A parody is a twisted imitation of another artistic work. An intentional mockery, though often a loving one, it imitates the style of the original in order to puncture its mistakes and point out its flaws. Some aspects may be exaggerated, and others downplayed. Usually comedic, but occasionally dark and deconstructive. Can be sublime, or worse than the original. Sometimes a Homage or Shout-Out doubles as a parody. And sometimes the entire work gets parodied.
Lack of respect for the source material is the most common danger of parody. Not all parody is satire. As satire is usually pursuing an intellectual point, we expect it to be critical. On the other hand, most parodies are watched by people who liked the original stories, so pointing out too loudly that something is stupid (or that it broadly seems to defy the premise) can subconsciously insult the viewer. In fact, many successful parodies still use the situation or design that they mock. They simply point out that it doesn't make sense, but let the appeal be in the eye of the beholder.
Another danger is the assumption that the audience is familiar with the subject matter being parodied; extensive parodies have multiple layers of comic gold. This can be shaky ground, depending on the age of your audience, and writers sometimes resign themselves to broad, widely known characters and situations. The problem is that such things have probably already been parodied to death. Enough parodies can cause a shift to that version of the character becoming the archetype, leading to later subversions of subversions.
The most basic idea is, of course, that a parody is essentially something you've seen before in a different form. Your audience hopes you bring something new to the table, and will not be impressed if all you do is regurgitate tropes.
The nature of parody can lead to unfortunate Misaimed Fandom.
For a list of tropes used in parodies, see Parody Tropes.
- Puni Puni Poemy is a parody of the Magical Girl genre, especially Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor Sakura.
- Excel Saga parodies one genre per episode. The second episode, for instance parodies science fiction movies, and the twenty third parodies Fist of the North Star.
- KonoSuba is a parody of the Isekai genre that saturated the anime/manga sphere in the wake of Sword Art Online.
- Axis Powers Hetalia fanfic Gankona, Unnachgiebig, Unità: Let's just say the author parodied Hammerspace several times. From clothes to books to Death Notes to flowers, the characters' backs can store them all.
"It's alright Italia-kun. I always bring spare cosplays with me." He reached into some sort of secret compartment behind his back, pulling out an identical outfit to the one the brunet was currently wearing. Seriously, how do anime characters have such an ability?
Japan disappeared into a bathroom for a short amount of time before reappearing, now clad in a sharp black suit and tie with a white dress shirt and black pants, taking hexagonal glasses from his pocket or wherever anime characters store all their stuff before putting them on.
"Humph." The larger scoffed back. He then reached into the magical space all anime characters have, whipping out a book conveniently titled How to Catch a Runaway Italian.
Both reached into the magical space all anime characters have, extracting black notebooksJapan's having unidentifiable symbols on its cover as Italy's had 'Death Note' clearly printed on it in gothic lettersbefore taking out pens and colored pencils as well, opening the pages before scrawling in them.
Giggling, the auburn reached into the magical space all anime characters have, an exquisite bouquet of utmost grandeur popping out from behind his back. "Tada!"
- The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Videos. Which is a gag dub of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series and its various spin-offs and imitators are notable for taking up only a third of the time and containing twice the plot of the shows they parody.
- The Scary Movie series contains countless send-ups of contemporary horror and sci-fi movies, among other films. A few of the creators have also produced similar genre-spoof movies with self-descriptive titles, like Date Movie, Epic Movie and Disaster Movie. Despite their names, they seem to spoof the trailers of the respective year's hyped films instead.
- Not Another Teen Movie, a parody of teen films in general and She's All That in particular, was also written by two (different) members of the same team of creators.
- And Seltzer and Friedberg's Meet the Spartans and Vampires Suck are, you've guessed it, respectively parodies of the 300 film and the Twilight series.
- A grand Italian tradition is that of redubbing, which consists in gag dubs of movies ranging from sketches to full-length movies that may not share the film's plot or premise at all (sometimes with extensive new footage shot). Started with Star Trek II way back in the 1980s, making the gag dub Older Than They Think. Lots of parodies can be found here (naturally in Italian, and many of which are strictly in local dialects).
- A recurring gag in a Gag Dub is to use the original dialogue of certain characters. By simply changing the other dialogue around it, what they said makes them look even stupider than if their dialogue had been changed.
- Occasionally, lampshades may be hung on the use of original lines. Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series is fond of a flashing * ACTUAL 4KIDS DIALOG* label on the bottom of the screen.
- A recurring gag in a Gag Dub is to use the original dialogue of certain characters. By simply changing the other dialogue around it, what they said makes them look even stupider than if their dialogue had been changed.
- Beverly Hills Ninja is a parody of Mighty Whitey ninja films. It features a tribe of ninjas adopting an orphan Caucasian boy whom they think will be their clan's long-prophesied "Great White Hope." Unfortunately for them, the boy grows up to be a clumsy, uncoordinated adult (played by Chris Farley) and the only way he can save the day is with the secret assistance of the ninja tribe's best Japanese member.
- Spaceballs was a parody of Star Wars.
- James Bond was actually intended to be a parody of espionage films, but, ironically enough, it turned out to be held as the quintessential spy series; even getting its own parodies in the form of films such as Spy Hard, Austin Powers and Get Smart.
- Big Money Hustlas, produced by Insane Clown Posse's label, Psychopathic Records, is a parody of '70s exploitation flicks. Its follow-up, Big Money Rustlas, is a parody of westerns.
- Mystery Team is this for amateur sleuth stories.
- The New Zealand comedy Tongan Ninja is a spoof of martial arts films in general, and Bruce Lee's Way of the Dragon in particular.
- Brazilian group Os Trapalhões (also translated as "The Tramps") had this in a few of their movies, in addition to many parodies in their TV show - one of S.W.A.T. (1975) even became a full-fledged movie by all but the leader during a short break-up. During the internet's popularization of foreign Mockbusters, they got roped along the way: Os Trapalhões na Guerra dos Planetas (The Tramps in the Planet War) is Brazilian Star Wars, Os Trapalhões no Planalto dos Macacos (The Tramps in the Plateau of the Apes) is Brazilian Planet of the Apes, and Os Trapalhões e o Mágico de Oróz (The Tramps and the Wizard of Oroz) is Brazilian The Wizard of Oz.
- Cheech and Chong's The Corsican Brothers is a send-up of the Dumas novel, * The Corsican Brothers, replacing the swashbuckling adventure with Sex Comedy.
- Parodies were the Carry On movies' forte. It was rather daring at the time because the owners of the films they wanted to parody feared that they were stealing, but Hollywood's paranoia was soon reassured.
- Carry On Cleo was a parody of Cleopatra, with many references to Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra and Julius Caesar.
- Carry On Spying mocked James Bond, with many characters being named after many espionage characters.
- Carry On Jack nodded to swashbucklers and Wooden Ships and Iron Men movies, particularly Mutiny on the Bounty.
- The Silence of the Hams combines and spoofs the plots of The Silence of the Lambs and Psycho.
- Baby Jane? parodies the film version of Whatever Happened To Baby Jane by having the roles of Baby Jane and Blanche be portrayed by drag queens and by including a Creepy Doll character that comes alive and haunts Blanche at the end of the film.
- Almost ten years before Spaceballs sent up Star Wars, Ernie Fosselius gave us Hardware Wars. "You'll laugh. You'll cry. You'll kiss three bucks goodbye."
- The Dragaera novels include a subseries called the Khaavren Romances that parody Alexandre Dumas.
- Lord of the Flies is a dark parody of Jules Verne's Two Years Vacation - both involve groups of upper-class schoolboys being marooned on a desert island in similar circumstances, but where Verne's kids Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence, Golding's descend into primitive savagery.
- It's also taking on R. M. Ballantyne's Coral Island (lampshaded by the end).
- The Harvard Lampoon's Bored of the Rings rather viciously skewers The Lord of the Rings.
- How to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse depicts the Zombie Apocalypse scenario and often exaggerates the genre's tropes. Given it's also a slapstick, it can be taken Up to Eleven.
- The ancient Greek Batrachomyomachia makes this Older Than Feudalism, since the 300-line poem parodies the epic genre by using epic conventions for a rather non-heroic story: a battle between mice and frogs.
- An Apology for the Life of Mrs. Shamela Andrews by Henry Fielding, a parody of the cringeworthy but popular inspirational novel Pamela by Samuel Richardson. One of the rare cases where the parody is somehow better than the original.
- And then the bustard Fielding went to the well a second time with Joseph Andrews.
- The modern anti-love story The Sorrows of Young Mike is a parody of the classic German romantic piece of literature called Die Leiden des Jungen Werther (The Sorrows of Young Werther). Both are tragic and worth reading, whether separate or in conjunction.
- The Barry Trotter series, three novels parodying the Harry Potter franchise.
- Young Adult, a short web original one-shot, parodies the Divergent, Harry Potter and Twilight series.
- Villains by Necessity: The book is one of the standard "Heroes have to save the world" plot, with some "bad guys" now having to save the universe from the "good guys" after they won. It also generally parodies many fantasy cliches, with the Dragonlance characters being more specifically parodied through one band of heroes who try to stop these villain protagonists, along with borrowing the idea that if good wins, it must turn evil itself in the end.
- Sledge Hammer! is an over-the-top parody of the Cowboy Cop.
- At least in the first season. Then it became too whiny and Rom Com-ish, attempting satire and/or deconstruction where none were necessary.
- Police Squad! was a parody of 1960s- and 1970s-vintage Police Procedural shows, particularly the output of Quinn Martin Productions, and specifically M Squad.
- The Daily Show uses the parody news format to make satirical points. Its Spin-Off, The Colbert Report, does satire as well, but parodies blowhard opinion shows like The O'Reilly Factor instead of straight news.
- Brass Eye parodied the shock-obsessed news media by lifting their style.
- iCarly: The fake movie trailers. Kelly Cooper: Terrible Movie is about cliched teen chick movies, and The Blowing pokes fun at disaster films.
- The Oceanic Six: A Conspiracy of Lies is a mockumentary on the Lost season 4 DVD. Presented as an in-universe documentary, the film is an obvious parody of Loose Change, from the music, voiceovers, interviews with questionably qualified scientists, anonymous interviews, wild accusations, and claims of a government coverup in regards to the crash of Oceanic flight 815 and the subsequent rescuing of six passengers. The irony is that the documentary is right that the official story is a lie...but its explanation is hilariously wrong (one word: cannibalism).
- My Life In Film, a little-known BBC comedy about a slightly delusional scriptwriter that took place in worlds that were parodies of popular films.
- The Monty Python's Flying Circus "Science Fiction Sketch" is a parody of British science fiction that comes across nowadays as being a very close parody of the Third Doctor era of Doctor Who - ludicrous costumes, Science In Genre Only, Aliens in Cardiff, a suave and painfully serious Science Hero explaining the plot to a Dumb Blonde Watson, The Brigadier ... even though it aired six months before that era even started.
- Posh Nosh: Parody of cooking shows.
- Get Smart was a parody of the spy shows prevalent at the time.
- Danger 5, a parody of Sixties adventure shows. Season 2 of The '80s movies, ranging from cop shows to high school dramas.
- Dear White People:
- The A-P students favorite shows are Defamation, a parody of Scandal, and Prince OPalities, a parody of Empire.
- Not to mention the episode centered on Gabe where all his fantasy sequences are parodies of films like Do the Right Thing, Persona (1966), and Blaxploitation flicks.
- The third season has one of The Handmaid's Tale (with the Handmaids in blue rather than red), which also serves to criticize some aspects.
- "Weird Al" Yankovic has made a career out of parody songs. While most of his songs directly parody specific songs, he also does so-called "style parodies", where he makes light of a band or a singer's overall musical style, rather than a single work of theirs.
- Allan Sherman was well known for his parody songs in the '60s.
- Bob Rivers is particularly known for his parodies of Christmas Songs.
- Also Bohemian Parody, which covers parodies of Bohemian Rhapsody.
- Two years after Fiddler's Dram released 'Day Trip to Bangor', Jasper Carrott parodied the song with 'Day Trip to Blackpool', in 1981. While 'Day Trip to Bangor' was about what a lovely time they had there, 'Day Trip to Blackpool' is the exact opposite.
- "Star Trekkin" by The Firm, which is a parody of Star Trek.
- parodied Ke$ha's "Tik Tok" due to the release of The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D. Fans took it with mixed reaction.
- The Final Fantasy IV Love Theme on his first album is sung by Eric Cartman. The entire song is just Cartman stating that he hates you. (The G-rated version, on the other hand, is sung by Homestar Runner and the whole song is him singing about how he likes Brent.)
- Barry Mann's "Who Put the Bomp" was a parody of Doo-wop.
Darling, bomp bah bah bomp, bah bomp bah bomp bomp
And my honey, rama lama ding dong forever
And when I say, dip da dip da dip da dip
You know I mean it from the bottom of my boogity boogity boogity shoop
- The Rutles was Neil Innes and Eric Idle's brilliant and uncannily accurate parody following the timeline of The Beatles. The songs were so close to the Beatles' work that Northern Songs (copyright holders of their music) threatened a plagiarism lawsuit against Chappell Music (the Rutles' songs). However, George Harrison appeared in the Rutles' mockumentary "All You Need is Cash."
- MAD specializes in parodies, particularly those of movies and TV shows. Some also have satirical elements...but for some reason, the magazine refers to all of them as satires, not parodies, so it's no wonder Keanu Reeves got confused.
- At the 1996 November To Remember, ECW debuted a parody of WCW's nWo, the blue World order, centered around Stevie Richards, Super Nova and The Blue Meanie in the roles of Kevin Nash, Hulk Hogan and Scott Hall. When WCW used its partnership with NJPW to create nWo Japan, ECW used its with Michinoku Pro Wrestling to create bWo Japan.
- Founded in 1997, the Japanese Dramatic Dream Team promotion is dedicated to parodying American professional wrestling, especially the WWE, as it was born around the then-WWF's height of popularity and financial success.
- While Carlitos is a common name, El Sensacional Carlitos, an ignorant illiterate who didn't like shoes, was a gimmick the Puerto Rican branch of the International Wrestling Association came up with in 2005, in mockery of Carlos Colon and Carlito Caribbean Cool of rival promotion, WWC. However, Carlitos became so popular WWC ended up hiring him without changing the gimmick at all, even having him team up with Carlito at points.
- The 2006 Chikara Tag World Grand Prix saw the debut of Team WWF, a parody of the Second City Saints: CP Munk, Colt Cabunny and Ace Panda (CM Punk, Colt Cabana and Ace Steel).
- The Howard Stern Show used to and sometimes still will parody television shows and movies, although more frequently song parodies are featured, many of which, sent in by fans, are about being sexually attracted to news anchor Robin Quivers. Thousands of these exist, and one or two are always played before her news segment.
- The BBC Radio 4 series Hordes of the Things, by A.P.R. Marshall (Andrew Marshall of 2point4 Children and The Burkiss Way) and J.H.W. Lloyd (John Lloyd of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Blackadder) was a parody of The Lord of the Rings. It's notable because it was broadcast six months before the Radio 4 adaptation of LOTR, and manages to predict some of the voice characterization to a spooky degree. (Or they heard about it in the canteen.)
- Dave Hollins: Space Cadet, a miniseries in Son of Cliché, was a parody of 2001: A Space Odyssey in which the titular character was left as the sole survivor of his ship's crew. The premise of this would later be followed up with a Spiritual Successor in Red Dwarf.
- The Burkiss Way parodied everything it could lay its hands on.
- The X Fools parodied the then concurrently running The X-Files series. Agent Sulky is the Only Sane Woman stuck between her brainless Covert Pervert partner Agent Smoulder and their Wholesome Crossdresser superior Assistant Director Skinhead, confronting such villains as Dancer Man and the Cigarette Sucking Woman.
- Brazilian radio station 98 FM remakes songs to mock recent defeats by the football teams of its home city - and sometimes other teams as well. One parody was even in English, turning "Sorry" into "Sorry Olimpiadas", apologizing for the mess that was the Olympic Village (and Rio de Janeiro itself) prior to the 2016 games.
- Each Destroy All Humans! game is a parody of Sci-Fi Alien Invasion and the ENTIRE DECADE the game takes place in.
- Conker's Bad Fur Day and its remake are mostly based on parodies of famous movies and videogames.
- The name of the game Parodius says it all, period (parody of Gradius)!
- Hollywhoot is a parody of the Hollywood movie industry.
- Homestar Runner's "fake" and now Defictionalized Videlectrix had been producing parody games long before Telltale Games Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People. Since point-and-click adventures had become self-parodying since their early years, it was a natural format.
- NotGTAV, of two games actually.
- "This game is a parody. It is definitely, positively and (hopefully) legally, not the game Grand Theft Auto Five. Sure, it's called NotGTAV, but those letters stand for Great Traffic Adventure and the V is silent. Like the one in "lawsuit" (which, you'll notice, is also invisible)."
- "And while we're at it, Nokia, don't think you own Snake."
- Crossy Road's Michael Boom is a parody of Michael Bay and the films he has directed, and as such, features Stuff Blowing Up all the time. Michael himself ends up blowing up when he gets hit.
- Pyst is, on the surface, a Myst parody, but is more of a novelty application that barely even touched upon the original game and its surrounding fandom, with one reviewer likening it to a Seltzer and Friedberg spoof film in a somewhat interactive form.
- Besides the aforementioned Pyst, this has been the staple of Parroty Interactive a subsidiary of Palladium Interactive. While they did produce games, er, novelty applications, which parodied popular fantasy and sci-fi franchises of the day, their efforts were short-lived especially as most of Parroty's titles were critically panned.
- An Adventure of Sheep and Chicken: AJOSAC(An Journey of Shep and Chiken), created by ILEM Universe.
- A Hundred Thousand Bad Jokes has a large number of episodes that are parodies.
- Battle for Dream Island parodies the Nintendo DS with the BDFI DDS, spouting 16 screens.
- Cartoon Hooligans:
- Super Console Wars is a parody of Star Wars with popular video game characters. On the planet Nintendooine, Lukeegi Pipewalker encounters peripherals GC-PU and VM-U2, who deliver a message from Princess Zeia, who has been captured by Darth Mario (implied to be Lukeegi's long-lost brother) and Moff Bison of the Gamepire on their Xbox-shaped ship (the Princess's ship looks like a Game Boy). Lukeegi and the peripherals find Obi-Wan Shinobi, the last of the legendary Mascot Knights. They eventually find a ship, owned by Han Fox and Kongdacca. They make their way to Segaldaraan, only to find a massive station - the GameCube, which has enough power to render a planet. Obi-Wan starts teaching Lukeegi how to use the Force Feedback (which involves playing Duck Hunt). Once they board the station, Obi-Wan Shinobi goes to disable the tractor beam (playing Breakout), before encountering Darth Mario. Lukeegi and Han free the Princess and jump into garbage disposal, where they're forced to dodge Tetris pieces to survive. They witness the battle between Obi-Wan Shinobi and Darth Mario, with Mario turning fully 3D and using fireballs, pills, and lightning to kill Obi-Wan. The heroes flee. The end.
- DevilBear is full of parodies. Especially in the teddy bears that end up going to Hell. Parodies of Winnie the Pooh , Kiss , and Pokémon to name a few.
- The Dork Tower comic regularly features covers (and sometimes entire issues) that parody some aspect of geek or pop culture, often with some relationship to the story inside. Subjects have included Understanding Comics, Rice Krispies cereal, A Brief History of Time, Harvey Comics, Pink Floyd...
- Greg parodied movies in the early stages of the comic, including Green Lantern and Transformers 3.
- Kick The Football, Chuck is a parody of Charles Schulz' "Peanuts" where all of the classic gags (kicking the football, talking on the brick wall, flying a kite, Lucy's "psychiatric booth, etc.) are portrayed in light of Charlie Brown's cancer.
- Irrelevator has a 'the Doctor' who comes and goes in various incarnations from time to time. Later Irrelevator also has an arc where historic personalities wake up in the elevator and are parodied.
- Sonichu has "4-cent_garbage.com", a parody and amalgamation of 4chan and Encyclopedia Dramatica.
- Strip 574 of Brawl in the Family uses the concept of Super Mario Maker to parody Duck Amuck. The Alt Text plays with the parody further, using Bugs Bunny's Catchphrase.
- Wizard School is a parody of Harry Potter, with the cliche magical child as "Chosen One," replaced with a drunken jerk with a tattoo on his forehead.
- My Life as a Background Slytherin is another Harry Potter parody comic. It's basically a Lower-Deck Episode about a Butt-Monkey Author Avatar who wants to be one of the villains but fails pathetically, while deconstructing the more illogical elements of the Wizarding World.
- Tales From Dev Null has parodies of Instagram, reddit, Google Ads and techcrunch.com among others.
- Sailor Nothing is a dark parody of Sailor Moon and, by extension, a pastiche of Magical Girl shows in general.
- This madlib parodies certain Paranormal Romance stories.
- The WTF Journal parodies a plethora of things from Harry Potter to The Black Eyed Peas.
- TLF Travel Alerts is a parody Twitter account of the real Transport for London's Twitter account.
- Farce of the Three Kingdoms parodies the 14th-century Chinese novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms.
- Docfuture's Let's Play of Sonic 2: Special Edition for Sega CD 32X is a parody of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, its development, and Updated Rereleases in general.
- This video and many, many others parody Lady Gaga's song "Bad Romance". Others are parodied, but that song has the most.
- Next Time On Lonny is a Deconstructive Parody of reality shows.
- This video is a parody of unboxing videos.
- Bart Baker parodies pretty much every major music artist.
- Sonic The Ghetto Hog is a series that is exactly what it says on the tin.
- Pokemon Pals is set 8 years after the Pokemon tv show. Now that they are older, the fact they are still living the way they were seems pretty sad.
- Googlebrains has lots of these, including Caillou Plays Minecraft.
- The Handman's Tale is Funny or Die's Gender Flip parody of Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale series.
- Chris Ray Gun: Many of his songs, both full-length and within-episodes, are political-based parodies of pre-existing songs. Funnily enough, he discovered in "Cringe with Chris" that his first attempt at this was back in 2009, where he made a parody of "Pretty Fly for a White Guy" known as "Pretty Fly for a Fat Guy".
- Drew Gooden:
- A staple of his humor, especially on Vine, is that he likes to make fun of and exaggerate tropes or real-life trends, from his As-Seen-On-TV parody "Water In Your Hands", where the pitch is that water bottles are far too convenient to use, to his sitcom parody where the Laugh Track drowns out the dialogue and acts like the father coming home is the funniest thing ever, and many, many more examples in between.
- "Vine: Where Are They Now?" parodies "Where Are They Now?"-style documentaries, with Drew creating fake stories for a ton of infamous, One-Hit Wonder Vine-stars; such as claiming the Deez Nuts guy went onto host his own 12-season prank show.
- Many Danny Gonzalez videos revolve around parodying things with the use of music, such as taking on an exaggerated character based on the person he's talking about in the video and singing a silly song about their work and actions.
- The Family Guy Star Wars special parodies various moments in the sci-fi film but does not satirize it.
- Animaniacs was MADE of parodies. They did everything from The Sound of Music to Godzilla to Barney to Star Wars to Power Rangers to...
- The point of Robot Chicken. They'll do an original sketch at least once an episode, but the rest is typically all parodies. They've even made three Star Wars parody episodes.
- Yin Yang Yo! makes various parodies to other cartoons outside their original networks.
- American Dad! has a whole episode parodying the plot of James Bond movies, Stan as the agent, Steve as the inventions man, Hayley as the secretary, Roger as the villain, Claus as the evil minion, and Francine as the one that falls for the agent. Then it got a sequel.
- Duck Dodgers did an episode called "Samurai Quack" which is a parody of Samurai Jack, going so far as to have not only Mako basically reprise his role as Aku, but have Genndy Tartakovsky guest voice.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: During the big "Goof-Off" in "Pinkie Pride", Cheese Sandwich (voiced by "Weird Al" Yankovic no less!) sings a polka version of Pinkie Pie's "Smile Song" from "A Friend in Deed", and Pinkie herself calls him on it.
Pinkie Pie: Hey, that's my song!
Cheese Sandwich: What do you mean? I have no idea what you're talking about!
- Season 5 of Oggy and the Cockroaches is where Oggy assumes all kinds of roles, including parodying ones, such as those on X-Men, Thor, The Jungle Book, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Romeo and Juliet, etc.