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  • Adorkable: Nearly two decades after his cameo on the show, Guy is still nothing but proud of it and perfectly satisfied with this tiny blip of a career.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Mathesar at the end. When he says Jason's explanation of the show was "a very clever deception indeed," does he now accept the truth, or does he think it was something Jason made up to trick Sarris? Either way, it implies that Mathesar has at least learned deception isn't universally bad, something he seemed incapable of at the beginning of the film.

      On top of that, if Mathesar believes the deception, is he trying to explain it as a deception to his crew to make them laugh and accept deception as an option in negotiations and confrontations or is he trying to hide the truth that the show is fake to save his crew from the same pain he felt?
    • Does Sarris have a point about the Thermians? Sure, Sarris is shown to be nothing but a vicious and cruel warlord who wants the total extinction of the Thermian species, but the Thermians are also shown to be exceedingly dangerous on their own: they are horrendously gullible, easily misled, and yet so technologically brilliant that they build a device that could either rewind time or destroy the universe in seconds totally by accident. Sure is a good thing they were influenced by the relatively altruistic humans and their idealistic morality play rather than by some rogue Omnicidal Maniac.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees:
    • Guy offers to sign autographs alongside the main cast, and while some may question how in the world some background Red Shirt could possibly have people who would even know who he is, they've never been to a Star Trek convention because indeed, anonymous Red Shirts have been autographers and celebrated. Just ask actors like Vince Deadrick and Mal Friedman.
    • It is possible to move a spaceship just by making parts of it really hot. It's called a "Black-Body Radiation Engine." However, this provides a tiny amount of speed in exchange for a staggering amount of power, so the Protector II moving at rocket speeds is unrealistic.
  • Awesome Music: The soundtrack by David Newman is very good, particularly as it emulates many of the Star Trek themes combined with the humor and witty feel of Henry Mancini's score to the Disney movie The Great Mouse Detective. The main theme of the movie is a Suspiciously Similar Song towards Mancini's theme to the aforementioned Disney film.
  • Complete Monster: General Roth'h'ar Sarris is a vile galactic warlord who seeks a powerful, mysterious device known as the Omega 13. Sarris launches a genocidal war against the peaceful Thermians, wiping out a massive chunk of their populace whilst subjecting many to inhumane fates of slavery and torture — torturing one of their commanders for days on end and killing her only when he "grew weary of the noises" she made — while killing even his own men for failure. Sarris takes a perverse glee in forcing the crew of Galaxy Quest to reveal to the Thermian leader Mathesar that they're just actors in order to completely break his spirit. After this, Sarris tries to throw the cast of Galaxy Quest out of an airlock, and failing this, attempts to suffocate the remaining Thermians to death while throwing away his remaining men, personally massacring his way through every last obstacle between him and the Omega 13 before he's finally stopped. Sarris is played utterly straight in naked contrast to everything else in the film, possessed of no humorous or likable traits to detract from his atrocities.
  • Creepy Cute:
    • The Thermians human forms are a bunch of pale, black-haired people who are constantly smiling, waving their arms at their sides, and speaking with strange syntax, and they are just so naïve and adorable, you can't help but love them.
    • The aliens on the beryllium sphere planet are either this or Cute Is Evil.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: The Teleporter Accident is so gross that it loops around to being funny again. If it were any less gross, it wouldn't be nearly as funny. It's had quite a few shout outs over the years as a result.
  • Cult Classic: The movie was oddly mis-marketed to children upon initial release (note all the obviously dubbed curse words), but wound up playing far better simply as the Affectionate Parody of Star Trek that it was, and it maintains a big following of sci-fi nerds to this day.
  • Genius Bonus: One of the Thermians mentions their people being forced to produce gallium arsenide. It sounds like Technobabble, but it's a real chemical, used in the production of integrated circuits and laser diodes.
  • He Really Can Act: Enrico Colantoni was thought of as just a lightweight sitcom star at the time, and seems the same for much of this movie. Then comes his devastating performance when Mathesar learns the truth about the Galaxy Quest show.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • After Tommy is injured badly, he has to be carried out to the medical bay in a bit Played for Laughs. Daryl Mitchell, the actor playing Tommy, was later in a motorcycle accident and was left paralyzed from the waist down because of it. Now watch the scene with this fact in mind...
    • A running gag is Guy's worry about getting killed off. In Moon, his actor, Sam Rockwell, plays a character whose purpose is to get routinely cloned and killed off over and over.
    • Gwen's complaint that the most media attention she received was a full page magazine interview about how "her boobs fit into her uniform." This has become a more frequent complaint from actresses during similar interviews about their movies.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • When Tony Shalhoub's character has to operate the digital conveyor, and he talks about the thing he did with his hands...
    • Similarly, the same character's rather out-of-nowhere remark on how impressively clean the floors are in the alien spaceship.
    • The year the movie was released also marked the debut of a show which, like the movie's titular Show Within a Show, was a Cult Classic space show that lasted four seasons and ended on a cliffhanger: Farscape.
    • Alan Rickman plays an actor admired mostly for his role in a large geek franchise. Two years later...
    • The transporter accident scene is this for Minecraft fans who are familiar with how the Creeper was created. Bonus points for exploding.
    • Rainn Wilson later joined Star Trek itself as Harry Mudd in Star Trek: Discovery.
    • After Paramount bought Dreamworks's library, this film now belongs to the owners of Star Trek.
    • 20 years later, a show whose whole shtick is to be an affectionate parody of Star Trek has uniforms that are almost identical in design to the ones used on the NSEA Protector. Jason Nesmith and Ed Mercer also might as well be the same guy.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Alexander Dane and Jason Nesmith both come across as this at the beginning of the film, due to how the show that made them stars killed their acting careers, as the embittered Alexander was a respected Shakespearean actor and Jason was trying to escape from the painful reality by arrogantly embracing his fandom, only to suffer a Heroic BSoD after hearing the gossip about the Galaxy Quest negative impact on their careers and lives.
  • Memetic Mutation:
  • Mexicans Love Speedy Gonzales: Despite the film being a big ol' mockery of Star Trek and aiming a few jokes at Trekkies, the fandom as a whole seems to have essentially adopted Galaxy Quest as one of their own (it's not uncommon to claim that it makes the Star Trek Movie Curse still work, since the general order seems to have switched places after Galaxy Quest's release). It does help that the parody in question is very definitely in the Affectionate Parody camp; the main not-Trekkie Brandon may be shown as being a bit pathetic, but his love of the franchise ends up being instrumental in saving the day.
  • Moral Event Horizon: While Sarris is established a monster throughout the movie, he truly shows how depraved he is when, after finding out the truth about Galaxy Quest's cast, he forces Nesmith to admit the truth about Galaxy Quest being fiction to Mathesar just to torment them both... and then decides to self-destruct the Protector and kill everyone on it. Then when questioned about the fate of the Thermians, he claims that a quick death is "too good" for them and orders them suffocated instead.
  • Narm Charm: The first time the "By Grabthar's hammer" line is spoken, it's amusing, the final time, it's both heartbreaking and awesome, thanks to the irreplaceable acting power of the late, great Alan Rickman.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
  • Special Effect Failure: There's a glaring moment during the pig lizard scene where you can clearly see the completely undisguised, completely visible hand of an FX-guy holding the pig lizard. Considering the general tone of the movie, one could argue that it fits right in with all the classic sci-fi movie cheese.
  • Spiritual Successor: Being about actors who get mistaken for their characters, this movie is usually seen as íThree Amigos! In Space but this concept has been done in science fiction before:
    • The Adventures of Captain Zoom in Outer Space is a 1995 TV movie about an actor in a Captain Space, Defender of Earth! type show who gets abducted by aliens who want him to save their planet.
    • The 1998 novel Diplomatic Act by Peter Jurasik and William H. Keith, Jr. features an actor based on Jurasik who stars in a show similar to Babylon 5 getting abducted by aliens who think he's the alien diplomat he plays on TV.
  • Squick:
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: Being the modern day Spiritual Successor to the late great Henry Mancini, David Newman's score for this movie sounded similar to Mancini's score to the Disney Animated Canon film The Great Mouse Detective. Listen here and here for a Leitmotif comparison.
  • They Copied It, So It Sucks!: John Landis called it a shameless rip off of his íThree Amigos! but didn't mind so much because he finds Galaxy Quest funny.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome:
    • The marvelous alien effects, courtesy of Stan Winston in one of his few comedic efforts.
    • Unlike the real Star Trek, the film's bridge set was built on a gimbal so that it could actually be shaken around, to marvelously realistic effect.
  • The Woobie:
    • The entire cast of the Galaxy Quest television series due to how, after the show's cancellation, its recognition negatively impacted the lives and careers of the actors. Gwen DeMarco, in particular, counts due to just being remembered as every fanboy's degrading Ms. Fanservice object of lust rather than a fellow skilled actress, much to her embarrassment. It's even sadder in real life when it's based on the real-life experience of the Star Trek cast. However, after experiencing the space adventure of their lives in this movie, their recognition becomes worthwhile in the eyes of the public and in turn makes them embrace their roles with complete sincerity.
    • The Thermians count too, due to them being a nearly happy-go-lucky man-child-like race having no conception of fiction, now on the verge of extinction, and Mathesar being absolutely devastated upon hearing the reality of the television show.

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