“December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy—the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.”
So began the famous speech by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt the day after Japan’s surprise bombardment of the U.S. military base in Hawaii’s Pearl Harbor. The attack brought a heinous loss of life and an initially devastating blow to America’s navy arsenal but, as has often been said since, it only served to “awaken a sleeping giant.”
On that morning after, FDR was specifically requesting that Congress make an official declaration of war (a constitutional protocol that’s since become as rare as listening to live speeches on the radio). America was stunned, wounded, and angry. Of course, as the famous equation states, “comedy equals tragedy plus time.” Sixty-three years later, Team America: World Police milked the day that will live in infamy for musical hilarity—sort of.
The specific target of Team America (and South Park) creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone was not the actual Pearl Harbor attack, but Pearl Harbor, the huge, dumb, lumbering would-be blockbuster starring Ben Affleck that was foisted on audiences a few summers earlier by Transformers director Michael Bay.
“The End of the Act (Pearl Harbor Sucked)” is a romantic lament sung by puppet hero Gary Johnston in which he points out, “I miss you more than Michael Bay missed the mark/ When he made Pearl Harbor… I need you like Ben Affleck needs acting school/ He was terrible in that film.” Also, try not to think about the national tragedies that’ll get made into dumb epic movies in 2034…