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What Team America: World Police Had To Change To Remove Its NC-17 Rating

When it comes to the work of Trey Parker and Matt Stone, you know what you're going to get: trenchant satirical humor laced with lots and lots of potty jokes. Whether it's their iconic animated series "South Park," their Tony award-winning musical "The Book of Mormom," or their films like "Baseketball" or "Orgazmo," Parker and Stone have proven that they love nothing more than grossing us out while also trying to make us think. (OK, maybe "Orgazmo" isn't that think-y).

That's definitely the case with their 2004 comedy "Team America: World Police." Released two years after the American-led invasion of Iraq, the film takes aim at 2000's-era American foreign policy and all of its shortcomings.

But also, "Team America" is a silly action movie starring a bunch of wooden marionettes. Again: smart and stupid is their brand.

Given Parker and Stone's penchant for the lowbrow, it should be no surprise that the original cut of the film received an NC-17 rating and needed to be toned town before its release. Here's how Parker and Stone reworked the film so that more teenagers could see it.

If you've seen Team America: World Police, you already know the answer

Of course it's the love scene between Gary (Trey Parker) and Lisa (Kristen Miller). What else could it be?

The love scene takes place about halfway through the film, and it's about as graphic as a love scene between two puppets could possibly be. Many fans find the scene shocking the first time they watch it, but it could have been even more raunchy if the MPAA hadn't gotten involved.

As reported by the Los Angeles Times, producer Scott Rudin and Parker and Stone had to submit nine different versions of the theatrical cut, each one less explicit than the last.

Viacom vice chairman Robert Friedman explained what had to be removed to win the censors over: "The level of sex, how often and how many positions and which positions," Friedman said. "It was really all about the level, the positions and the intensity of the sex."

For their part, Parker and Stone defended the scene. "It's something we all did as kids with Barbie and Ken dolls," Parker said. "The whole joke of it is that it's just two dolls flopping around on each other. You see the hinges on their legs. [The MPAA] read into it way more than we ever did" (via The Los Angeles Times).

Rudin also pointed out that the censors had no issues with the film's over-the-top violence, including depictions of the deaths of various celebrities and political figures.

In the end, the scene is still plenty hilarious. Plus, anyone who really wants to see Parker and Stone's original vision for the scene can simply check out the unrated version.