You know that film/show/video game with the hilarious send-up of that major corporation, famous religion or washed-up celebrity? Well, according to the creators
, that's not what it was about at all. In fact, despite the obvious similarities and paper-thin alterations that make it a clear parody, they claim it's not a parody of anything in particular.
It should be noted that the standard disclaimer "any similarity to persons living or dead...
" does not constitute a denial in this case (indeed, some disclaimers now acknowledge that such names may be used fictitiously). After all, The Simpsons
had a character named Bill Clinton
who was president of the United States, and despite the disclaimer, it is doubtful that they were denying that it was based on the real-life person. This trope only applies when it's a specific denial.
Also, this trope does not cover situations where the denials are plausible—for example, McBain on The Simpsons
could easily be a parody of the character from the Christopher Walken
film McBain, if it weren't for the fact that the film was released 8 months after McBain's first appearance on The Simpsons
. In this case, the denial is plausible.
This is usually due to one of two reasons:
No Celebrities Were Harmed
- Fear of lawsuits
- A direct parody may give the authors less freedom, since all of the humorous features of the fictional thing must be based on characteristics of the thing being parodied.
can overlap with this if the caricatured version of the person was not really meant as a parody of them.
This is the Opposite Trope
of Parody Retcon
, in which a work that is not seen as a parody is retroactively declared one by the creators.
Compare Indecisive Parody
, where due to some reason it's not really certain whether the work is a parody at all.
See also Unintentional Deconstruction
, where a work that can be interpreted as a Deconstruction
was not intended to be one, and Accidental Aesop
, where the work is interpreted as presenting a specific message when the creators didn't intend that one or even none at all.
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Anime and Manga
- When Code Geass first came out, a lot of fans believed it was a parody-slash-critique of the Bush administration and the War On Terror. When asked about this in an interview, director Goro Taniguchi denied that there was any political motivation behind the plot and said that his goal was just to make an entertaining TV show.
- Willie Stark, the governor in All the King's Men, is widely held to be a parody of Gov. Huey Long. The author claims that this belief is "innocent boneheadedness."
- Arguably, Mark Twain's line at the beginning of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was meant to veil the satire and parody that the book contained:
NOTICE: Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot. BY ORDER OF THE AUTHOR, per G.G., Chief of Ordnance.
- Jennifer Saunders denied that her character, Eddie in Absolutely Fabulous was a parody of PR guru Lynne Franks; the character was actually derived from this sketch that she did with Dawn French in French and Saunders, where the responsible daughter had to look after her flighty teenager-like mother. Of course, for Absolutely Fabulous both characters needed expanding, so it's still possible.
- Alex Borstein has flatly denied that Ms Swan, a character she did on MADtv, is an old Asian woman, and claims she's based on her grandmother. Uh huh. Sure. (The Vancome Lady thinks she's Icelandic.)
- An In-Universe example on Murder, She Wrote had a man cleared but largely suspected of murdering his wife attempting to sue Jessica over one of her novels which just happened to have similarities to the case, including the husband being the prime suspect. After finally reading the book himself and finding out the husband wasn't the killer in the book either he agreed to drop the lawsuit, but was killed before he could.
- Indie band Half Man Half Biscuit deny that their song "Shit Arm, Bad Tattoo", is in any way about real band The Libertines, their arms or tattoos. This is despite a number of extraordinarily specific details, from the title's description of cover of the Libertines' first album, to a lengthy rant directed at people who incorrectly refer to the biblical Revelation (singular) of St John the Divine as the Book of Revelations (plural), a solecism coincidentally to be found in the lyrics of the Libertines' "What A Waster".
- The makers of Dead Space insist that the Church Of Unitology isn't based on the Church of Scientology. They claim that they were trying to create the archetypal cult and just happened to come up with one resembling Scientology.
- David Morgan-Mar will often insist that Irregular Webcomic! plotlines and characters that are clearly based on Real Life have nothing to do with them (for example, Steve Irwin and the "Steve and Terri" comics). In all fairness, it's probably sarcastic.