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Music: Gorillaz
aka: The Gorillaz
Feel good.note 

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

Gorillaz are a virtual alternative rock, alternative hip-hop, and trip-hop band created in 1998 by blur frontman Damon Albarn and Tank Girl co-creator Jamie Hewlett. The band consists of four animated fictional characters, Stuart "2-D" Pot (vocals and keyboard), Murdoc Niccals (bass guitar), Russel Hobbs (percussion), and Noodle (lead guitar). These characters are completely fictional and do not represent any real life musicians involved in this project. Aside from live performances during Escape To Plastic Beach World Tour (and to a lesser extent, Demon Days Live), Gorillaz' 'real life' musicians change for each album (with the exception of creator Damon Albarn) and usually stay behind the scenes while Gorillaz are credited as the real band. The virtual band was created as a commentary on MTV often putting more of an emphasis on the musician than the music itself, having a discrepancy between the visuals and the music. To prove that musical groups could be executed in a more interdependent fashion, they created fictional backstories and put much emphasis on the animation and cartoons.

While their musical genre is mainly categorized as a trip-hop group, they also explore a wide variety of other genres, such as Alternative Rock, Hip Hop, Dub, Electronic Music, Punk Rock and Pop. Some of their more well known songs include "Clint Eastwood," "19-2000,", "Feel Good Inc.", "DARE" and "Stylo".

Gorillaz have released four studio albums so far and these albums include their 2001 debut album "Gorillaz", 2005's "Demon Days", 2010's "Plastic Beach", and 2011's "The Fall". They have also released two b-side albums, 2002's "G-Sides" and 2007's "D-Sides". When Gorillaz first started, their backstory was presented through various interviews and promotional material, but it was eventually all pieced together in the project's second phase through their 2006 autobiography "Rise of The Ogre".In 2001, they were recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records and were titled the "Most Succesful Virtual Band".

They have their own Awesome Music section in TV Tropes available to view here. They have become the most recognizable trip-hop group, all while being an animated band.

Now with a Character Sheet!


Gorillaz provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Abandoned Area: Both Plastic Beach and Kong Studios, the latter while it was still standing.
  • Abusive Parents: According to the backstory, Murdoc's father forced him to participate in embarrassing talent contests for money.
  • Adventure Game: The Plastic Beach game is the Gorillaz version of this, but it is worth noting that the DVDs and 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, etc.
  • Arc Words: The word "plastic" shows up repeatedly in almost every song on Plastic Beach.
  • 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.
  • Artistic License - Biology: Even disregarding all the Art Major Biology, Murdoc refers to his pet raven with male pronouns but has made mention of it laying eggs — though perhaps it's just Murdoc's biology failure and not the creators; nobody ever said that captain Crazy Awesome there knows that much about birds.
  • 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
  • Aside Glance:
    • Bruce Willis in the "Stylo" music video looks right into the camera twice.
    • 2D, Murdoc and Noodle in the "19-2000" video.
  • Audience Participation Song: At their Glastonbury performance, Albarn repeated the song "Pirate Jet" about five times until the audience started singing along.
  • Auto-Tune: It seems to have been used for the backing vocals of "Broken". They're heavily layered and pushed back into the mix behind the lead (non-autotuned) vocals, though, so it's hard to tell.
  • Ax-Crazy: Cyborg Noodle seems to enjoy combat an awful lot for a robot.
  • Bare Your Midriff:
    • Noodle on several occasions, most notably during the "DARE" video.
    • Cyborg Noodle does it, too, in "O2 Priority Walk".
  • Beauty, Brains and Brawn: 2D, Murdoc, and Russel, respectively. Noodle is all three.
  • 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 currently 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.
  • Bilingual Dialogue: One of the web shorts has Russel talking with Noodle, with Russel talking in English and Noodle in Japanese.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The story ends in "DoYaThing" with the band back together in London, sharing a house with each other. The Cyborg is gone, Noodle seems to finally be happy and peaceful again and the Boogieman seems to have turned over a new leaf and is now living with the band. However, Murdoc received no punishment for his deed during Phase 3, his relationship with 2D has remained terrible at best, Russel is still a giant, and they are currently being haunted by the spirit of Andre 3000. Made even more bittersweet by the ending, where 2D receives an eviction notice, meaning the band once again has nowhere to go, but is actually overjoyed by the news as it means he may finally be able to get away from the insanity Murdoc brought to him and live a normal life. That is, until another album is released.
  • Blah Blah Blah: The lyrics to "Rock It" constantly shift between actual lyrics and "Blah blah blah" as if they weren't even trying to write a song.
  • Bland-Name Product: The cover art for their first album features the group in a Geep, and we all know what kind of car that is supposed to be based on
  • Blinding Bangs: Phase 2 Noodle and Cyborg 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.
  • Call Back:
    • "Broken" references "Glitter Freeze".
    • Noodle's transmission (which appears as an epilogue in Rise of the Ogre), has her saying "Hello", and "Is anybody there" several times. In their first album, the song "M 1 A 1" featured a sound bite from Day of the Dead that said the exact same lines, word for word.
  • Calling Your Attacks: The video-game Noodle in the short Gorillabitez cartoon, "The Game of Death".
  • Changed For The Video: The video for "Clint Eastwood" has a short musical intro that isn't on other versions.
  • Character Blog:
    • Murdoc Niccals has his own Twitter page.
    • From June 2010 onwards each member of the band — including Cyborg Noodle — has his/her own twitter page.
  • Character Development: Overtime the band change as people, for better or for worse. Murdoc continues to move further and further down the slope of anti-heroism and steadily loses his sanity along with it, 2D begins to realize how terrible his life actually is and becomes the Only Sane Man, Noodle goes from a hyper active kid to a mature, focused Super Soldier badass and Russel becomes progressively more withdrawn from reality.
  • 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 Mañana"'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 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.
    • Cyborg Noodle has the same hand-in-a-fist logo on her shirt in "Stylo" and "On Melancholy Hill" that Noodle had on her shirt 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:
    • Noodle has one resembling a cat's face, complete with cat-like ears.
    • 2D has a clown-like mask in "Stylo", "On Melancholy Hill" and "Rhinestone Eyes".
  • Crapsack World: This is a world in which someone like Murdoc Niccals was trusted with the life of a coma patient.
  • 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.
    • Cyborg Noodle in Phase 3 can be damn creepy at times.
  • Cute Bruiser: Noodle
  • Cut Short: Phase 3 was supposed to be a trilogy of albums with an epic plot featuring the apocalypse. Only one of these albums was released and the plot never really ended up going any where as a result.
  • Darker and Edgier: Just compare Phase 1 to Phase 2. Somehow made darker in Phase 3, what with the Cyborg Noodle, Murdoc, a 2D that seems to be on the edge of insanity, and a giant-sized Russel. And ironically, the music and the art style is brighter and slicker.
  • A Day in the Limelight:
    • "DARE" and "El Mañana" feature Noodle, and Noodle only. The other three made cameos in "DARE"; Murdoc is the only one with lines and speaks only a sentence. Noodle says in an interview that the reason 2D and Russel were WTFing during the video is because she didn't warn any of them that she was going to record the clip.
    • "Rock The House", which included the band members but was focused on and sung completely by Del.
    • Music-wise, Gorillaz was almost entirely composed by Russel, Demon Days with Noodle, Plastic Beach with Murdoc and The Fall with 2D.
  • The Dead Can Dance: The "Clint Eastwood" video features the band — or at least Murdoc — being attacked by "Thriller"-dancing zombie apes.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Weirdly enough, 2D becomes one in Phase 3.
  • 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 "happy face" isn't exactly worth what it took to rescue him...
  • Demonic Possession
  • Demoted to Extra: While 2D, Murdoc and Noodle all have fairly balanced screen time. Russel continues to fall into the background with each passing phase to the point where he barely does anything at all across Phase 3.
  • 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 swimming to Plastic Beach in Phase 3.
  • Diegetic Switch: In the "19-2000" video, Murdoc switches on the radio and 2D and Noodle sing along to it.
  • The Ditz:
    • 2D. As of Phase 3 he seems to have gotten a little bit smarter — at least 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.
  • Doorstop Baby: Murdoc and 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.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: The last spoken verse of "Fire Coming Out of the Monkey's Head".
  • Enemy Mine: Implied in the lyrics to "Rhinestone Eyes":
    This storm brings strange loyalties, and skies.
  • invokedEnforced 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.
    • 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.
  • Ensemble Cast/ Rotating Protagonist: Other than Russel, the remaining three members of the band have pretty equal stake for the title of The Protagonist. Murdoc tends to drive the plot, Noodle's past is one of the main story arcs, and 2D is the Face of the Band and the viewpoint character during the majority of events.
  • Epic Fail: In the short "Game Of Death", Murdoc loses a fighting game... to 2D.
    • Well, 2D is shown to be an avid gamer whereas Murdoc is relatively out of touch with technology.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Murdoc seemed genuinely distressed when finding out the real Noodle was under attack by pirates, and he immediately rushed to help her — it couldn't be simply for the sake of the album because he still had Cyborg Noodle.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys
  • Everything Is an Instrument: Found on every album, to varying extents.
    • Rise of the Ogre mentions things such as "chucking ostrich eggs at sheets of metal and leaping into buckets" as some of the work that went into creating their self-titled debut album.
    • "We Are Happy Landfill" has, among other things, car horns screeching throughout the track.
    • "Seattle Yodel" featured a novelty toy picked up from a shop in Seattle.
  • Evil Laugh:
    • The repeated laughter in "Feel Good Inc."
    • Murdoc does a pretty effective one at the start of the "Clint Eastwood" video.
  • Eyes Always Shut: Noodle in Phase 1.
  • Eye Scream: 2D's backstory. Ouch.
  • 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 music video for "Stylo" leads directly into the "On Melancholy Hill".
  • Fanservice / Fan Disservice
    • Murdoc fits one or both in everything he's in. In about half of his appearances he's naked, shirtless, and constantly gyrating in one way or another.
    • 2D could fall into either category as well, given his looks, though he's meant as the Brainless Beauty of the band.
  • Five-Man Band: They fit a solid Five-Man Band in Phase 1, but become a less cohesive group afterward:
    • The Anti-Hero: Whilst Murdoc is the one that drives the plot forward, this trope is more fitting (as opposed to The Hero) 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: Russel looks the part (but he's closer to a Gentle Giant... as Del says in "Clint Eastwood," it's "not muscles but percussion he provides"), but Del fits much better, due to his bombastic Boisterous Bruiser personality.
    • The Smart Guy: Russel. He's much more level headed than most of the group, not to mention he does a lot of the composing for the band.
    • The Chick: Noodle is the one who holds the band together and seems to be the only one that the other three really care about.
  • Flowery Insults: Murdoc comes up with a few doozies.
  • Foreign Language Tirade: In her introduction video, Noodle initially talks about herself in English, but suddenly starts cursing at her video game in Japanese.
  • 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.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble:
    • Sanguine: 2D
    • Choleric: Murdoc
    • Melancholic: Noodle
    • Phlegmatic: Russel
  • 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. According to a recent Pirate Radio interview, he did the (heavily distorted) vocals on "Detroit".
  • 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 octopus in the same video in close up.
  • Green Eyes: Noodle
  • 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 hurts rather a lot.
    • The "Rock the House" video — at least Murdoc got to wear a protective cup 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.
  • Hand Cannon: Bruce Willis' revolver in the "Stylo" music video.
  • Hartman Hips: Noodle from Phase 2 onwards.
  • 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 splits up after her apparent death in "El Mañana".
  • 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.
  • Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Murdoc and the talent contests.
  • Homage: Does Damon Albarn have a copy of Krazy Kong by Wild Willy Barrett? "Don't Get Lost In Heaven" sounds a lot like "Return of Kong", what with the angelic backing harmony and the reggae-like rhythm. Put on top of this that Krazy Kong is about a monkey-like character who is a bit volatile.
  • Homoerotic Dream: Murdoc's dream 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.
  • I Call It Vera: Murdoc's bass, "El Diablo".
  • Immune to Drugs: Murdoc has been perpetually drunk for several months and is still alive.
  • Indecipherable Lyrics: Ten years on and still no one can figure out just what 2D is singing in "Punk".
  • Instant Home Delivery: Noodle's crate arrived seconds after Murdoc put the phone down after placing an ad for a guitarist.
  • 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 for Plastic Beach, 2D is kidnapped by Murdoc gassing him in his house.
  • 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. It's actually just a picture of a mountain that you can find by putting the song through a stereograph.
  • 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.
  • Like a Badass out of Hell: 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: Noodle and everyone in the band.
  • 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.
  • Literary Agent Hypothesis: Rise of the Ogre maintains that Damon and Jamie are the band's mentor/producer and video director, respectively.
  • 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.
  • Madness Mantra: 2D's lyrics in "Stylo" qualify as this, considering he had been kidnapped by Murdoc and had his life uprooted by "this guy who just won't leave him alone", the whole Noodle situation, 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.
  • Mad Scientist: Murdoc put Cyborg Noodle together with some of Noodle's DNA bits that he kept in a jar, robotic parts that he had shipped out to the island and a Noodle wig from eBay.
  • Meaningless Meaningful Words: All over the place in "Rhinestone Eyes":
    I'm a scary gargoyle on a tower
    That you made with plastic power
    Your Rhinestone Eyes are like, factories far away
    With the paralytic dreams that we all seem to keep
    Drive on engines till they weep with
    Future pixels in factories far away.
  • 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.
  • Missing Mom: Murdoc's mother.
  • Monochromatic Eyes:
    • 2D — 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.
    • On the Self-Titled Album, the clanging, ominous "Man Research (Clapper)" is followed by the frenzied and upbeat "Punk", which in turn leads into the slow-building, dub "Sound Check (Gravity)".
  • Morality Chain / Morality Pet: Noodle to Murdoc, arguably the only thing keeping Murdoc from lapsing into a monster. 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.
  • The Name Is Bond, James Bond:
    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.
  • 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, blues, and chillwave.
  • Nice Guy: 2D is one of the sweetest guys imaginable, too bad he spends all of his time with Murdoc.
  • Nice Hat: Murdoc and 2D both have a collection, Russel has his fez, and Cyborg Noodle has her hat.
  • Nice Shoes: Murdoc's famous Cuban-heeled boots.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: 2D's fights with Murdoc usually end up like this, with 2D getting beaten to a pulp. Particularly ugly in the 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.
  • Non-Appearing Title: "Clint Eastwood" (its name is derived from a recurring sample from the theme of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly), "Feel Good Inc." (though the phrase "feel good" does appear), "Empire Ants" (thought the word "empire" appears), "Every Planet We Reach Is Dead", "Fire Coming Out of a Monkey's Head" (though that phrase does appear on the very next song on the album. "Don't Get Lost in Heaven", "Dirty Harry" (named such because of the references to gun violence in the song, as well as because Clint Eastwood played Dirty Harry in the titular film), "19-2000", and "Slow Country" (though it comes close).
  • 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. As mentioned rather explicitly below, Murdoc is an Unreliable Narrator at best.
    • Essentially the entirety of Phase 3 past the initial part is one of these due to it getting cut short. What was clearly an elaborate plot was half-explained by Murdoc, but then immediately proven false when the video for Do Ya Thing contradicts several of the explanations he gives.
  • Noodle People: To at least some extent, 2D, Murdoc and, appropriately, Noodle.
  • No One Could Survive That: The ending to the "El Mañana" video.
  • Not Allowed to Grow Up: Averted; the characters age in real time. Noodle is visibly older, Russel has grown and then shaved off a beard, and Murdoc's hair has started to turn grey and he's gained a noticeable beer gut. 2D has also gained a more lined texture to his face, though these may be stress lines considering Phase 3.
  • Oh Crap: The reaction of Murdoc, 2D 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-universe; 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.
    • The music video for "Feel Good Inc." has these.
  • One Man Song: Dirty Harry.
  • 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 men.
    • By Phase 3, 2D has taken up the moniker due to gaining several IQ points and not being quite as crazy as Murdoc.
  • 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 a minute of watching Murdoc pee.
  • Overly-Long Tongue: Murdoc's.
  • 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 & 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: Both Noodle and Cyborg 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 2D and built a cyborg replacement for Noodle, made partially from the real Noodle's DNA, for that purpose. Russel, whose whereabouts were unknown at the time, was replaced by a drum machine.
  • 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 in Phases 1 and 2.
  • 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.
  • Rhythm Typewriter: "We Are Happy Landfill"
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: Cyborg Noodle
  • Roger Rabbit Effect:
  • Sampling: An interesting example as the sample in question doesn't come from a song. The clip heard at the beginning of "Superfast Jellyfish" (along with the sound bite of a man going "Are you kidding?") comes from an old 1980s commercial for "Swanson Great Start Frozen Breakfast Sandwiches", which can be seen right here.
  • Sanity Slippage: Quite evident with Murdoc in Phase 3. Just listen to him in the 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. 2D has also undergone something of a slippage.
  • Scatting:
    • A 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.
    • It's not really audible in the full song, but if you listen to the vocal multitrack for "Dirty Harry", you can hear to 2D singing "BOW-ba BOW ba-da-da-da-da-da" to the melody of the instrumental part after the first verse.
    • Half the lyrics of Rockit are just "Blah blah blah blah"
    • 19-2000 features a lot of this.
  • Sealed Room in the Middle of Nowhere: The room on Plastic Beach where 2D was held captive.
  • Self-Backing Vocalist: Most noticeable in slower songs like "O Green World", "Empire Ants" and "Revolving Doors".
  • She Is 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.
    • The demonic Boogieman is also sometimes referred to as "Sun, moon, and stars": a Black Sabbath reference.
  • Singing Simlish: "Rockit"
  • Singing Voice Dissonance: 2D speaks with a high-pitched cockney accent, but when he sings, sounds like... well, Damon Albarn.
  • Single Stanza Song: "Dirty Harry", with the exception of Bootie Brown's rap at the end.
  • 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?
  • Something Completely Different: "Sound Check", "Punk", "Fire Coming Out of a Monkey's Head", and "Glitter Freeze" are all very different from the sort of music that Gorillaz usually make (though even their more "normal" songs have a good degree of Genre Bending and experimentation, so it's not that jarring).
  • 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. Not only that, but his full name can be shortened to Stu-Pot, a pun of stupid.
  • Super Soldier: Noodle
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Murdoc's maintenance man most certainly did NOT murder his ex-wife. Don't call the police.
  • Take That: "Rockit", as well as the music video, is quite clearly a big one at modern music in general.
  • 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.
  • 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 Noodle and the Cyborg are much more femininely shaped, and Noodle wears a dress and lipstick.
  • 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!"
  • 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.
  • Uncleanliness Is Next to Ungodliness: Murdoc
  • Unfazed Everyman: Despite being in a band with psychotic and super powered bandmates and living in a generally awful world filled with demons, zombies and other horrors, 2D reacts to most situations by... doing absolutely nothing, really. Justified in that he's really that stupid. Best shown in the Clint Eastwood video where, after Russel channels a ghost who then raises an army of dead gorillas to attack his bandmates, 2D barely reacts to them at all.
    • Slowly removed from his character over time, to the point where he's all too aware of how terrible his world is by Phase 3.
  • 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 himself 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 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 during Plastic Beach, 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.
    • Seagull and Pelican from the Plastic Beach game also fall into this trope.
  • Vocal Evolution: 2D's voice has gotten deeper as the phases went by.
  • Waif-Fu: Noodle
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Murdoc only wears a shirt on rare occasions.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: 2D has a morbid fear of whales. Murdoc found this out and used it against him. In the animatics of the video for "Rhinestone Eyes", the whale finally does try to kill 2D. Russel takes care of it for him.
  • Wife Husbandry / May-December Romance: Not canon, but anytime fans ship Noodle with one of her band mates, it falls into this situation.
  • Willing Suspension of Disbelief: Duh. It's an animated band — to begin with, there is No Fourth Wall. Well, sometimes there is.
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair:
    • 2D has blue (purple in Phase 1 and teal in Phase 2) hair apparently caused by him sustaining a massive blow to the head falling out of a tree as a child, causing his hair to fall out and grow back in blue.
    • Noodle's hair faded from black in Phase 1 to purple in Phase 2 and then indigo in Phase 3, similar to 2D's blue.
  • Your Tomcat Is Pregnant: Murdoc named his pet raven Cortez and referred to it with male pronouns before claiming it also laid eggs.
  • Zettai Ryouiki: Noodle in the "On Melancholy Hill", "Broken" and "Rhinestone Eyes" videos, of the long-shirt-and-stockings variety.


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alternative title(s): The Gorillaz; Gorillaz
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