Please don't list this on a work's page as a trope. Examples can go on the work's YMMV tab.
"The objections to breadth in parody are that it is not sporting to hunt with a machine gun, that jocularity is not wit, and that the critical edge is blunted. Most of what passes for parody is actually so broad as to be mere burlesque."
Simply put, this trope is what happens when The Parody is created by people who didn't research what they were parodying. Instead, they watched the trailer (or the commercials or just absorbed it through Popcultural Osmosis) and then wrote the parody from that. Close enough, they decide.
Therefore, the "parody" will only bear a superficial resemblance to what is supposedly being parodied. Expect the parody to coast on Parody Names, Stock Parodies and Vulgar Humor.
More egregious cases will often ignore elements that justify the more ridiculous aspects of the work or mock the original for things the original doesn't even have.
Note this is sometimes unavoidable. For example, if you're parodying a film that hasn't come out yet, the trailer may be all you have to go on (although parodying something that has not yet branded itself into the public's consciousness would seem a little pointless). Occasionally, the parodists may make good guesses and succeed anyway. However, if you're making a parody of Citizen Kane and all you know is the "Rosebud" scene... well, there really is no excuse.
Also note that this trope does not encompass all bad parodies. Just knowing what you're parodying does not automatically make your parody funny... but it's at least a start.
However, Tropes Are Not Bad. Sometimes these parodies can be understood as effective parodies of trailers, of basic premises, or as exaggerations of elements in The Theme Park Version of said subject matter. For many people a Shallow Parody can be funnier than an overdone Affectionate Parody because of the lack of obscure inside jokes. Still, people who are actually fans of the subject of the parody will, more often than not, laugh at said parodies rather than with them (at best). It's notable that some of the below examples are intentional shallow parodies and derive humor from getting things wrong.
Often caused by Complaining about Shows You Don't Watch.
Related: Narrow Parody, in which the target is something relatively recent due to the assumption the target audience won't recognize something older even if it's riper for spoofing; and Redundant Parody, where the parody writers actually do what the piece's real creators would do, but think themselves as writing a clever spoof. Also related to Fountain of Expies.
Subtrope of Outside Joke, a kind of humour that relies on the audience's unfamiliarity with the subject. See also Dead Unicorn Trope for a similar concept applied to tropes. Can also overlap with Cowboy Bebop at His Computer if the parodists are really on the ball with this.
Any parody of James Bond will always seem to be a spoof of the Sean Connery version of the character, even though there have been five other actors in the role to date.
Saw is a popular target for this, mainly because the very concept paves way for some very creative takes that don't require much research. One thing that more targeted parodies love to point out, however, is that Jigsaw shouldn't have been able to lie as still as he does through-out the entirety of the first movie, few - if any - taking into account the muscle relaxant that was alluded to throughout the movie. The writers finally spelled it out in the third entry.
There are exactly two jokes used for 99.999% of Dragon Ball Z parodies: long powerups and training to get stronger. And the former is so overwhelming the latter barely rates a mention. The other 0.001% of parodies are Dragon Ball Z Abridged, which essentially has to actually mine the rest of the series for comedy since it's both recapping entire episodes and, being abridged, can't rely on jokes about powering up for twenty-seven years.
Western anime parodies in general often rely on three major things: Dragon Ball Z-esque shonen series (with all the jokes mentioned above,) sexualized underaged girls with huge boobs, and tentacle monsters (often combined with the second one.)
Most parodies of Heavy Metal music portray the music as loud, incomprehensible noise with over-the-top songtitles and lyrics (none of which most metal bands would typically use) relating to Satan, demons, and violence. Somewhat averted with Dethklok, despite having the violent lyrics, they are also portrayed as skilled musicians.
Oscar Wilde famously quipped that "One must have a heart of stone to read the death of Little Nell without laughing," but Nell's death is not described directly at all, much less with a lot of florid detail.
Despite Adolf Hitler being described by virtually all of the people who knew him as easy going and calm, it's become standard to depict him as a raving lunatic in media, the image from his stadium speeches. He's also commonly portrayed as stupid, even though that was clearly not the case.
Another Nazi example is Hermann Goering. Absolutely every popular piece of anti-Nazi propaganda, from The Great Dictator to Education for Death, has depicted Goering as wearing an excessive amount of medals, to the point of looking comical. However, a quick look through actual pictures of Goering will show that there's really only one picture where he went overboard with the medals.
This happens to all politicians from an opposing party in propaganda works, be it national or international. They are either demonized or depicted as being insane, dumb or weak. Using an enemy or a black sheep works very well to sucker in voters or military recrutes.
Whenever opera is parodied it's usually one fat lady yelling, dressed in a Wagner helmet with a spear. Only the Ring of the Nibelungen has such a character.
Kaiju films are usually only targeting Godzilla and especially the 1960s and 1970s movies, which were cheesy rubber suit monsters aiming at a children's audience. Since 1985 kaiju movies don't aim at that demographic alone anymore and the rubber suits look far less infantile.
Parodies of slapstick movies usually feature lots of Charlie Chaplin lookalikes hitting and chasing each other, while throwing pies at each other. This while Chaplin actually played down these crazy comedic violent chases compared to his colleagues in the field and didn't use pie fight scenes that much. Buster Keaton, another icon of the era, never even had a pie-in-the-face gag in his movies.
MAD magazine (and the TV series) sink to this. It can be justified, as the parody has to fall close to the date of the work's release, and often the writer(s) are working on early script drafts or leaked information.
For example, the parody of the first Harry Potter movie included a scene that was in the book, but was left out of the movie.
Mad parodies used to be written after the film was released and thus published a few months later, in part to keep on top of what movies were well-known enough to warrant them. One late-1970s article had them "selling" prematurely written parodies of movies and TV shows that weren't popular (Gable and Lombard, for instance) at a discount. This lag still applies to TV shows — their parody of 8 Simple Rules was in the October 2003 issue... just in time for John Ritter's sudden death.
The Watchmen parody claimed that "The book is still great" while making fun of many of the things that were directly lifted from the book. This is a recurring trend; MAD will often make fun of a work at the time of its release, then later unfavorably compare newer works to it, but it is rarely this inconsistent.
On the same note their Jurassic Park parody included the subplot from the book about some of the dinosaurs stowing away on a commercial freighter, a subplot that was dropped quite early during the production of the movie.
They also did a parody of X2: X-Men United from a draft script of the movie, as it poked fun at subplots that weren't actually in the film.
Similar to the Jurassic Park example, the parody comic of Star Trek: First Contact was based on the first draft screenplay, which was significantly different from the finished film. In their rush to get a parody out on time, they ended up parodying something that only barely resembled the movie itself.
MAD's parody of the movie version of The Hunger Games actually used a more detailed plot-point from the book, rather than the shallower moment from the movie The mutations in the movie are larger, scarier versions of wolves, wolf-like creatures in the book were also psychologically horrifying because their eyes and fur resembled the eyes and hair of the dead tributes.MAD's writer obviously read the book, but hadn't seen the movie yet.
From the animated TV show's Naruto parody you'd think they only watched the first three or four episodes. Same with their Legend Of Korra parody, which gives the impression that they just watched the commercials.
Their parody of The Goonies made fun of the kids for being nothing but stereotypes, claiming that Chunk was a "lying jew" and making fun of Data's stereotypical Asian accent. However Chunk and Data were written as the stereotypical fat kid and smart kid, Data's actor really did have that accent and Chunk's actor really was Jewish (he only makes two references to it in the movie anyways and they were both improvised by the kid.)
Marvel's Marville hopes irrelevant pop culture is enough to count as parody.
It even explained the shallow parodies to people in the first page. Like nobody would get the jokes.
Marvel's parody comic Not Brand Ecch portrayed the Doom Patrol as shameless rip-offs of the more popular X-Men when in reality the Patrol came first. Though only by a few months at a time when comic book scripts were written longer in advance than that. The creator of Doom Patrol used to work for Marvel.
Cracked, when it still was a magazine along the lines ofMad, had an issue covering the 1989 Batman film wherein a Burt Ward-style Robin complains that not only is he absent from the film, but he's dead in the comics. Never mind that it was Jason Todd who died and Dick Grayson was currently Nightwing. (To be fair, in the eyes of most casual Batman fans that is nit-picking.)
Any Cracked magazine parody, for that matter. They did little more than re-tell the movie or TV show straight up, with parody names.
The LucasArtsSam & Max strips frequently fell into this, possibly deliberately. Being produced for the LucasArts company newsletter and Sam And Max not starting out as LucasArts characters, Steve Purcell was allowed to draw them only if he parodied whatever games were coming out at the time. Because of this, he preferred to take the basic setting of the game he was parodying, dress Sam up as the main character of that game, and then just have the characters do their own thing - being more like one-off, themed adventures about fighting monsters or being bikers instead of parodies of Maniac Mansion and Full Throttle. Notably, the Monkey Island parody had Sam and Max in pirate costumes going to a desert island... full of monkeys. To be fair, the strips are probably more hilarious for not being true parody.
In a glaring example of Tropes Are Not Bad, Rat-Man's first story was a parody of Tim Burton's Batman, which the author had never seen. Despite this, it won the Lucca Comics award for the best script and set the foundation for what in Italy is considered one of the funniest comics ever published.
It's very amusing indeed to read old comics and magazines from the early/mid-1960s and come across a Shallow Parody of The Beatles. One can just imagine a stodgy, middle-aged writer writing one in hope of shaming those silly kids for falling for this ridiculous fad. Shallow Parodies of the Beatles usually have them all dressing, looking and speaking identically (hilariously, this usually means that they all look and talk like Ringo Starr), and have them endlessly singing "Yeah Yeah Yeah" (far from the Beatles' best or most notable song, but likely a victim of Pop-Cultural Osmosis). Later parodies would have them playing concerts in their "Sgt. Pepper" uniforms (which they never did) and occasionally would depict John Lennon in his iconic 1969-era look while the rest of them still looked like they did on the Ed Sullivan Show. Nowadays, of course, parodies like this have effectively died out.
In the third volume of Alan Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen series, numerous references are made to the characters and locations of Harry Potter (albeit never by name), under the idea that all of Harry's adventures have been manipulated in order to drive him to destroy the world as Anti-Christ. However, in an oddity for the series, few actual plot points of the stories are mentioned, and the few that are referenced are wildly inaccurate. Even the timeframe is wrong: Moore skewers the Harry Potter series with the intention of making a statement about pop culture at the dawn of The New Tens, apparently unaware that the books actually take place in the 1990s.
The Nagma in Astérix and the Falling Sky is supposed to be an insulting parody of manga and anime culture, but it's very obvious from the character's appearence and behaviour that Uderzo's knowledge of the whole artform extends to having flicked through some Super Robot thing on television back in the 70s and to seeing Beyblades in a toy shop. In his public apology for the quality of the book, he admitted his hatred of manga stemmed from flipping through a sexually-explicit one at the library and wishing the Japanese would Think of the Children! (it's worth noting that France has legally binding age restrictions for comics).
One of many, many flaws in the Seltzer and Friedberg "parody" films, such as Date Movie, Epic Movie, Meet the Spartans, and the aptly named Disaster Movie. In fact, Disaster Movie parodied films which were not released at the time the script was written. As a result, it included parodies of films which flopped and were already forgotten by the time Disaster Movie made it to theaters.
Vampires Suck mostly averted this, except for a couple of throwaway gags.
The Starving Games continues their trend of no real content outside of the trailers and focuses all the comedy on sight gags and random pop culture references, to the point where calling it a "parody" is a bit of a stretch.
One gag takes shallowness to its extreme by having a Wolverine expy flip someone the bird with his claws, which had already been done in the real thing.
Somewhat more excusable example: Airplane! includes a parody of a famous scene from From Here to Eternity despite none of the writers having watched that film. Mind you, that's one parody in a film which included many more. (The majority of the film is a direct parody of Zero Hour!)
Breaking Wind is especially bizarre, as despite its title the film is a direct parody of Eclipse, easily the part of the series least suited to parody. Anyone hoping for gags about falling in love with babies will be disappointed.
A bizarre example in the Frankie Avalon/Annette Funicello beach movie Bikini Beach: Avalon plays a British invasion rocker/race car driver called "The Potato Bug" to send up the British Invasion— and resembles nothing so much as Terry-Thomas in a blond shag wig.
Ingmar Bergman parodies are usually just spoofing the Death playing chess scene from The Seventh Seal and the two women in extreme close-up talking to each other while not looking each other straight in the face from Persona. It's such a Pop-Cultural Osmosis that most parodists haven't even seen the entirety of these films and just base their Le Film Artistique spoofs on these two scenes.
The Jennifer Morgue in The Laundry attempts to parody James Bond. However, its treatment of the subject seems primarily informed by Austin Powers.
Candide by Voltaire fits this trope in its attempts to parody the philosophy of Leibniz.
'Most parodies of one's own work strike one as very poor,' noted T. S. Eliot. 'In fact one is apt to think one could parody oneself much better.' He noted this in the context of praising an aversion; Henry Reed's "Chard Whitlow", which doesn't settle for making cheap swipes at Eliot's best known works, but parodies what his poems are actually like.
Live Action TV
MADtv once did a parody of The Dark Knight during its final season where Batman (played by Matt Braunger) couldn't afford good gadgets because of current economic issues and make it seem like that without gadgets, his villains could easily kick his ass. The movie portrays Batman as being the "greatest student" of Ra's al Ghul. Batman portrayals haven't been especially gadget-heavy since the campy 1960s TV show starring Adam West. He still has the coolest toys, but he relies mainly on his detective work and physical abilities.
Ironically, the sequel The Dark Knight Rises does in fact have Bruce Wayne's company hit by hard economic times and having difficulty, culminating in his losing his personal fortune as well. And he does indeed get the everloving crap beaten out of him when he has to go hand-to-hand with no gadgets. Of course it was played out with more nuance, but one has to be amused that the parody was halfway prescient.
Zigzagged with Saturday Night Live. Some of their parody sketches will be dead-on with what they're parodying; others...not so much.
On the one side of the spectrum, there are shallow parodies that are just there to serve as the backdrop for an SNL recurring character to appear note (cf. The Mad Men parody on Jon Hamm's first episode quickly devolved to a sketch featuring Jason Sudeikis and Kristen Wiig's characters, "The Two A-Holes" [it was even retitled "Two A-Holes Visit An Ad Agency in the 1960s"], the "Basic Instinct" parody that had Julia Sweeney's Pat character, the "Crying Game" parody that also had Pat in it, the "Glee" parody that had Kristen Wiig's Gilly character) or are intentionally made shallow to deconstruct the work (as seen in the Digital Short Party at Mr. Bernard's or the "Little Mermaid" sketch with Reese Witherspoon as Ariel telling Eric [played by Will Ferrell] that she's an actual half-human, half-fish creature whose father had sex with a mackerel to create her) or shoehorn a political message or warped Aesop (as seen in their other parody of The Little Mermaid — this time with Tina Fey as Ariel trying to justify the decision to have Osama bin Laden wrapped in a shroud and sunk into the ocean).
On the other side of the spectrum, you have the SNL parodies that are actually well-researched and spot-on, such as the Harry Potter parodies (which use characters that aren't featured in the movie trailers, use the first names of the Hogwarts teachers, and mention things like butterbeer) note including the one that had Daniel Radcliffe on it as a washed-up Harry Potter who still lives in Hogwarts ten years after he was supposed to graduate and the one-off parody of There Will Be Blood from the season 33 episode hosted by Tina Fey (which was a Food Network show called "I Drink Your Milkshake," in which Daniel Plainview [Bill Hader] travels to America's malt shops and literally drinks their milkshakes). Bill Hader's Daniel Day Lewis is pitch-perfect, and the sketch references moments in the film that aren'tMemetic Mutations, such as "I'VE ABANDONED MY CHIIIIIIIIIIILD" and Plainview's opening speech.
Intentionally used with the sketch "What Is Burn Notice?" from the season 35 episode hosted by Ashton Kutcher. The sketch was a game show in which the contestants have to tell the host (Jason Sudeikis) what the premise of Burn Notice is about, because he apparently doesn't know. The joke being that even though Burn Notice is purportedly one of the most popular shows on television, no one you know has ever seen it.
Get Smart usually did targeted parodies pretty well, considering its entire premise was general parody. However, its parody of The Avengers falls into this. Donald Snead and Emily Neal are British, styled correctly and have a lot of sexual tension, but that's where the similarities end. Snead bears very little resemblance to John Steed personality-wise, and Mrs. Neal's use of a deadly lipstick is particularly glaring, much more reminiscent of April Dancer than Emma Peel. The episode is funny, but it's pretty clear the creators are unaware of just how stylistically different The Avengers was from most other spy shows.
Done intentionally and fully admitted to on the "Movie Trailers That Are Destroying America" segment of The Colbert Report, where Colbert thinks of ridiculous reasons to consider movies offensive based entirely on the trailers.
French and Saunders did a sketch about the Lord of the Rings apparently without having read the books or seen the movies: Gandalf and Frodo repeatedly mention Frodo's quest to find the one ring to rule them all.
Another example of the same flaw can be seen in Dead Ringers' early LOTR parodies, in which indeed Gandalf sends Frodo on a quest to find the Ring. Later on they were better researched.
Similarly on The Chaser's War On Everything with a sketch about rumours of a movie version of The Hobbit and imagining it directed by various people (Nick Giannopoulos, Woody Allen and Michael Moore). For some reason the first one had two Hobbits with a dynamic suspiciously similar to Frodo and Sam, and not a dwarf in sight. Note though that this was technically a parody of The Wog Boy and not of The Hobbit. Same for the Woody Allen and Michael Moore trailers.
Bob Hope parodied Shogun on one of his specials. The sketch writers assumed Anjin-san (Richard Chamberlain) was the title character.
The Julie Brown vehicle The Edge never got much past this.
Que Vida Mas Triste had a Back to the Future parody where the main character was sent to the past to make sure his parents got together. Of course, anyone who actually saw the movie knows Marty went to the past to save his life (More or less), accidentally prevented his parents' meeting and THEN tried to get them together. They probably got confused with the second movie where Marty goes to the future to save his son. The worst part? Another Spanish show made the EXACT same mistake.
Averted on RuPaul's Drag Race by Season 4 contestant Chad Michaels. A professional Cher impersonator, he talks about how he doesn't go for the usual mannerisms that other impersonators do that Cher herself actually doesn't.
A notable aversion is "Weird Al" Yankovic's "The Saga Begins," a parody of "American Pie" about Star Wars Episode I, almost entirely before the movie was released. It works because he got all the plot details from fan sites. He also spent $300 to attend an early screening of the film to make sure he had all of the details correct. In fact, he only had to change one detail after the movie came out, because Episode I left it rather vague whether or not Padme and Anakin would marry. Reportedly, when Al sent the song to Lucasfilm for approval, George Lucas himself was impressed at how accurate it was (and he absolutely loved the song on top of that).
Something Awful's "Truth Media" reviews are an intentional combination of this and Stealth Parody in regards to "leaked scripts" of movies and other "sneak-peek" reviews of popular media. A particularly noteworthy example was their Star Wars Episode II "leaked script" review, mostly because pretty much everything they predicted wound up being true.
Truth Media usually tries really hard to get everything wrong so they can post and mock the inevitable replies from Trolls and so-called-experts. The GTA San Andreas review was quite noticeable for getting the main character's name wrong despite knowing his initials.
ThisCracked article that talks about Ang Lee's Hulk movie and how it differed from the comics, saying that The Incredible Hulkdidn't delve into psychological themes and that it spent an odd amount of time focusing on Bruce Banner's father. The thing is, though, Bruce Banner's multiple personality disorder and abusive childhood became a huge part of his mythos starting as far back as the 80s with Joe Fixit (and maybe even earlier than that) and continued during the 90s. Assuming this is still canon then that accounts for over half of the The Hulk's canon.
Pop Culture Shock Therapy uses Shallow Parody as mortar and brick. Every strip is just some random thing happening, only for a random character to be involved and thus... and thus... it is considered a "joke". A highway worker finds a dead cat on the road... ha ha! It's Garfield! A woman making a bed is revealed to sport a tramp-stamp... ha ha! It's Snow White! A person spontaneously combusts and burns to death... ha ha! It's Thing #1 from the Cat in the Hat! Aren't you just killing yourself laughing right now?
When Frank Cho was drawing Liberty Meadows he took plenty of mean-spirited potshots at Peanuts . It's pretty clear from his parodies, though, that he never actually read the strip (at least not as an adult).
This extends to parodies of wrestling fans as well - to this day wrestling fans are still widely portrayed as delusional Basement Dwellers who believe any gimmick, no matter how clownish, to be true - occasionally to the point of outright stalking wrestlers as if they really are their character. A typical wrestling parody will have an Only Sane Man there to point chide the exaggerated fan on not knowing that wrestling is "fake" - despite Kayfabe being for years so widespread that the fact that the audience knows wrestling is scripted is effectively a massive part of both the way wrestling is written and the subculture surrounding it.
Even South Park made this mistake. One of their episodes is all about how wrestling is just soap opera theatrics. In it, the main characters start a wrestling federation and just recite lines, as if they were doing a play. The episode completely ignores the athleticism of wrestling, even ignoring the fact that a wrestling show has, you know, wrestling matches. It also has a Greco-Roman wrestling instructor repeatedly saying professional wresting isn't real, as if that's supposed to somehow invalidate wrestling, or be news for wrestling fans.
After CM Punk no-showed a CHIKARA event and behaved poorly when asked about it, the promotion attempted a Take That with the creation of "CP Munk," a chipmunk version of the wrestler. That was the whole joke.
Every parody of A Prairie Home Companion's Garrison Keillor is based around: "The News From Lake Wobegon" (which is just one segment of a two hour show), his alleged need to "be more funny" (his style of humor is intended to be subtle and whimsical, not broadly comedic, and he also has a strong satirical streak), his excessive folksiness (which is meant to be a bit tongue-in-cheek), and his voice (which is so distinctive that most imitators can't seem to do it properly. A lot of Keillor imitations end up sounding more like Stuart McLean of The Vinyl Cafe.)
The 2000s British radio comedy Atomic Tales parodies 1940s and 1950s American radio sci-fi drama. The only problem is that it largely does so based on the popular conception of what such shows were like rather than what they were actually like. A major feature of the parody is unsubtle, invariably rightwing, "moral lessons" at the end, despite the fact that such radio drama rarely had characters deliver political speeches (not least because they were primarily adventure stories largely intended for children and were supposed to be escapist). Another target of the parody is the notion that science is "evil" despite the fact that such shows often celebrated scientific endeavour and achievement in a way, ironically, that makes them look naive now; the "dire warnings" aspect usually came-about from "mad scientists" who twisted science to evil purposes rather than science being evil itself.
A series of skits in the fourth season parodying Pinocchio bore almost no resemblance to the source material, centering mainly around how Pinocchio was an annoying, wide-eyed and overeager goof who kept getting in Gepetto's way and was oblivious to the fact that his "Papa" absolutely hated him and made several attempts to send him away or even outright murder him. Which is almost the opposite of the original book, where the problem was that Pinocchio kept running away from Gepetto, and was a bit of a Jerk Ass from the start.
The same series had a number of skits parodying the Stargate Verse, all of which are solely built around the premise of people getting reprimanded for throwing their rubbish into the Stargate, or using it as a supply cabinet, or a toilet, etc.
Most obvious (and obviously deliberate) of all were the "Lazy Writer" sketches, in which they played a pair of writers who couldn't be bothered to research medicine/sci-fi/spying before writing their drama series, and so got even fairly basic details wrong. (Similar sketches also appeared in That Mitchell and Webb Look).
Plastic Serpent in Dino Attack RPG served no other purpose than to make Snake look better by comparison (which he failed at doing), and provide an allegory about how Solid Snake supposedly ripped off Snake Plissken. The problem was that Atton Rand had never played Metal Gear, and was making his case based on very flimsy evidence (namely a few message board conversations) that turned out to be easily disproven.
Stand Up Comedy
Pretty much any parody of Jerry Seinfeld will include the line "What's the deal with airline food?" Jerry's entire stand-up career was based around the fact that he tackled much more esoteric subjects than the standard hack topics of airline food. He did, however, use the line in an SNL sketch about a game show of Seinfeldian comedians.
Jerry Seinfeld does have material on airlines and flying however, though the most famous bit is probably the one about the slot for used razor blades in the bathroom; some shows, like Family Guy, have actually referenced that joke directly. He also has a bit mocking the size of the bags of peanuts on airplanes, which may be where the "airline food" parody jokes come from (assuming it's not meant to be a general observational joke in his style, or just plain poorly researched).
The Drowsy Chaperonepurports to be a forgotten Broadway musical from 1928, but bears very little resemblance (especially in its songs) to the musicals of The Twenties it aims to parody. This may have to do with actual musicals of the period being rarely seen on stage generations later except in Adaptation Decayed revival editions. The review at TalkinBroadway.com even pointed out that complete cast recordings of shows weren't made back then, which means that the musical theater fans the show is meant to appeal to will realize this is shallow almost immediately. (A more accurate Affectionate Parody of these shows is The Boy Friend, which was written in the 1950s.)
Parodies of/jokes about Cirque du Soleil, no matter the medium, can wind up as this. Apparently, everybody in a given troupe is French or French-Canadian, they spend the whole show posing or contorting pretentiously if they aren't weird clowns who accost helpless audience members — as in an Expedia.com ad with a man's Imagine Spot having him pulled on stage to have a smiley face painted on his stomach — and it's all boring, needlessly expensive, and incomprehensible. This is a side effect of Cirque being a Love It or Hate It thing, possibly in conjunction with its perceived "unmanliness".
This is Older Than Feudalism. Aristophanes' portrayal of Socrates in The Clouds has pretty much nothing to do with Socrates' actual views as a philosopher, and treats him as a combination of a pre-Socratic natural philosopher and a rhetorician. It also includes the common misconception of natural philosophers as atheists (which they generally weren't). Unfortunately, the misconceptions voiced by the play were partially responsible for Socrates' execution.
The Gex series was about a wise-cracking Gecko going into shallow parodies of pop culture. Notably, some levels can't even decide what they're parodying.
Most parodies of Pokémon Red and Blue (and you'd be lucky to find a parody about the later games that's not made by actual Pokémon fans) will name the main character "Ash" and give him his anime counterpart Ash's personality, when the game character's actual name is Red. Likewise, his rival will be named Gary instead of Blue, and if Team Rocket shows up, they'll usually be the more-or-less anime-exclusive Jessie, James and Meowth. In general, the parody will base itself mostly on the anime, even though it's quite different from the games. Even parodies made by gamers and fans are, at times, guilty of this.
Even Pokémon appearances on other games use the anime for judgment. For example, in Super Smash Bros. a lot of people use the anime for basis on wondering why certain decisions are made. People wondered why Ivysaur was used for one of Pokémon Trainer's Pokémon as Ash never had one, disregarding his appearance being based on the games rather than the anime. Jigglypuff is another example, as people citing her as The Artifact because she never appeared in the anime anymore, despite the fact that Jigglypuff as a species is still very popular.
Thelemite. It's a fairly good game on its own merits, but as a parody of Prototype, it sort of kind of resemble the original game if you squint, and seems to have been written by someone who heard a summary of the game and once saw a picture of Alex Mercer. For starters, their Mercer stand-in becomes a "mutant ninja" who flies around kicking people complete with Power Glows and Kiai. This is roughly the equivalent of a parody of The Incredible Hulk that's utterly convinced the Hulk is a physically-ten-year-oldRobot Girl whose primary form of attack is an exploding Rocket Punch — the character is entirely unrelated, and although the attack does somewhat resemble something in their arsenal, it gets almost every other detail of it wrong.
Damn near any parody of Shenmue will invariably center around Ryo looking for "sailors." While it is pretty funny out of context, it's also a plot point that gets resolved in about five minutes near the start of the game.
An advertisement for the racing game blur acts like the Mario Kart games are kiddie games that are about "making friends" rather than competition. Only the complete opposite is true, especially in online races with other players. Wi-Fi competitions can be brutal.
The movie Dragon Brain in Grand Theft Auto IV appears to be a parody of High Fantasy films in general, but most of the jokes are about merchandising and CGI, rather than about typical fantasy movie cliches. (Though it's also at least a bit hilarious in hindsight due to Peter Jackson engaging in relentless mercantile greed by making THREE MOVIES out of The Hobbit.)
One of the enemies one may encounter in one of the underwater zones Kingdom of Loathing is a malevolent sponge. While Sponge Bob Square Pants references were perhaps inevitable, most of the jokes encountered in its various battle messages revolve around how SpongeBob lives in a pineapple and how dumb that is and the show's annoyingTitle Theme Tune, giving the impression that none of the game's writers actually watched the cartoon in question.
Quite a few of Parroty Interactive's parody "games", if not all of them are subject to this, including Microshaft Windblows, a Microsoft parody created during their anti-trust scandal days, which never seems to go beyond jokes revolving around nerd stereotypes, "Windows crashes a lot" and "Bill Gates is a Corrupt Corporate Executive," when it isn't getting facts about Microsoft outright wrong.
There's also Pyst, a parody of Myst with a promising premise (what if millions of people went to Myst before the player and left the island a vandalized wreck?,) but unfortunately makes only a few token attempts at humor that actually have something to do with the game (mostly just revolving around giving everyone Punny Names) before just devolving into Toilet Humor, unrelated pop-culture references, and silly voices.
Modern Warfare is often mocked for being a bellicose right-wing power fantasy, as in Duty Calls. But the series (particularly the second game) are actually anti-nationalist, where both sides inflame and exploit people's patriotism to get them to fight wars. The fact that the player characters don't question the Patriotic Fervor is what seems to throw players for a loop.
Similarly, Show Within a ShowPrincess Robot Bubblegum in Grand Theft Auto IV ended up with a Broken Base, accused of being another retread of the same tired anime jokes (tentacles, oversexualized schoolgirls, "Look how weird Japan is", etc.)
ThisPHD strip was apparently written by someone whose entire understanding of MythBusters comes from the commercials — especially seeing how there's hardly an episode where they don't use a control in their experiments. While they openly admit that most of the science that goes into each episode is left on the cutting room floor due to time constraints, their methodology does not exactly boil down to "blow something up and call it science". Thisxkcd provides a nice counterpoint.
Lil' Formers seems to think that all of the humor in Transformers came from endless repetitions of "more than meets the eye". The quotation was only used twice; once by Optimus Prime at the end, and again by Sam near the beginning, and even then he remarks on how lame his use of it was.
Anytime Lil' Formers parodies Transformers that aren't Generation 1, this trope comes in full effect. The films, Transformers Animated, the Unicron Trilogy... Eventually, Shortpacked! did a strip parodying Moylan's tendencies to not research his stuff at all and only mock them because they're "new" and "not G1".
Unwinder's Tall Comics: The Rant for this pagediscusses this trope. Parker noted that everybody and their mother has parodied Citizen Kane at some point, but the majority seem to only reference the scenes (the bit about the sled, "Rosebud", etc) that have spread via Popcultural Osmosis. Parker deliberately set out to avoid doing that with his parody, so he imagined a Citizen Kane sequel made by a director who's obviously familiar with the original but still managed to completely miss the point. Furthermore, Parker wasn't content to simply make "the Citizen Kane parody for people who actually watched the film"—he referenced a subplot that was left out of the finished film, making his comic into "the Citizen Kane parody for people who read the screenplay".
In-universe in Bobwhite. Cleo tries to play an ironic ukelele cover version of Lady Gaga's "Born This Way". She gets a few lines in before admitting that she's never actually listened to the song.
The Bob the Angry Flower parody of Atlas Shrugged is built around the heroes being unwilling to take upon themselves the responsibilities of rebuilding society, despite spending the last third of the book in a commune seemingly devoted entirely to demonstrating they could.
Mondo Media's Like News shorts repeat one point without parodying much of the content. For example, Charlie Brown is old, or Indiana Jones is old. That's it.
Homestar Runner's stock anime parody Stinkoman 20X6. Possibly an in-universe example as it was created by Strong Bad, whose knowledge on the subject is limited to having seen one of them once in The Eighties, back when it was okay to call it Japanimation.
The Editing Room is a satirical website consisting of "abridged screenplays", whereby the author takes the mickey out of a film by having its character hang lampshades all over the place and by snarking away at story points. Most are quite clever, but after a while some seem juvenile and shallow. Things get worse when you realize that a few times the writer doesn't even bother to do any research into the background of the movie, or at times doesn't appropriately represent the story.
Peter Coffin's parodies of the New Moon trailers are the Tropes Are Not Bad version of this trope. It's also Justified, as the intention was to fool Twilight fangirls into thinking they were the real trailers - so he had to make them right after said trailers were first released. And it works; if the videos themselves aren't hilarious enough for you, the angry responses from fans about how they were TRICKED!!!!1111 will be.
Invoked in MSF High, in-game. Lily, when asked to cosplay as her boyfriend, instead did a Shallow Parody of RPG heroes, of which her boyfriend, Drake, is a Deconstruction/Reconstruction.
College Humor did a video parody about bronies which was pretty much just a montage of generic nerd jokes with a My Little Pony colored coat of paint on it (coincidentally, it also manages to be a Shallow Parody of Friendship is Magic at the same time, by having the pony figures talk about stereotypical Girly Girl things.)
Later episodes aren't even so much a parody of the show as they are LK using the same three catchphrases fifty times apiece.
YouTube contributor Ben Loka posted a video titled "My Life: if it were an episode of Lost" which wasn't completely accurate. At the end, he apologizes to other LOST fans, admits that the video was nothing like the show, and recommends watching the actual show which he says is much better.
4chan's "Fourth Wave Feminism" hoax, in which the /b/tards opened fake Twitter accounts and faked images in Photoshop to tried to create a social-media trend via hashtag of feminism that supposedly glorified thin, sexy bodies via the "bikini bridge" and "free bleeding", thus creating a civil war among feminists, "was fatally flawed from the very beginning because [/b/] has no grasp of the different waves of feminism," as The Daily Dotput it.
"Free bleeding", at least, did catch on among some genuine feminists, so the fatality of the flaw is debatable.
The Nostalgia Critic usually averts this, doing at least cursory research so a joke works. However he can sometimes slip into it with stuff he doesn't know much about:
The review of Sharknado had a painfully shallow parody of MythBusters that seemed to think the entire show was blowing things up with no regard to actual science. It was like they were trying to parody the show based on having seen a couple of commercials. This especially comes through in their portrayal of Kari Bryon, who in the video is implied to only be on the show for there to be a hot chick who makes bad puns, when she is actually just as involved in the show's physical processes as the rest of the male team.
His Sailor Moon review had a lot of Critical Research Failure, which caused quite a bit of fan complaints and some to think that he hadn't bothered watching any of the show before the review.
His jokes about My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic veer into this. Doug Walker said in commentary he only saw one or two episodes and doesn't think it's particularly bad, despite the fact that the Critic mocked it in many of his reviews (he does it three times in Ghost Rider!). Though he's since seen a few episodes and admitted it's not bad like he thought it would be.
He also tends to criticize Harry Potter a lot, specifically in regards to The Chosen One plot, on the basis that having the entire Wizarding world just instantly dub somebody as their hero and saviour would not be healthy for a young kid. Which, of course, is one of the main themes of the books. (It rather seems like all he knows of the series comes from the films and Popcultural Osmosis).
Doug also borrowed a Shallow Parody joke from Family Guy at least four times in his own reviews in which Randy Newman is depicted as if he is nothing more than someone who writes songs about stuff he sees around him. Both the Family Guy writers as Doug don't seem to know one bit about Newman, apart from his signature voice, which is imitated as if he's some kind of mentally retarded idiot. For the record: Newman has never remotely recorded any song that justifies these parodies and actually writes songs about far more adult topics that one would assume on basis of these spoofs.
The Cinema Snob: Brad Jones based his reviewer persona on your typical snobbish movie critic, complete with making shoutouts to pretentious film directors such a critic would like. The main inspiration is Roger Ebert, whom Brad actually respects. When you check out many of Brad's other reviews and movie discussions on his site you quickly notice that the character is mostly based around his dislike of pretentious arthouse movies and the critics who tend to praise these movies instead of the exploitation films he enjoys. Brad has admitted he's never actually seen many of the arthouse films he has his character praising. So, in a sense, he's attacking an entire movie genre that he really doesn't watch and has a preconceived dislike of, making it very unfair to act as if all these movies are all the same kind of needlessly ununderstandeable and pretentious unwatchable nonsense.
The episode "Jakovasaurs". The Phantom Menace wasn't out when this was made, so all they had to make fun of Jar Jar was the trailer. Yet it kinda works because it shows they knew, as they stated, "This is the new Ewok! This is what's going to ruin the movie!" Still, it's often listed around the worst episodes of the series.
In the commentary for the episode, Matt and Trey said that Matt had, in fact, seen the film, and the blatant similarities between the two parodies was because of a miscommunication (to wit, they only had one chance to see the movie before the episode's deadline and had to consult outside sources to fill in on some details they didn't have time to go back and rewatch).
Many Phish fans have criticized the episode "Die, Hippie, Die" for making the band's music seem much more simple, repetitive, and drug-dependent than it really is.
Their parody of Ghost Hunters seems to have heard about the "Dude, run!" meme and ran with it. First of all, the guy who said that was the only example of anyone ever panicking during the show, and he never lived it down. The two main characters (who were being parodied), do the exact opposite. They're more attracted to an area if there seems to be something unnatural going on. Likewise, it portrayed them as coming to the conclusion that everything was a ghost. In the early seasons especially (when this parody was made), they spent a good chunk of an episode disproving most (if not all) of the claims (in fact, the early show was a lot more about helping normal people feel safe in their homes and not about catching ghosts). Infamously, Jason would often declare, at the end of an episode, that a place was not haunted, even if they still had a pile of evidence that they could not debunk.
Al Gore is frequently depicted as a buffoon in a cape talking about "Manbearpig", which has no base in reality or references anything remotedly in line with Gore's sayings, deeds or actions.
The whole concept of "Princess Kenny" seems like Matt & Trey watched exactly one episode of any arbitrary magical girl series, crammed together a few rainbow/kawaii/pink dresses jokes and called it a day. Oddly enough, because the duo should be familiar enough with Japanese culture. After the excellent Ninja episode and the deconstruction of the "Pokémon fad", this seemed like a pretty lousy effort.
Paul Walker: We're going to have to go... Into The Blue! Jessica Alba: Into the blue? Paul Walker: Into the blue
... Jessica Alba: I'm in a bikini! Paul Walker: I do lots of situps...
One Pokémon parody wasn't much better. It involves Pikachu and Squirtle babbling nonsensically at each other in Pokémon Speak for several seconds until Squirtle gets fed up and starts ranting about how stupid the show is, yelling at viewers to read a book or something. The anime never did this; on the rare occasion that conversations between Pokemon were focused on (the main characters were, in fact humans, and the focus was on them), it was typically arranged so that it would be possible to guess at what they were saying based on context, body language, and facial expressions. Whenever the intended dialogue was too specific for that, subtitles were added.
An episode mocking The Golden Girls features Blanche accidentally killing a man during, well, what Blanche is known for; and Rose is suprised at this being possible. In the original series, a running joke was that was how Rose's husband (and some boyfriends) died.
An episode mocking iCarly consistently poked fun at how morbidly obese Gibby is, despite the fact that the actor had lost the weight years ago.
Often with internet parodies, they'll even go so far as to make it a shallow parody of Japanese culture, playing into the stereotype that Japanese men are all anti-social otaku obsessed with tentacle rape.
And tentacle rape itself results in a lot of shallow parody, as it's actually considered a niche market in Japan.
There was something resembling an anime parody on the Season 12 episode "HOMR". While at an animation convention, Bart and Lisa watch a Japanese cartoon (which Bart refers to as "Japanimation", a term which hasn't seen much use since The Eighties) in which a robot-wolf-like creature captures a female warrior who turns into a prawn and destroys the robo-wolf, who then turns into a pair of wind-up shoes and walks away. So the point Al Jean (the episode writer) is making is "Ha-ha-ha, anime is weird" (which Bart and Lisa lampshade). Oddly, it seemed more like a parody of American science-fantasy cartoons from the '80s (He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983), Thundarr the Barbarian etc.) than actual anime. Same thing with the "Battling Seizure Robots" parody from Season 10's "Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo" (though that was more of a reference to that infamous Pokémon episode "Electric Soldier Porygon", which was banned after viewers suffered seizures).
Of course, there is a homage counterbalance — one of the couch gags is Japan-themed and adds Ultraman (complete with his famous attacks) and Jun the Swan among other things.
As the title implies, Season 23's "The D'oh-cial Network" is established as a parody of a certain 2010 film. The similarities are more or less restricted to: Lisa starting a FacebookExpy networking site; use of Radiohead's Creep (used in the trailer, not the actual film); cameo by Armie Hammer. It seems like the writers watched a trailer for The Social Network before penning this one.
And let's not forget the parody of The O.C., which DID get the title, theme song and general age ("young") of the characters right, but only featured two lines of dialogue ("-I can't believe you cheated on me! -Well, that's how it goes down in the O.C.") followed by a montage to the main theme, with some guys (one of whom is dressed in a Snoopy suit) walking cheerfully down the street, visiting an amusement park and withdrawing some money from an ATM while being held at gunpoint by the guy in the Snoopy suit. What any of this has to do with the series is a mystery.
Whenever "South Park" is referenced usually the line "Oh my God, they killed Kenny" is spoofed, a joke the makers of "South Park" haven't used for years anymore.
One episode had a Precious parody that consisted solely of jokes about how fat the lead actress was. This may be somewhat justified as the movie's subject matter is very family-unfriendly.
A parody of Tintin in the episode "Husbands and Knives" referenced the moon rocket from "Explorers to the Moon", the isle of "The Black Island", Captain Haddock, Thompson, Thompson, Snowy and Tintin's Belgian nationality. Apart from that the general tone or style of the series wasn't satirized at all.
For a dizzying combination of the traits described above, there's the recurring Pokémon parody Tinymon in Johnny Test, whose hero looks like Ash Ketchum but acts more like a Bruce Lee parody and, naturally, talks like Speed Racer. The "Tinymon" also have more complex and unnatural appearances making them look more like Digimon than Pokémon.
A lot of animated shows parody comic book superheroes. Almost all of them act as if comic books stopped being published after the Silver Age and the last comic book adaption released was the Adam WestBatman series.
And some go into the notion that Superheroes aren't about fighting evil but violence and that every supervillain in the history is Card-Carrying Villain.
An episode of Drawn Together included Daria as a victim of torture in Hot Topic's basement. She quips this is men's fault, which is missing the point, since she tends to be misanthropic towards everyone regardless of gender. (The mischaracterization was probably because Daria looks so much like the stereotypical Straw Feminist, being "ugly" and all.)
A Robot Chicken episode also featured a parody of Ms. Morgendorffer... or rather, Mr. Morgendorffer. In the segment, sometime after the events of the show and being interviewed by Michael Moore in a "Where Are They Now? 90s" send-up, Daria became a post-op FTM transgender person named Daryl. Daryl drolly explained the procedure to Moore, who in turn lost his lunch. That was based on the other generalized misperception (by many who didn't watch the show as well as some of the characters in the show itself) of Daria as being emotionless or "The Misery Chick". Being Robot Chicken, though, it's entirely conceivable they made the parody for the people who didn't watch Daria.
This trailer for a canceled animated movie called Blue Planet begins with a rather shallow parody of Toy Story and A Bug's Life.
The movie itself was eventually released as an FMV On-Rails shooter called Deadly Tide.
The Futurama episode that does the show in different styles (Classic animation, Video games, and Anime). Most anime fans agree that the anime skit was bad for this reason. Although this is more a case of said fans missing the point, as the three skits were of specific eras of their given mediums (1920's black and white animation, 1980's 8-bit era games, and early limited animation Anime). The anime parody wasn't meant to involve all anime, the anime fans simply judge the skit as if it was supposed to.
Also, in spite of the joke about how they'll have to continue the movie with Danny Elfman after John Williams kicks it, Elfman doesn't conduct his scores.
In general, Family Guy has a tendency to fall victim to this whenever they feel like inserting a mean-spirited Take That at a show that the writers don't like.
Many things "Family Guy" tries to pose off as "parodies" actually feel more like random plagiarism.
The infamous "Randy Newman sings about whatever he sees in his vicinity" joke. The writers only seen to have chosen him because it's an easy voice to imitate. For the record: Newman is actually a very accomplished protest writer and satirist who writes about very adult topics. Yes, it's VERY obvious the writers have no clue who he is.
The Phineas and Ferb episode "Wizard of Odd" is a dream sequence inspired by the book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz — Candace is explicitly shown to be reading the book before the dream sequence occurs. Except that it continually takes its cues from the MGM film, from the appearance of the characters, to a joke about the film-exclusive hourglass scene, to using the film version of the arrival in Oz as the basis of its equivalent segment — said scene is different in nearly every detail between the two versions. Justified in that she reads the book for all but 2 seconds before being interrupted.