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YMMV / Gorillaz

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  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Is Murdoc truly the completely reprehensible bastard that he claims to be, or is he a sad little man who was never given a chance at a normal life and is thus incapable of understanding others as a result? Does he actually enjoy being on Plastic Beach due to it being his "kingdom", or does he secretly miss having anyone to talk to? Did he kidnap 2D out of necessity of producing the album, or did he do it because he was the one person who didn't completely hate him and was thus the only person he could call a friend? Phase 3 manages to provide support for all sides of the argument.
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    • Is 2D an Idiot Savant, or an intelligent young man whose mind was destroyed by severe head trauma and constant pain killer usage?
  • Animation Age Ghetto: Zig-Zagged. On the one hand, a minority of well-intentioned parents have brought their children to see their live shows, unaware that this "cartoon" band has several songs about death and violence, and the fictional characters who make them up include oversexed psychopath Murdoc. To say nothing of the violence and sexual content of their videos (Murdoc's "bass shagging" in "Feel Good Inc." and attempted animal abuse in "19-2000"). On the other hand, the band's inherently gloomy visual style tends to be a good tip off that they aren't child-friendly. More importantly, the concept of the cartoon characters being the actual band has been respected by both music journalists and MTV, who even gave Murdoc his own episode of Cribs.
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  • Awesome Art: Definitely one of the band's highlights is the highly complex artwork, courtesy of Jamie Hewlett, and visual-filled animations.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Murdoc became one of these during Phase 3. While he was always a character fans were meant to Love to Hate, his increasingly heinous crimes, Karma Houdini status and tendency to dominate the vast majority of screen time across the phase made a sizable chunk of fans become sick of him. Still, he remains a beloved part of the group with most others.
    • To a lesser extent, Ace. He's loved for the most part, but some find him an unnecessary addition. Then again, it goes hand-in-hand with Murdoc's status as a Base-Breaking Character, since Ace is especially loved by fans who either feel neutral about Murdoc or outright hate him. Then there are those who feel Ace is being better-utilized here than in the base-breaking 2016 reboot of his home series, where he and the rest of the Gangreene Gang have pretty much been shunted to the background in favor of newer villains.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: "Hallelujah Money" randomly ends with a sample of SpongeBob SquarePants sobbing. It's a soundbite of his reaction to Mr. Krabs saying "You're fired!", which was Donald Trump's catchphrase on The Apprentice.
  • Broken Base:
    • The last single from Phase 3, "Doncamatic", which wasn't part of Plastic Beach, caused one. Half the YouTube comments are lauding it as a spiritual successor to "DARE", and the other half are criticizing it for its lack of Damon Albarn and similarity to current pop. Its release as a single also provoked anger, as it was chosen over fan favorite "Empire Ants". Then "Doncamatic" had a video made for it, which was considerably less epic and plot-advancing than the canceled "Rhinestone Eyes" video.
    • How central to the band the characters are is also a hot topic of debate, particularly after Phase 3, with many claiming the increased focus on the cartoons early on in the Phase is what ultimately led to its unceremonious and abrupt end.
    • "Hallelujah Money," the first song announced after a lengthy hiatus, split the fandom wide open, primarily regarding its politics, but also regarding whether or not the music itself is actually good. It's either a clumsy and disappointing first step after a 6-year absence, or a refreshing and bold statement that's well worth the wait. The comments complaining about each others' responses certainly don't help.
    • With the tease releases from Humanz, including "Saturnz Barz" and "Let Me Out", many people became fed up with the guest singers taking up more of the spotlight, and voiced a want for at least a few non-collab songs on the album.
    • There's also disagreements over the structure of Humanz, particularly over how much looser and more 'mixtape'-like it is compared to previous albums. Some people adore it, some are more neutral and still enjoy the album anyway, and some find it a weakness of the album, regardless of what they think of it overall. This, combined with the above complaints about the perceived lack of non-collab songs, as well as arguments over how much of it is considered a Gorillaz album (despite every album being vastly different anyway) due to not having as much 'story' on the album itself/as much of Damon's involvement vocally will all lead to vastly different responses.
    • The increasing sexualization of Noodle in Phases 3 and 4. It's mostly dependent on whether you view the fact that we've known her since she was 10 to cause any Fanservice involving her to become source of Squick or not. Some view it as being equivalent to sexualizing a close childhood friend or relative, while others believe that, as she is now an adult, there is nothing wrong with suggesting that she is a sexual being.
    • Was it an interesting idea to temporarily have Murdoc arrested and replaced with a Powerpuff Girls character? Or was it an unnecessary plot point? Keep in mind that we don't know the entire story line of the album yet and that it typically boils down to whether someone likes Murdoc or Ace more.
  • Cargo Ship: The Feel Good Inc. commentary makes reference to Murdoc's "bass-shagging action".
  • Creepy Awesome: Murdoc.
  • Die for Our Ship: Paula, 2D's ex-girlfriend, is absolutely loathed by the fandom — though this may be intentional since she's not all that pleasant a person, and isn't supposed to be.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Quite a few fanfictions either downplay or completely subvert the negative aspects of Murdoc's personality, usually for the sake of shipping.
    • To a much less severe extent, most fanfics significantly downplay 2D's less savory characteristics (such as his fathering of a dozen illegitimate children) and make him a full on Nice Guy. His intelligence is also generally boosted by a few IQ points.
  • Ear Worm: "Stylo", "DARE", "On Melancholy Hill", "Feel Good Inc.", "Clint Eastwood", "Superfast Jellyfish", "Doncamatic"... and that's not close to all of them. While their songs in general are extremely catchy, special mention goes to "Rockit", a song where half the lyrics are blahs.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Song variety — "Rhinestone Eyes" and "Empire Ants" are almost universally beloved among fans, and neither were ever official released as singles, though "Rhinestone Eyes" came close.
    • Many of the tracks off of the Self-Titled Album — most notably "Sound Check (Gravity)", "Punk", "Slow Country", and "5/4" — are quite popular among fans, though rarely played live.
    • "All Alone" is one of the most popular and well-received songs from Demon Days, despite never being a single (though a live version was a B-side for some releases of "Dirty Harry").
    • Cyborg Noodle, due to being a second version of Noodle, who is already a tremendously popular character, tends to get featured in a lot of fan-created content.
    • Similarly, Paula Cracker, despite being little more than a footnote within the band's history, tends to attract a lot of attention from fans due to being the only female character with a name and design that isn't some kind of derivative of Noodle. In an interesting variation from how this trope normally plays out, though, a sizable chunk of this attention is negative.
    • Ace, to the point where some consider him an improvement from Murdoc (if only a temporary addition). Helps that he's from a cartoon many fans of the band grew up with.
  • Epic Riff: "Every Planet We Reach Is Dead," the bass riff in "Feel Good Inc.", "Clint Eastwood", and the violin riff that comes in halfway through the song in "Sound Check (Gravity)".
  • Face of the Band: 2D and Noodle in the videos, Murdoc in interviews. 2D gets the lion's share of the screentime in most videos barring a few which star Noodle. It stopped being the case throughout Phase 3, where the focus was on Murdoc while the rest of the band were mostly relegated to the background, but came back in full force from "DoYaThing" onwards.
  • Fanfic Fuel: Due to Phase 3's storyline never getting to cover what happened to the band after Noodle and Russel arrived at Plastic Beach, plenty of fanfic writers have taken it upon themselves to do it themselves.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: The Fall is not considered an official part of the Gorillaz "canon", as it was largely just Damon Albarn noodling around with various music apps on his iPad with no specific attention paid to the band's mythology.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: It's a tie between 2D×Murdoc and 2D×Noodle — Murdoc×Noodle is also popular, but not to the extent of the other two. In the earlier years of Gorillaz, 2D×Noodle was more popular, but 2D×Murdoc has gotten more popular these days, mainly due to their large number of interactions.
  • Foe Yay: Murdoc with both of the other male band members, particularly 2D. Murdoc has practically destroyed 2D's life, but the latter views him as a role model and looks up to him, as to an older brother, in spite of the fact that Murdoc abuses him physically and mentally. 2D has even declared at one point he loves Murdoc. Still, in Phase 3, 2D gets smarter and realizes he was actually mistaken about him, and in many of the interviews they snark back and forth at each other.
  • Fountain of Memes: The "Saturnz Barz" video.
  • Friendly Fandoms: Since they share the same creators, many Gorillaz fans are also Tank Girl and Blur fans, especially in the case of the former.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: The lyric, "The sea is radioactive", from "Superfast Jellyfish" on Plastic Beach became a lot harsher in the wake of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, in which the Fukushima nuclear power plant suffered a partial meltdown, sparking fears that the entire sea could be irradiated by waste leaking out of it.note 
  • Ho Yay: Has its own page.
  • Iron Woobie: Russel, Noodle and 2D have all soldiered through such excruciating trauma throughout their lives that you just want to hug them all.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Pre-adolescent Murdoc. He grew out of woobiehood pretty quickly, and by all accounts he was a horrible little boy, but... poor kid. He gets a little bit of it back in the Pirate Radio broadcasts, in which a re-occurring theme is how depressingly lonely he is. Every time it hits him he chugs more rum to put it out of his mind, but since it comes up at least three or four times per broadcast it's clearly not helping much anymore.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: The diverse backgrounds of the two creators result in something of a split among certain fans. Some are in mainly for the characters, more precisely Jamie Hewlett's art. Others are in mainly for the music, more precisely Damon Albarn's singing.
  • Memetic Loser: The fanbase largely views Shaun Ryder as this, thanks to an infamous incident where he performed "DARE" while clearly three sheets to the wind (and because of the fact that the song got its title in the first place because Ryder couldn't pronounce the word "there".)
  • Memetic Mutation:
  • Moe: Noodle, and arguably 2D.
  • Mondegreen:
    • "Are we the last lemon soles?"
    • "You've got depression on you..."
    • "Make up something to say no to..."
  • More Popular Spinoff:
    • In America, where the band's first two albums have outsold Blur's entire discography.
    • They're arguably this for Deltron 3030 as well. All three members of Deltron appeared on the first album, and Deltron's "Time Keeps on Slipping" is usually referred to as a "proto-Gorillaz" song.
  • Nausea Fuel: The first video of the Murdoc's Dressing Room three-parter shows you more of Murdoc than you ever wanted to see, as does the band's segment on MTV Cribs. Not to mention "Rock the House", "Feel Good Inc.", and "The Eel" G-bite.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Has its own page.
  • No Yay: For a few fans, shipping any of the characters together leads to a number of problems: Murdoc seems to be incapable of having a healthy, non-abusive relationship with anyone, Noodle is nearly a decade younger than even the group's second-youngest member, and the only remaining possible ship, 2D and Russel, barely interact, let alone in a romantic sense.
  • Replacement Scrappy: EMI lost a lot of the fans' esteem when the originally-intended, storyboarded and plot-advancing music video for "Rhinestone Eyes" was cancelled in favor of "Doncamatic".
    • ZigZagged in regards to Ace, since he's replacing Murdoc. A lot of people hate Ace for that reason, but since it's Murdoc, a lot of people love him for that same reason.
  • Ships That Pass in the Night: Despite the small size of the cast, the incredibly popular 2D/Noodle pairing has surprisingly little to go off of, as the two have actually interacted the least out of all the band members in videos and interviews, with their sibling-like "zen bond" largely being a case of Take Our Word for It. Content released from Phase 4 onward has helped rectify this, with the two being featured together in several pieces of artwork and almost all of the Strobelite video being devoted to showing them dancing together.
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat: An interesting example. While the shipping communities are generally cordial towards each other, those who consider Noodle getting shipped with either 2D or Murdoc to be a source of Squick are sometimes very vocally opposed to anyone who says otherwise. So much so that multiple fan artists and fanfic writers were pressured into removing their 2D/Noodle and Murdoc/Noodle content as a result.
  • Signature Song: Several in regards to their respective albums.
    • "Clint Eastwood" and "Feel Good Inc." are tied for the band as a whole.
    • "Dirty Harry" from Demon Days.
    • "On Melancholy Hill" and "Stylo" from Plastic Beach.
  • So Bad, It's Good: Shaun Ryder's infamous performance of "DARE" while so totally blasted that half his words are slurred and he can barely remember the lyrics.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: "Hallelujah Money" is an extremely politically-charged song, as it was released on the day before Donald Trump's inauguration.
  • Squick
    • In Murdoc's lair in the Plastic Beach game there are several boxes labeled "Edible panties", "Nipple tassels"... fetish fuel, maybe, if not for the ridiculous amount of flies hovering around them...
      • And considering they're in Murdoc's room... Yeah, probably best not to think about what those would be used for.
    • In the "02 Priority Walk" video, take note of Cyborg Noodle's incredibly fanservice-y outfit. She's supposed to be a replica of a 14-year old girl. Then again, she was made by Murdoc.
    • Noodle is often shipped with either 2D or Murdoc — even when she was eight years old. Not quite as squicky by Phase 4 as she is now well into her twenties, but it's still a little dodgy.
  • Tainted by the Preview: The demo of Stylo was not well-received and people assumed it is what the finished version sounds like — the finished version actually sounds much better.
  • Tear Jerker: They now have their own tearjerker page.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: The Evangelist, who was designed as the Boogieman's Good Counterpart and foil, as well as the only person capable of offering Murdoc a chance at redemption. A fan contest was held to create a design for them, with the winning design getting redrawn by Jamie Hewlett himself, along with promises of the character going on to become a major part of the storyline in the future. Instead, the Evangelist makes a short cameo at the beginning of the second chapter of the adventure game to deliver a package and is otherwise completely forgotten about.
    • The Boogieman himself is an example. The only recurring antagonist the band faces in their videos, as well as a mysterious Knight of Cerebus, he would have made for a compelling character if only Phase 3's Troubled Production didn't result in the storyline getting Cut Short, causing his motives and origins to never get revealed and his conflict with Murdoc receiving no resolution.
    • Cyborg Noodle also applies, for much of the same reasons as the Boogieman. After receiving a substantial amount of build-up, Phase 3's Troubled Production resulted in her being subjected to an Uncertain Doom before being able to really do anything of note.
  • Tough Act to Follow: Demon Days is not only considered an Even Better Sequel to their first album, but one of the best albums of that decade. Plastic Beach also received high acclaim, with many considering it a worthy successor in its own right. With this track record, it's perhaps not too surprising that The Fall and much later Humanz would end up getting a much more lukewarm reception.
  • Ugly Cute:
    • Everyone in the band looks vaguely and yet endearingly simian, especially Noodle and 2D (though they aren't considered ugly in-universe). Given the band's name, one could be forgiven for not realizing they are human at first, especially in Phase 1.
    • The manatee from the "On Melancholy Hill" video.
  • Uncanny Valley:
    • Well, just look at the videos. Or, for that matter, the stills. 2D is, in some of the pics, frankly terrifying.
    • The cover-art for The Fall can be considered rather creepy. It features 2D sitting alone in a dark room, staring into the camera with huge white eyes and an emotionless look on his face. Looking at it too long can make you uneasy because of this.
    • The video for "Stylo" has them in a live-action setting in a new CG-animated style. The first time you see them can be straight creepy.
    • Say hello to Cyborg Noodle.
    • The cover artwork of ''Humanz'' features realistic-looking renderings of the entire band. It's about as unsettling as you'd expect.
    • Special mention goes to 2D in "Sleeping Powder". He appears to be motion-captured, and the slightly awkward movements and surreal imagery don't help much.
  • Unexpected Character: Be honest, when Murdoc got sent to jail did anyone think that his temporary replacement would be a pre-existing character, let alone Ace from The Powerpuff Girls?
  • Viewer Gender Confusion:
    • About a quarter of the comments on some YouTube copies of the "DARE" video are people asking if Noodle is a boy or a girl, and another quarter are people telling the aforementioned that she's female, with varying levels of politeness. She was even more ambiguous in Phase 1, before she reached puberty. In Phase 3, she wears a much more feminine ensemble — a dress, stockings and lipstick — and Cyborg Noodle wears belly shirts and hot pants, so presumably that'll stop now.
    • Listen to "Doncamatic" without looking at the comments. Good? Now read the note. note 
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: Being band that consists of animated music stars, it's only inevitable that a large chunk of their music videos would feature top-notch animation, especially with the Medium Blending consisting of fluid 2D animation, photorealistic 3D animation, and live-action. Standouts include "Clint Eastwood", "Feel Good Inc.", "On Melancholy Hill", and "Humility".
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: Animation Age Ghetto seems to have worked on them some, as parents have mistakenly brought their kids to live concerts. It's an animated band with and ridiculously catchy music... that features a character like Murdoc Niccals. Many of their songs and videos have prominent adult imagery and themes: "5/4" is all about how someone was Driven to Suicide, the "Stylo" video features a shooting scene and the Boogieman, "On Melancholy Hill" has a discretion gore shot and Cyborg Noodle throwing up an octopus, "Feel Good Inc." has Murdoc's "bass-shagging action" and the tower gives off a general feel of a nightclub or a brothel. While most of the lyrics are pretty ambiguous, they can be highly suggestive with moments of profanity, and it's not rare to see Murdoc with emptied tequila bottles, 2D switchblade knives and cigarettes, and dead animals. One early, unreleased music video for "5/4" would have started off with a view of a girl masturbating, and the video treats the viewer to a naked Murdoc with a very much visible penis. Their first self-titled album and Humanz even have Parental Advisory stickers on them.
  • Win Back the Crowd:
  • The Woobie:
    • You have to feel bad for 2D. First off, he got put in a coma and got an eye fractured after Murdoc hit him with a car, and had to be taken care of by Murdoc whilst in the coma, not to mention the rumors of what happened during that time. Then Murdoc managed to crash the car trying to 360 to impress a girl and 2D was thrown through the windshield. This woke him from the coma and shattered his other eye. Murdoc abused him all the time, then drugged and kidnapped him for Plastic Beach. During the iTunes sessions, Murdoc bragged about nailing his girlfriend and proceeded to chloroform 2D when he attacked. Finally, in the "DoYaThing" video, there is a final twisting of the knife — 2D reads a newspaper with a cartoon called The Gorillaz in which Murdoc gives him a hug and says "It's good to have friends." 2D smiles at this, but then the real Murdoc comes downstairs and brutally smacks him across the head with a shoe. The heartbroken look on his face is awful.
    • The whole band, really. Russel's friends were killed and then he got possessed and expelled from school for mauling some other students, Murdoc whilst being a complete dick did have an admittedly abusive childhood, and Noodle's life has been crap since Phase 2 although she's now back with her bandmates as of "DoYaThing".


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