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Parody Episode

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A form of Something Completely Different. When a show, usually a comedy, abandons its usual format and spends most of the episode as a parody of another show, book, television show, movie, or genre. Popular, timeless, children's fantasy films are always the most targeted for this format, as they're recognizable by everybody. It is usually revealed that the whole thing was just a dream or fantasy, or a lengthly series of events will be required to set up the parody format.


The Onion noted that this can be a sign of total desperation, especially when the Wizard of Oz is used as the basis.

Compare Whole Plot Reference. See Stock Parody for some more specific examples.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Bleach did an Arabian parody and a Monster Mash parody, both of which were dream sequences.
  • The Excel Saga anime practically was this trope.
  • Half of all Galaxy Angel episodes. There was a Wild West episode, a joshikousei episode, a Magical Girl episode (which was really a Sailor Moon episode, but you can't blame them for having Small Reference Pools)...
  • Gintama, something of a parody of shounen manga in itself, also features several parody episodes, mostly of Japanese series such as Dragon Ball Z and a bizarrely cast Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, not to mention a 2-part satire of Saw and a movie-parody episode that touched on everything from Star Wars to Millennium Actress. And of course the almost frame-for-frame End of Gintamangelion.
    • Hell, there's even parody arcs.
  • The Lupin III franchise frequently uses this trope. The original Manga stories simply used the Arsene Lupin Sansei character as a vehicle to drive a story, through whatever tale Monkey Punch wanted to tell.
  • One Piece has done a few specials in this style. The "Detective Memoirs of Chief Straw-Hat Luffy" specials are a parody of Jidaigeki dramas with Luffy as a detective in feudal Japan, and the "Chopperman" specials feature Tony Tony Chopper as a superhero. The manga includes additional side comics, featuring the pirates as high school delinquents, mobsters, mythical monsters, and even middle-aged housewives.
  • Ouran Highschool Host Club takes an episode to do a parody of Alice in Wonderland. The whole cast is desperately suppressing facepalms the whole time.
  • Patalliro! Saiyuki is an entire series based around the concept of a parody episode, recasting the characters in a theme of Saiyuki or Journey to the West, usually to hilarious results.
  • In a chapter of Soul Hunter, everyone thinks Taikobo is dead and therefore the series will be cancelled due to no more main character. Cue an opening with the worst sports manga ever.
  • Most of the Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann parallel works are these, although some have plot relevance. Not an episode perse, but they do feature new footage. The Manga version has quite a few more, and there's another, spin-off manga featuring the cast in a modern high school.
    • Episode 6 might get a distinction as a parody of a stereotypical Hot Springs Episode, considering the fact that it all goes to hell and what not. The same could be said of Episode 12, which is a parody of a stereotypical Beach Episode.


    Live-Action TV 
  • Our Miss Brooks The second-half of "Postage Due" is a parody of Dragnet.
  • The episode "And Then There Was Shawn" of Boy Meets World is a parody of horror movies.
  • The doctors of Chicago Hope get blamed for the death of a famous actor. The episode is shown as an Entertainnment Tonight exclusive.
  • Community loves these. It has done parody episodes of the Police Procedural, Courtroom Dramas, Glee, Star Wars, G.I. Joe, The Western, The Mafia, Doctor Who, War Movies, Pulp Fiction, The Caper, and even the Zombie Apocalypse. Roughly a quarter of the episodes do this, going so far as to be shot in the same fashion as whatever genre they are portraying.
  • The Crusade episode "Visitors From Down the Street" was an extended parody of The X-Files, based around a Planet of Hats inspired by Conspiracy Theories.
  • Farscape spent the majority of one episode inside the head of Crichton, the Fish out of Water sole human member of the cast, where everything was drawn in the style of the Looney Tunes cartoons. Great episode.
  • Home Improvement had a parody of The X-Files, satirizing the title sequence and Mulder and Scully's thought process
    Tim: (As Mulder) The Truth Is Out There!
    Jill: (As Scully) You're out there.
    • And Tim's name was changed to ABC Taylor, after the network "Home Improvement" was on, parodying the FOX network's Fox Mulder.
  • The It's Garry Shandling's Show episodes "The Graduate" and "The Fugitive". Since there's No Fourth Wall, the episodes openly referenced the originals, to the point of including clips.
  • The Just Shoot Me! episode "How the Finch Stole Christmas" is, of course, a send-up of How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, complete with Seuss-like narration. Furthermore, it had subplots spoofing A Charlie Brown Christmas and Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus.
    • There was also the one where Maya befriends a guy who acts like Woody Allen.
  • Moesha parodied The Cosby Show in an imaginatively titled episode 'Definitely Not The Cosbys' (which was originally the working title for Married... with Children).
  • Mr. Robot has a darker take on this. The first half of "m4ster-s1ave.aes" is a dream of Elliot's that parodies 90s sitcoms like Full House (complete with 90s-esque commercials for E Corp). Eventually it is revealed to be a dreamworld created by Mr. Robot to spare Elliot the trauma of being beaten half to death.
  • The NewsRadio episode "Sinking Ship" was a parody of the film Titanic (1997).
  • Raising Hope parodied Modern Family and even My Name Is Earl with the original cast.
  • Remember WENN did two — one parodying Casablanca and one parodying Sunset Boulevard.
  • In the season seven finale of Roseanne, Dan wonders what it would be like if he finally finishes building his boat and he winds up having a fantasy that is a direct parody of Gilligan's Island, with him as the Skipper, Jackie as Gilligan, Roseanne as Ginger, Darlene as Mary-Ann, Mark as the professor and Leon and Bev as the Howells.
    • The end credits scene then shows a parody of the actual show with the surviving Gilligan cast members playing the characters, along with a cameo from Gilligan creator, Sherwood Schwartz.
  • In the Sabrina the Teenage Witch episode "As Westbridge Turns", the usually realistic Urban Fantasy series parodies soap operas. Forbidden relationships, Serious Business, and improbable coincidences ('My long lost sister!') abound. Of course, the change is caused by Sabrina ingesting a magical 'can of worms' and everything is back to normal at the end of the episode.
  • Done several times in Scrubs:
    • The 100th episode, "My Way Home", is a parody of... you guessed it... The Wizard of Oz, complete with a protagonist who just wants to go home, a search for a literal heart for a transplant, "Over the Rainbow," and a painted yellow floor... among other references.
    • Also, the episode "My Princess" which was told the style of a fairy tale with some Princess Bride references.
    • "My Life in Four Cameras" qualifies as well, being a parody of standard 80s-90s sitcoms with Studio Audience.
    • "My House" parodies House.
  • They did not call an episode of a certain Anglo-Irish comedy "Speed 3" for no reason.
  • The second season of Sledge Hammer! consisted almost entirely of these. ("Hammeroid" was a parody of RoboCop, "Vertical" was a parody of Vertigo, etc.)
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • The 200th episode, "200", not only parodies everything to do with TV and movie writing and production (ranging from the actors wanting more money to references to Jumping the Shark and a Lampshade Hanging about... Lampshade Hanging). It also parodies everything from The Wizard of Oz, Star Trek, and Farscape to Supermarionation shows (like the original Thunderbirds), zombie movies, teen dramas, and, of course, itself. To actually list all of the parodies including the self-parodying inside jokes would take up this entire page, so if you're interested in hearing all of them, see what the Stargate Wiki's page on it has listed.
    • Similarly, the episode to which "200" is a sequel, "Wormhole X-Treme!" from the show's fifth season, is also a Parody Episode, a self-parody as well as parodying both the TV production process and Science Fiction in general.
      Producer: You know what this show needs? A sexy female alien.
  • The Stargate Atlantis episode "Vegas" starts out as a CSI parody episode, but rapidly gets serious until it hits a Tear Jerker ending.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
  • Star Trek: Voyager homaged the early sci-fi serials like Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon with the "Captain Proton" holoprogram, most notably in the episode "Bride of Chaotica!".
  • Supernatural likes to play with this trope once a season (in its second half)—while the Winchester brothers are still chasing a mystery, the format and/or subject matter of the episode (and their case) takes a comedic tone and it becomes obvious that it's parodying something: in Season 1, they made fun of Ghostbusters in "Hell House;" in Season 2, they did "Hollywood Babylon," which was an Affectionate Parody of the show itself with some blink-and-you'll-miss-'em Take Thats to the WB/CW executives; Season 3 had "Ghostfacers," which was a parody of both the Ghost Hunters and The Blair Witch Project. Universal Studio's classic monster movies were awesomely and affectionately homaged in Season 4's aptly-named "Monster Movie." Season 5 brought us the instant-classic "Changing Channels" which parodies Grey's Anatomy, a typical three-camera laugh-track sitcom, Knight Rider, a commercial for a genital herpes prescription medication, and absolutely skewers CSI. And then Season 6 gives the ultimate Self-Parody with "The French Mistake", in which the show mercilessly satirises itself and everyone working on it.
  • Married... with Children and That '70s Show had episodes parodying It's a Wonderful Life.
  • The Twin Peaks homage episode "Dual Spires" episode of Psych, with the added bonus of the original cast of the show being parodied providing copious amounts of Adam Westing.
    • The episode about Carlton moving into a (presumably haunted) apartment is a parody of The Shining. His annoying neighbors are parodies of the main characters from Rosemary's Baby.
  • The X-Files did an episode where Mulder and Scully appeared on Cops.
    • Also, "Jose Chung's 'From Outer Space'" can be seen as The X-Files parodying itself. The plot for that episode is just ridiculous, but hilarious.

  • Done Disappeared episode "*Bonus Episode*" parodies the True Crime review podcast Crime Writers On with a review from Crime Writers Off.

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    Western Animation 


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