Gorillaz

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"'Always be wary of people who use quotes.' I don't know who said that."
Murdoc Niccals

Gorillaz is a virtual Trip-Hop band created by Damon Albarn of the alternative band Blur and Tank Girl creator Jamie Hewlett, who are the only two constant contributors to the project. The band itself is made up of four fictional characters, 2D/ Stuart Pot (speaking voice Nelson de Freitas; singing voice Damon himself), Murdoc Niccals (Phil Cornwell), Russel Hobbs (Remi Kabaka) and Noodle (speaking voice Haruka Kuroda; singing voice on the first album by Miho Hatori and Tina Weymouth). The real people behind Gorillaz stay behind the scenes, and the characters appear to be the real band, acting in music videos and giving interviews. The virtual band was created as a commentary on MTV; on how there is often more of an emphasis on the musician than the music itself. So in creating a detailed fictional backstory and putting so much emphasis on the cartoons, they are proving their point.

The band is essentially a Trip-Hop band, but their music also combines other genres such as Alternative Rock, Hip Hop, Reggae, Electronic Music, Punk Rock and Pop. Some of their more well known songs include "Clint Eastwood," "19/2000,", "Feel Good Inc.", "Dare" and "Stylo".

So far, the band has released three albums: 2001's Gorillaz, 2005's Demon Days and 2010's Plastic Beach, along with the B-sides of "Gorillaz" and "Demon Days", named "G-Sides" and "D-Sides" respectively. A fourth album, The Fall, was released on Christmas Day 2010, and can be streamed for free here. The story of Gorillaz was largely pieced together from interviews and promo materials until it was brought together in their biography, Rise of the Ogre. So now that we've got their story straight, we can begin to rip it apart for tropes.

As the most successful virtual band, they have a lot of awesome music. See their Awesome Music Page here. The Gorillaz have become the most recognizable and well known Trip-Hop group, all without ever existing.

An interview with Damon Albarn in April 2012 states that he and Jamie Hewlett are done with the project. Only time will tell if this will stick for once.

Now with a Character Sheet!


Gorillaz provides examples of the following tropes:
  • Abandoned Area: Both Plastic Beach and Kong Studios, while it was still standing, that is.
  • Abusive Parents: According to the backstory, Murdoc's father forced him to participate in embarrassing talent contests for money.
  • Adventure Game: Plastic Beach is the Gorillaz version of this, but it is worth noting that the DVDs and pretty much everything else digitally released by them works with this same notion in mind.
  • Affectionate Parody
    • The cover art to Demon Days is very similar to the cover of Let It Be by The Beatles.
    • The opening to "Rock The House" is clearly a spoof of the famous trike scene in The Shining, complete with Creepy Twins.
  • All Part of the Show: Nobody noticed that the helicopters in "El Mañana" were genuinely trying to kill Noodle until after the filming was finished.
  • All There in the Manual: Rise of the Ogre reveals a lot of information on the character's antics and history.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: The band came back for Phase 2, only to find Kong overrun with zombies.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: Depending on the picture, Murdoc's skin is either sort-of-normal olive tone or very obviously green. The change is explained in Rise of the Ogre as being the result of tanning.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Preteen Noodle caused a bit of Viewer Gender Confusion on occasion.
  • Amusing Injuries: 2D sustains quite a few, although it can also creep into Fridge Horror when you realize that he doesn't recover like the typical cartoon character, and in fact has developed an addiction to painkillers as a result.
  • Animated Music Video: Logical Extreme; every single music video is animated due to the nature of the band.
  • Arc Number: 23 (2D's birthday, his tattoo, Noodle's obsession with it, her number in the Super Soldier project, ect).
  • Art Evolution: The art has become more complex and is now occasionally in 3D on a live action background. To really drive this home, compare what 2D looked like back in Phase One to what he looks like today.
  • Art Major Biology: Apparently, in the Gorillaz universe, brain damage turns your hair blue. Possibly crosses over with It Runs on Nonsensoleum.
  • Ascended Extra: Noodle
  • Ascended Fanon: Wikpedia's article on the song "El Mañana" noted that the helicopters in the video didn't match the ones from "Feel Good, Inc.", and proposed an explanation for it. This article was quoted in Rise of the Ogre, with Murdoc replying, "Er... yeah. That sounds about right."
  • Aside Glance: Bruce Willis in the "Stylo" music video looks right into the camera twice.
  • Ax Crazy: Cyborg Noodle seems to enjoy combat an awful lot for a robot.
  • Bare Your Midriff
    • 14-year-old Noodle (The real one, that is...) on several occasions, most notably during the "DARE" video.
    • Faux!Noodle does it, too, in "02 Priority Walk".
  • Beauty, Brains, and Brawn: 2D, Murdoc, and Russel, respectively.
    • Noodle is pretty much all three -- especially Beauty and Brawn in the recent videos.
  • Berserk Button
    • Murdoc's older brother Hannibal's berserk button was apparently Murdoc using his (Hannibal's) record player without permission, as this was what earned Murdoc the second and third fractures of his nose.
    • Don't mention the Paula incident to 2D.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Throughout phase 3, we've seen the 2D is less cheerful and carefree when he isn't high on pain killers. In the iTunes session interview, he actually physically attacked Murdoc when he brought up the Paula Cracker incident, which he would have never done previously.
  • Big Bad: The Boogieman was this in Phase 3. Whether or not that's changed as of DoYaThing is unknown.
  • Bilingual Bonus: When Noodle joined the band, she almost only spoke Japanese. Some of the lyrics of "Left Hand Suzuki Method" are in Japanese. Lastly, "Latin Simone" has Spanish lyrics, provided by Buena Vista Social Club alumni Ibrahim Ferrer.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The story ends in DoYaThing with the band back together in London, sharing a house and seeming at peace with each other (well, save for Murdoc and 2D, of course) but Cyborg is dead, Russel is still giant, and they're facing eviction once more.
  • Blinding Bangs: Teenage Noodle
  • Brainless Beauty: Invoked purposefully with 2D, who is meant to be the archetypal stupid, pretty frontman.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: 2D once introduced himself on a radio interview by saying "Hi, my name's 2D, and I'm the singer, and I play the piano, and I need the toilet..." and Murdoc chose the middle of another interview as an appropriate time to claim that he lost his virginity at age nine.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Murdoc shrugged off potential murder charges after using the island crash in "El Mañana" to kill his stalker on the grounds that "I'm a cartoon, mate. You'd have a hard time pinning anything on me. I don't even have fingerprints."
  • British Accents: Murdoc and 2D both have Cockney accents, with 2D's being a more classic example and Murdoc's being a mix between Cockney and the Midlands, reflecting the actual accents of their voice actors, Nelson de Freitas and Phil Cornwell.
  • Calling Your Attacks: The video-game Noodle in the short Gorillabitez cartoon, "The Game of Death".
  • Character Blog
    • Murdoc Niccals has his own Twitter page.
    • From June 2010 onwards each member of the band (including both the real and the cyborg Noodle) has his/her own twitter page.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: At the start, Gorillaz was more lighthearted; it had the funny Gorillabitez cartoons, 2D was far happier, Russel still had Del and the band generally seemed to be more at peace with each other. Then came Phase 2, which had Del taken away from Russel and El Manana's video in which Noodle was apparently KILLED. The following Phase 3 took things down an even darker route, having Murdoc make a pretty sinister robot version of Noodle and push the formerly cheerful 2D to the edge of his sanity by kidnapping him and treating him in the way that only a Complete Monster would.
  • Comically Missing the Point: 2D really doesn't get Sudoku.
  • Comically Small Bribe: The prize for the humiliating talent contest Murdoc's father made him perform in as a child was "£2.50 and the chance to humiliate yourself further in the biannual county finals".
  • Concept Album: More like a concept band. That being said, Plastic Beach is probably the most clear-cut example of a concept album in their discography.
  • Conspicuous CG
  • Continuity Nod
    • Oddly enough, on Plastic Beach, 2D makes a reference to the organ-transplant game from Phase 2's site.
    • Robo-Noodle has the same hand-in-a-fist logo on her shirt in "On Melancholy Hill" (and, presumably, "Stylo" as well) that Real!Noodle had on her shirt/dress back during Phase 1.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: Murdoc's sentence for running over 2D and putting him in a coma involved having to look after him.
  • Cool Car
  • Cool Mask
    • The real Noodle now has one.
    • 2D does, too, in "Stylo" and "On Melancholy Hill".
  • Crapsack World: This is a world in which someone like Murdoc Niccals was trusted with the life of a coma patient. 'Nuff said.
  • Creepy Child
    • Young Murdoc was described by an old schoolmate as "a creepy little runt", and he does look pretty darn sinister in the artwork.
    • Okay, not technically a child, but cyborg Noodle in Phase 3 is damn creepy.
  • Cute Bruiser: Noodle
  • Cute Mute: Noodle, at first. Though, she could speak -- but none of the other band members knew Japanese.
  • A Day in the Limelight
    • "DARE" and "El Mañana" feature Noodle, and Noodle only. The other three made only cameos; Murdoc was the only one with lines and spoke less than a sentence. Though, it should be noted the other Gorillaz are seen WTFing in the "DARE" video at the music going on above. Noodle says in this interview that the reason all the other members are WTFing during the video is because she didn't warn any of them that she was going to record the clip. As well as All Just a Dream of Murdoc having a nightmare of sleeping with Shaun Ryder who had the nightmare of "DARE".
    • Also "Rock The House", which included the band members but was focused on and sung completely by Del.
    • Music-wise, Demon Days was almost entirely composed by Noodle and The Fall is essentially a 2D solo album.
  • The Dead Can Dance: The "Clint Eastwood" video features the band (or possibly just Murdoc) being attacked by Thriller-dancing zombie apes.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Weirdly enough, 2D during the Phase 3 iTunes Sessions.
  • Deal with the Devil: By Murdoc, the cause of the band's success. Recent backstory, and the flashback in "Rhinestone Eyes", imply that he made said deal with the Boogieman.
  • Death Glare: In the Plastic Beach online game, seeing Murdoc's, erm, happy face isn't exactly worth what it took to rescue him....
  • Demonic Possession
  • Depraved Bisexual: Not outright stated, but heavily and repeatedly implied in Murdoc's case. There's this gem from the Gorillaz official forums:

Fan: have you picked up a nice boy with a pair of chopsticks yet?
Noodle: That is very funny. Murdoc says that he can pick up boys with chopsticks but he has used his dictaphone. I do not understand this.

  • Determinator: Russell is swimming to Plastic Beach and he is pissed.
  • Diegetic Switch: In the "19-2000" video, 2D switches on the radio and sings along to it.
  • The Ditz
    • 2D. As of Plastic Beach he seems to have gotten a little bit smarter. Smart enough to eloquently express how much he hates Murdoc, anyway. However, it could be that he is actually sober for once. Unless Murdoc is giving him pain meds.
    • Pelican from Plastic Beach is like this even more than 2D, much to Seagull's chagrin.
  • The Dog Bites Back: After years of torment and harassment, 2D finally lashes out at Murdoc in the iTunes interview, which he would have never done before.
  • Donut Mess with a Cop: An incompetent cop shows up in the Stylo video, and naturally he has coffee and a box of donuts. He's even overtaken by the Boogieman while reaching for them.
  • Door Step Baby: Murdoc, and technically Noodle.
  • Dream Within a Dream: The "DARE" video.
  • Dug Too Deep: The Strangefolk in "Fire Coming Out of the Monkey's Head".
  • Dysfunction Junction: Nobody in this band seems to be mentally stable.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: The Superfast Jellyfish logo appears on a billboard in the video for Stylo.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Evangelist sure is... tentacle-y.
  • Elmuh Fudd Syndwome: 2D's got a mild case of this. It goes away completely when he sings, for obvious reasons.
  • Enforced Method Acting: Rise of the Ogre reveals that the band wasn't told about the 300-foot elk at the end of the "19/2000" video so they'd react to it authentically. Also, Noodle did know the island was going to be shot down in "El Mañana", but the stunt helicopters didn't show up; the ones depicted are actually trying to kill her, and everyone thought it was All Part of the Show until too late.
  • Epic Fail: In the short "Game Of Death," Murdoc loses a fighting game... to 2D.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Debatable, but Murdoc seemed genuinely distressed when finding out the real Noodle was under attack by pirates, and he immediately rushed to help her -- it can't be simply for the sake of the album because he still has the cyborg.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: Self-explanatory.
  • Everything Is an Instrument: "We Are Happy Landfill" has, among other things, car horns screeching throughout the track.
  • Evil Laugh: The repeated laughter in "Feel Good Inc."
    • Murdoc does a pretty effective one at the start of the "Clint Eastwood" video.
  • Executive Meddling
    • The video and single release of "Rhinestone Eyes" was pulled and replaced with "Doncamatic". This has led to a lot of people being concerned about how much trust EMI has in the project anymore.
    • Hewlett claimed later that EMI didn't have the money to afford another video, since "Stylo" turned out to cost much more than they expected.
    • These fears are being renewed now that EMI has pulled their funding for the rest of the Plastic Beach arc, resulting in a rushed ending.
  • Eyes Always Shut: Preteen Noodle
  • Eye Scream: 2D's backstory. Ow.
  • Eyes Never Lie: The Happyfolk and Strangefolk in "Fire Coming Out of the Monkey's Head".
  • Fading Into the Next Song
    • All over the place on The Fall.
    • The album versions of "Dirty Harry" and "Feel Good Inc." run together with some seriously creepy laughter.
    • The "Stylo" video leads directly into the "On Melancholy Hill" video.
  • Flowery Insults: Murdoc comes up with a few doozies.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble:
    • Sanguine: 2D
    • Choleric: Murdoc
    • Melancholic: Noodle
    • Phlegmatic: Russel
    • Melancholic Hill?
  • Five-Man Band:
    • The Hero: Technically Murdoc, considering he's the one that drives the plot forward, but perhaps The Anti-Hero is more fitting considering his personality.
    • The Lancer: 2D, due to his friendship with Murdoc and the fact that the two are polar opposites in personality; 2D is dim and sweet-natured, Murdoc is a scarily cunning psychopath.
    • The Big Guy: Cyborg Noodle, being the most Badass in combat but not really ever saying much.
    • The Smart Guy: Russel/ Real Noodle can both fill this role, being the most realistic and level-headed in comparison to the other three.
    • The Chick: Again, this is interchangeable with Russel and Noodle. Russel is who stops Murdoc from bullying 2D a lot of the time and puts him in his place (though has bullied 2D himself occasionally), and Noodle is the one who holds the band together and seems to be the only one that the other three really care about.
  • Foreshadowing: In the video for "Stylo", we see signs for "Superfast Jellyfish" and "Sweepstakes" which are both titles of other singles from the Plastic Beach album.
  • Free Wheel: In the Music Video "19-2000".
  • Freudian Excuse: Murdoc blames his father for the way he turned out.
  • Genre Roulette: Plastic Beach especially.
  • Gentle Giant: Russel. That moniker's more appropriate than ever since he became gigantic ingesting loads of polluted material on his way to Plastic Beach.
  • Giftedly Bad: Originally, Murdoc's singing voice was described as sounding like a strangled crow. He insisted in RoTO that "Technically, my voice is a lot better than 2D's." This, however, suffers from Flip-Flop of God. In RoTO they also say that he sung the song "White Light", while closer to rapping than really singing, which wasn't an awful singing voice, and in his "Session Obsession" interview he sang along with a song and was pretty damn good. That said, Phil Cornwell (the voice of Murdoc) may have forgotten he wasn't supposed to sing well. Or, if you prefer an in-character explanation, maybe he just sounds worse if he's trying too hard.
  • Girl in a Box: Noodle, who was shipped to the other band members in a FedEx crate not long after they placed an ad for a new band member in the NME magazine. Gender-switched in 2D's ident.
  • Girl with Psycho Weapon: Both Noodles have some pretty cool guns.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: "On Melancholy Hill" has two. First when Real Noodle kills one of the pirates pilots we see some blood on the canopy of his plane but nothing else. Secondly, we see the jellyfish blood but we don't see them actually see them going through the propeller of one of the submersibles. Also averted when Cyborg Noodle pukes up a live squid in the same video in close up.
  • Green Eyes: Noodle in the video for "El Mañana".
  • The Grim Reaper: Appears to have it in for Russel, what with directly being involved in the gang shooting which killed Russel's friends and later removing Del's soul from him, for as-yet-unrevealed reasons. Also, judging from Murdoc's tweets regarding the "On Melancholy Hill" events, maybe the Boogieman.
  • Groin Attack
    • In the "Clint Eastwood" video, a zombie ape reaches up from the ground, grabs Murdoc's crotch, and yanks him down. According to him in Rise of the Ogre it hurt rather a lot.
    • The "Rock the House" video -- at least Murdoc got to wear a protective shield for that one. But 2D didn't.
  • Gross Up Close-Up: The first 38 seconds of this clip is just Murdoc staring at the camera, cold sore, oily skin, nose hairs and all.
  • Hartman Hips: Phase 3 Noodle.
  • Haunted Headquarters: Kong Studios
  • The Heart: Noodle. The other three don't care much for each other (though, Russell and 2D get along a bit better with each other than Murdoc) but are willing to put up with each other for her sake.The band pretty much splits up after her apparent death.
  • Heterosexual Life Partners
    • Russel and Del, the spirit who lived inside him. Described by Russ as his "life-long soul-brother".
    • In a much, much more twisted way, 2D and Murdoc could count as well. Though the "heterosexual" part is ambiguous in their case, given the fact that there are quite many implications in their relationship, if the violence is excluded. Especially because it's Murdoc.
  • Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Murdoc and the talent contests.
  • Homoerotic Dream: Murdoc's nightmare in the "DARE" video, in which he wakes up next to Shaun Ryder.
  • Human Mail: Noodle arrived at Kong Studios in a crate once, and traveled back to Japan by mail another time.
  • Humanoid Abomination / Our Demons Are Different: The Boogieman (Sun Moon Stars).
  • I Call It Vera: Murdoc's bass, "El Diablo".
  • Immune to Drugs: Murdoc has been perpetually drunk for several months and is still alive.
  • Instant Home Delivery: Noodle's crate arrived seconds after Murdoc put the phone down after placing an ad for a guitarist.
  • Indecipherable Lyrics: Ten years on and still no one can figure out just what the hell 2D is singing in "Punk".
  • The Invisible Band: Prior to 2006 -- the actual humans behind the music never presented themselves as Gorillaz, and live shows concealed the performers by putting them in silhouette or behind a movie screen. Since the Demon Days Live performance, however, they've essentially dropped The Masquerade.
  • I Shall Taunt You: Preteen Murdoc intentionally provoked a bully into breaking his nose.
  • Is That What They're Calling It Now?: Murdoc claimed he thought Russel was using an Unusual Euphemism when he mentioned he'd been "living in Ike Turner's basement". Russel actually meant it literally.
  • It's All About Me: Many of Murdoc's actions qualify him for this. He constantly refers to Gorillaz as "my band", he claims to own 2D and uses this as his excuse when he kidnaps him and keeps him against his will on Plastic Beach, and he actually wrote and released a song entitled "Murdoc Is God".
  • It Tastes Like Feet: Noodle once claimed in an interview that Murdoc smells "like halitosis on toast".
  • Jerkass: Murdoc
  • Karma Houdini: Murdoc, again.
  • Kavorka Man: Murdoc, if the huge list of women who complained he slept with them and then stole their purses is anything to go by.
  • Kick the Dog
    • Among plenty of other things, Murdoc slaps one of the kids in the "Dirty Harry" video!
    • In the animatics for the "On Melancholy Hill" video, it seemed like taking the manatee was the Boogieman's intention all along. However, in the official video, he goes to leave without the manatee, then seems to reconsider and take the manatee with him just to be cruel!
  • Kids Rock: A school choir sings the refrain of "Dirty Harry": "I need a gun/to keep myself from harm." The kids seen in the "Dirty Harry" video are apparently based on the children from that choir.
  • Knockout Gas: In the short animated idents, 2D is knocked out cold by just a whiff of gas.
  • Lamarck Was Right: 2D wasn't born with his trademark blue hair, but his multiple illegitimate children have somehow inherited it.
  • Last-Note Nightmare
    • "On Melancholy Hill" ends with an eerie bell chime that doesn't even remotely fit with the rest of the song. There's also M1A1, which has this trope in reverse -- up until about 1:40, it's a clip from Day of the Dead that features a man shouting "Hello?! Is anyone there?!" and getting more and more desperate as time goes on... but then the song turns much more upbeat. You could turn M1A1 into a stereotypical Last Note Nightmare by putting it in reverse, but then you have Whole Song Nightmare...
    • "The Speak It Mountains" ends with what sounds like digitally-altered screams of pain.
  • Let's Meet the Meat: The jellyfishes' gormlessly happy expressions in the "Superfast Jellyfish" video give a distinct impression of this. Even more disturbingly, they still appear to be alive and sentient even after being microwaved and therefore appear to have been eaten alive * shudder*
  • Like a Badass Out of Hell: Possibly Noodle, but we don't yet know what really happened to her or whether she even went to Hell in the first place. This being Noodle, though, it's well within the realm of possibility.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Murdoc and Noodle, Noodle being his Morality Pet. Noodle and everyone in the band, really.
  • Literary Agent Hypothesis: Rise of the Ogre maintains that Damon and Jamie are the band's mentor/producer and video director, respectively.
  • Literal Metaphor: In We are the Dury:

Murdoc: I'm speaking metaphorically, D. I'm using the analogy of the chimney flue to describe the, um, passageways of our flowing creativity. The zombies, in this case, are used as a metaphor for blockages to the airways, figuratively speaking.
2D: Really?
Murdoc: No. There really are about six undead carcasses stuck up the studio chimney.

  • Lyrical Dissonance: More than a few.
    • An example would be "Superfast Jellyfish"; it's a happy, bouncy tune while its lyrics are about how we're overfishing till the point there is nothing living left in the sea. It could also be seen as a metaphor for the modern music industry, with people demanding entertainment "just in time for breakfast" and disregarding quality. Depending on how you interpret it, "Superfast Jellyfish" is either an environmentalist ballad or a scathing criticism of pop culture. Either way, it's pretty eerie.
    • "To Binge" seems like a happy, beachy song, but is actually a pretty heartbreaking song about being in love with a drug addict. Once you find this out, listening it is suddenly much more depressing.
  • Mad Scientist: Murdoc put the cyborg Noodle together with some DNA bits that he kept in a jar, robotic parts that he had shipped out to the island and a Noodle wig from eBay.
  • Madness Mantra
    • "Feel Good Inc."
    • Some of the lyrics to "Stylo" qualify as this, considering 2D had been kidnapped by Murdoc and had his life basically uprooted by "this guy who just won't leave him alone". And the whole Noodle thing... that'd send anyone over the edge. And singing it all while he was in the middle of a car chase that could have killed him. "Overload, overload, overload, comin' up to the..." And repeat.
  • Medium Awareness: It seems to vary as to whether the characters are aware that they're cartoons.
    • The puppet version of Murdoc is very much aware of the fact that he's a puppet, and that his voice was recorded by an actor weeks in advance.
  • Medium Blending: The videos, the website and other related artwork fuse together cartoon drawings, CGI and real footage.
  • Mismatched Eyes
    • Murdoc had one black eye and one red eye in Phases 1 and 2, but they now both appear to be black. It's unknown why.
    • 2D also fit this trope while comatose and only one eye was black and fractured, but this was eliminated after the second accident that dented his other eye.
    • And in Phase Three, in the images where she's unmasked, Real Noodle has a variation of this; rather than the irises being different colors, one eye is normal while the other is completely bloodshot and bruised.
  • Missing Mom: Murdoc's mother.
  • Monochromatic Eyes: 2D (actually dents in his head caused by his eight-ball fractured eyes), Russel and Del.
  • Mood Whiplash: When 2D starts singing in "Fire Coming Out of the Monkey's Head", it transitions from a nice fairy tale to a song where people are dying due to greed, though said message ultimately parallels what happens in the fairy tale.
  • Morality Chain / Morality Pet: Noodle to Murdoc, arguably the only thing keeping Muds from lapsing into a Complete Monster. Pretty much confirmed by his rapid moral decline after the events of El Mañana, and the panicked tone of his Twitter posts upon discovering she's alive and in trouble.
  • Morally-Ambiguous Doctorate: Murdoc received a baccalaureate in Anti-Social Anthropology from Sodsworth Comprehensive school in his youth and took an open university course during his stay in Mexico, earning him a degree in "Amateur Administration of Pharmaceutical Medicine" and the title Doctor Niccals -- "legally entitled to experiment on monkeys", apparently. See Mad Scientist above.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Deliberately invoked with 2D. His original bio included the words "Voice like an angel, arse like a satsuma." Murdoc even admits this is why he picked 2D to join the band in Rise of the Ogre. "Girls would go crazy for his looks!" From the iTunes Sessions:

Murdoc: What an image. Tall, pretty, blue, spikey hair...
2D: No eyeballs...

Murdoc: No eyeballs... I knew that he had to be the frontman.

2D: I know there's a rumour going round that my real name is Stuart Tusspot, but that's not true. It's Pot. Stuart Pot.

    • Apparently only half-true; it was "Tusspot" when he was very young, but his father decided he didn't want Stuart to suffer the same teasing he did, so he changed the family name to "Pot" to head it off at the pass somewhat.

David Pot: But deep down both myself and Stu are still Tusspots.

  • Name's the Same: Murdoc's playground nemesis, Tony Chopper.
  • Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: Nothing sounds quite like them; a good approximation of their sound is "alternative hip-hop electronica". There's also a bit of Genre Roulette from song to song.
  • New Sound Album: All of them, really: Gorillaz laid the foundation of the band's sound, Demon Days introduced a darker, more theatrical version of that, Plastic Beach took that and added a tropical vibe (along with over a dozen guest artists), and The Fall...somehow managed to be even more of a departure than the others, going in a completely new direction and incorporating elements of ambient, dubstep, and chillwave.
  • Nice Hat: Look at Russel's fez. Just look at it. Also, check out all the hats on Murdoc's bed in the Plastic Beach.
  • Nice Shoes: Murdoc's famous Cuban-heeled boots.
  • No Export for You: Gorillaz is known to leave off several tracks for each album either as secret bonuses or as incentive to buy additional EPs or special-edition albums. Usually, however, at the end of a phase a corresponding B-side album is released containing these songs. Unfortunately, the supplemental material plays this completely straight.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: 2D's fights with Murdoc usually end up like this, (read: with 2D getting beaten to a pulp.) Particularly ugly in the latest iTunes interviews once chloroform is brought into the picture.
  • No Name Given: Noodle, who was named as such because it was the first thing she said to the other characters when she met them; it was the only English word she knew or could remember at the time.
  • Nonstandard Game Over: In the interactive DVD "Celebrity Take Down", an investigator is given the option of going into different rooms in Kong Studios, once there, he has a limited time to examine, if he stays for to long, an automatic cutscene is activated offhandedly disposing the intruder, It isn't pretty
  • Noodle Incident: Appropriately, Noodle's abduction into Hell, with Murdoc going to rescue her. For now, he's purposefully keeping most of what happened a secret in hopes of a movie deal. We're not even sure now that he actually even went to hell in the first place, he may have been drunk out of his skull. Apparently the current Noodle is a robot made from her DNA, but considering that Murdoc's in a deserted lighthouse with several large crates of rum, we can't be sure if any of it's true. As mentioned rather explicitly below, Murdoc is an Unreliable Narrator at best.
  • Noodle People: 2D and, to a lesser extent, teen Noodle.
  • No One Could Survive That: The ending to the "El Mañana" video.
  • Oh Crap: The reaction of Murdoc, 2-D and Noodle in the "Stylo" video upon the realisation that they are being chased by Bruce Willis. And gets worse when they see the Hand Cannon Bruce has in hand.
  • Old Shame: In Rise of the Ogre the characters reveal that they're very unhappy that they included Rock the House on their debut album, feeling that it doesn't fit their style at all, and are even more unhappy that they chose it for one of Phase 1's singles/videos at the urging of their label.
  • Ominous Multiple Screens
    • Murdoc's lair. On the screens you can see video feed from rooms you've already been in, as well as a broken Vista screen, Murdoc's facebook page, the Matrix, a view of Kong Studios, and a corpse from the bunker.
    • Don't forget the clip for "Feel Good Inc."
  • Only One Name: Noodle
  • Only Sane Man
    • While they're all a bit crazy, Noodle is by far the smartest and most well adjusted member of the group.
    • Russel has his moments too, especially when compared to the other two.
  • Organ Theft: Murdoc had most of his internal organs surgically swapped for 2D's.
  • Overly Long Gag
    • Your travel down the stairs to Murdoc's secret lair in the Plastic Beach online adventure game. It takes a good four to five minutes of unskippable spiral staircase animation to get there the first time through. At least you opt to have an entertaining conversation with Murdoc while you gallivant your way to him.

Murdoc: You can't have a secret lair and pop it right next to the door, can you?... People would hear your secret chair scraping around on your secret floor, now wouldn't they?

Strangely enough, it doesn't take any time at all to make the trip back up... But M.C. Escher apparently designed the stairs, so who knows.
    • There's also the bathroom gag in their MTV cribs, which is almost an entire minute of watching Murdoc pee.
  • Overly Long Tongue: Murdoc
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: "Broken" was the best received of the Plastic Beach demos, but when the album was released the fans gravitated to "Rhinestone Eyes" and "Empire Ants" and the singles chosen were "Stylo", "Superfast Jellyfish", and "On Melancholy Hill". "Broken" doesn't really get a look-in anymore, despite being an improvement on the demo.
  • Papa Wolf: It's easy to imagine Russel being this as far as Noodle is concerned, especially since he's already said that he'd do anything to protect her.
  • Peace and Love Incorporated: "Feel Good Inc."
  • Percussive Maintenance: Dave, the repairman Murdoc has on Plastic Beach, insists on "repairing" the wires in the basement with a frying pan. Justified, as he's not actually trying to fix anything; he just wants to extend the job for as long as possible so he'll keep getting paid.
  • Perfectly Cromulent Word: On the Demon Days song "Fire Coming Out of a Monkey's Head", Dennis Hopper describes the eruption of The Mountain Called Monkey as "a castrophany".
    • Presumably, this is a Portmanteau of "Cacophony" and "Catastrophe"
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Noodle
  • Pet the Dog: Murdoc has his moments. Attempting to save the manatee in the "On Melancholy Hill" video comes to mind, as does the way he apparently panicked and rushed to save the real Noodle, according to his Twitter page. But then he segues into Kick the 2D immediately...
  • The Philosopher: Seagull from Plastic Beach.
  • Police Are Useless: Murdoc isn't exactly subtle about his illegal activities, but he's only suffered legal consequences on two occasions (the ram-raid, and the brothel incident in Mexico), and nobody's managed to rescue 2D yet.
  • Psycho Strings: Used in "O Green World".
  • Punny Name: 2D is so named because of the two dents in his head, but being a cartoon character he is in fact 2D. His real name is Stuart Pot, which he shortened to Stu-Pot. Stu-Pot could also be a pun of stupid, which 2D is.
  • Putting the Band Back Together: Whether they like it or not. Although the band effectively broke up after "El Mañana", Murdoc is so determined to produce the Plastic Beach album that he kidnapped 2-D and built a cyborg replacement for Noodle, made partially from the real Noodle's DNA, for that purpose. Russel, whose whereabouts were until recently unknown, has been replaced by a drum machine.
  • Rap Rock: "Feel Good inc.", and "Clint Eastwood", have rap moments in them.
  • Really Gets Around: Murdoc. 2D at least went through a phase of this as well, going by the fact that he now has ten illegitimate children.
  • Recursive Reality: Though it's not explained further, DARE has the entirety of the video taking place as a nightmare of Shaun Ryder in a nightmare of Murdoc.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Murdoc has one red eye.
  • Retcon: Noodle and Murdoc in Phase 3.
  • Revolving Door Band: This example isn't referring to the animated band; it is referring to the fact that Damon Albarn is the only man to consistently provide the music for Gorillaz. But when the band is fictional and is run behind-the-scenes by real people, this kinda thing is to be expected.
  • Ridiculously-Human Robots: If Murdoc's current statements are accurate, the current version of Noodle's one, since he couldn't retrieve her from hell didn't know where she was.
  • Roger Rabbit Effect: "Feel Up" (restricted by country) and "02 Priority Walk" really highlights how out of proportions the characters are when put next to a live human!
  • Rhythm Typewriter: "We Are Happy Landfill"
  • Sanity Slippage: Quite evident with Murdoc in Phase 3. Just listen to him in these radio hijacks. Though for now, it's hard to tell if he's really cracked or if the rum's just gotten to his head.
  • Scatting: An entire verse in "Slow Country." Murdoc complains about this in Rise of the Ogre:

Murdoc: It was a pretty good song till you started with all that muppets "manamana" crap.
2D: I was just singing along. I didn't know the mic was still on.

  • Sealed Room in the Middle of Nowhere: The room on Plastic Beach where 2D is being held captive.
  • Self-Backing Vocalist: Most noticeable in slower songs like "O Green World," "Empire Ants" and "Revolving Doors."
  • She's All Grown Up: Noodle went from an Ambiguous Gender-ed kid to a very obviously female young adult over the band's run.
  • Shirtless Scene: 2D in the "Dirty Harry" video. Murdoc is seen without a shirt more often than with one.
  • Shout-Out
    • Murdoc openly admits he got the idea of kidnapping 2D from The Prisoner.
    • The zombie-filled video for "Clint Eastwood" has two. 2-D's T-shirt says T Virus and the Gorilla zombies dancing is very reminiscent of Michael Jackson's Thriller.
    • The aesthetic of the video for "Stylo" is clearly influenced by Mad Max.
    • "Talking birds? What is this, a Pixar movie?"
    • A fictional four-part band named after Monkees.
  • Singing Simlish: "Rockit"
  • Singing Voice Dissonance: 2D speaks with a high-pitched cockney accent, but when he sings, sounds like...well, Damon Albarn.
  • Smoking Is Cool: It's a Jamie Hewlett story, what did you expect?
  • Social Services Does Not Exist: Why else would they be allowed to keep Noodle when they found her?
  • Soprano and Gravel: "DARE". "Man Research" is an interesting variation, with both high and low pitched parts being provided by 2D.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Both "El Mañana" and "On Melancholy Hill" have an at least peaceful, if not upbeat melody, both of them have videos where Noodle is attacked with bombs and rockets.
  • Special Guest
    • In the "Stylo" video, it's Bruce Willis!
    • Plastic Beach also has quite a few.
  • Stealth Pun
    • 2D was previously known as Stuart Pot, and spent some time in a coma. Thus, we have a vegetable Stu.
    • There's also the overriding ecological/environmental message in many of their songs. Conclusion? The Gorillaz are tree-huggers.
  • Super Soldier: Noodle
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Murdoc's maintenance man most certainly did NOT murder his ex-wife. Don't call the police.
  • Tastes Like Chicken: Superfast Jellyfish, allegedly.
  • Taxidermy Is Creepy: Russel has taxidermy as a a hobby. Specifically, sewing different animal parts together. Even Murdoc finds the results unsettling.
  • Technology Marches On: At the time, the fact that the first Gorillaz CD gave you access to exclusive content on the band's interactive site was revolutionary. Now, if you play that movie that pops up when you put the disc into your computer all the way through, your browser opens up... to an error message. Indeed the whole "Enhanced CD" fad was pretty much on its last legs around the time of the first Gorillaz album. Compare Demon Days and Plastic Beach which feature no such Autoplay content, but merely references in the booklet to sections of the band's website to find lyrics and other content.
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Noodle was made a bit more feminine for Demon Days, as she ages in real-time and went from ten to fourteen between albums. By Phase 3, both Cyborg and Noodle are much more femininely shaped, and Real!Noodle wears a dress and lipstick.
  • Trash of the Titans: The whole group is infamous for their ability to completely destroy a room within minutes.
  • Trrrilling Rrrs: Murdoc sometimes does this in interviews.
  • Torture Always Works
    • Lord knows how Murdoc forced 2D into singing on the Plastic Beach...
    • When discussing how they convinced Danger Mouse to produce Demon Days, Murdoc says, in a hilarious Nazi voice, "Gorillaz have ways of making you work!"
  • Uncleanliness Is Next to Ungodliness: Murdoc
  • Unfortunate Names: 2D's real name is Stuart Pot (hence his nickname "Stu-Pot"). Apparently the family name was originally Tusspot, but a lifetime of mockery prompted his father to have it legally changed shortly after Stuart's birth.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Murdoc continuously changes his story involving his role in the "El Mañana" conspiracy and the fates of Noodle and Murdoc post-Demon Days, which is just further fuel for the Wild Mass Guessing that he's full of fecal matter on the topic.
  • Up to Eleven: Murdoc once bragged that he took the speakers up to thirteen for a concert.
  • Verbal Tic Name: Noodle was named after the only English word she knew when the guys first met her.
  • Villainous Crossdresser: Murdoc has mentioned disguising himself as a woman a couple of times on his Twitter page, though we have yet to see any pics of same.
  • Villain Protagonist: Murdoc, to an extent. His actions are most certainly not moral and completed exclusively for his profit.
  • Villain Song: "Sweepstakes", if Sun Moon Stars/the Boogieman is as bad as Mos Def's interviews make him out to be.
  • Virtual Celebrity: A Real Life example.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds
    • 2D and Murdoc. Though at least for now, the "best buds" part is probably gone, what with the kidnapping and everything.

2D: [Murdoc] sings like someone treading on a duck. Me vocals is way better, blud! So he just makes me sing. I hate that sod.