As the saying goes, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and Thunderbirds is no exception. Ever since it rocketed on to television screens, the series became the target of many parodies or skits; from the way puppets attempted to pull off realistic walking, to the many friends and foes the Tracy family interacted with. The following is a list of the jabs and jokes International Rescue has had to face.
While parodies were hardly anything new at the time (previous skits featured Supercar and Stingray), the very first 'major' focus on Thunderbirds was SuperThunderStingCar. Running at nearly seven and a half minutes, the skit was part of classic BBC sketch comedy series Not Only... But Also, first aired during the seventh episode of its second season.
While the skit's name featured reference to previous Anderson series, the live-action cast focused on characters from Thunderbirds: Master Braun (The Hood) and Kraut successfully destroy Buckingham Palace, the Tower Of London, and (sic) the House Of Parli-ament, resulting in a drop in tourism. While John Jupiter (a mix of Mike Mercury and Scott Tracy) is sent to investigate, Master Braun invades their base and takes out both Geoff (Jeff) and Brains. Upon his return, the two have a verbal battle before Braun (literally) cuts John's strings and blows up the whole place.
In this skit from the 1980's, host Les Dennis puts forward a question to the audience: With Thunderbirds returning to public spotlight, what have the Tracy family been up to since then? It's swiftly revealed that since the show went off the air, everyone forgot the organisation existed. The team have become old and forgotten, with the Thunderbird crafts rusting into oblivion (such as Thunderbird 2 having its wheels stolen).
Bobby Davro's ThunderbirdsEdit
For the ITV series in 1989, Bobby Davro and crew's Thunderbirds parody opened with a call from Gordon Tracy. Apparently he was put up on Thunderbird 5 and forgotten about for over twenty years, and needed a replacement crew after eating them all to survive.
Popular Australian comedy group The D-Generation took a turn at parodising Thunderbirds in the mid-1980's. In the skit, Alan called Jeff in with distressing news: Australia is under nuclear attack. Calling Virgil in, it soon becomes apparent that neither know where Australia is, and need Brains to find it on the world map. Virgil wanted Scott and Gordon to take care of the mission, but Jeff reminded him that both were in the pool last time they launched. Eventually Thunderbird 2 sets off, and Austria is saved...
...Until it's realised they got the country wrong.
The second skit opened with Jeff Tracy taking a call on a mobile phone. Slamming it on the desk, he called Virgil back into his office with news of a special new mission: The Mars space station is going through a major hunger crisis, and need pizza delivered right away. Virgil is shocked at how low International Rescue have sunk, and Jeff only confirms his fear: Once again they have gone out of business (with there being no money in saving lives), and the only way to survive is by delivering pizza around remote parts of the galaxy.
Brains walks in with the pizza, but in doing so gets his strings caught up with Virgil's. Eventually they get sorted, and Jeff asks if he forgot something. Immediately Virgil salutes his father with a "Thunderbirds Are Go!", but that's not it. Virgil forgot the garlic bread!
Broadcast across 1989 on the now-cancelled Our Place, this multi-part satire was a redub of Season 2's Atlantic Inferno. Featuring the voices of Santo Cilauro, Tom Gleisner, Jane Kennedy and Rob Sitch, Blunderbirds followed the hilarious antics of a perverted Jeff Tracy going on holiday while the Tracy brothers fought over who got to sit on their fathers' swivel chair.
Team America: World PoliceEdit
While not technically an actual parody of the show, the film's Directors had been inspired by the "Supermarionation" techniques used by the original show. The film's puppetry technique was dubbed "Supercrappymation", an obvious parody of "Supermarionation".