Parodies are hard to write if you're unfamiliar with the original work. Sometimes, you'll make points that the work itself refutes. Sometimes, you'll treat tongue-in-cheek works like they're serious. But some spoofs make an even more serious error. They try to mock the original work with their own humorous spin but reproduce the original instead of parodying it.
The original included the exact same material, perhaps as a self-aware joke, which renders the parody superfluous. As a result, the parody doesn't actually twist or exaggerate the original work. People unfamiliar with the original may laugh at the joke, but others will be put off by the spoof writer's ignorance and the redundancy of the resultant parody.
Some comedy writers avoid this trap by limiting their targets. RiffTrax, for example, refuses to mock comedies, fearing their commentary will sound too much like the original. For parodies that do this deliberately, to send the implied message "We can't make this any dumber than it already is", see Spoofed with Their Own Words, which may be accompanied by a "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer.
- In Spain, saying you're "turning black" means you're getting angry, much like a video game boss Turns Red, but black. A Dragon Ball parody comic had Mr. Popo (who has black-colored skin) say he was "turning black" as a joke... except he actually says that in the Spanish anime dub at one point.
- Sailor Moon:
- Many parodies supposedly mocking the conventions of Sailor Moon's ditzy and at times ineffectual behavior, ridiculously idealistic and energetic nature, flashy but impractical transformations, melodramatic and long-winded speeches about love and justice, and blatantly terrible attempts at keeping her identity secret largely repeat what the original work lampshaded. Although most of these things are more or less played straight and accepted as genre conventions, truth be told the Magical Girl formula was far from new when Sailor Moon debuted. Usagi very much started out as akin to an Affectionate Parody of magical girl heroines at first: she was not nearly as competent as she was believed to be, which earned her no small amount of snark from her teammates. Her first attempts at heroism usually left her falling flat on her face. And her extremely girly personality was consistently Played for Laughs. Indeed, the cornerstone of her early Character Development was learning to be a competent hero and properly take on her responsibilities as Princess of the Moon.
- Many of the villains both one-off and arc-based often looked terrifying as well as acting equally horrific, at times causing enough suffering that they'd not look out of place in a much Darker and Edgier deconstruction.
- The prequel manga Codename: Sailor V has a famous scene where Sailor V makes a speech so elaborate and long that it runs for two pages, to the point where the enemy cuts her off in annoyance.
- An anime episode wherein Usagi has trouble transforming when in her house, to the point where the angelic wings are long enough to knock dishes over when she turned around, and in general would have been more effective had she not transformed to begin with.
- And the hilariously terrible attempts to keep her identity safe were played so straight as to be a Stealth Parody.
- Parodies that like to play on Mamoru/Tuxedo Mask being Usagi's Useless Boyfriend often forget that this was a major character arc for his manga counterpart, and he already acknowledged that he's weaker than Sailor Moon would ever be, with even some villains mocking him for it. That doesn't stop him from developing his own signature move and arguably becoming one of the most important fighters in that continuity. His reputation for being useless largely comes from the anime, where his role is more downplayed since two of the anime's directors (Junichi Sato and Kunihiko Ikuhara) famously disliked him.
- Kirby parodies inevitably bring up the fact that the titular character eats people (and pretty much everything else). This has, to an extent, been brought up in official media - the anime series has some jokes about the idea of him eating other characters, including a scene where he randomly tries to eat Knuckle Joe's hand.
- Naruto parodies tend to mock Naruto's childishness and loudmouth attitude as unfitting for a ninja. It doesn't take a very close reading of the early series to recognize that these traits were intended to be negative, and something he'd grow out of, and most characters call him out on it.
- Similar to the games, the Pokémon anime has frequent parodies where Ash, and Pokémon trainers in general, are little more than glorified cockfighters. Trouble is, that's the exact same reveal Takeshi Shudo was planning on building up to in his initial vision, before the higher-ups vetoed it on the grounds of being a complete 180 of the premise.
- Parodies of Uncle Scrooge will inevitably make a joke about how diving headfirst into a pool of gold coins like Scrooge McDuck is a terrible idea, and that it would probably lead to a concussion in Real Life. But the actual Uncle Scrooge comics have acknowledged this multiple times, going all the way back to the first Uncle Scrooge issue, "Only a Poor Old Man", which ends with the Beagle Boys knocking themselves unconscious after Scrooge convinces them to try it themselves. In the same story, Scrooge just coyly replies "It's a trick" when asked how he himself can do it. Indeed, most of Scrooge's stories portray him as a Memetic Badass who regularly pulls of improbable feats that leave his friends baffled; swimming in gold is pretty basic for him. In another issue, Scrooge notes that he needed lots of practice to be able to do it, after using it as a Spot the Imposter test.
- DC's Redtool, from the Harley Quinn solo series, is a parody of Deadpool. The problem is that Deadpool is already a parody himself (his original inspiration being DC's own Deathstroke), and his personality and humor style are very similar to Redtool's, making the latter come off less as a parody and more as a pure Captain Ersatz. Making this more redundant is that Harley (especially around the New 52 and Rebirth eras) is already treated as an Alternate Company Equivalent to Deadpool anyway in some of her solo books thanks to her Meta Guy attitude.
- John Byrne once commented that it's virtually impossible to write a parody of the Fantastic Four, because any and all attempts at writing parody Thing dialogue end up sounding like something the real Ben Grimm would say anyway.
- Parodies or lists mocking "lame comic characters" have a habit of including characters that were always intended to be jokes. Arm Fall Off Boy of the Legion of Super-Heroes in particular often gets spoken of in "what were they thinking?" tones, when he made exactly two very brief appearances where the entire gag was that this idiot thought his ability to detach his arm made him Legion-worthy. (In fact, his presence was essentially an early Ascended Meme in the fandom.)
- Ruins, a parody (in the vaguest sense of the word, given everything in that comic is Played for Drama) of the series Marvels, seems to be based primarily on subverting the premise of how wonderful it would be to watch the Marvel Universe unfold by making it out as a massive Crapsack World where everyone is either an asshole or dying. Except the ideas that the Marvel Universe is kind of a Crapsack World and it would be nervewracking and disillusioning to live in a world of superheroes were both major themes of Marvels; even the opening issue ends with the narrator being caught in the middle of a brawl and losing his eye in the process.
- Mother Goose and Grimm:
- There was a comic once of a man watching TV with a woman behind him looking shocked, and the caption, "Scully discovers the XXX Files." But in The X-Files, it was well-established that Mulder really did stash porn all over the office, and that Scully was perfectly aware of it and didn't care.
- Another strip featured Edward Scissorhands playing Rock, Paper, Scissors with a little kid, and continually losing. This joke especially falls flat considering it was used in the movie as a running gag. And he did it again.
- Inverted and Hilarious in Hindsight in an Off the Mark comic making fun of The Simpsons. Bart goes to a barber who is confused as to where his head ends and hairline begins. This joke was made on the show years later.
- Bill Watterson barely dodged this with a few Calvin and Hobbes strips in which Calvin tries to get Hobbes interested in the magazine Chewing, which is completely devoted to bubble gum. All the various gums are profiled like baseball stars, with "stats" and attributes. All Hobbes could say was, "What kind of nut would care about all this?" But Watterson later admitted that at the time he had drawn those strips, there were already a huge number of absurdly detailed magazines about freakishly specific topics, and so a magazine about bubble gum documenting "flavor retention" and such was only a slight exaggeration of reality. ("It's hardly satire.")
- In its 1950s Comic Book incarnation, it sometimes ended up committing this trope. In their Disney parody, for example, much of the humor derived from Donald Duck losing his clothes and getting captured by a duck farmer who could barely understand him. Pretty funny in itself, but Donald winding up naked and coming off as incomprehensible due to his quacking voice happened in quite a few actual Donald Duck cartoons (though not necessarily at the same time).
- Inverted and Hilarious in Hindsight with a Shrek-scenes-we'd-like-to-see comic written when the first movie was released. It shows Donkey with dragon/donkey hybrid babies, which became a reality in the sequels.
- MAD also had a comic in which the Disney version of Pinocchio stomps on Jiminy Cricket. Although such a thing never happens in the Disney version, something similar did happen in the original book the movie is based on.
- The Dilbert Future, a 1997 book featuring Scott Adams' cartoons and musings about the future, has a part about the holodeck from Star Trek. The central joke is that people in real life would use the holodeck for sex. This isn't very funny if you've watched much Star Trek (especially Deep Space Nine) because that's actually what it's used for pretty often.
- This joke is also used in the copypasta "10 Things I Hate About Star Trek."
- A common joke made about Garfield is that it doesn't make sense for Garfield to hate Mondays given that he's a cat. This has been acknowledged.
- The April 30 2020 Hi and Lois strip had Dot and Ditto watching "a new crime show for kids" called CSI: Sesame Street. The joke is the contrast of adult crime drama with kiddie puppets. Except those kiddie puppets spoof adult crime dramas all the time, and had done a CSI bit way back in 2007.
- At the height of Pottermania were many out-of-touch parodies that focused around the idea of Harry and his friends growing up and becoming teenagers with all the foibles that entails such as sexual attraction and social awkwardness ("Harry Potter and the Onset of Puberty"). Of course, this is what much of the series actually concerns itself with. Apparently, they stopped reading after the first book and assumed later entries continued the "kid in a candy store" sense of wonder (perhaps combined with Not Allowed to Grow Up) instead of maturing along with the target audience.
- Avatar: The Abridged Series suffers from this some of the time, due to parodying a show that already has a high joke quotient. For example, its parody of the episode "The Storm" has a scene where Katara says: "Aang would never run away! [Aang gets on his glider and flies off] Aang, stop running away!" The original was exactly the same, only with different wording.
- Hellsing Ultimate Abridged has much the same problem, as Hellsing was already an incredibly silly show. Jan Valentine, in particular, is virtually identical to his original incarnation — you could probably switch out his scenes with the ones in the actual dub and barely notice.
- Though not as bad as the above, Dragon Ball Z Abridged has run into this a couple of times - Mr. Satan and the Ginyu Force are probably the biggest examples, as they were already comic relief, and had to have a lot of new jokes written for them. Averting this trope was also the reason for almost completely cutting out Master Roshi from the abridging of Broly, as all his scenes were already comedic.
- Eiga Sentai Scanranger had a chapter that attempted to parody spy movies, with each of the heroes becoming a pastiche of a well-known character in the genre. The thing is one of them becomes Boston Powered, New England Man of Mystery, and the villain is even outright compared to Dr. Evil. During the big fight at the end "Boston" uses his powers to turn into Fat Bastard, too. It also takes the "don't be a dick" scene from xXx but doesn't sound any more ironic than the real one note , really just swapping out the word "dick" with "twit" to keep it family-friendly. The chapter was noticeably left out when the story was reposted elsewhere, with even the chapter numbers and teasers deliberately moved around to exclude it.
- Many parodies of Disney animated classics mock the fairytale tropes like falling in love with someone you just met or True Love's Kiss, calling them shallow and unrealistic, when most modern films avoid those tropes completely; in fact, Disney films like Enchanted and Frozen lampshade and deconstruct those tropes themselves.
- Seltzer and Friedberg, masters of the Shallow Parody, typically parody trailers rather than actual films; as such they have no idea if their "jokes" will actually be in the final films (which inevitably come out before their own movies do). Highlights include:
- Epic Movie decided to parody X-Men by having Wolverine position his claws to look like he was Flipping the Bird, even though this same joke was used at one point in the original movie. And it was a pretty memorable moment, so it just goes to show that nobody involved had seen X-Men even once. And just to add insult to injury, as the page image shows, the original did it much better.
- Not much better than that is a parody of Borat — and by "parody", the film means "direct lift of an entire exchange, almost word for word, acted out by a man imitating Borat." And needless to say, Borat is already a comedy.
- Before them both, Scary Movie was a parody primarily of Scream, a movie which was already a satire (sort of) of the Slasher Genre.
- Vampires Suck includes gags about how often Jacob is shirtless, something which the Twilight adaptations already poked fun at. ("Does he even own a shirt?")
- Loaded Weapon 1 is a parody of the Lethal Weapon series, which, by 1993 (when Loaded Weapon 1 was released), contains a toilet blowing up while being filmed on national television (though granted, the first two are more serious action films). The movie itself sideways acknowledges it with that very scene; they set up like there will be a parody of the scene and the whole joke is that nothing notable happens.
- The Avengers (1998) tries to be a self-aware parody of the original series when the series was already self-aware.
- A Samba For Sherlock features a scene where the straight-laced detective tries drugs. It's unfortunate because it shows the writers were only familiar with the early books. Holmes' use of cocaine is frequently mentioned in later stories.
- Deadpool 2 features a case in a scene where Wade tries to calm down the Juggernaut by telling him "Sun's getting real low", only for it to fail miserably. This is mocking how the Black Widow calmed the Hulk down in Avengers: Age of Ultron. The Marvel Cinematic Universe beat Deadpool to the punch by using the same joke six months prior in Thor: Ragnarok. (This is a rare case where it was completely accidental, as the films were in production at around the same time, and Age of Ultron itself played the whole thing dead straight.)
- The Deadpool short film Deadpool: No Good Deed has Deadpool struggling to put on his suit inside a phone booth while John Williams' Superman: The Movie theme plays. But, even the 1978 movie poked fun at Superman using a phone booth to change, as he glanced briefly at one before deciding to change in a revolving door.
- Many parodies of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory have the Oompa-Loompas be slaves owned by Willy Wonka. Trouble is that the Oompa Loompas were African pygmies in the first version of the original book, before Bowdlerization.
- Spot's Third First Christmas, according to author Kibo, was "a parody of those crappy "Choose Your Adventure" books" with many bad endings and only one happy ending which is unreachable from any path. One actual book in the CYOA series, "Inside UFO 54-40," the best ending was deliberately unreachable (and not unreachable by oversight, as it was in plenty of others).
- One of the very last Bob Hope specials on NBC lampooned the 1989 Batman movie, and had Hope done up as Jack Nicholson's Joker. Both Batman and Superman were in the skit, and Hope refers to them by derisive names like "Bat-Brain" and "Super-Stupe", and getting laughs from his equally aging studio audience. Hope and his writers must have thought that villains do not talk like that to heroes, but especially since Denny O'Neil, this is almost exactly the way the Joker trash-talks his opponents in the comics. Even "Super-Stupe" is something that Superman was called at least once during the Silver Age, implying that Hope's writers were in fact doing their research when it came to that nickname.
- Doctor Who:
- It's a standard Doctor Who parody joke to make fun of the Fourth Doctor's ridiculously long scarf (MAD joked that it was self-knitting and a newspaper cartoon featured a giant tape dispenser with the striped pattern reading "Dr. Who Scarf (cut to length)"). The show made jokes about it already, usually from some incredulous character of the week.note
- And, while we're on the subject of Doctor Who, jokes involving presenting the title as an actual question or similar gags on its odd name have been part of the actual show since the second episode of the original series. That's episode, not serial. It is also, in fact, the intended MEANING of the title.
- Most parodies of the Adam West Batman series end up like this. Viewing even one episode will tell you it was not meant to be a serious adaptation. Neither were the comic issues of the era, for that matternote .
- The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt episode "Kimmy Goes to the Doctor!" parodies Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark by having Titus audition for the role of "Spider-Man #12" in its nonexistent sequel Spider-Man 2: Too Many Spider-Men!, a plodding trainwreck that features multiple Spider-Men onstage at once. The actual Spider-Man comics have actually done just that: it was called The Clone Saga, and it's also widely remembered as a plodding trainwreck. Later continuities would also make jokes about the saga in the same fashion. Spider-clones have been a staple of the Spider-Man mythos for years, and there actually are several other characters in the comics who have also assumed the role of Spider-Man; and yes, they have all teamed up before. And on top of that, the original musical being spoofed had up to sixteen actors, dancers, stuntmen, and acrobats playing Spider-Man at various points, and yes, there were a few moments when all of them were on stage. (to be fair, the parody was more about the actors colliding on stage multiple times, but still...)
- Baywatch actually managed to do this to itself. The episode "Rescue Bay", where a TV producer is inspired by the lifeguards to create the titular Show Within a Show, is intended as a bit of Self-Deprecating Humor, but as Allison Pregler of Baywatching points out, none of what we're shown of Rescue Bay is any more ridiculous or over the top than what the actual show does on a regular basis. Taken out of context, it could easily pass as part of any episode of Baywatch.
- Bananas, a Christian-oriented stand-up comedy showcase, opened one episode with host Thor Ramsey complaining that Brother Bear depicted a world where humans and animals were on equal footing — with the exception of fish, who were not depicted as sentient or having souls; he joked that the filmmakers should have been consistent and shown the fish screaming and fleeing for their lives from the bears. If he had stayed through the end credits and seen The Stinger, he would have seen that they did exactly that as a Black Comedy Burst.
- Any parody of The West Wing is pretty much contractually obligated to make fun of the series for having the characters constantly carry on conversations while walking through hallways for no reason. But the show regularly made fun of itself for doing that; as early as the fourth episode, Josh and Sam admitted that they had no idea where they were actually walking.
Sam: Where are you going?
Josh: Where are you going?
Sam: I was following you.
Josh: I was following you. (beat) All right, don't tell anyone this happened, okay?
- An episode of Saturday Night Live guest-hosting Jeremy Renner parodied The Avengers (2012) by having Hawkeye run out of arrows to shoot at the Chitauri and how it essentially takes him out of the fight. The problem is, this actually did happen in the original film.
Black Widow: How many arrows did you bring?
Hawkeye: All of them, like... eleven.
Captain America: Eleven? There are a hundred thousand aliens out there!
Hawkeye: And I killed eleven of them. You're welcome.
- There's a parody out there of "The Blue Tail Fly" in which the chorus is changed to "Jimmy drinks corn, and I don't care", meaning that Jimmy is drinking corn whiskey. Apparently, the would-be parodists were unaware that the most common interpretation of the lyric "Jimmy crack corn and I don't care" is that of "cracking corn", which is to say, making corn whiskey. They not only failed to parody it, they arguably watered it down a notch...
- The full version of the song makes this explicit: "Jimcrack corn and I don't care, my master's gone away." The song is about a slave who is happily relaxing with a bottle of whiskey, no longer having to work since the slaveowner just died.
- It's common to joke that the narrator of "Every Breath You Take" by The Police sounds like a creepy stalker. Except this is exactly the point of the song.
- The YouTube meme of taking isolated vocal tracks of classic songs and running them through Microsoft's Songsmith program has led to some hilarious musical juxtapositions ("Crazy Train" as bluegrass, "Ace of Spades" as folk-pop). The lounge jazz version of "Runnin' with the Devil" by Van Halen is amusing, but David Lee Roth did several loungey Cover Versions in his solo career ("Just a Gigolo", "That's Life"), and he even released an album of Van Halen hits rearranged as bluegrass versions in 2006, so it's not really that outlandish of an idea.
- The Lonely Island are probably the biggest victims of this in music history, with every one of their comedy songs (some of which are parodies themselves) having at least a dozen spoofs. Usually, ones that only change a few words and don't actually change the jokes. On top of that, they usually distort the actual joke of the song — for instance, ignoring the Sanity Slippage Song aspects of "Like a Boss" in favor of just blandly listing things, and ignoring that "I'm on a Boat" is already a parody of glitzy rap videos.
- Though Monty Python is a household name in comedy, their "Lumberjack Song" is regularly singled out for song parodies that take the refrain "I'm a(n) _________, and I'm okay!" and run with it, turning it into a straightforward "I Am" Song about one's chosen vocation or esoteric subculture. Though the catchy beat of the song is quite well-known, many people seem to forget its later verses, where the supposedly wholesome lumberjack proudly confesses to being a crossdresser, which surprises his backup singers so much that they stop singing the song in disgust. Not to mention its original set-up in the TV show, where it's sung by a deranged barber who inexplicably bursts into song and sings about how he's actually always wanted to be a lumberjack.note It's not just a catchy tune about chopping down trees; it's very much an example of the Pythons' trademark Surreal Humor.
- Many different bloody and grotesque parodies of the popular children's song "On Top of Spaghetti" have circulated among children at least since the 1970s, most them beginning with some variation of the line, "On top of Old Smoky all covered with blood, I shot my poor teacher with a .44 slug..." (parodying "On top of spaghetti all covered with cheese, I lost my poor meatball when somebody sneezed..."). As noted by Playground Jungle, many of those children don't seem to be aware that "On Top of Spaghetti" is itself a parody of the American folk song "On Top of Old Smoky", which begins with the line "On top of Old Smoky all covered with snow, I lost my true lover for courting too slow...". This seems to be largely dependent on age: "On Top of Old Smoky" was once a legitimately popular song that played frequently on American radio stations, but many younger children now seem to know the parodies much better (likely because they grew up with them).
- Parodies and modern versions of "Baby, It's Cold Outside" often invert the genders (having the man wishing to leave and the woman trying to convince him to stay) believing this subverts the original. This is clearly ignorant of the fact that the song was popularized by the film Neptune's Daughter where it is performed twice, and a gender inverted version is exactly what the second performance of it is.
- The Bob & Tom Show likes to cast its hosts and/or characters in wacky variants on recent hit movies, and fell victim to this when they cast white trash caricature Donnie Baker in "Funeral Crashers" — apparently unaware that the concept of picking up women at a funeral had already been explored in the third act of Wedding Crashers.
- Lampshaded in Mitch Benn is the Fat Pink Duke; at the end of his "Laughing Gnome" parody, the gnome itself questions the point of parodying a humorous novelty song. It also complains the jokes are worse than the original.
- A BBC radio sketch show in the 90s had a regular monologue by an impression of Alan Bennett, which would always begin "I was sharing a pot of Earl Grey with Thora Hird..." and then move into a bizarre and sometimes dark direction, with the joke being the perceived "coziness" of Bennett and the chatty mundanity of the set-up, juxtaposed with where it ended up. Except a lot of Bennett's work (especially Alan Bennett's Talking Heads, which seemed to be the inspiration for the monologue format) traded on exactly that juxtaposition, and since it was often Played for Drama, could go a lot darker than the sketch ever did.
- Monopoly has inspired many parodies that joke about it representing "the evils of capitalism", along with an entire game called "Anti-Monopoly" that depicts the monopolists as the bad guys. This is, in fact, the entire point of the original game. Anyone who has played by the rules as written (i.e. no House Rules) knows that once any single player has a noticeable advantage, that player is virtually guaranteed to multiply that advantage and bankrupt everybody else in a relatively short time. That's deliberate. Of course, the vast majority of modern versions of the game play the idea straight.
- Lampshaded/parodied by Forbidden Broadway's take on "The Song That Goes Like This" from Spamalot. The song starts out using the exact same lyrics as the original, then points out that fact, and then accuses the show of stealing from Forbidden Broadway.
- When the cast of Wicked appeared in a German talk show, the host joked about Elphaba: "That's what happens if you eat too much spinach as a child." In the musical, Elphaba does in fact sarcastically remark to the other students: "No, I'm not seasick. Yes, I've always been green. No, I did not eat grass as a child."
- The Purple Prose in Shakespeare has been the subject of many, many parodies over the years, but some of the most parodied examples were already intended to be overwrought and narmy-y in-universe. Examples include Hamlet's "Doubt that the starts are fire, doubt that the sun doth move...", which he writes as a letter as part of an Obfuscating Stupidity ploy, most of the things said by Polonius, who is intended to be a pretentious Old Windbag and Upper-Class Twit, and pretty much everything Romeo says. Most parodies forget that even Shakespeare's tragedies tended to have a high joke count. Parodies of the crossdressing also fall into this, given that Twelfth Night is an entire play Lampshading this.
- There is a somewhat common joke among the Sonic the Hedgehog fandom concerning the fact that Sonic Drift (and later on, Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing) has Sonic, whose defining trait is his Super Speed, driving in a race car. While this seems justified, it ignores that the manual for Drift clarifies that Sonic does dislike cars, and it's clear in both games that he's only using a car to keep the competition balanced for all the other racers. Racing Transformed also has Ralph note the irony of Sonic using a car.
- Most non-satirical attempts to make Pokémon Darker and Edgier fall kind of flat, considering that even the main series installments (to say nothing of spin-offs and other official adaptations) have had everything from terrorist bombings, to child abuse, to multiple accounts of attempted genocide. In most cases, these ideas could be the plots of actual Pokémon games if you removed the added sexual content, violence, and profanity of questionable necessity.
- Similarly, comparisons between Pokémon battles and cockfighting also fall into this category: the plot of Pokémon Black and White outright revolves around the questionable ethics of catching the eponymous creatures and having them battle each other. Most blatantly, PETA made this the focus of one of their parody games... while specifically parodying the exact game which already examined the topic... and praising and comparing themselves to the villainous Animal Wrongs Group from said game.
- Another theme in dark parodies is humans eating Pokémon or Pokémon eating each other. Pokémon edibility has been canon for years, with Pokédex entries remarking on how certain species eat one another (sometimes violently) or are eaten by humans, and in Pokémon Gold and Silver the poaching of Slowpoke to eat their tails is a plot point.
- The stock jokes about Final Fantasy are:
- Stupidly big swords. Cloud's sword in Final Fantasy VII was deliberately designed to look ridiculous (if in a Campily cool way), to reflect that Cloud is a cocky showoff and overcompensating. The remake further parodies its impractical size by having him hit it against a door frame when trying to pull it out when standing under one.
- Emo teens. Much of the humour in Final Fantasy VIII derives from what happens when you put stupid and immature teenagers in charge of saving the world, like when Squall storms out of the room in a huff about some perceived slight and the other characters are clueless about his attitude.
- Bishounen. From a man in a hostess club mistaking Cecil for a waitress in Final Fantasy IV to Faris making Galuf doubt his sexual orientation in Final Fantasy V to Cloud's appeal to gay men and straight men in Final Fantasy VII to Noel being called 'even prettier' compared to his female sidekick in Final Fantasy XIII-2, this is mocked nearly every time the subject comes up.
- The main character having Laser-Guided Amnesia. Final Fantasy X makes an extended joke out of Tidus faking it (claiming he was exposed to Sin's toxins), since his actual backstory is just as unbelievable, and even he has trouble saying any of it with a straight face.
- Since one of the notable things about the Metal Gear games is its ability to combine dark storylines with bonkers, absurd comedy, a lot of bad parodies just repeat humorous elements in the original games, like the idea of a cool superspy hiding in a cardboard box, or the hilarious naked people and sexy posters, or Otacon's garbled proverbs, or what have you.
- Animal Crossing parodies usually have Isabelle as the jaded, overworked Hypercompetent Sidekick to the New Leaf player character's bumbling mayor. This was already joked about in-series with two completely different characters: Phyllis, the jaded, overworked, nightshift-running pelican at the town hall/post office, who picked up the slack from Tortimer, the bumbling mayor from the Nintendo 64 game to Wild World/City Folk. The idea of a normally cheerful character turning out to be a Stepford Smiler has also been Zipper T. Bunny's gimmick since his debut.
- Persona, in addition to the hiimdaisy examples listed below, has a few other cases of this.
- Many parodies of Persona 3 focus on how weird and disturbing the Evokers are, gun-shaped devices that allow the user to summon their Persona by shooting themselves in the head. The weirdness of Evokers is commented on a few times in Persona 3 itself, and crossover spinoffs will always have a member of another game's party point this out.
- Parodies of the Social Link system and the protagonist being The Casanova. Persona 4: The Animation had Episode 13 and 14 as a two-parter that mocks how weird a day of Social Linking (and other in-game activities like fishing) looks to an outside observer, and both it and spinoffs frequently parody the protagonist's Casanova reputation.
- Many a Street Fighter fan has cracked wise about the car bonus stage from Street Fighter II, and parodies often feature jokes about how the poor shmuck who owned that car will be horrified once he comes back and sees you've junked it. Except... this is based on a similar minigame from Final Fight (which Street Fighter shares a universe with), which makes exactly this joke at the end.
- How It Should Have Ended's video for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) remake has Erin beat Leatherface by just kicking him in the balls. She does kick him in the balls in the actual film (in the meat freezer scene) and it barely slows him down.
- Their video for Moana pokes fun at the fact that the Ocean could have just returned the Heart of Te Fiti itself instead of going through the trouble of presenting this task to Moana. The movie itself actually has Maui comment on this, with Moana reluctantly admitting that she has no idea why. Maui later deduces that the ocean believes it would mean more if a human-like Moana accomplished the task, as it would inspire ocean travel once again.
- Bob the Angry Flower has a parody sequel◊ to Atlas Shrugged which been widely circulated, where people admit, sometimes quite proudly, that they found Ayn Rand's book too long to read. If they had actually read it through, they might have discovered that industrialists such as Dwight Sanders do take up farming after leaving the world behind for Galt's Gulch. Notley later apologized for this and produced another cartoon that spoofed Objectivism directly and more accurately.
- Hiimdaisy makes a joke at one point in the Persona 4 comics about six-year-old Nanako spending all her time singing the Junes ad jingle to make herself feel less alone, which the protagonist finds disturbing. This would be funnier if that wasn't already acknowledged in the game - Nanako's loneliness, to the point the Junes commercials are the bright spot in her day, is a big point of her character.
- Later on, there's an extended sequence where the protagonist tries to convince his friends to stop the latest victim before the victim declares "YOU'RE NOT ME!", which will make the Shadow version of them go berserk. This actually comes up during the Shadow Naoto fight in the game - Kanji stops the others shouting for Naoto not to say it, pointing out that they just aren't going to listen given the emotional turmoil they're experiencing (and although he doesn't point it out, none of the victims ever listen), and instead the Investigation Team should just let it happen and beat down the Shadow afterward.
- Penny Arcade:
- "In The Before-Now" dealt with Gabe's past obsession with Kris Kross, an early '90s rap duo who wore their clothes backward. The punchline is that it's hard for a guy to go to the bathroom with his jeans on backward. Kris Kross' first album actually made that same joke in one of the spoken word tracks between songs.
- "Believe Me, We Tried" discusses this. It starts with Gabe noting that they were going to make jokes about the then-upcoming Doom 3, but decided not to because every development screenshot of the game looked like the kind of joke they would make.
Upside-down demon heads? Skulls with jetpacks? It's like trying to make fun of a clown. What, are you going to make fun of his tiny car? His floppy shoes? It just doesn't work.
- A webcomic depicted Scooby-Doo and the gang capturing a monster and Fred trying to unmask it. He struggles with what appears to be a mask and then rips its head off, realising the monster was real. This exact same gag (minus the blood) was used in the 1998 movie Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island, complete with Fred pulling a Zombie's head off, and freaking out.
- The Cinema Snob: Referenced at the end of his Bingo review, where he realizes that the film was most likely a parody, and proceeds to tell us how dumb he feels.
- Before he became The Irate Gamer, Chris Bores made a "parody" of MythBusters. Though it's not as much a parody as it is a bland imitation.
- The Key of Awesome's "I Need a Doctor" parody pokes fun at the Ho Yay between Dr. Dre and Eminem by having Eminem hit blatantly on Dre, Dre responding with a sarcastic and only mildly irritated rejection, and Eminem desperately attempting to backpedal and pretend he didn't mean it to regain some shred of heterosexuality. Eminem used this exact same joke in the song and video "Just Lose It", where he hits on Dre at a bar, and when he gets shot down, claims he's blind. The song and video also had a Ho Yay-ridden hook that went "Yeah, boy, shake that thing - whoops, I mean girl. Girl girl girl" and a section where Eminem cosplayed gay icon Madonna.
- The Nostalgia Critic:
- In his Top 11 Drug PSAs, he makes a joke about R2-D2 from Star Wars smoking a cigarette when robots don't have lungs to damage... which C-3PO himself comments in the PSA. He says he wants R2-D2 to stop so he can set a good example for humans.
- Referenced in his A Simple Wish review when he yells at the character with a magic wand, "stop turning my jokes into things that already exist!"
- Played straight when one of the fairy godmothers says they have to turn in their wands when coming to the test for the same reasons that cowboys in the old west had to turn in their guns when coming into town, especially in Dodge City, "that's why nobody got plugged." Then, the NC says that's like asking NRA members to turn in their rifles before a meeting, and expecting everyone to comply safely. But people did get shot in town at times in Dodge City and the rest of the old west (though nowhere near the extent portrayed in fiction), some of the most famous old west shootings, including the gunfight at the OK Corral in Tombstone, took place specifically to enforce these laws, so if you know anything about the Old West, he basically just repeated her joke in an NRA context. Furthermore, NRA conferences are gun-free.
- In his review of Last Action Hero, while he devotes one rant to how Danny points out all the clichés and plot holes that he could be commenting on, he also cracks a joke about F. Murray Abraham's character's betrayal being unsurprising because he's never played a good guy in a movie yet. A trait that's brought up repeatedly in the film, usually focusing on how he killed Mozart in Amadeus. In fact, there's nothing in the entire review that suggests he's remotely aware it's a comedy; half his comments amount to pointing out one of the absurd background jokes and announcing that they make no sense.
- He's also made a couple jokes about Harry Potter, imagining a version where Harry has some serious issues due to everyone acting like he's The Chosen One. While the issue is skated over in the movies, it's a huge theme of the original books (Doug tends to only reference the films when they come up in his videos).
- In his review of Eight Crazy Nights during the Bum Biddy song, he complains about Davey singing, "But he never quit on me", when Whitey did quit on him. Davey's line immediately after this was, "Till I told him he was useless and his sister was freaky."
- His review of Yogi Bear opened with a re-enactment/parody of a fan-animated "alternate ending" where Boo-Boo shoots Yogi. Though this video itself is a parody of the pivotal scene of The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.
- His Starship Troopers review has similar problems with Last Action Hero one. While he brings up the possibility of it being satire (which it is), he still makes jokes about the intentionally ridiculous elements and (intentionally) fascistic elements.
- An online video called The Hungry Games, mocking the trailer for The Hunger Games by making it about an eating contest, calls the main character "Catnip" as a Parody Name. The creator evidently didn't realize that in-universe, that's Gale's personal nickname for Katniss.
- This often happens in snarky blogs.
- For example, the review Jesus Beezus (a blog of the Ramona Quimby books) does of Ramona and her Mother has this line:
"Mr. and Mrs. Quimby get into a sniping contest about whose grandmother was better. Yeah, really, that's what they fight about. Lame."
- However, the Quimbys acknowledge later how ridiculous their fight was and Mrs. Quimby even jokes to her daughters:
"We want you to be perfect so you won't grow up to bicker about your grandmothers and their pancakes."
- Similarly, snarky blogs will tend to sarcastically point out perceived flaws and confounding variables when they see articles on scientific papers with conclusions they don't like, but more often then not, if you read the original journal article (rather the news summary the blog linked to), you will notice the issues have already been accounted for in the study design itself, or otherwise acknowledged as something that must be addressed in any future studies.
- For example, the review Jesus Beezus (a blog of the Ramona Quimby books) does of Ramona and her Mother has this line:
- As mentioned above, RiffTrax rarely does comedies precisely to avoid this Trope. They still ran into this problem with The Avengers, thanks to Joss Whedon's typically witty script. At one point Bill makes a joke only to have Tony Stark repeat it, and Mike responds, "I keep telling you, you have to make better jokes than Robert Downey Jr. or this whole thing collapses on itself!" Notably, it was years before they tried to tackle another Marvel Cinematic Universe title with Avengers: Endgame (and even then they note that the film's "riffing itself" when Tony Stark refers to the rundown Thor as "Lebowski").
- The key exception to the "no comedies" rule comes with Mary Jo Pehl and Bridget Nelson's RiffTrax Presents installments, which have included the Monogram Pictures "Teen-agers" B-movies of the 1940s and several 1980s-'90s made-for-TV movies, as these films' attempts at humor are so corny as to be mockable in and of themselves.
- Discussed in Obscurus Lupa's reviews of Charmed — near the end, she starts laughing at one scene (where a Mind Controlled Piper casually vacuums up a murdered fairy), saying "It's like my horrible fanfic brought to life!"
- The reason why the creepypasta I HATE YOU ended up being so divisive is a combination of this and Poe's Law. The author, popular and acclaimed creepypasta writer Slimebeast intended it to be a parody of video game creepypasta, which are infamous for almost always using the same set of cliches, but did so in a way that essentially just used those cliches in a somewhat more ridiculous manner. Because it didn't really stand out as a parody, almost everybody that didn't see the original posting, where its author outright called it a joke, took it at face value. Its detractors took it as a serious, bad story, while Slimebeast's fans defended it as being good, with all of them on both sides missing the joke entirely.
- Smosh did a parody of Death Note. The joke is that the guy with the Death Note gets Drunk with Power, develops a god complex, and becomes a Knight Templar murdering anyone he doesn't like... which is the whole point of the original story.
- Boom Chicago once did a parody of SpongeBob SquarePants called "SpongeBob SquarePants in China", which relocates Bikini Bottom to the People's Republic of China. Among other things, the Krusty Krab is reimagined as a hellish factory that mass-produces consumer goods for the West, SpongeBob is a workaholic who doesn't know what a "day off" is, and SpongeBob and Patrick get hauled off by the police for questioning the Krusty Krab's exploitation of them. Ethnic stereotypes aside, most of that stuff wouldn't be so out of place in an actual SpongeBob episode: SpongeBob being a workaholic (sometimes to an unhealthy degree) is indeed one of his defining traits, and Mr. Krabs actually has (on occasion) been portrayed as a soulless capitalist who isn't above constructing sweatshops and charging his employees fees for breathing. One episode of SpongeBob even used almost exactly the same "day off" gag: "Imitation Krabs" had Mr. Krabs losing his temper after learning that his robotic impostor gave Squidward the day off from work.
"Day...OFF?! I DON'T KNOW THE MEANING OF THE WORD!"
- Digi-née discussed this in a video focusing on "deconstructive" anime, which, in her view, often weren't actually deconstructive but simply darker or more dramatic takes, labeled such by people unfamiliar with the genre. In particular, she pointed out that the idea of Shinji being a "deconstruction" because of his apprehension about piloting the Eva doesn't really work, because the idea of a mecha pilot or Kid Hero initially having Refused the Call or suffering trauma over the course of their adventures is an element in countless mecha shows, going all the way back to Kouji Kabuto.
- The comedic short Wolverine By Woody Allen shows what it would be like if... well, Wolverine were played by Woody Allen. One of the big jokes is a riff on "if you think being a mutant is hard enough, try being a Jewish mutant". Kitty Pryde, one of the most popular X-Men characters and more or less the book's protagonist for most of the 1980s, was established as being Jewish from day one and many stories touched on the nuances of the two different "minority" groups she belonged to. And that's not even touching the whole "Magneto is a Holocaust survivor" issue (then again, it does seem like the sort of thing Woody Allen would write anyway).
- Pornography studio Wood Rocket is known for producing cheap & quick porn parodies. One day they released The Bed Room, a parody of Tommy Wiseau's The Room, with many seeing it as pointless as The Room already had multiple softcore pornographic scenes. The Cinema Snob addressed this redundancy in his review of The Bed Room.
- A variation came up when SF Debris, reviewing the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Latent Image", comes up with the game "My Way or Janeway", where he imagines how a twisted parody of Captain Janeway would react to certain scenes, and then compares them to how the actual Janeway reacts. He ended up dropping the segment after four minutes because the real Janeway repeatedly proved to be more extreme than her parody.
- Adult Wednesday Addams: Not the series itself but there is a porn parody called Very Adult Wednesday Addams that uses dialogue from the one-night stand episode almost verbatim. Ironically, that video did not run into any copyright problems and is still available to watch.
- The Angry Video Game Nerd criticizes the Video Game Adaptation of Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure for its inane plot of having them time travel to set things right simply so their band won't break up, and for them killing Mooks in the game because of how killing ancestors could mess up the future. Both of these aspects are noted and made fun of in the film, with the ludicrous nature of them time-travelling to keep their band together Played for Laughs since their band will eventually unite humanity in a utopia of world peace.
- In 2017, a Twitter user named "xnulz" posted a still from a Taylor Swift video with the caption "Name a bitch badder than Taylor Swift". This led to a long thread where people mentioned women throughout history with amazing, inspirational accomplishments. Presumably, a lot of the responses assumed the original poster was some young, naïve Swift fan who had a lot to learn about life. If they'd bothered to look at xnulz's other tweets, they would've seen that xnulz was very much a part of the Weird Twitter spectrum, posting Non Sequitur jokes, often accompanied by pics, like "I'll never understand the hype about dogs......", as well as taking jabs at things like Kylie Jenner and McDonald's. In other words, the original tweet was mocking Taylor Swift, and, however noble their intent in celebrating women, the responses were ultimately just making the same joke as the original (that there are plenty of "badder bitches" than her).
- The Onion crossed this with Spoofing Spoofiness in 1999, with an article that treats a (fictional) "Weird Al" Yankovic parody of "Livin' La Vida Loca" called "Livin' La Vida Mocha" as Serious Business. Thing is, Ricky Martin's original has this infamous Lyrical Shoehorn in the chorus—"Her lips are devil-red and her skin's the color mocha." Whether they weren't aware that "mocha" was in the original, or the joke was that Yankovic was guilty of this trope isn't clear.
- After the finale of Unraveled, The Hard Times published a parody article titled "Brian David Gilbert Begins Comprehensive Deep Dive Into How to Get Health Insurance Now" where Brian breaks down the healthcare system out of panic that he doesn't have job security anymore. The joke of Brian using Unraveled to deal with his own financial woes was already done in the Unraveled episode "When can Mario retire?" when Brian analyzes the complicated retirement system and eventually panics over his future retirement prospects.
- The main joke in Shane Dawson's parody of Unfriended is that the movie would be over in an instant if the main characters just ended their Skype call. In the actual movie, they have a very good reason not to do so: Laura will kill them immediately if they try.
- The TV Land Awards featured a skit that combines Sex and the City with The Golden Girls, or at least were aimed in that direction. Problem is, 70% of the humor in The Golden Girls already derives from these aging women unashamedly talking about their sex lives.
- The same punchline was attempted by Robot Chicken, though they ramped it up with Refuge in Audacity (by which we mean on-screen, barely-censored sex) as a back-up punchline. As frank as The Golden Girls was about sex, it never had Sophia courting an entire high school basketball team (dressed as a cheerleader).
- The Simpsons episode "22 Short Films About Springfield" feature segments taken from Pulp Fiction that are played almost straight, with little original humour. It's less of a parody and more a near shot-for-shot remake.
- A MAD skit showed Bluto gaining massive strength and beating Popeye up after a waitress inadvertently switches their lunch orders and he gets the sailor's spinach. The problem is, this was done way back in the classic era at least once. Why it doesn't happen more often is usually explained simply by saying Bluto hates spinach, and when he does partake, it's because it's either forced on him, or he makes the supreme sacrifice to help Popeye fight against a common enemy (such as a group of Japanese soldiers in one of the WWII-era pictures).
- Another episode included a parody of ShamWow called "SpongeWow", showing a Vince Offer parody using SpongeBob SquarePants to clean all manner of gross or harmful surfaces, causing SpongeBob much discomfort. However, a prior episode of SpongeBob itself, "Model Sponge", featured a scene with the same basic premise as the skit, involving SpongeBob being hired as an actor for a cleaning sponge commercial when he thinks he has lost his job at the Krusty Krab and is forced to have to clean a ridiculously filthy bathroom, much to his increasing displeasure.
- South Park: The episode parodying Pet Sematary has the Jud Crandall expy warn Stephen Stotch not to resurrect his (not actually) deceased son via a cursed burial ground in a way that simply puts the idea in Stotchs head and gratuitously provides him with instructions on how to pull it off, ostensively sending up how easily the events of parodied story could have been avoided if Jud had kept his mouth shut. However, the original book and its film adaptations make it clear that part of the burial grounds power is in compelling those who know about it to reveal it to others, with Jud Crandall himself acknowledging that he should have realised he was being manipulated.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has been subjected to its fair share of parodies since its heyday in the 1980s—as befitting one of the most popular multimedia franchises of the 20th century. Of course, as any fan will tell you, the cartoon was pretty damn tongue-in-cheek to begin with, essentially being a buddy comedy with action and sci-fi thrown in. Even the original Darker and Edgier comic book was just as much an Affectionate Parody of superhero comics as it was a superhero comic in its own right. The central premise (temperamental young mutants fight crime in New York City) was something of a take-off on X-Men, while their origin story (a runaway truck full of radioactive waste gives birth to superheroes with martial arts training) was a clear parody of Daredevil. Even the Turtles' wise mentor "Splinter" was a parody of Daredevil's mentor "Stick", while their enemies "The Foot Clan" were based on Daredevil's "The Hand".
- A somewhat common criticism of Family Guy's Cutaway Gags post-cancellation and revival is that they come off as this sometimes. Compare, say, a gag from "The Story on Page One" (Peter works as a Ghostbuster, but ends up busting the completely benign Sam Wheat) to one from "Baby Not On Board" (a direct recreation of part of the opening to Back to the Future, just with Peter in place of Marty McFly).
- Sure they are a lot of Bloodier and Gorier takes on SpongeBob SquarePants. The problem is that SpongeBob has done many violent things for a children's cartoon, sometimes going too far.