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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 
  • Anger Management: Lucy says, "Cross my heart and hope to die, as crimson tears flow from my eyes" (downplayed though, since the original poem still involves injuries and hoping to die).

    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.
  • 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 (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 
  • Family Guy frequently makes dark parodies of movies, TV shows, etc., particularly during their cutaway gags. For example, "Meet the Quagmires" has a parody of the intro to The Jetsons where George and Jane end up arguing because she took too much money.
  • Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law usually plays with this trope, showing classic Hanna-Barbera characters in a dark and twisted tone but Played for Laughs. One example is an episode where The Flintstones (and especially Fred) are shown as The Sopranos.
  • Many of the parodies on Robot Chicken are dark:
    • In their parody of Wonder Pets!, the Wonder Pets accidentally take a calf to the slaughterhouse due to thinking it was a comedy club because the "S" was missing, so it read "laughterhouse".
    • In their parody of The Jetsons, George is killed, presumably by Rosie, and in another Jetsons parody, Elroy is killed by aliens.
    • In their parody of Calvin and Hobbes, Calvin is dangerously delusional, as he kills his parents and blames it on Hobbes, eventually ending up in an insane asylum.
    • In the parody of Happy Days, Ralph dies and Fonzie tries to resurrect him but turns him into a zombie instead. Ralph then turns Potsie and Richie into zombies and Richie tells Fonzie to kill him so he doesn't turn into one.
    • Their attempt at a Toy Story 4 trailer (released long before the real one was starting production at Disney) followed the same idea of Andy being grown up... the difference being that he became a junkie and used Buzz as a makeshift bong, causing so much damage to him that Woody is forced to give him a Mercy Kill.
    • They showcase a "realistic" epilogue to Revenge of the Nerds that has the whole cast of nerds arrested, sentenced for multiple crimes including sexual harassment and rape, and slaughtered in jail.
    • Two separate sketches showcase G.I. Joe as so utterly useless (Awesome, but Impractical at best) that they are utterly massacred by a single sniper and Taliban insurgents, respectively. The latter sketch also sees Cobra Commander and his inner circle completely slaughtered by SEAL Team Six, because the SEALs are, comparatively, a No-Nonsense Nemesis.
    • Another sketch poked fun at both their Hollywood Tactics and the franchise's gimmick of "all of the Joes have a code-name" by having the Joes giving a rookie an Embarrassing Nickname ("Fumbles"), and this rookie finding it so annoying that he quits the Joes and slaughtering them all in a sniper rampage, which the Joes cannot do anything about because they don't do the typical things the military would do if there's a sniper around, like ducking for cover.
    • Their skit parodying iCarly starts with Carly getting her nudes leaked online and ends with her father having a Heroic BSoD and nuking Iran.
    • The obligatory SpongeBob SquarePants short involves the Krusty Krab using fish meat as the secret ingredient, essentially turning everyone in Bikini Bottom into cannibals.
    • Their Homestar Runner parody had the government raid Free Country, USA due to mistaking Strong Badia as a sepratist enclave. Several characters die in the ensuing chaos.
    • A sketch parodying Gullah Gullah Island has Binyah Binyah turn out to be a fugitive criminal who was wearing a tadpole costume and living with the Gullah family to hide from the cops, who end up forcing him to blow his cover when they find and threaten to shoot him.
    • A spoof of Curious George has George turn out to be a carrier for a lethal virus (with the first person infected by him being The Man in the Yellow Hat) and the city he's in being nuked to prevent the infection from spreading anywhere else.
  • The Simpsons:
  • Teen Titans Go! is a Denser and Wackier spin-off of Teen Titans with a heavy reliance on Black Comedy and the main cast frequently depicted as far meaner and crueler than they were in the original show.
  • The Venture Bros.
    • Their take on Hanna-Barbera classics like Jonny Quest and Scooby-Doo is absolutely merciless, the former by way of constantly deconstructing how living a life like Jonny's is highly traumatizing (even showing a grown-up Jonny at one point, who had turned into a nerve-wrecked drug addict) and the latter by having an Expy group show up who were quite visibly supposed to be the Scooby gang but also were composites with well-known scumbags of the Seventies like Patty Hearst (a kidnapped "Daphne" suffering from Stockholm syndrome), Valerie Solanas (a violent misandrist radical feminist lesbian "Velma"), David "the Son of Sam" Berkowitz (a "Shaggy" who is the only one who can "hear" what "Scooby" said) and Ted Bundy ("Freddy").
    • Rusty's father, Dr. Jonas Venture, is one to Doc Savage, an uber-macho world-traveling crimefighter and super-scientist, but Jonas was also an Abusive Parent and Manipulative Bastard.
    • The titular brothers are this to The Hardy Boys in that they're repeatedly shown as being Too Dumb to Live and very much in over their heads, and in fact have repeatedly died and subsequently cloned by their father.
    • The Impossibles are this to the Fantastic Four. Professor Richard Impossible (Mister Fantastic) is an abusive sexist who ultimately becomes a villain, Sally's (Invisible Woman) skin becomes invisible whenever she's not actively concentrating to keep it visible, Cody (Human Torch) flames on in contact from oxygen but can't turn them off and can feel the burns despite being impervious to them, and Ned (The Thing) is more like a giant callous than a giant rock.
    • "The Terminus Mandate" features Blind Rage, an egotistical jerkass Daredevil knockoff.
  • Bambi Meets Godzilla. At least if you take it as a parody of Bambi, rather than of Godzilla.
  • The New Adventures of the Wonder Twins consists of a send-up of Superfriends where the Wonder Twins Zan and Jayna, thanks to being completely incompetent as well as the series sharply averting Talking Is a Free Action, horribly screw up their attempts at rescuing people and the teens they try to save end up dying as a result.

 
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Calvin and Hobbes parody

Calvin goes insane and kills his parents.

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