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Dark Parody

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Lots of works, especially if they're very popular or unpopular, have parodies. Parodies are meant to be a joke, but some people have a dark sense of humour, and that's when the Dark Parody comes in.

Quite often, the work being parodied is very upbeat and they make it dark for absurdist humour. There are a lot of typical ways writers could make a parody dark:

  • If the characters do something that would be dangerous in real life, such as climbing on buildings, the parody might have a character get hurt or die as a result of doing it.
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  • If two characters are in a romantic relationship, often an official couple, the parody might have them break up or turn one into an abusive partner or adulterer, or both.
  • If a character is very cute and/or virtuous, the parodist might kill that character off or rewrite him/her as evil. Stock ways of rewriting characters as evil include turning them into mass murderers, having a pet turn out to be sapient and evil, and making them prejudiced (antisemitism is a common one due to the association with Adolf Hitler). Also, characters who are antagonists but not all bad (such as the Hero Antagonist, Anti-Villain, or Harmless Villain) will be made more evil.
  • Any character who acts high without actually doing drugs will be turned into a real druggie.
  • If a character is eccentric, s/he'll be rewritten as actually insane, sometimes Ax-Crazy. Similarly, if someone is a pessimist or cries easily, the parody might show him with full-blown depression, and if a character scares easily, it might show him/her with an actual anxiety disorder.
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  • If there's an unlucky character, the parody might have that character either "snap" and turn evil due to frustration or be even unluckier than in canon.
  • Other things that happen a lot in dark parodies include a character mistakenly thinking nothing bad is happening and goofy characters continuing to act goofy even when serious things happen.

See also Dark Fic, which can overlap with this trope if it's a Parody Fic. For dark things that happen in the work itself, see Cerebus Syndrome, Darker and Edgier, and Unexpectedly Dark Episode. Also see Subverted Kids Show, which is a dark parody of a whole genre, and Corrupted Character Copy for cases where a character darkly parodies another. Compare Fractured Fairy Tale, although do note that the original versions of some fairy tales were pretty dark and not all Fractured Fairy Tales are dark.

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Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Brat Pack is a vicious Take That! towards Young Allies and the Silver Age Teen Titans in which the Robin analogue is molested by the Batman Parody, the Wonder Girl analogue is a promiscuous airhead, the Speedy analogue is a drug addict, and the Bucky Barnes analogue is a racist steroid-abuser. And their mentors are all horrible degenerates who regularly abuse them and intend to kill them just so they won't have to share royalties once they turn 18.
  • Cinema Purgatorio has a retelling of It's a Wonderful Life in which George Bailey is nearly killed by a series of accidents - only to find himself unharmed, the fatal experiences being endured by people who look only somewhat like him. Eventually, he's approached by a stuntman in place of Clarence; he explains that they're in a movie and that for every fatal incident he experiences, a stunt double has to endure it for the sake of the scene. Unfortunately, far from teaching him to respect the rights of the poor stunt doubles who suffer in his stead, this lecture teaches Bailey that he is effectively immortal, and he uses this new power to turn the tables on Mr Potter, kill him and take over the town - at the cost of yet another stuntman being shot down by Potter's bodyguards. At the end, George is keeping Mr Potter's severed head impaled on a paper spike as a memento.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • In Bee Movie, when the bees are locking up the bears because bears kill bees, one of them is Winnie-the-Pooh.
  • With a heavy emphasis on dark, the first segment of Where the Dead Go to Die, "Spoiled Milk", was intended to be a Black Comedy parody of Lassie, with the Lassie parody being...outright demonic in nature. However, when it turned out to actually terrify viewers, the rest of the film was made as a straight horror flick.

    Literature 

    Live-Action TV 

    Music 
  • One popular parody of "Joy to the World" involves schoolchildren celebrating their teacher's death, lighting her head on fire, and flushing the rest of her down the toilet until it clogs. Other variations have them celebrating the school burning down, or swapping out the teacher with the principal or Barney.
  • Okilly Dokilly is a heavy metal band where the members dress as Ned Flanders from The Simpsons and act out gory scenes. The Simpsons is no stranger to dark humour, but Ned Flanders is a very polite, friendly guy.
  • "Laverne and Shirley Lose Everything in a Catastrophic Fire" is a parody of the Laverne & Shirley theme song with lyrics such as "Every dream we had cannot come true" and "There is nowhere for us to go now."
  • One parody of "Jingle Bells" involves Santa dying.
  • In this so-called Literal Music Video for "Something There" from Beauty and the Beast, everybody is trying to murder one another.
  • Koit did a dark parody of "Heads, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes" by revealing at the end that the body parts were severed and kept in jars by a deranged Serial Killer collecting them.
  • Songdrops:
    • "The Wheels on the Bus are Falling Off" is a parody of "The Wheels on the Bus", where the bus's wheels are falling off, there are zombies and "kind-of-mad" snakes on the bus, the engine is on fire, the children are all screaming, and nobody knows where the first aid kit is.
    • Several parodies in "The (Not Exactly) Nursery Rhyme Song":
      • In "Hickory Dickory Dock", the mouse puts the cat into a headlock.
      • In "Jack and Jill", Jill's father says, "Step away from my daughter!" to Jack.
      • In "Old Mother Hubbard", Mother Hubbard breaks three of her bones after slipping on a crack.
    • "The 13 Nights of Halloween" is a parody of "The 12 Days of Christmas" that involves witches sending the protagonist spooky things such as creepy dolls and ghosts.
  • "Super Bad Transmittable Contagious Awful Virus!" by Daniel Matarazzo is a parody of "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" (of Mary Poppins) describing how awful the COVID-19 coronavirus is and to please keep social distancing.

    Video Games 

    Web Animation 

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • The Reddit page /r/2meirl4meirl takes common memes and makes them extremely bitter and self-deprecating.
  • "Hatsune Miku created X", a meme where a controvertial figure who created a popular property is Unpersoned and replaced by the much more beloved character, has two common dark parodies: either Miku is credited for heinous acts as well (ex: Jack the Ripper was controversial, so it was really Miku who killed all those prostitutes) or Miku develops a Cult of Personality that credits her with everything.

    Web Videos 
  • A number of abridged series videos exaggerate or warp the character's personalities, often beyond recognition, for laughs.
  • Lasagna Cat is a Garfield parody with a lot of Surreal Horror and dark mockery of the source material, which is acted out with a creepy-looking Garfield costume, and then mocked further in a weird skit. "Sex Survey Results" took it even farther, with the ending consisting of nightmarish imagery and the suffering of an older Jon Arbuckle/Jim Davis.
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    • The "After Ever After" series, which pokes dark fun at Disney Animated Canon, as the characters sing about what happened "after" their films ended. The jokes often mirror modern-day issues, such as Simba's pride going extinct, and they're all sung to the tune of an actual Disney song: like, in The Lion King (1994)'s case, "I Just Can't Wait to Be King". Some of them instead discuss what happened during the time period the film is set.
    • In a collab with Peter Hollens, they created a "Boy Band" parody, poking fun at *NSYNC, One Direction, The Jonas Brothers and Backstreet Boys, changing the lyrics of their songs to make fun of what the bands went or were going through in real-life...ending on the light note of The Backstreet Boys' continuation as a band.

    Western Animation 

 
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Laverne and Shirley parody

A parody of the intro to "Laverne and Shirley", about the covid-19 pandemic.

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