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Satire and Switch

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A parody/satire and switch describes a shift in the story from being a parody/satire, to becoming a straight form of the subject of the parody/satire. The work may have begun humorously subverting tropes before playing them straight later on. This could have been intended from the beginning (which would make it a bait and switch) or it may have developed as the story continued.

This could be a result of the story being an Indecisive Parody, where the line between parody and straight example was not very clear from the start.

This can also naturally result in a Misaimed Fandom as well as a Broken Base, due to fans having differing opinions on whether the shift was for the better. If the parody/satire initially served the purpose of making an intellectual point via critiquing and criticizing the subject of its parody/satire, the parody/satire shift can also result in a Broken Aesop.

Compare Cerebus Syndrome, Decon-Recon Switch.


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  • Those Kotex commercials that pose the question "Why are tampon ads so obnoxious?" detail all the tricks tampon ads use, then immediately cut to scenes of exactly what they just said. Yes, it is a parody, but it still makes use of all the old tropes while at the same time making itself seem cooler than the other brands who are also using the same old tropes. Everyone is still wearing white pants and the liquid in the demonstration will never be any color but blue.
  • A 2020 COVID-19 PSA starring Paul Rudd satirizes the Totally Radical PSAs of the past (namely how they attempted to tackle serious topics while trying to be "hip") by doing a Stylistic Suck version using Gen Z and Millennial culture. The very end of the PSA plays its premise straight, as Paul drops the radical persona to urge the viewers to take proper safety measures and laments that he shouldn't have to do this to get them to listen.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Pretty Sammy started off as a parody of the Magical Girl genre, in its OVA incarnation. Partway through the TV series, however, it turns into a straight, if still comedic, Magical Girl show.
  • Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA was initially a seinen parody of both Fate/stay night and Magical Girl Warrior stories, riddled with jabs at both its sources' expense. By the end of its first run and going into 2wei! and 3rei!, Illya and the story itself starts taking her job seriously, at some points even resembling Lyrical Nanoha's turn into a straightforward magical battle series.
  • The beginning of Oresuki paints itself as a twisted take on the Harem Genre, with the main character being a manipulative jerk who wants to have a harem but finds himself as the background character in someone else’s harem story, and the only person who’s into him is a creepy stalker. However, the parodic elements and jokes poking fun at harem cliches get dropped as soon as the series decides to start using the characters' Dysfunction Junction as the basis for serious storylines instead of making jokes about the genre. As the series goes on, the main characters’ dysfunctional relationships are largely resolved and more girls become legitimately interested in Joro, though it always retains a sense of self-awareness and the Dysfunction Junction hasn’t completely subsided. However, as mentioned above, those qualities are usually Played for Drama instead of being the source of jokes they were at the beginning of the story.
  • The Hero is Overpowered but Overly Cautious is a parody of isekai light novels at first; the hero summoned to save the world from the Demon King is The Paranoiac who won't go on any adventure unless his stats and skills are totally maxed, buys backups of his equipment and backups to the backups, and treats everyone around him with suspicion, which pisses off nearly everyone around him. However, as the story goes on, more and more dark elements (like a character being subject to Cold-Blooded Torture) appear, and the final arc is dead serious; Seiya's paranoia, strength, and odd behavior gets revealed to be caused by failure to save his companions in the past and his Heroic Sacrifice is played as straight as it could possibly be.
  • The Millionaire Detective - Balance: UNLIMITED uses its premise to poke fun at Tuxedo and Martini spy/detective fiction in its first few episodes—its protagonist, Daisuke Kanbe, is an impossibly attractive and wealthy super-detective who uses his genius intellect and an arsenal of gadgets to save the day...but he's also a colossal Jerkass who believes that he can get rid of any problems or collateral damage he causes by throwing money at them, and who makes his By-the-Book Cop partner's life miserable. All the parodic elements are dropped when the series starts focusing on Kanbe's mother's murder, his father's disappearance, and the coverup surrounding it, and the final few episodes feature loads of over-the-top, unironic action and setpieces that wouldn't be out of place in any James Bond film.
  • Kaguya-sama: Love Is War does this with several of its characters who were explicitly introduced as parodies of common archetypes. One notable example is Kobachi Osaragi, who was conceived as a parody of Stock Shoujo Heroines who view themselves as unremarkable but are shown to be attractive and popular and quickly gain the interest of loads of suitors; the difference is that Osaragi is exactly as average as those heroines falsely believe themselves to be, and the story points out how silly it is that someone so plain is apparently the most beautiful and popular person at the school and has the male students falling all over each other to ask her out. That is, until her backstory was revealed, showing that she was a talented, attractive and extroverted Former Child Star who was mercilessly bullied for standing out too much and deliberately started dressing frumpily to draw attention away from her—giving her an exaggerated sob-story past that wouldn't be out of place for any Stock Shoujo Heroine and meaning that she was never average in the first place, therefore making her the exact same as the characters she was supposed to be mocking.
  • My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! and many other "reborn as villainess" stories start out as a parody of shojo manga or otome games with the main female character being forced to live the life of the shojo/otome heroine's evil rival whose role is to not get the guy instead of the wish fulfillment fantasy of being the beloved heroine that they'd have much preferred to get, but then become a more straightforward shojo/otome romance plot after the "villainess" wins over all the original shojo/otome heroine's suitors and becomes the true purehearted shojo/otome heroine who has all the boys fighting over her in all but name.

    Comic Books 
  • At first, Empowered was a strictly humourous series that parodied (among other things) various tropes of superhero comics. Later on, it began to add serious elements to the story, becoming more like a straight superhero comic (with added humour) than a parody.
  • The original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles went from being a parody of Ninja mania to being a straight Science Fiction example of it.

  • Enchanted is this applied to Disney Princesses. The premise is a stereotypical singing, quickly marrying, hopelessly naive princess getting lost in New York City and having her worldview shattered. Yet she proves to be enough of a Blithe Spirit to improve the lives of the people around her, and as more and more fairy tale characters show up the story slowly changes to a more traditional Disney Princess narrative.
  • Hot Fuzz makes fun of all the tropes of American buddy cop movies by pairing up an inexperienced cop and a big fan of them with a veteran who repeatedly demonstrates that the reality of police work is a lot more procedural and boring. Then they find The Conspiracy and the final third takes all of the previous tropes and dials them up to eleven, although still in a satirical way.
  • Scream stylistically satirizes the Slasher Movie by lampshading and/or mocking the tropes of the genre. However, while mocking the clichés, the characters still fall victim to them. So, basically the Scream movies are saying "we know it's a formula, but we're doing it anyway".

    Let's Play 

  • Discworld began as a parody of the Fantasy Kitchen Sink and fantasy in general, and then evolved into a whole universe with its own mythology. For example, in The Colour of Magic, Rincewind meets a surprisingly-puny Eldritch Abomination as part of a passing joke. One book later, the creatures of the Dungeon Dimensions are treated as a serious threat.
    • And later still, when the books become more based around using humour and parody to discuss aspects of the human condition like death, justice and the nature of belief, even the Dungeon Dimension creatures are phased out in favour of more concrete threats and villains.
    • The stories which bring Ankh-Morpork closer to the Industrial Age (creation of newspapers in The Truth, the development of the clacks as somewhere between the telegraph and the Internet, any book involving Moist von Lipwig) tend to be far more rooted in reality than Moving Pictures and Soul Music, which are mostly parodies and puns based on real world media and have a Reset Button to prevent the Discworld from modernising itself out of its fantasy setting.

    Live-Action TV 


    Video Games 

  • No Need for Bushido began as a spoof of action-adventure comics, but quickly morphed into a generally straight but very tongue-in-cheek example.

    Western Animation 
  • Bojack Horseman was a darker take on Sitcom tropes from the beginning, with the Hollywoo(d) satire being fairly standard, which made people think it was just another regular adult cartoon back when it premiered in 2014. Halfway the 1st season, the show switched gears from general satire to dramatic character study, with the refocus toward the damaged Hollywoo(d) characters coloring the satire moving forward, making it sharper and more vicious.
  • Futurama began as a parody of Science Fiction tropes, but as time went on it ran out of tropes to parody. Later episodes upped the drama a bit and the humor switched more to social satire through sci-fi (which had always been there, but was exaggarated).
  • Moral Orel starts off as a Black Comedy parodying 1950s Christian fundamentalism in the style of Leave It to Beaver, pointing out all the hypocrisy and questionable morality hiding underneath. Then Cerebus Syndrome sets in, and the hypocrisy and questionable morality of the characters ceases to be treated as a joke, causing the series to branch off in a completely separate direction.