The idea of parodying the 1960s puppet series Thunderbirds didn’t begin with Team America. In fact, the movie owes a debt of sorts to Super Adventure Team, a little known off the wall MTV series that ran for one season in the late `90s. “S.A.T.” used a combination of marionettes and hand/rod puppets to spoof Thunderbirds and despite consisting of only six episodes (a few which never even made it air) the show still enjoys a strong cult following.
Like Team America, S.A.T. featured lots of puppet vomiting, sexual innuendo, and even the use of live kittens(!). Although Matt Stone and Trey Parker seemingly have never seen it, the similarities between the two are pretty remarkable.
The series has never been rerun or released on video or DVD, but you can also take a look at this cool flickr set of screen grabs from the series.
31/10/14 Update: Series co-creator Dana Gould has uploaded the entire Super Adventure Team series to his Vimeo channel and the original post has been updated with an embedded video.