favorites," you'll notice that Marcel from Friends isn't mentioned here. I hated that poo-flinger.

Evil Monkey, Family Guy

Evil Monkey lives in Chris' closet and... uhhh, grins and does a lot of pointing. Apparently that's enough to get it on this list.

The cast of The Chimp Channel

TBS found comedy gold when it made interstitials featuring monkeys and later made its first original comedy series The Chimp Channel. Fact: Chimps wearing human clothes are funny. Facter: Chimps spoofing movies are always funny.

Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp

Without this weird '70s show, there might never be talking monkeys in commercials.

Bollo from The Mighty Boosh

This gentle giant charms us with a sense of normalcy in a show that's about three solar systems away from normal. Bollo is a talented musician, and DJs at one of London's hottest clubs when he's not at the zoo. And he's a must when you need to pack your bags.

Guenter, Futurama

This little guy was made super smart with a special hat invented by Professor Farnsworth. Even though he really only substantially appeared in one episode ("Mars University") he still makes this list because he put a hat on his butt.

Mojo Jojo, The Powerpuff Girls

The archvillain of the adorable supergirls, Mojo is another super-intelligent simian. Forever jealous that Professor Utonium chose the girls over him, Mojo made it his life's work to take the girls down. But he still shops at the grocery store like you and I.

Cheeta, Tarzan

The goon in the loincloth gets all the credit (and the girls), but we all know it was his chimpanzee sidekick that really did all the hard work.

Bear, B.J. and the Bear

Bear is easily the best truck-driving chimpanzee to appear on primetime television. BJ and the Bear appeared on NBC from 1979 to 1981. But as you can tell from the clip, he wasn't actually that great of an actor.

What TV monkeys make you go bananas?

Follow writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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  • Ankh49 Aug 25, 2011

    Can't believe that you left 'Dial M for Monkey' off this list? If you've seen the Powerpuff girls then you must have heard of Dexter's Labratory?

  • AndrewTomlin1 Aug 24, 2011

    The monkey Runkle accidentally killed is not on here :(


  • gdbirdsong Aug 07, 2011


  • gdbirdsong Aug 07, 2011

    Best performance by a simian in a motion picture.... may I have the envelope please? Clyde, from the Every Which Way but Loose movies!! "Right turn, Clyde."

  • Writerpatrick Aug 07, 2011

    You left out Captain Simian and the Space Monkeys. It made jokes referring to just about every sci-fi movie or show of the time, from things like Invasion of the Body Snatchers to Silent Running.

  • smithinjapan Aug 07, 2011

    Sweet lord-a-poppin'! I had no idea there was a new flick coming out in the franchise. Hope it doesn't follow the George Romero route of getting worse and worse. Awesome news.

  • IbrahimAyinl Aug 06, 2011

    monkey with banana

  • mlauzon Aug 06, 2011

    I don't remember what it was called, but there was a show -- more of a daily short -- back in the '70s & early '80s that showed chimps pretending to be newscasters.

  • NL-Cookie Aug 06, 2011

    Dial M for Monkey?!

  • CoffeeCake225 Aug 06, 2011

    marcel from friends

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