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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, 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.


Examples:

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    Comic Books 
  • Brat Pack is a vicious parody of Teen Titans and Young Allies in which the Robin analogue is a child-molestation victim (with his molester being the Batman analogue), the Wonder Girl analogue is a promiscuous airhead, the Speedy analogue is a drunk, and the Bucky analogue is a racist steroid-abuser. And their mentors are all horrible degenerates who regularly abuse them and intend to kill and replace them with a new batch of kids.

    Fan Works 
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    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 
  • In The Addams Family, there's an in-universe example: Wednesday Addams writes a version of Little Red Riding Hood where Red Riding Hood dies.
  • Saturday Night Live:
    • The "You're A Champion, Charlie Brown" sketch from the Season 24 episode hosted by Brendan Fraser gives a realistic and depressing spin on the old "Lucy pulls the football away from Charlie Brown" gag, in that Charlie Brown's typical fall on his back causes a fatal head injury and all that Lucy, Linus, and Franklin can do is despair and yell at Lucy that this is her fault.
    • The "Clark Kent" sketch from Season 25 hosted by Dwayne Johnson presented Superman as someone so incompetent in general, but more specifically at doing his signature Clark Kenting that everybody else in the Daily Planet was utterly sick of having him around and ended up convincing him to kill a person (by accident in Superman's case, but still) by pretending that said person was a super-villain, so Superman would end up in jail and they wouldn't have to deal with him ever again.
  • An in-universe example in Star Trek: Voyager. The doctor sings a version of "Rock-a-Bye Baby" and changes it from the baby's cradle falling out of a tree (already kind of dark) to a shuttle the baby was on exploding.
    Seven of Nine: "Are you trying to soothe the baby to sleep or traumatise her?"
  • The Boys (2019) plays up the Black Comedy side of the original graphic novel (a Deconstructor Fleet for superheroes and the comic book industry) to prevent it from turning too grim, and becomes this in the process.

    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 disembodied.
  • 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.
    Video Games 

    Web Animation 

    Web Comics 

    Web Videos 
  • 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.
  • Paint:
    • 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's case, "I Just Can't Wait to Be King".
    • 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.
  • Planet Dolan's nursery rhyme parodies are often dark:
    • Their parody for "Hickory Dickory Dock" involves spooky things such as green goo and ten thousand Krakens.
    • Their parody for "I'm a Little Teapot" involves the teapot turning its water corrosive unintentionally and accidentally injuring a dog and killing another teapot.
  • 50% OFF is a parody of Free!. While the original anime does occasionally tackle dark topics, it remains a relatively optimistic anime about four friends forming a swimming club. Notable changes in the parody include giving the main character Split Personalities, turning the optimistic and cheerful Cloudcuckoolander onto a trash-talking Gayngster, and characterizing the Comically Serious new recruit as a Serial Killer.

    Western Animation 

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