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Deconstructive Parody

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"If you are in the market for easy laughs, you learn that two well-tried ways are either to trip up a cliche or take things absolutely literally."

Most parodies work in a light hearted manner, taking the basic plot of the thing they parody and making it humorous. The giant space station may have wiped out half the Earth in the original, but in the parody only some unimportant Acceptable Targets got destroyed, and Hilarity Ensues.

Then, there are these. Where the parody might have made the plot silly and lighthearted, the Deconstructive Parody plays exactly like any other Deconstruction, in that everything is treated as if it were to really happen — it's just that humour is still drawn from the original story, while also serving to show what would really happen.

In a Deconstructive Parody the giant space station will still wipe out half the Earth, and although the characters will reflect on this tragedy and take it seriously, it will still be presented humorously. Maybe all that's left are the Acceptable Targets, or perhaps the doomsday device is entirely ridiculous and non-threatening in conception, yet still works. Either way, what matters is that the plot is still treated as real, and plays out tropes as you would expect from a typical Deconstruction.


Just to note, a bunch of Lampshade Hangings don't really count, so this may not necessarily include an Abridged Series, or some Webcomics.

Compare and Contrast with: Black Comedy and Satire, Affectionate Parody, Dark Parody, Decon-Recon Switch.


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  • This Sprite commercial gleefully deconstructs and parodies the usage of advertising characters appearing in the real world alongside real people.
  • The "Go Compare" ads in the UK involved an opera singer who would appear whenever people discussed car insurance and start trilling a Crowd Song jingle, in a series of ads that quickly began to elicit howls of rage from viewers all over the UK. They then ran a "Saving the Nation" series where the same opera singer would appear to people discussing car insurance, but they would respond with the same level of terror as a real person would in that situation, to be saved by someone else attacking the singer with weapons. The follow-up to that campaign imagines the same opera singer, who is now not allowed to sing, working an advertising creative, speaking in a soft Welsh accent rather than singing, and pitching terrible advertising ideas to cash in on his previous image in shallow ways.
  • An advert for The Jump, a show where celebrities compete in winter sports and the 2 people in last place are made to perform a Ski Jump, deconstructs the idea of a 'Hopeless Contestant Montage' which you'd often see in shows like Hell's Kitchen where the contestants are falling out of the sky... and a family on vacation, completely unaware of what's happening, are scared shitless as bodies fall from the sky!

    Anime and Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Deconstructive parodies of comic book superheroes are practically a dime a dozen. These days, if you count all media, it's rarer to see them played straight.
  • A lot of the comedy of The Unbelievable Gwenpool come from the fact that it's a deconstructive parody of the Self-Insert Fic as our titular heroine is just a normal teenaged girl that just sounds like she's the strange fusion of Deadpool and Gwen Stacy (her real name is Gwen Poole). Examples include:
    • While Deadpool's Breaking the Fourth Wall moments are quick, fleeting and leaves everyone around him confused, Gwenpool goes into complete rants, leading to people asking if she's insane.
    • Being a girl from the real world, she's essentially a Secret Secret-Keeper to the heroes and villains of the Marvel Universe. This proves to be a bad thing when she yells out the female Thor's identity and her response is to threaten to smash her head into the wall for saying so, forcing her to Verbal Backspace.
    • Being a heroine doesn't mean you get a blessed, carefree life - if anything, you'll get crapped on even more, especially if it can lead to more interesting storylines. And if you have sidekicks or loved ones without your brand of hero immunity? It won't be pretty.
    • Her brother also shows what "trapped in another world" might turn out like if you're not a hero protagonist - you're essentially an illegal immigrant with no records and no legal protection, so you're likely to end up either homeless or drafted into a criminal organisation. Either way, you're pretty much screwed.

    Comic Strips 
  • Calvin and Hobbes managed this with the superhero genre in four panels back in 1988 with this strip.
    Calvin: Look what mom made me! A superhero outfit! Don't I look cool? Now I can fight crime without anyone knowing my true identity! Yep, I'm all set now! ... so! Seen any crimes?
    Hobbes: Why do you care that nobody knows your identity?

    Fan Works 
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged places a lot of emphasis on how messed up Son Gohan's childhood must be. His mother is a control freak, his father is negligent and he's frequently forced into life-threatening situations against his will. Lampshaded with this conversation:
    Adult Gohan: When I was a toddler, my uncle showed up, kidnapped me, and then Mr. Piccolo killed him and my dad. Then Mr. Piccolo kidnapped me, the Saiyans showed up, killed a bunch of people, including Mr. Piccolo. Then we went to Namek, a bunch more people died, we came back, then my dad died again, then all my friends died, and now everyone else is dying.
    Young Trunks: But it was better, right?
    Adult Gohan: ...No.
  • Rainbow Dash Presents tends to point out the holes in the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfics it parodies, such as how impossible it would be for Pinkie to hide she's a murderous cannibal with a secret dungeon in Cupcakes, or that Rainbow Dash is is too irresponsible to run a normal factory, let alone one that consumes pony resources in Captain Hook the Biker Gorilla, or what would really happen if one kept a pegasus locked up in a house and fed nothing but sugar cubes for the first years of her life in My Little Dashie.
    Rarity: You got faaaaaaaaaaaaat.
  • The Pokémon one-shot Tobias Is Arrested, Yo sees the titular Sinnoh League winner get confronted by a pair of Large Ham cops who try to claim his League win was invalid due to his usage of Legendaries and arrest him (they even outright admit they're doing this because he beat Ash). An annoyed Tobias is quick to poke holes in their logic and point out that Ash took the loss far more respectively than they currently are. Then it's revealed that "Tobias" never actually existed — he was just a false identity made by Darkrai and a few other Legendaries so they could compete in the League, having been inspired by Ash to do so.

    Films — Animation 
  • Shrek is a deconstructive parody of fairy tales, the Disney Animated Canon, and all concepts and ideas related to them, using characters from the book of the same name by William Stieg.
  • ParaNorman makes fun of pretty much every zombie cliche and horror movie trope in general, until the last third of the movie...
  • The LEGO Movie gleefully deconstructs the standard hero's journey/Chosen One narrative, while still being a solid example of the same.
  • Its spin-off, The LEGO Batman Movie deconstructs the hell out of Darker and Edgier, I Work Alone and Awesome Ego tropes Batman is known for, as well as his relationship with Joker.
  • Sausage Party can initially be viewed as a heavy deconstruction of anthropomorphization, along with certain tropes associated with Pixar movies. The film features Anthropomorphic Food as the main characters (along with other anthropomorphic objects) who are under the impression that being bought by humans (formerly seen to them as gods) will led them to their destiny (the Great Beyond). Only to realize that their "destiny" comes at a price...

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The films Her Alibi and American Dreamer poke fun at Mary Sue-like pulp fiction heroes. The former does it by contrasting the writing with the actual situations which inspire it, and the latter by having a housewife get Easy Amnesia and think she is her favorite literary heroine.
  • Mystery Men and The Specials do this with the superhero genre, approaching it from the perspective of a "loser" superhero team.
  • The trailers for Enchanted made it look as though it would do this for fairy tales, but it instead was a Reconstruction
  • Austin Powers does this to 1960s spy-oriented pulp fiction, namely James Bond.
  • Hot Fuzz for police/action films, but pulls a Decon-Recon Switch later on.
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail applies this to Arthurian Legends (Terry Jones was an Arthurian scholar). The Black Knight spoofs a Stiff Upper Lip (will refuse to even flinch) and being a Determinator (acts like he's unstoppable) despite losing his limbs, one by one, in battle against Arthur.
  • The film Gunless is both a parody of Westerns in general and a deconstruction of the entire gun-slinging outlaw hero character archetype.
  • Scream (1996) did this to slasher movies. The main characters, both the protagonists and the killer Ghostface, are all Genre Savvy in how they mock, exploit, and otherwise discuss the "rules" of slashers throughout the film, with several characters making fun of horror movie victims who prove themselves Too Dumb to Live. The killings become a media circus, as would happen if somebody is murdering young, pretty, white teenagers, and the reporters wind up getting drawn into the carnage themselves. Ghostface is an ordinary human under the mask rather than an Implacable Man like Michael Myers or Jason Voorhees, with all the vulnerabilities of such that allow the main characters to fight back — but he also has the speed of an ordinary person, meaning that he runs after his victims rather than slowly walking towards them. While the Ghostface outfit, with its White Mask of Doom paired with a Black Cloak, has since become iconic, at the time of the first film's release it was just an ordinary Halloween costume sold at every store, one that made the killer truly anonymous — i.e. the reason why a Serial Killer trying to conceal his or her identity might wear one. The Final Girl Sidney goes out of her way to make sure that the killer won't get back up for one last scare, by standing over his body and putting one between the eyes the moment he opens them.
  • The 'Burbs deconstructs the Nosy Neighbor, and subverts it in the end.
  • National Security did this for cop action flicks. Martin Lawrence's character seems to think he's on Bad Boys.
  • The Other Guys for Buddy Cop movies, with some Cowboy Cop thrown in. The pair of Cowboy Cops leap off a roof in pursuit of criminals, and die pretty early. Meanwhile, the protagonists are partners, but hate each other, one wants to be a Cowboy Cop but is terrible at it, and the crime they are pursuing is financial, rather than a high-stakes robbery or murder.
  • Mean Girls sets up a standard teen movie formula: the poor heroine has her social life ruined by the Alpha Bitch and her Girl Posse, and loses the guy of her dreams, so she sets out to make things right and get her revenge. When she accomplishes this, you get to watch the lead popular girl's life fall apart as her illusion that everybody liked her is shattered... and then the heroine takes her place in the social ladder, ignoring her original friends and becoming just as mean herself. The former Alpha Bitch, meanwhile, goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge that nearly wrecks the whole school. The clearest turning point is when it's overtly pointed out by one of the heroine's friends that the guy has left the bully, but still doesn't want her (or, for that matter, want anything to do with the whole mess), and yet she's still trying to ruin the once-popular girl's life. When the Title Drop finally rolls around, it refers to the protagonist.
  • Heathers, in the absolute darkest sense of the word "parody," putting some brutal twists on perceptions of teenage society and violence.
  • Last Action Hero did this to '80s and early '90s action movies.
  • Santa movies aimed at adults as well as children usually attempt to deconstruct the Santa mythos. Examples are Fred Claus, which implies Santa has a bad sex life due to his weight, and Bad Santa, in which is he's a cursing, womanizing con-man.
  • Mystery Team is arguably this for stories such as Encyclopedia Brown and The Hardy Boys. The movie is sort of a less reverent Dog Sees God in that it shows what would happen when such characters are placed in the real world.
  • Tucker & Dale vs. Evil does this for Hillbilly Horrors by making the hillbillies the heroic protagonists. The college kids only think that the Good Ol' Boy main characters are evil, and end up killing themselves in Bloody Hilarious ways through their own stupidity, before one of them (the guy who would otherwise be the male hero in a typical slasher film) goes Ax-Crazy out of prejudice against the hillbillies.
  • The Cabin in the Woods is a deconstruction of not only horror films, but horror filmmaking and fandom, with the evil gods who demand bloody entertainment that conforms to established cliches taking the place of the audience.
  • Tropic Thunder is a parody (whether it's affectionate or a poisonous Valentine is up for debate) of the filmmaking process itself and the cliche sort of people involved (the hothead producer, the eager but inexperienced director, the takes-himself-seriously consultant, the pyro guy, the prima donna actor, the agent, the rapper trying his hand at acting, the Lowest Common Denominator comedy actor trying to do serious drama...), in most cases by casting people that partially fill those roles in real life as the respective characters in the film. It loosely parodies Apocalypse Now and its famously Troubled Production as well.
  • Ted is pretty much Toy Story (the first one) mixed with Pinocchio and deconstructed with all the humour one would find in a Seth MacFarlane production (namely Family Guy). What happens if a young boy makes a wish to have his favourite toy come to life? The wish comes true, of course, but Ted shows what happens when the boy and his cuddly toy companion grow into adulthood. Mostly concerning widespread media coverage, the complicated relationship issues which arise from a woman wanting more from a man who still sleeps with his teddy bear despite him being in his thirties, and the fact that Ted has spent his whole life living off others and has consequently never been to school, had a job or eve learned to live on his own, so when he actually does need to find work, all he he can manage is a piss-poor cashier job at a crappy downtown grocery store.
  • The short film The Sleepover is this to slasher movies, particularly slasher franchises, by showing what life is like in between movies when the town has gotten used to having masked slashers constantly coming back. Kids are told to double-check under their beds and in their closets for killers, one needs firearms and martial arts training to get a babysitting license, there exists a three-step rule for escaping slashers, and everybody is armed with at least a knife.
  • Starship Troopers started out as a satirical story called Bug Hunt before it was tied to the novel. Paul Verhoeven hated the novel and felt it had a lot of fascistic elements (a very hotly debated assessment), so he made the film an outright parody of the novel, the Why We Fight WWII propaganda films, and jingoistic warmongering and fascism in general through deconstructing the entire premise. The inhuman enemy that is "Othered" are literally inhuman monsters, even moreso than in the novel. The militaristic society makes the humans so complacent in their superiority that they refuse to even consider the enemy to be intelligent after the Bugs attack them with a Colony Drop from across the galaxy. They try to use horrendous military tactics and their forces are completely slaughtered. The humans only seem like heroes because of the propaganda-like tone of the film itself. The viewer is encouraged to join the Mobile Infantry because every soldier is needed. Yet despite all that, it's done in such an over-the-top fashion that most viewers don't even realize the parodic intent and cheer the humans on as if it were a straight-up action movie.
  • Pain and Gain: Of The American Dream. The film even has most of the visual excess (shot like some of the cheesier music videos of the day) during scenes where Daniel discusses what he thinks the dream is.
  • Deep in the Valley is a Porn with Plot sex comedy where a Nice Guy and his sleazy Bromantic Foil get trapped in the world of adult films. It plays with a lot of stereotypical porn roles, and even features a love interest who's tired of constant casual sex and who wants a meaningful relationship.
  • Neighbors:
    • Of the frat boy comedies that Seth Rogen starred in. Namely, it shows how reasonable people would act surrounded by characters from these movies, and how the frat guys who engage in it are pathetic, petty Man-Children who are unwilling to accept maturity.
    • It also deconstructs The Stoner, with the characters' (both the Radners' and the frat boys') habitual use of both weed and weed jokes with their friends depicted as a major sign of their inability to grow up and let go of their Glory Days.
  • The Voices is arguably one to the comedy subgenre "guy talks with his pets". Jerry, the hero, is obviously insane, his talks with his pets seem to be hallucinated, his cat is a sociopath, his home is actually an horrible filthy den that he usually sees beautiful and clean thanks to his hallucinations, and he eventually becomes a serial killer thanks to a chain of disasters including the accidental murder of his crush after giving a mercy kill to a deer that requested it (It Makes Sense in Context). The movie is also very funny, thanks to the dialogs with the pets.
  • Tower Heist is one for heist movies. Only one member of the crew is a criminal, and he's a petty one at that. The big heist gets messed up before it even starts.
  • Jack Burton of Big Trouble in Little China is a Deconstructive Parody of the All-American Face. Burton sports a James Dean pompadour and drawls like John Wayne, but lives up to these iconic images of American masculinity with less than perfect aplomb. Overconfident and always slightly behind the information curve, his bombast sometimes pays off, but more often makes him the butt of a slapstick gag. For a light comic performance, Kurt Russell walks a very precise tightrope, giving Jack a puppyish quality that redeems his made-in-America arrogance. The audience roots for him to succeed, and to be taken down a peg or two along the way.
  • Blazing Saddles took everything from the American Western genre, a couple dozen more from every other genre of American film, and proceeded to nuke them (particularly the racist elements) in a way that only Mel Brooks and Richard Pryor could manage. It was almost two decades before anyone took the Western seriously again.
  • Ghostbusters (1984) does this to supernatural horror, particularly the ghost/demon hunters who often come in to save the day. The titular protagonists aren't out specifically to prove the existence of the supernatural or protect people from the forces of evil, the way that the exorcists and paranormal investigators in many horror films are. Sure, that is part of their job description, but what they really care about is getting paid for it, with a dash of For Science! added. They're framed as working class heroes and small business owners (they get fired from Columbia University at the start of the film), their uniforms based on those of exterminators and their equipment and home base meant to recall firefighters. And speaking of their equipment, they have little use for ancient traditions when it comes to fighting these monsters, instead relying on their own state-of-the-art technology to do the job.
  • Ready or Not (2019) does this to the Hunting the Most Dangerous Game plot. A wealthy family is hunting an unarmed woman through their mansion as part of a twisted game... except they're Upper-Class Twits who barely know what they're doing, and even the more competent ones are too apathetic or out-of-practice to be as threatening as they could be.
  • The Ballad of Buster Scruggs uses the title character to do this to the classic Roy Rogers-style singing cowboy archetype, generally seen as one of the more "innocent" Western Characters when compared to the grimmer and darker Anti-Hero gunslingers who followed him. Turns out, however, that when you drop a brightly dressed and irrepressibly cheerful fellow with a song into his heart into a realistic-style western, and have him casually blow people away with lightning fast Improbable Aiming Skills but keep the actual consequences of those skills (i.e. messy holes in people's bodies) intact, he turns into a terrifying sociopath. After all, say what you will about Lee Van Cleef in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, at least he didn't burst into a cheery musical number after shooting someone's fingers off before blowing his brains out.
  • Burn After Reading is this to Spy Fiction in general. The James Bond-esque super spy is actually just a self-important, washout data analyst who is writing a puffed-up memoir after an early retirement, the supposed conspiracy is really a completely pointless Gambit Pile Up kicked off by a dumb mistake, the civilians drawn into the world of espionage are irrelevant idiots who have clearly watched too many spy movies, and none of the actual power players like the CIA or the Russians care one iota about any of it, preferring to forget the whole mess even happened.

  • Don Quixote is most likely the Trope Maker, parodying the chivalric romance genre by showing what would happen if a crazy fanboy actually tried to be a knight errant in a mundane, often cynical setting where things like magic, free lodging for knights, and courtly love don’t actually work.
  • The Sir Apropos of Nothing books are like this of fantasy, part of the time. The other parts are a more of a straight deconstruction.
  • Several of the Discworld books, for fantasy and whatever other genres Terry Pratchett feels like.
    • The first two books are split into multiple sections, each of which targets a specific fantasy genre/author. There are pastiches of Conan, Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser, the Pern novels (complete with idiosyncratic punctuation in the middle of names, in Pratchett's case '!'), and the Cthulu Mythos, just to name a few.
    • Hogfather: the series deconstructs Pascal's wager (the notion that it is existentially safer to believe in God than not to) with Ventre, an Expy of Pascal, dying and waking up in a circle of gods holding nasty-looking sticks and one of them said, "We're going to show you what we think of Mr Clever Dick in these parts..."
    • Small Gods is one of these for extremist religions, Night Watch is one for Les Misérables, and the many of the Witches (and Tiffany Aching novels) are this for fairy tales in general.
    • And Maskerade to The Phantom of the Opera, and the idea that the Phantom being dashing and romantic means the fact he kills people for petty reasons isn't a big deal.
  • Stephen Fry's The Stars' Tennis Balls (or Revenge in America) is a modern retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo that is like this in respect to the original novel. While it's partly a parody of the original (as seen in giving the characters names that are are anagrams/plays on the original — like calling the equivalent of Mercedes Portia), it totally deconstructs the idea that the behavior Dantes engaged in when taking revenge could be seen as just in any way. It does this by making the enemies more sympathetic and the revenge Darker and Edgier, and the ultimate feeling you get is that, rather than being sympathetic or at least a Magnificent Bastard, the Dantes-equivalent is a petty and cruel Smug Snake.
  • Some literary scholars say The Fall Of The House Of Usher is a parody of Gothic Horror, what with Roderick Usher being infected with a disease that heightens his senses making him (and the reader) believe the house is scarier than it really is.
  • The Barry Trotter series has elements of this (for example, its version of Quidditch).
  • Robert A. Heinlein:
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series is this for the Sci-Fi genre. The Big Good is just some guy who happens to be friends with an alien, the evil empire style characters are a bunch of horrible marksmen who's deadlist weapon is their horrendous poetry, and the Robot Buddy is a rude, paranoid, and clincally depressed Deadpan Snarker.
    • It's more specifically one of these for Doctor Who, which Douglas Adams was a script editor on at the time he wrote the first book. Particularly, it deals with the concept of a mild-mannered Earth person being taken off into a Human Alien, BBC Quarry-filled version of space as the companion of an oddball, bohemian alien traveller in a stolen time-travelling ship by showing just how boring, depressing and hopeless a universe like that would be to travel in. There are two separate duos with a Doctor-and-companion dynamic, Arthur and Ford, and Trillian and Zaphod. In the case of the first two, Arthur only leaves for space because his home, where he'd rather be, has been destroyed, he almost constantly moans about how much he'd prefer to be there, and both characters have very little idea of what's going on. The one time Arthur does enjoy space travel is the first time he lands on Magrathea, which everyone else thinks is a dump. In the case of the latter two, Zaphod's egotistical, flaky personality, extremely high intelligence and constant attention-seeking isn't redeemed by heroism, like in the case of the Doctor - while there is more depth to him than appears at first, he is every bit as selfish and unempathetic as someone who acted like the Doctor would have to be in real life. Also, unlike the Doctor, who constantly took sexy, clever Earth girl companions with him but was written relatively asexual during Adams's tenure due to the show being at least nominally for children, Zaphod's sexy, clever Earth girl companion is specifically noted to be a hot girl he picked up at a party for her looks.
  • John Scalzi's book Redshirts relentlessly spoofs Star Trek: The Original Series, starting with deconstructing the entire concept of the Red Shirt by making the random ensigns who in TOS would be Red Shirts the protagonists. The tagline of the book is, "They were expendable ... until they started comparing notes." Early on Scalzi makes fun of the idea that the command crew is always on away missions by putting a navigator on the team to study a plague. When he gets infected, Scalzi pokes fun at Star Trek's habitual technobabble by telling the viewpoint character that they need a counter-bacterial, with said character wondering why they don't just call it a vaccine. And that's just the first 40 pages.
  • Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum is this to conspiracy theories and literature based on them.
  • Jane Austen's earlier works Love and Freindship and Northanger Abbey parodied melodramas and gothic romances respectively.
  • Caitlin R. Kiernan's Blood Oranges does this for Urban Fantasy.
  • The novelisation of Development Hell Doctor Who episode "Shada" parody-deconstructs the treatment of young human female companions in the series. When the Doctor charges into the room of Genre Savvy science student Clare to use her as The Watson despite her impressive intelligence, she finds herself bowled over by his force of personality and starts doing what he wants because that just feels like what she ought to do, while constantly noting in her internal monologue that her actions are nonsensical. She also realises that she keeps acting like a Neutral Female despite that not being her normal personality, and so the third time a male character orders her to sit tight and stay out of trouble, she snaps, and decides she's going to take the story Off the Rails and solve the mystery on her own. Her attempts to do so lead to her communicating with the dead Professor Chronotis, absorbing Time Lord knowledge of TARDIS flight and rescuing her love interest, Chris - who keeps noting in his internal monologue that he keeps acting "girly" and "clueless" so the Doctor can explain things to him.
  • Jo Walton's Tooth and Claw deconstructs the assumptions and tropes of Victorian novels by the likes of Anthony Trollope by displaying an alien society in which they actually make sense.
  • Robert Barr's The Triumphs of Eugène Valmont deconstruct the tropes of Sherlock Holmes and his many imitators. Valmont is a brilliant detective who's prepared to go beyond the law to get his man; in one story this ends with the criminal in question pointing out that since Valmont has no official standing and his evidence was obtained illegally, there's no way the police would even make an arrest, let alone bring the case to court.
  • Pinot Noir is primarily a wacky deconstruction of action B-flicks and Wide Open Sandbox video games, amping up the insanity of certain action tropes for comedy, while presenting a protagonist in a crapsack city who only kills because he wants some sleep.

    Live-Action TV 

  • Boris, being a series about a troupe making a TV series, criticizes and mocks in a very humouristic way Italian fictional works of the 90's and the 2000's and all their associated tropes, often on a meta level, showing why said tropes happen in these kind of fictional works, as well as the entire Italian television industry.
  • The Greatest American Hero does this with Comic Book Superheroes.
  • Before that, in the 1960s, there was Captain Nice (NBC) and Mr. Terrific (CBS), both which were made to capitalize on the Batman (1966) craze at the time.
  • For that matter, the first season of Batman (1966) was itself one of these, as was Batman: The Movie. In the pilot, the Riddler tricks Batman into falsely arresting him so he can make a Frivolous Lawsuit for a million dollars, exposing Batman’s Secret Identity. The second episode shows the Penguin taking advantage of Batman’s Bat Deduction to commit crimes. Mr. Freeze is pretty cunning. Batman The Movie ends lampshading Reed Richards Is Useless when Batman refuses Robin’s idea to alter the personalities of the world leaders for the betterment of the world (and then exactly that happens). The next two seasons suffer great Seasonal Rot and were examples of Indecisive Parody.
  • This was a staple of Chappelle's Show.
    • "Dude's Night Out" was a more realistic beer commercial. Their activities included getting into barfights (and losing), defecating in public, and having sex with transvestite prostitutes.
    • The "When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong" skits show why "gangsta" behavior is usually a bad idea.
    • Don't forget the "realistic" versions of movies like Pretty Woman.
  • Glee is this to High School Musical, when it's not being High School Musical done right.
    Rachel: There is NOTHING ironic about show choir!
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
    • The show as a whole is a deconstruction of formularic sitcoms like Friends and Cheers. It points out how a self-centered group like that would constantly drag each other down, bring out each other's very worst sides, and uses continuity to show how they slowly ruin the lives of people along the way and constantly stunt and prevent each other's occasional attempts at improving themselves. Dennis, in particular, tackles The Casanova by having his actions involve emotionally manipulating women to the point of approaching outright rape. Charlie also takes The Ditz to extremes by having an Ambiguous Disorder and showing how, despite being probably the nicest member of the gang overall, is still dangerous and reckless as a result. The show's original title, It's Always Sunny on Television, would have made the deconstruction more overt.
    • "The Gang Hit the Slopes" mocks 1980s ski slope sex-comedies by showing how disturbing guys leering after nude women all the time is and what happens when those "cool kids" grow up into even more skeevy adults.
  • The Good Guys does this to the idea of the Cowboy Cop and other action-movie tropes. (It was created by Matt Nix, the creator of Burn Notice.) The cop in question is an older detective — paired with a young, By-the-Book Cop — who's mentally stuck in The '80s, unable to adjust to changed police methods or even basic fashion. The only reason he's even still on the force is that he rescued a VIP some time ago, at the cost of his partner having a nervous breakdown when he forced him to jump from one moving car to another, a typical cop-movie stunt. At the end of the first episode, they're both dressed down for the dozens of rules of police procedure they managed to break—including Armed Altruism, BTW—and he asks when they're getting their medal. And all of it is played for laughs.
    • And again with the Gut Feeling in a later episode. The feeling is correct, but the bulk of the police force thinks they were catching the bad guys. What they've actually got are the decoys(who thought they were the only bank robbers), and the real thieves see our heroes at their intended target and flee. With no evidence, Jack and Dan's boss chalks it all up to Dan's crazy rubbing off on Jack.
  • Mitchell and Webb as a couple who are sick of having James Bond show up at their parties.
    Webb: It's Moneypenny I feel sorry for. Did you see when I was going around with the voddy?
    Mitchell: What?
    Webb: Well, I said to Moneypenny, "Can you manage another finger in there?", meaning —
    Mitchell: Finger of vodka in her glass of drink.
    Webb: Exactly!
    Mitchell: Self-explanatory.
    Webb: Yeah! And then James starts rolling his eyes like he's having some sort of stroke and says, "Oh, you can always get another finger inside Moneypenny!"
    Mitchell: HE SAID WHAT?
    Webb: Literally did not know where to look.
    • Later on in this sketch he brutally attacks someone for an offhand comment and then makes a trademark quip about it. The outrage is as much about the fact that the quip wasn't very good as that he threw someone out of a window.
    • They did a similar dialogue with Scooby-Doo.
      Webb: It's a shame, because he's clearly invested so much time in teaching that dog to talk and it just can't.
      Mitchell: Whereas the dog's nephew actually talks quite well.
      Webb: A little precocious though, isn't he?
      Mitchell: Yes, but I think one can forgive that of a talking dog.
    • In another sketch that parodies Casino Royale (2006):
      Agent: And Suave? Good luck.
      Suave: I won't need luck.
      Agent: [beat] You're going to a casino.
      Suave: [realization] Oh God, yes, that's right!
  • The Late Late Show: Instead of having a talk show sidekick to laugh at the host's jokes and spout the occasional Catchphrase, the show has Geoff Peterson, a robot that laughs at the host's jokes and spouts the occasional Catchphrase.
    Geoff: Balls!
  • Can a court case be deconstructed? If so, then The Colbert Report's Colbert SuperPAC is playing every aspect of the Citizens United case to its logical extreme for as many laughs as possible, while making a mockery of the US political system. Even more brilliantly, by actually creating a political action committee, he basically conscripted Viacom and the Federal Election Commission into the joke against their will. He does things so ridiculous that they have to respond, then shows that the laws support what he just did. Maybe one of the finest real life deconstructions ever done.
  • The television career of popular UK comedy duo Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer revolves around deconstructive parodies of light entertainment. Reeves' career began in comedy clubs as a surreal exaggeration of the kind of versatile all-round entertainers who had flourished in the 1960s and 1970s, a la Bruce Forsyth and Des O'Connor. This continued with Vic Reeves Big Night Out, a deconstruction of television variety shows, and the sketch show The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer. Shooting Stars was a deconstruction of celebrity panel games, and the duo's subsequent career has mined the same path.
  • Adam Ruins Everything: The show is arguably a Deconstruction of the Edutainment Show. Why does Adam spent his time bothering people with better things to do? Because he's a friendless know-it-all without better things to do who tries to make friends. And while the people Adam lectures may learn something useful, they don't grow to care for Adam as a human being. The show itself mocks various conventions of the society, like how forensic science, despite what a Forensic Drama will show, is deeply flawed, or how medical shows like The Doctor Oz Show are constantly feeding people misinformation about health.
  • Thad Castle from Blue Mountain State is one of they typical Jerk Jock with Testosterone Poisoning. His actions and behavior are not that much out of the ordinary for the character type, but Thad pushes it further and further to the point where early on you can tell that he's dangerously insane.
  • Scream After Dark, the aftershow to MTV's Scream, is this to talk shows like Talking Dead, After the Thrones, and After the Black that come right after popular TV shows, where a group of panelists discuss the events of the latest episode together with some of the cast and crew providing behind-the-scenes details. So, you think that these shows are nothing but frivolous behind-the-scenes trivia that doesn't really deepen one's understanding of the latest episode, and only serves as more promotional material? Well, Scream After Dark features made-up trivia designed to paint the cast and crew in the most unflattering light possible. The writing process is portrayed as throwing darts at a board to decide who to kill off this week, then spinning a wheel to decide where that person dies. The acting process is shown in detail, with two of the show's stars reading from a canned script for character reactions to recent deaths, one that is recycled over and over with minor variations each time someone dies. Lead actress Willa Fitzgerald gives a set tour that degenerates into an ill-informed rant about war and politics. The behind-the-scenes look at the actors' relationships portrays them as secretly hating one another. And it's all Played for Laughs.
  • The All That sketch "Have a Nice Day with Leroy and Fuzz" was this to edutainment shows like Sesame Street, namely by showing how a normal kid (Leroy) would react to having to deal with an annoying puppet character championing things that children tend to despise like homework and doing chores.

  • Tenacious D once applied the deconstructive parody approach to Author Tract music. After taking over "City Hall", the D are rulers of the world. They issue absurd decrees that show they really are the wrong sort of minds to make big, important world decisions. "From now on we'll travel in TUBES!"
  • The Gregory Brothers song "DJ Play My Song (No, Leave Me Alone)" spoofs the Exhort the Disc Jockey Song by raising the question of what kind of person would make repeated demands of the DJ in such a hyperbolic manner, disregarding his opinions, those of the other patrons, and the club's policies. And what this person must be like once the club closes. It doesn't end well for the DJ.
  • Maddie & Tae's song "Girl in a Country Song" is this to the modern "bro-country" style of country music.
  • Bob Rivers made a side career out of these, especially on the Twisted Christmas albums. The first one had a song about Santa getting stuck in the chimney and suffocating, and a "visit from St. Nick" where the "Nick" in question was a pastiche of Jack Nicholson characters. Another had a parody of "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" named to "It's the Most Fattening Time of the Year" (complete with fitness guru Richard Simmons having a spoken-word bridge encouraging restraint). There's also the wicked "Chipmunks Roasting on an Open Fire" (parody of Nat King Cole's version of "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire"), where the parody Cole and Dave Seville (voiced by Pat Cashman, the announcer of Smash Brothers) get fed up enough with the smart-alek rodents to serve them up as Christmas dinner.
  • The Lonely Island's "Space Olympics" music video starts off by hyping up how awesome "space Olympics" would be...before demonstrating all the various mishaps that would probably happen: athletes only get one meal per day because of food budget limitations, there's no light or sound (on the plus side, no curfew!), "minor scheduling adjustments" are made such as several events getting cancelled and all other events pending, the oxygen aboard the station runs out, and last but not least, someone accidentally self-destructs the entire station.
  • "That Song Again" by Jim Haynes is a Take That! to Greg Champion's "I Made a Hundred" sung to the same tune. Most of the lyrics are complaining about "that wretched cricket song" being played on the radio show Australia All Over every Sunday morning, but a couple of verses get into this territory:
    Some bloke made a hundred in the backyard at home.
    Prob'ly tore his mother's lawn up, and broke the garden gnome.
    I hate to think what happened to the poor old garden bed.
    And then to cap it all off, he wrecked the old man's shed.
    What kind of a bloke goes all day, hoggin' the bloomin' bat?
    I'll bet the rest of the family reckon he's a selfish rat.
    And I question his achievement, on that there is some doubt
    'cos over the fence and windows, that's surely six and out.

  • A constant theme of John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme:
    • For example, one sketch did a deconstruction on The Emperor's New Clothes, showing the Emperor so traumatised by the experience that he now overdresses due to paranoia that everyone can see his 'winkie', and refuses to fund inventions that appear invisible - causing him to turn down inventors who have invented the telephone as soon as they mention that the waves of transmission are 'invisible'.
    • Another sketch parodied Right Behind Me by having a character rant about his boss, ask "he's standing right behind me, isn't he?" and, when people point out that the boss has long left the office, the character admits that he's 'a sitcom character' and, in the manner of someone admitting they have an OCD variant, can't bear it if the situation doesn't resolve humorously.
  • Whatever Happened To does this, taking apart the mythos of popular children's characters. For example, the Susan Foreman episode (from Doctor Who) goes into detail about being a schoolgirl time-traveller with two teachers — she hated time-travelling because she was missing all her O-levels, Ian developed "a bloodlust" after killing his first Dalek, it's heavily implied Barbara descended into alcoholism, and she believes the reason the Doctor left her on Earth with her Love Interest (from the Who serial "The Dalek Invasion of Earth") was because she was hindering his capacity to impress young women, which he later improved by "regenerating younger" (Jo Grant denies that anything happened). Even the Strangled by the Red String nature of her relationship with David is mocked — "I was sixteen! I was in love with someone all the time!" — and she only makes it back to her own time by contacting her family on Gallifrey. When she gets back to Earth she finds Ian and Barbara no longer remember their travels thanks to a time paradox erasing the events from history, and when rumour gets out that she's been travelling with Ian it's treated like accusations of teacher sexual assault. Even when Susan shows someone her souvenirs from time travel, she gets accused from stealing them from the British Museum and sent to a young offender's institute. Of course, it's all Played for Laughs with a spoonful of outright ridiculous, like extremely camp Thals and Barbara being mistaken for a goddess (from "The Aztecs") because of her massive bouffant.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer is practically overall one of High Fantasy, with copious amounts of Black Comedy.
    • Our Dwarfs are so overly stubborn and honour-obsessed that they subscribe to Honour Before Reason and Revenge Before Reason. The Dwarfs write every wrong against their race down in a big Book of Grudges with certain requirements to be fulfilled; if any Dwarfs happen to die attempting to right the grudge then they go down as separate grudges to be fulfilled later. Dwarfs never forgive or forget any slight, no matter how minor, and should you incur a grudge and die before the Dwarfs can come to right it, they will take it out on your descendants or powerbase instead. The result is that the Dwarfs are constantly at war with basically everybody and quite quickly dying out.
    • Bretonnia is a deconstructive parody of King Arthur and Chivalric Romance, with the flaws of real feudalism exaggerated to comical degrees. Bretonnia's nobility enjoy basically complete infallibility; they can take 90% of a peasant's crop and kill them for just about any reason. Marriage between nobles and peasants is completely unheard of, and peasants graduating up to nobility has happened only three times in the kingdom's entire history - these lines all died out immediately because their children were peasants by default, and it is even implied that these self-made nobles were betrayed and killed off by the rest of the nobility as they gave a positive example to the other commoners. Bretonnian peasants are stupid (as peasants are killed if they are caught learning how to read) and very obviously inbred, having walleyes and hunchbacks and extra fingers on their hands; nobles are on the other hand so beautiful that they put elves to shame. Speaking of elves, there's also the heavy implication that the kingdom's entire religion centred around the Lady of the Lake is a farce the Wood Elves continue to use to manipulate the kingdom into being a buffer state: blackpowder weapons (which are common in the Empire over the border) and heavy industry are forbidden by the Cult of the Lady, keeping Bretonnia in a state of perpetual Medieval Stasis.
    • The High Elves deconstruct and parody a lot of elven tropes and stereotypes. They're a long-lived, artistic, beautiful people that are great at everything, with a competent government led by a wise, politically savvy king backed by three of the most powerful people in the world. They're also a race of petty egomaniacs. This led to them becoming a Dying Race after the Dark Elves pulled a False Flag Attack on the Dwarfs (mentioned above) and the then-King of the Elves was too proud to even talk to the dwarf ambassador, then shaved the dwarf's beard for getting on his nerves. The ensuing war was the most violent in Warhammer history, nearly destroyed both races, and cost the High Elves most of their leadership, most of their military, most of their population, and an irreplaceable artifact or three. In the modern eras they're not any better; almost none of the elven provinces get along, the nobility still forms a Decadent Court that hamstrings the few competent people who are supposed to be in charge, they piss off every other race who even thinks of working with them, and the king's three powerful leaders are always too busy putting out fires at home, starting various kinds of drama between themselves, or undermining his authority to do much to help him lead. This all means the high elves are basically a non-factor in the world at large and they're drifting ever closer to extinction because they won't stop squabbling with each other long enough to fix any problems, defeat any of their many enemies (which by now includes basically everyone), or even just repopulate their race, and none of the rest of the world cares. Just to add insult to injury, both the Dark Elves and the Wood Elves are much more functional and successful than their parent people.
  • There's an element of this in the sister game Warhammer 40,000, as well. To name just one example, the Orks put a spin on the Alien Invasion by having literally no reason to fight with other species. They don't want to conquer anything, they don't want resources, they're not even doing it because they dislike you. It's just that they literally need to fight - they require battle the same way other species need food and water. They're living weapons that were never told they could stop - all they know is fighting. If they can't invade someone else, they'll fight each other just to have someone to fight against.

    Video Games 

    Visual Novels 
  • Hatoful Boyfriend is an Affectionate Parody of Dating Sims in most of its romance routes where you date pigeons, but veers into this territory in Shuu's route and the Bad Boys Love route. The former has reality ensuing with your attraction to a "bad boy" love interest resulting in not you reforming him but you getting killed and dismembered by him instead, and the latter demonstrates how a promise made by someone out of deep, unconditional love for another can have incredibly horrific consequences when that someone is a sociopath with an extremely warped view of love and loyalty.

    Web Animation 
  • Red vs. Blue: The Blood Gulch Chronicles:
    • Overall, the series is a hilarious Genre Deconstruction of both sci-fi games and first-person shooters in general. Most notably, the series constantly parodies the Excuse Plot, with the series' Arc Words literally being "You ever wonder why we're here?". The first episode has Simmons pointing out to Grif that the Forever War between the Red and Blue Teams is completely pointless, since if one side were to win (or the other side were to pull out), the "victor" would just have two bases in the middle of a box canyon.
    • The series also points out that the entire conflict being a Hopeless War means that only the mindlessly loyal or very foolish would continue the fight. Therefore, everyone in the canyon (with the possible exceptions of Church and Tex, and even they still have their moments of insanity/stupidity) is some variant of idiotic or insane.
    • Relatedly, The Blood Gulch Chronicles also plays with both (platonic) Love Across Battlelines and Mission Control. Instead of having a clear and concise yet distant commander that efficiently helps them take on their enemy, the Reds and Blues both answer to Vic, who is Playing Both Sides and gives them all terrible advice so as to draw out their pointless conflict as long as possible. And as the series goes on, the Reds and Blues actually start to form a decent camaraderie with each othernote ... but their "friendship"/mutual respect only reaches to the same level as how well the individual teams work together.
    • On a less comedic note, the series also mocks countless video game tropes. The fact that the series' "war" is one massive "Capture the Flag" game is repeatedly pointed out to make no sense (with the Reds even realizing in Season 2 that it would be more trouble than it's worth to take Blue Team's flag, and so they ask for it to "stay exactly where it is!"), and only one of the main villains - Agent Wyoming - is able to respawn upon death, which everyone else views as terrifying.
  • Dr. Havoc's Diary is this for the superhero/supervillain genre.
  • Society of Virtue is similar to Dr. Havocs Diary above.
  • Spyro's Bad Day rips apart the premise of the Spyro classic trilogy:
    • Spyro is repeatedly annoyed that for some reason, it's all up to him to save the day. He doesn't want to do it, basically gets forced into doing it, and all he wants to do is go home.
    • He also calls out that he's basically forced to be the hero in Avalar, since he can't go home otherwise:
    Professor: Well, it looks like you're stuck here; you're going to have to collect all of the things and then defeat Ripto!
    Spyro: No, this is extortion, this is bullcrap!
    Elora: Please, Spyro? We don't want to try anything else.
    • Turns out that getting all the things is a very, very painful process.
    • Instead of paying Moneybags, Spyro just charges through him.
    • Ripto realizes that the best way to deal with the angry Spyro is to simply give him what he wants: to go back home and never have to deal with this "extortion and bullcrap" ever again. It works and The Bad Guy Wins.

    Web Comics 
  • The Last Days of FOXHOUND. Sure, there's one metric fucktonne of swearing, and characters are deliberately exaggerated for laughs, but it does an excellent job of analyzing the why and how of the plot behind Metal Gear Solid. Plus, when you can make the characters' deaths in the actual game Tear Jerkers (as noted on the Tear Jerker page for Metal Gear itself), you've done something worthy of Deconstruction.
  • Living With Insanity did an arc where David wrote a story about his Mary Sue (a Rambo copy named Marty Stu) saving a bunch of orphans from Saint Hitler and his stormtroopers (as in, actual Star Wars stormtroopers) who were obsessed with anal rape. It ended with the Marty's sexiness causing a lady Nazi to give up without a fight and Hitler surrendering for no real reason. And they all lived happily ever after. Except for Hitler, who died two weeks later of AIDS.
    • Just so no one thinks it was serious, the entire arc was called "Bad Writing".
  • Overlord Bob does this with viarous fantasy cliches - bunch of adventurers invades Evil Overlord's inner sanctuary and he uses their stereotypical flaws to defeat them and transform into viarous sexy creatures. In the end the same happens to him and his rival, evil sorcerer Tim. Maid's Quest, set in the same Universe, does the same with various stereotypical evil knights.
  • The Non-Adventures of Wonderella to so many superhero tropes.
  • Manly Guys Doing Manly Things to many video game tropes and the idea of Manly Men through showing how people with such severe Testosterone Poisoning would act in a fairly real world.
  • Garfield Minus Garfield is a deconstruction of its source material, but it's a Deconstructive Parody because it's played for laughs and is a parody of the original. Seeing as though Word of God apparently stated that Garfield never talked in the comic, both that and this show just how much of a wreck Jon really is.
  • Hero Material does this to The Hero's Journey. Sure, the characters saved the world, but none of them really learned anything or became better people through it. On top of that the world they ravaged through is left into chaos and destruction.
  • Filth Biscuit features the rewritten Robin Hood tale, Rob Ho & his Merry Bros, in which the legendary hero is recast as a hard-partying douchebag only interested in amusing himself and his equally obnoxious friends.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Dexter's Laboratory had an episode where Dexter tries out different superpowers. This weighed heavily on the related trope, Required Secondary Powers.
  • South Park has the episode "Crippled Summer" which has a couple of Looney Tunes and its Amusing Injuries.
  • As noted on the Deconstruction page, The Venture Bros. functions as both a Deconstruction and an Affectionate Parody of Jonny Quest and other action/adventure cartoons. Jonny actually shows up as a drug-addled, burned-out middle-aged man, raging against his negligent father and running scared from an old foe, Dr. Zin. Although a later appearance has shown that Jonny's recovered enough to converse with Zin like a normal person.
  • The premiere episode of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic quite extensively deconstructs the concept behind its parent franchise and the "girls' cartoon" genre codified by its predecessor shows, but plays all of its deconstructive elements for laughs (thanks mostly to Twilight playing the Straight Man to a cast of outlandish characters whose overbearing friendliness unwittingly results in the asocial Twilight becoming The Chew Toy).
    Twilight Sparkle: All the ponies in this town are crazy!
    • "Lesson Zero" shows what happens when a Super OCD character in an Aesop-driven Edutainment Show is met with a situation where there isn't an Aesop for her to find. Namely, nightmarish psychotic breakdowns propped against a backdrop of facing the threat of being taken away from the friends that have come to mean so much to her. Thank God it's also one of the funniest episodes of the show, or this would all be incredibly bleak.
  • John Kricfalusi discussed how he used this in the Ren & Stimpy episode "Son of Stimpy" in a blog post about Fake Pathos. He made the episode as a satire of the then-recent trend of adding shallow sad moments in comedy movies and animated films, using every emotional tripwire in the book to make the audience cry over the most ridiculous plot element (namely Stimpy not being able to fart again).
    "I purposely made a cartoon that used some filmic tricks to make people cry just to show that it's not hard to do it. And I didn't have to shoot anyone's Mom either. I made people cry over the fact that Stimpy couldn't fart for a second time. I went out of my way to make the story have the most preposterous plot events in it-everything to undermine the seriousness of Stimpy's depression. Besides the mood tricks, I relied heavily on Stimpy and Ren's acting-the drawings of their expressions and their interactions. A lot of films will ignore this part of the pathos recipe. They rely on the filmic tricks and contrived story points."
  • Megas XLR is a Destructive Parody of the Humongous Mecha genre.
  • Family Guy is a Deconstructive Parody of the Dom Com genre — or more accurately, of straight parodies of the Dom Com genre, such as The Simpsons.
  • Archer deconstructs every aspect of the Cold War era James Bond spy genre. Along with various elements of the action genre. Most consistently, guns being fired near someone's head causes ringing in the ears.
  • The Animaniacs short "All the Words in the English Language" deconstructs the Warners' long list songs by exaggerating it to have Yakko sing the entire dictionary and also get tired as the song goes on (he barely finishes it before fainting at the end), plus he makes a mistake on a word he can't pronounce.
  • Kaeloo deconstructs typical kids' cartoons like one might see on Nick Jr. by having the protagonist, Kaeloo, act like a kids' show character (e.g. putting emphasis on being nice, imagining things, and playing games), and the rest of the characters react like real people would ("Have you been smoking weed?").
  • Harley Quinn (2019) shows that being a Supervillain isn't just about villainy, but also to build your own brand. The plot kicks off with Harley breaking up with the Joker and trying to go solo, but she finds out that she needs a crew and a lair for starter. Then there's also the standard of behaviour villains are expected to follow, and crossing that line would get you ostracized or suffer a Fate Worse than Death.
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks: It should also be noted that a lot of the jokes in the series make fun of the plotlines that are typical for the series. For example, Boimler goes into a lengthy speech about how he's going to die if he leaves Starfleet (See Mythology Gag) or how Mariner deals with an Energy Being that attempts to take over the ship.


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