The Thing I Like About …

Team America: World Police:  the total and all-encompassing irreverence.

Matt Stone and Trey Parker don’t – from all I can see – take anything particularly seriously.  They pick on grown-ups for being so useless to children.  They pick on children for picking on each other and whining for toys.  They pick on Republicans.  And Democrats.  And Christians.  And Muslims.  And actors.  They pick on people who are patriotic.  They pick on people who are not patriotic.  They pick on black people and white people and fat people and gay people.  They pick on Americans.  They pick on Kim Jong Il.  They pick on everyone who is a) willfully stupid, b) pompous and overbearing, or c) evil.  This gives them an enormously huge pool of people to pick on … and they are not afraid to do it.

In Team America, the Team travels the earth blowing up Wonders-of-the-World and historically and culturally iconic landmarks.  They engage in overkill at every opportunity.  But when Gary Johnston, an actor, is asked to join the team, the little song that plays over his inner debate is actually a touching (and funny) look at the price of freedom, and the “real” bad guys turn out to be Hollywood celebrities and Kim Jong Il.  What does that mean?  To me, it constitutes a dispassionate look at how people on all sides of a problem are equally (and usually stupidly) responsible for it.  To Matt and Trey? I have no idea.

All I know about Matt and Trey, really, is that everything they do is designed to cast the people they dislike in a disagreeable light … and that’s wonderful.

Everything in Team America offends at least twenty-seven different groups of people at any given time … because offending people isn’t a crime.  Offending actors isn’t a crime.  Offending politicians or parents or activists or North Korea is not a crime.  Offending me is not a crime.  Making fun of people is not a crime – which is good for all of us, since we’re all happy to make fun of people until someone starts making fun of us.

Matt and Trey have virtually no rules, no boundaries, no limits. They make a lot of people uncomfortable … and then they make fun of those uncomfortable people, because making people uncomfortable is also not a crime.  In a world so ruled by hypocrisy, tyranny and fear, Matt and Trey are fearless.  I suppose, in a way, they are Team America.

I wonder how they’d feel about that?

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