A form of Something Completely Different
. When a show, usually a comedy, abandons its usual format and spends most of the episode as a parody of another show, book, television show, or movie. Popular, timeless, children's fantasy films are always the most targeted for this format, as they're recognizable by everybody. It is usually revealed that the whole thing was just a dream
or fantasy, or a lengthly series of events will be required to set up the parody format.
The Onion noted that this can be a sign of total desperation
, especially when the Wizard of Oz is used as the basis
Compare Whole Plot Reference
. See Stock Parody
for some more specific
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Anime and Manga
- Patalliro Saiyuki is an entire series based around the concept of a parody episode, recasting the characters in a theme of Saiyuki or Journey to the West, usually to hilarious results.
- Half of all Galaxy Angel episodes. There was a Wild West episode, a joshikousei episode, a Magical Girl episode (which was really a Sailor Moon episode, but you can't blame them for having Small Reference Pools)...
- The Excel Saga anime practically was this trope.
- One Piece has done a few specials in this style. The "Detective Memoirs of Chief Straw-Hat Luffy" specials are a parody of Jidai Geki dramas with Luffy as a detective in feudal Japan, and the "Chopperman" specials feature Tony Tony Chopper as a superhero. The manga includes additional side comics, featuring the pirates as high school delinquents, mobsters, mythical monsters, and even middle-aged housewives.
- Most of the Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann parallel works are these, although some have plot relevance. Not an episode perse, but they do feature new footage. The Manga version has quite a few more, and there's another, spin-off manga featuring the cast in a modern high school.
- Episode 6 might get a distinction as a parody of a stereotypical Hot Springs Episode, considering the fact that it all goes to hell and what not. The same could be said of Episode 12, which is a parody of a stereotypical Beach Episode.
- Ouran Highschool Host Club takes an episode to do a parody of Alice in Wonderland. The whole cast is desperately suppressing facepalms the whole time.
- Bleach did an Arabian parody and a Monster Mash parody, both of which were dream sequences.
- Gintama, something of a parody of shounen manga in itself, also features several parody episodes, mostly of Japanese series such as Dragon Ball Z and a bizarrely cast Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, not to mention a 2-part satire of Saw and a movie-parody episode that touched on everything from Star Wars to Millennium Actress.
- In a chapter of Houshin Engi, everyone thinks Taikobo is dead and therefore the series will be cancelled due to no more main character. Cue an opening with the worst sports manga ever.
- The Lupin III franchise frequently uses this trope. The original Manga stories simply used the Arsene Lupin Sansei character as a vehicle to drive a story, through whatever tale Monkey Punch wanted to tell.