Before television killed the radio star, radio plays were a popular form of entertainment in the US during the 30's and 40's and as such, most revivals are in the detective-noir style. Mechanookie is not one of those. Taking more of an influence from the UK where radio plays on BBC have found a modern audience (Mighty Boosh, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy) Chartkoff developed Mechanookie to be a Science Fiction comedy show.
Mechanookie takes place in 3000 AD in the futuristic city of Magicopolis. Two citizens, a dumpy robot named Mechanor and his famous roommate, The Magician are in love with the same girl, an attractive cyborg named Robot Girl. Robot Girl must choose between the two rivals for her affection all the while protecting her human sidekick, a teenager named School Girl, who is cursed with the possession of an extremely dangerous and desirable secret: The Secret of the Universe.
In 2004 Chartkoff, an animator by trade, was asked by a client to create a pair of 30 second "faux anime" cartoon clips that would become the basis for Mechanookie. After having written a few radio plays while he was a student DJ at Cal Arts in the mid-late 90's, he decided in 2009 to revisit the format with those clips as inspiration. "Mechanookie started off as a parody of Japanese "anime" animation and there are still some elements to that style in the script but I quickly realized that the action scenes common to anime TV shows are difficult to pull off over the radio" explains Chartkoff. Soon after, he and his wife (and band mate) Mary started watching melodrama romance movies and TV shows. "These films (Magnificent Obsession, New Voyager) and shows (Dynasty, Return to Eden) concentrated more on feeling, relationships and personal conflicts than things blowing up and were a lot funnier and more bizarre as well. I figured out that they were a better fit for Mechanookie than anime was. It took me a very long time to learn how to write dialogue that focused on character development instead of action, but after a lot of false starts, Mechanookie moved away from an anime parody to an homage of romantic meledorama".
When it came time to produce music for the play, The Monolators decided that it would be a welcomed change of pace to release new music via a radio play than the usual routine of putting out EP's and LP's so they decided that aside from the normal theme song and background music, they would end each episode with an original song…but sung by one of the characters. The cast of Mechanookie includes many of Chartkoff's college actor friends who starred in his early plays like Toni Senatore and Hugo Armstrong who play School Girl and Mechanor as well as a lot of their friends in the LA music scene, including Heather Haywood (Summer Darling), Melissa Peckham (Hexham Heads), Geoff Geis (Pizza!), Jim Saunders (The Hectors), Tom Bogdon (Shirley Rolls), Jim Merson (Captain Ahab), Pauline Lay (Moses Campbell) and Ema Tuennermann (Ema And Her Lady Parts).