Team America: World Police

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to: navigation, search
Team America image resized 5304.jpg

America! Fuck Yeah!
Comin' again to save the motherfuckin' day, yeah!
America! Fuck Yeah!

Freedom is the only way, yeah!
—Theme song

The guys who made South Park use marionettes to lampoon US foreign policy and the war against terrorism, the action films of Michael Bay, liberal Hollywood actors, and everyone else for that matter.

Gary Johnston is a skilled actor who joins Team America, a group of five counterterrorists whose preferred method involves Stuff Blowing Up. The leader, Spottswoode wants him to go undercover to discover the next terrorist plot, dubbed "9/11 times a thousand" (911,000).

Unbeknownst to our heroes, North Korean Dictator Kim Jong-Il is secretly funding and arming the terrorists. He is also encouraging the Film Actors Guild (led by Alec Baldwin) to shut down Team America and its ultra violent antics.

Notable for using Thunderbirds-style marionettes and miniatures for visuals. The reduced scale allowed different shots and large scenes on the cheap. Its cartoonish qualities also let it turn up the sex and violence because, hey they're puppets!

The script for this film was actually Plan B from Trey and Matt in making a marionette movie -- their first idea was filming The Day After Tomorrow word-for-word with the puppets. The idea was that the script was silly enough, and the movie would only improve if it was being filmed with Supermarionation. Not being able to secure the rights of the The Day After Tomorrow script led to them making a straighter parody of (and homage to) Thunderbirds.


Tropes used in Team America: World Police include:

Spottswoode: Remember, there's no "I" in "Team America".
I.N.T.E.L.L.I.G.E.N.C.E.: Yes, there is!

  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Parodied mercilessly. The "Islamic" terrorists' vocabulary consists of: durka, durk, ha, sherpa, Allah, Muhammad, and jihad. Everyone who doesn't speak American has their vocabulary similarly chopped.
    • The French are pretty much only saying "frere jacque" over and over again, even when running away in fear.
    • The Panamanian people just say "no me gusta" while dying.
  • Attack of the Killer Whatever: Kim's killer deadly panthers! D'aaaaaw.
  • Bad Guy Bar: The terrorist hangout in Cairo, Egypt, complete with the Cantina theme from Star Wars played backwards. A bar patron wears a gas mask that makes him resemble a character in the Cantina scene.
  • Berserk Button: Apparently Kim's roneriness.

Lisa: Having so little faith in humanity must make you a very lonely man.

McDonald's!
(Fuck Yeah!)
Wal*Mart!
(Fuck Yeah!)
Gap!
(Fuck Yeah!)
Baseball!
(Fuck Yeah!)
NFL!
(Fuck Yeah!)
Rock n'Roll!
(Fuck Yeah!)
Internet!
(Fuck Yeah!)
Slavery!
(Fuck Yeah!)

  • British Teeth: Seen on the "BW" (a parody of BBC) newsreader in a deleted scene.
  • Bullet Time: Parodied, it's not the cameras that revolve around the characters, it's the characters that stop in the air and turn around with the room standing still.
  • But Not Too Gay: When Gary performs fellatio on Spottswoode to show his loyalty, the homosexual action is essentially off-camera, with only Spottswoode's face visible; Spottswoode is fully dressed and his only reaction to the BJ is to blink once or twice; there are no sound effects suggestive of oral sex. In contrast, the heterosexual action between Gary and Lisa is stark ravin' nude, loud, physically acrobatic, and crosses into kinky (even more so in the DVD version) -- and all of this is accompanied by a power ballad with lyrics that include: Only a woman / Is allowed to touch me there / All I ask is that you're a woman
    • Or a man...
  • Captain Obvious: Sarah's clairvoyance manifests as this.

(as her aircraft is crashing into the sea) "I sense that I'm going down!"

  • Censor Decoy: The explicit sex scene was thrown in entirely to distract the MPAA from the movie's other offensive elements. It worked perfectly -- the film's original rating with the sex scene was NC-17. The theatrical cut only alters this scene to get the R.
    • When paired with the extremely tame and brief Gary/Spottswoode oral sex scene, the over-the-top Gary/Lisa sex scene may be interpreted as a satiric protest against the But Not Too Gay double-standard.
  • Chekhov's Lecture: Gary's infamous "Dicks, pussies and assholes" speech was first given to him by some random drunk after he quit the team.
  • Cliché Storm: Intentional, and mocked constantly.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: America, Fuck Yeah! is the most notable.
  • Cool Car/Boat/Plane: Team America's "Valmorphanizing" vehicles.
  • Cool Chair: Spotswoode's command chair, the sole function of which appears to be to slide from side to side in the most pointless way possible.
  • Credits Medley
  • Credits Montage: The musical version, including a stinger.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Every member of F.A.G. has quite a gory death.
  • Curse Cut Short: Subverted.

Spottswoode: Jesus tittyfucking- [boom] CHRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIST

  • Cyanide Pill: Mocked. When Gary is being prepped for a mission, they somberly tell him that he might be captured and wish to take his own life. So they give him... a hammer.
  • Dark Reprise: America, Fuck Yeah (Bummer Remix).
  • Dead Baby Comedy: Too Soon for 9/11 or the perfect wakeup call for broken politics? You decide!
  • Destructive Saviour
  • Eagle Land: Essentially, the whole movie's purpose is parodying both flavours of this trope.
  • Ending Fatigue: Invoked in the Vomit Indiscretion Shot scene by having the music climax three times whenever Gary continues vomiting.
  • Evil Plan: Kim Jong-Il is planning "9/11...times two thousand, three hundred, and fifty six!" Yes, he is that cruel.
  • Expy: Kim Jong-Il bears similarities to Eric Cartman, the owner of City Wok, and Saddam Hussein from South Park, though he is not a precise expy of any of them. In fact, he may have more in common with the REAL Kim Jong-Il than any of those characters.
  • Fallen-On-Hard-Times Job: Gary, pride of the dinner-theater circuit.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Kim Jong-Il.
  • First-Name Basis: Apart from Gary Johnston, the rest of the team goes only by their first names. Only Spotswoode is on a Last-Name Basis.
  • Five-Man Band
  • Freudian Excuse: Chris doesn't trust Gary (or actors in general) because when he was a teen he was gang-raped by the cast of Cats.
  • Friendless Background: Kim Jong Il's Freudian Excuse... and Villain Song!
  • Fun with Acronyms: Alec Baldwin loves to remind his fellow Film Actor Guild members they are FAGs. Team America's computer is named I.N.T.E.L.L.I.G.E.N.C.E. so they can remark how they have no I.N.T.E.L.L.I.G.E.N.C.E. when the power goes out. Also, when Spottswoode scolds the computer, saying, "That was bad, I.N.T.E.L.L.I.G.E.N.C.E! Very bad I.N.T.E.L.L.I.G.E.N.C.E!" it references the common belief that America got into the war in Iraq based on bad intelligence reports.
  • Guns Akimbo: Both Gary and Susan Sarandon draw and shoot submachine guns akimbo. Not that Susan hits anyone, though.
    • Gary is actually able to pull this off rather well during his rescue attempt, dispatching several soldiers in short order.
  • Ha Ha Only Serious: See There Are Three Kinds of People in the World below.
  • Hand Wave/Applied Phlebotinum: Parodied with "Valmorphanisation", used to describe seemingly every unlikely technology at the Team's disposal.
  • Hobbes Was Right: What Kim Jong-il believes in.
  • Hypocritical Humor: A deleted scene has Spottswoode, lamenting that the disaster in Panama was a result of his failure to suspect the non-Middle Eastern Kim Jong-Il in the terrorist plot, promising he'll "never be racist again"... immediately after calling Kim a "goddamn gook".
  • If We Get Through This: As a show of apologizing for being a Jerkass towards Gary, Chris offers to buy him a beer after they stop Kim Jong Il's plans.
  • Informed Ability: Lisa is declared to be the team's psychologist. Apart from a single line of psychobabble, she largely sticks to shooting guns.
  • I'm Cold... So Cold...: Carson, Lisa's love interest, who gets killed in Paris, France.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Kim Jong-Il's demise. On the German representative's pickelhaube, no less.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy
  • Irony: The lyrics to America Fuck Yeah in their entirety. If you listen to them casually, they sound very patriotic, but if you actually read the lyrics, they are brutally ripping on every Eagle Land cliche in existence and in truth are actually pretty insulting.
  • Korean Ranguage: Kim Jong-Il talks like this constantly, despite the fact that even his name has an L in it.
    • His real name uses a Korean character that sounds like something in between R and L, and Koreans constantly use one of those sounds in place of the other when speaking English. It's a legitimate mistake on his character's end, the fact that it's Kim Jong Il with an L doesn't add to the humor of his accent.
  • Landmarking the Hidden Base: Team America's headquarters is located inside Mount Rushmore.
    • Subverted in the fact that when a group wants to protest them, they can show up at outside the monument and then inside the hanger.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Sarah's response upon learning that Joe "has feelings for her".

Joe: That's all I ever am! Like a brother!!

Gary: Okay, a flying limo...now I have seen everything.
Spottswoode: Have you ever seen a man eat his own head?

  • "London, England" Syndrome: Whenever they change location, a subtitle points out its distance to America. "Paris: 2,258 miles from America." (It's actually the distance to New York).
    • And then Panama is located "south from the real America".
  • Love Dodecahedron: Carson and Lisa loved each other, but Carson got killed and tells Lisa to find somehow who will love her as much as he did. Gary and Lisa falls for each other, but Sarah falls for Gary and Joe falls for Sarah. And then Gary has to perform oral sex on Spotswoode to get back onto the team.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: The desert Chase Scene.
  • Magic Bullets: Sarah enters the Egyptian bar wielding a gun, and somehow manages to machine-gun every terrorist while leaving all the innocent bystanders intact.
  • Meaningful Name: Although not necessarily gay, Spottswoode evidently has some homoerotic fascination with getting oral sex from another man -- and "spots wood" = "notices an erection."
  • Mega Neko: Kim Jong-Il's panthers are enormous (and also actual domestic cats).
  • Monster Suit: Kim Jong-Il is actually an alien cockroach. Once his plans are ruined, the insect crawls out of Kim Jong-Il's mouth and flies away in a miniature shuttle. A credits-only song gives more background story to this: apparently his planet is also inhabited by alien bees, who the cockroaches are in war with and Kim was sent to Earth to nuke it so that the cockroaches could move there.
  • Monumental Battle: Every action scene.
  • Monumental Damage: The Eiffel Tower falls over and smashes the Arc de Triomphe. Later, the team blows up one of the Pyramids, the Valley of the Kings tomb, and the Sphinx. Still later, Michael Moore blows up Mount Rushmore.
  • More Dakka: Almost every gun fired anywhere in the movie is a fully automatic, with only few exceptions.
    • As a rather odd case, a terrorist in the Cairo Bad Guy Bar is shown firing an SKS carbine fully-automatic.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Gary's acting killed his brother, and then caused the death of millions.
  • Name Order Confusion: Hans Blix calls Kim Jong-Il "Mr. Il". It should be "Mr. Kim".
  • Oh Crap: Or "Jesus Titty-Fucking CHRIIIIIIIIST!
  • One-Woman Wail: During the scene after the dam bursts and everyone drowns.
  • Overly Long Gag: The vomit, and the original cut of the sex scene.
  • Parody: The play "LEASE" with its theme song "Everyone has AIDS" is a parody of Rent.
  • Patriotic Fervor
  • Phony Phony Psychic: Sarah. Throughout the film she makes simple, obvious assumptions in a Pstandard Psychic Pstance. At the climax, despite Joe admitting that the team was just humoring her claims of psychic abilities, she uses a genuine Jedi Mind Trick to turn Kim Jong Il's "deadly panthers" on their captors. And it is awesome.
  • Pokémon-Speak: MATT DAMON!
  • The Power of Acting: Why Gary got hired. Turns out that when he's confident enough, he can pull off Jedi Mind Tricks, defend others from the same, and pull them on several hundred people at a time.
  • The Power of Trust
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Played for laughs with Kim Jong-Il, where a good chunk of his appearances have him throwing tantrums for one reason or another.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: The first two lines of the theme song.
  • Rape As Comedy/Double Standard Rape (Male on Male): Chris' Freudian Excuse.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: Kim Jong-Il's argues that there are no clichéd happy endings because they live in the real world ...and then starts a 5 minute coundown that the Big Damn Heroes stop.

Kim Jong Il: "You see, no Prince Charming rode in on a white stallion to save the day. This is the real world. I'm afraid your world is over! ...in five minutes.

    • The filmmakers intentionally designed non-American locations to look like what Americans might assume those places to look like. All of France's monuments are within walking distance of each other, and citizens of Cairo all dress like they're in Aladdin.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Lots of violence. The sex scene is extremely explicit (especially since they have no genitals.) The vomit scene involved two or three times the volume of vomit as the vomiter's entire body.
  • Refuge in Vulgarity
  • Rousing Speech: Gary's Big Speech that changes the mind of everyone in the stadium.

Gary: We're dicks! We're reckless, arrogant, stupid dicks. And the Film Actors Guild are pussies. And Kim Jong Il is an asshole. Pussies don't like dicks, because pussies get fucked by dicks. But dicks also fuck assholes: assholes who just want to shit on everything. Pussies may think they can deal with assholes their way. But the only thing that can fuck an asshole is a dick, with some balls. The problem with dicks is that sometimes they fuck too much or fuck when it isn't appropriate -- and it takes a pussy to show them that. But sometimes, pussies get so full of shit that they become assholes themselves ... because pussies are only an inch and half away from assholes. I don't know much about this crazy, crazy world, but I do know that if you don't let us fuck this asshole, we're going to have our dicks and pussies all covered in shit!
Lisa: You had me at "dicks fuck assholes".

Why is everybody so fucking stupid? Why can't they be more intelligent, like me?

  • Spiritual Successor: To the show that inspired it: Thunderbirds. Made funnier by the fact that a live action Thunderbirds movie came out the same year.
  • Strawman Political: Both Team America and FAG.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: They usually blow up most of the city they're trying to save in the process.
    • Taken Up to Eleven in the opening credits, which themselves explode... followed by the entire planet exploding.
  • Stylistic Suck: Most of the movie, but particularly the opening puppet show. This was done to freak out the financers (the story goes that one of them yelled "My god, they fucked us!")... but then the camera pans back to show the crude puppet and backdrop are part of a rather more sophisticated puppet's performance.
    • Some of the DVD extras reveal that the puppeteers were actually capable of even more complex and realistic puppetry than is seen in the movie, though at times it is deliberately done overly simply, partly because it was just funnier, and partly because overly realistic puppets slam deep into the Uncanny Valley, which they wanted to avoid.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Kim Jong-Il's song "I'm So Ronery".
  • Take That: Well, yeah.
    • For some reason, Matt and Trey are extremely cruel to Susan Sarandon in particular.
      • And (say it with me now) Matt. Damon.
      • According to the IMDB trivia page for this film, they wanted to portray Damon as intelligent and articulate, but chose not to do so because his puppet "looked retarded". Damon himself apparently thought it was hilarious, and wished that they'd asked him to do the voice work.
      • Tim Robbins said in an interview that he wanted to frame the burnt, injured puppet of himself and put on his wall.
      • Parker and Stone had a particular beef with Michael Moore and took it out on his character. Specifically, Moore made it seem like they'd done an animation for one of his documentaries (Bowling for Columbine) that was in favor of his position. They didn't, and they weren't. In fact, for the scene where Moore explodes himself in a suicide attack, they stuffed his puppet with ham.
      • They took out their beef with ham? What chickens.
    • The movie Pearl Harbor also gets it pretty hard. (There's a whole song pretty much detailing all the ways it -- and Ben Affleck -- sucked.)
  • Television Geography: Done on purpose. Any country that isn't America has all of its landmarks within blast radius.
    • To the degree that the Eiffel Tower can fall over and land upon the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
  • Theme Music Power-Up
  • There Are Three Kinds of People in the World: Dicks (who fuck everything), Pussies (who get fucked by everything), and Assholes (who shit on everything).
    • It seems that Parker and Stone are a bit more "Ha Ha Only Serious" than they originally let on, there. You can see the same speech given by another libertarian luminary, Bill Whittle. He calls it TRIBES, and the three groups are "sheepdogs (protect sheep, attack wolves)", "sheep (protected by sheepdogs, attacked by wolves)" and "wolves (attack everyone)", respectively, but it's the same basic idea.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Often using missiles to destroy lone terrorists. Which usually blows up the city as well.
  • Throw It In: According to Stone and Parker, they hadn't originally planned to make Matt Damon any smarter or dumber than the rest of the actors guild. However, when his borderline-caveman looking puppet came in, they decided on the spot to make him a drooling idiot.
  • Training Montage: Lampshaded, musically.
  • Trap Door: Kim's preferred method of dealing with nuisances and ball-breakers.
  • Try Not to Die: Parodied to the point of becoming a Running Gag.
  • The Unintelligible: Kim Jong-Il's accent sometimes renders his speech this way.
  • Verb This: "Hey, Terrorist! Terrorize THIS!"
  • Villain Song: "I'm so Ronery"
  • Visual Pun/Punny Name: On Lisa's Team America business card (when she's giving it to Gary), the L and the I of Lisa are closer together than the other letters, making LISA look like USA.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Absolutely intentional and takes up 60 seconds of screen time.
  • Wimp Fight: Fight scenes consist of two marionettes flailing arms and limbs for about ten seconds before one of them abruptly stops moving and the other declares victory.
  • World of Ham
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Kim shoots Alec Baldwin.