Cartman: Aw, screw it. It probably isn't all that good anyway.
Kyle: Cartman, what are you talking about? You love Terrance and Phillip!
Cartman: Yeah, but the animation's all crappy.
When a work parodies itself.
There are several ways to do this. Some involve Breaking the Fourth Wall.
If a self-parody is to be done without direct self-reference, an easy method is having a Show Within a Show be a parody of the original show. The parallels should be obvious to the alert viewer, but the characters may write them off.
Since writers usually like their own works, self-parodies typically fall towards the affectionate end of the parody spectrum, though this may not hold true if a particularly jaded creator is put in charge. In either case, all deliberate self-parodies tend toward Self-Deprecating Humor, and even the most affectionate of self-parodies can be very harsh on themselves. The sort of work most likely to have one is a series that is a Long Runner or is in an established "verse" - else there isn't enough material.
This is hard to do well. And woe to the work that does it by accident.
This is naturally a sub-trope of Self-Deprecation. See also Parody Assistance, wherein people involved in the production of a show help in the production of an otherwise unaffiliated parody of the show; and Adam Westing, a specific type of self-parody centered more around individual actors and characters rather than the work as a whole.
- A law firm released several ads showing people hugely distraught over minor things, such as a paper cut or power going out during an intense video game session, and the "victims" demand justice for the parties responsible. The ads usually end with the number to call to firm and a disclaimer saying "But keep in mind that you really need to be injured."
- Old Spice has made a borderline art out of this, the protagonists being increasingly manly men doing manly things with manly results.
- The 2017 Super Bowl ad by Busch beer parodies their older commercials from nearly 30 years ago.
- Attack on Titan: Junior High is a spin-off that parodies the characters and arcs from Attack on Titan. The same general plot threads happen, except this time it happens in a middle school and everything is taken infinitely less seriously.
- A Filler episode of Bleach has Ichigo being suddenly in an "Arabian Nights" setting and his adventure is a parody of the Soul Society arc. It turns out that it was All Just a Dream of Isane.
- Dragon Ball Z invokes this trope during the 25th Tenkaichi Budokai when there's a screening of a movie about "How Mr. Satan defeated Cell".
Goku: Well, it was ridiculous and untrue, but it kept me entertained!
- Neko Majin Z, another series by Akira Toriyama, is a Self-Parody of Dragon Ball itself.
- Gintama invokes this with Gintaman, an overly generic action manga with bad art, drawn-out dialogue, and characters who lack any distinctive traits. The author turns out to be an ordinary gorilla, who relies heavily on the editors to turn his scribblings into something remotely coherent. It temporarily gains popularity after Gintoki offers some suggestions that turn it into a Dragon Ball Z ripoff, but it fades the moment a new editor is assigned to it, and it's later shown that everyone who worked as its editor eventually ended up going insane as a result of how terrible it is.
- Darker than Black: The OVA (episode 26 of season 1), which chronologically occurs somewhere in the middle and comes with a convenient Reset Button that makes it not affect the rest of the series.
- How Heavy Are the Dumbbells You Lift? features the characters watching a film parody of Kengan Ashura (a series by the same author, which is actually set in the same universe as Dumbbells), where an Ohma-Expy must fight participate in a "Kingan battle" against a villainous Sekibayashi-Expy. Not!Ohma's second is a blonde Yamashita-expy who is larger and more muscular than the actual fighters. The movie ends up with Not!Yamashita rambling about the importance of warm-ups, and by the end of the show, no one knows what a "Kingan battle" actually is.
- Junji Ito's Cat Diary: Yon & Mu is by Junji Ito, who's famous for his horror works...but this particular series is an autobiographical Slice of Life story about his cats. What makes it a self-parody is that he still uses his typical scary art style for such a mundane series, which is Played for Laughs.
- In Kaguya-sama: Love Is War the 110th manga chapter themed itself with the then-upcoming anime adaptation by having Ishigami and Shirogane talk about a manga series they like, Momo-chan Wa Kangaenai, getting an animated adaptation in-universe; said series shares several parallels to Kaguya-sama itself, as it is pointed out that is a romantic comedy that does not rely on Fanservice and further strong sexual themes despite running in a Seinen magazine thus meant for adult males, so it is seen as a waste by some detractors in-universe but the fans were charmed by the setting and characters nonetheless so it ended up getting an Anime due to its increasing popularity.
- Nurse Witch Komugi: a spin-off/self parody of the The SoulTaker.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion had a very funny radio play called "Evangelion: After the End". It basically involves the cast discussing how they should go about retooling the series — which had a very miserable end, it should be noted — in various absurd ways, including a Super Sentai show, making it a sex comedy, and even turning Asuka into a bully who talks like a Yakuza, which leads to Rei becoming a motormouth. On top of all this, it also features Hideaki Anno himself being a Large Ham.
- This trailer of Mobile Suit Gundam 00 has idiocies like Henshin Hero Setsuna F. Exia, Lockon's ghost freaking out Tieria and Allelujah, Haro playing Body Snatcher with Tieria, Sergei and Marie/Soma eating bamboo as pandas and Patrick getting shot in the ass by a UFO.
- The Movie does it again with a Show Within a Show.
- Saint October really likes this trope: For an example: One of the villains can distribute Tarot cards to his henchmen in order to create mooks. A recurring underling of his has only two of them but needs a whole army of mooks, so in order to create more, she just copies them. It works.
- Witch Craft Works anime official soundtrack has a "Watch Activity" song, which is not used in the anime itself. The anime has an ending theme by the name of "Witch☆Activity" though, of which "Watch Activity" is a recognizable spoof (the music itself, guys instead of girls as vocals, both witches and The Watch being part of the story, Gratuitous English lyrics).
- Minna Atsumare!: Falcom Gakuen pokes fun of the Falcom games and franchises like Ys or Dragon Slayer.
- Magic: The Gathering has the joke sets Unglued, Unhinged, Unstable, and Unfinity. While a lot of the Un-cards are just silly in general, many cards take potshots at both Magic's fans and its developers. For example, one card called "Look at Me, I'm the DCI" depicts a blindfolded Wizards employee making banning decisions with a dartboard. Said card has served as the page image for Obvious Rule Patch. However, the later Un-sets have moved away from dedicated self-parody and have actual backstory like the more normal sets... it's just in a setting that's completely ridiculous. Unstable is a world of Mad Scientists Played for Laughs, and Unfinity is set in a Raygun Gothic traveling circus.
- Some interpretations of All-Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder suggest that it is a Self-Parody of Frank Miller's earlier work.
- Years before, The Dark Knight Strikes Again was also released, of questionable self-parody status. Miller claims this was intentional, but whether that was always true or is Parody Retcon is unknown.
- Marvel Comics had at least two self-parodying comic series: Not Brand Echh, which riffed not only their competitors but their own heroes, and What The-?! (a riff on their series What If?). There was also a pair of one-shot anthologies of tongue-in-cheek Marvel stories: Wha...Huh?, published in October 2005, and Marvel: Now What?!, published in October 2013.
- They have also released two event-specific parody one-shots: Marvel Riot (parodying Age of Apocalypse) and Secret Wars Too (parodying Secret Wars (2015))
- The large number of alien invasions fended off in Marvel comics got parodied as early as 1977 in X-Men: Shi'ar come to Earth and discuss whether the Prime Directive applies. When they realize that the locals have not only met the Skrulls, the Kree and the likes before but actually beat Galactus back four times, they panic, fearing that this one world may be as powerful as their own whole empire.
- The Mini Marvels have parodied the storylines Civil War, World War Hulk and Secret Invasion, as well as generally parodying the Marvel Universe itself.
- The "Night At the Comic Shop" issue of Archie Comics had comic book characters come to life. One of the characters was "Wilbur", who dresses pretty much identical to Archie's old design (except with a "W" on his cardigan). He's described as a "wacky teenager who's always chasing girls" and true to art Veronica shows attraction to him.
- This is actually a clever double self-parody; on one level Wilbur is a parody of Archie. On another, Archie Comics are using a pre-existing character for the Genius Bonus of "Yeah, back in the day Archie had spawned a Fountain of Expies, we ripped off our own character for some reason."
- Rob Liefeld is somewhat infamous for his character designs, some of the most cited being colossal men, characters wearing too many pouches, and giant guns that were completely impractical-looking. Enter The Pouch.
- IPC's anarchic humour Anthology Comic Oink! parodied everything, so naturally this included their stablemate 2000 AD. Issue #58 featured a porcine Judge Dredd pastiche called Judge Pigg. The cover even parodied 2000 AD calling issues "Progs" with the tagline "The Prog for Hogs!"
- Knowledge is Power: The "Humour" promised by the header is mostly of this kind, and doesn't always seem to be intentional.
- The Omniverse Event: The Show Within a Show "Enchantment Girl" featured in "Yu-Gi-Oh Delta X" is one to the Yu-Gi-Oh anime, creating "magical girls in fighter jets" as an analogue to "card games on motorcycles" and "Dark Enchantment Girls" as an analogue to the Dark Synchros, and also featuring some Author Appeal in describing the fourth series (analogous to ZEXAL) as the best.
- The later Child's Play films, most notably Bride of Chucky and Seed of Chucky, are rife with meta-jokes about how ridiculous it is that what started as a fairly basic premise somehow managed to spin itself in a multi-film franchise, as well as Jennifer Tilly and Brad Dourif's penchants for playing over-the-top characters.
- Enchanted was Disney making fun of itself. It also included longtime Disney composer Alan Menken parodying himself, as he composed for this film too.
- The James Bond series made nods to the (unrelated) parodic Casino Royale (1967) many times.
- At the time, real Bond/Q scenes were played straight. The Casino Royale exaggeration has Q walking Bond through a room full of mayhem, injury and cartoonish background gags. Eventually, the true Bond films adopted this style exactly. Speaking of...
- Peter Sellers' Bond finds a deadly pen in Q's lab, and jokes about it being used to write "poison pen letters". In Octopussy, Roger Moore and Q have this same exchange.
- In Daniel Craig's Casino Royale (2006), Bond is told not to expect the Cavalry to ride in and save him this time. Of course, that's EXACTLY what happened at the end of the spoof Casino Royale.
- Gremlins 2: The New Batch basically made fun of the first film and audience reactions to it.
- A Cock And Bull Story thrives on this. From Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon playing caricatures of themselves to everyone always talking about how difficult it will be to make a Tristam Shandy adaptation, the film's willingness to play with itself is rivaled only by its willingness to play with the Fourth Wall.
- Snakes on a Plane seems to be well-aware that airline disaster movies are nearly impossible to take seriously anymore, by not even trying.
- Dora and the Lost City of Gold, there is a Mushroom Samba scene that literally satirizes almost any of the cartoon's cliches.
- The unfilmed sequel to The Rocky Horror Picture Show, "The Revenge of the Old Queen", had a throwaway joke in which a character referred to Brad as "asshole" and Janet as "slut." (Taking it one step further, Janet IS truly a slut this time - she is an aged hooker.)
- Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives and Jason X are two of the most humorous entries in the Friday the 13th series, the former having multiple characters remark on various Slasher Movie cliches and the latter being fully aware of its campy Recycled IN SPACE! premise, complete with a scene where the protagonists distract Jason by setting up the ship's holodeck to have two promiscuous, pot-smoking teenage girls who are Too Dumb to Live.
- BBV Productions released a series of direct-to-video science fiction films aiming at being Spiritual Successors to Doctor Who, and frequently pushing the boundaries of copyright and licensing restrictions. One of their last releases, Do You Have a Licence to Save This Planet?, is a comedy in which actual Doctor Who star Sylvester McCoy starred as the Foot Doctor, a mysterious traveller attempting to save a planet while avoiding the notice of the Licensed Reality Corporation™.
- Last Action Hero was originally written by Zak Penn and Adam Leff as an Affectionate Parody of '80s action movies, especially Arnold Schwarzenegger films and the crime thrillers of Shane Black (such as Lethal Weapon and The Last Boy Scout). So imagine their amusement when the studio hired Black himself to rewrite the script, Schwarzenegger to play the in-universe Hollywood Action Hero, and John McTiernan, director of the '80s action classics Predator and Die Hard, to direct.
- Deathstalker is a pretty by-the-numbers '80s Heroic Fantasy B-Movie, exactly what you expect when you think of a "Conan ripoff". However, its sequel, Deathstalker II: Duel of the Titans, took on a vastly different direction that veered into this, being way more of a spoof of the genre and its own predecessor — the titular Deathstalker is not a stoic Barbarian Hero, but a snarky Lovable Rogue who the actor explicitly based on Bugs Bunny of all characters. Reportedly, the shooting script was so terrible (even for B-Movie standards!) that once production got to filming, they decided to completely overhaul it into a self-aware fantasy cheesefest, with just as many laughs as tits and gore. This is distinctly the only entry in the series that took this route, as the following sequel completely stuck on taking itself seriously.
- The first four Scream films were this for the horror filmmaker Wes Craven, complete with some Take Thats to films he didn't like (particularly sequels to some of his own movies). While the films were actual horror movies, they were also extremely self-aware horror movies where the characters extensively discussed and lampooned horror movie tropes while the killers used them as the basis for their rampage. Craven had previously dipped his toes in similar waters with Wes Craven's New Nightmare, but that was too straightforwardly a horror film to qualify as a parody.
- Edgar Allan Poe's How to Write a Blackwood Article has its protagonist ask a parody of himself for writing advice. She in turn goes on to "write" Poe's A Predicament, in which she mangles a fair number of literary references and gets beheaded by a clock due to a combination of stupidity and Exact Words being used against her...and survives to lament having lost her head, her manservant and her dog all at once.
- The "Roonil Wazlib" gag in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was obviously a product of JK Rowling poking fun at the fact that loads of Chekhov's Guns were always used in the plot of every installment of the series.
- In Children of the Lens, the protagonist at one point poses as a writer of space operas, and we're treated to a paragraph or so of his prose — which is a parody of the author's normal style.
... Fools! Did they think that the airlessness of absolute space, the heatlessness of absolute zero, the yieldlessness of absolute neutronium, could stop QADGOP THE MERCOTAN? And the stowaway, that human wench Cynthia, cowering in helpless terror just beyond this thin and fragile wall...
- The writer he's posing as has a long-established background, including several other novels. A throwaway remark notes that he actually finishes the novel this excerpt is from, and it's widely acclaimed as one of his best.
- Michael Moorcock's "The Stone Thing: A Tale of Strange Parts". The story of an exiled and doomed wanderer, who has lost most of his extremities and all of his loved ones due to the vast array of cursed weaponry he's forced to carry around with him. It exaggerates every aspect of The Elric Saga and ends with a totally outrageous punchline.
- "The Foundation of S.F. Success": Isaac Asimov's poem is mocking his Foundation Series (it's even in the name). It points out his borrowing from Roman history, as well as his Technobabble, such as hyperspace drives and psychohistory. The advice isn't actively bad since he obviously gained considerable success with the series, but it does emphasize some of the negative traits that not everyone enjoys, such as his avoidance of any romantic subplots and male-dominated cast of characters.
- Black Books invokes this when bookshop owner Bernard Black reads out a cinema advertisement:
Bernard: What this, Blue Tunes? Grouchy Leonard Blue runs a second-hand record shop with his half-wit, mustachioed assistant Danny...
Bernard: When this zany pair team up with bitchy, neurotic neighbour Pam, things are sure to be a riot of laughs. Where do they get this crap? Even a child could—
Manny: They must think we're idiots.
Fran: [looks at picture] Look at them. Wankers.
- Doctor Who:
- "Amy's Choice": The dream adventure with the Evil Old Folks and general Cliché Storm nature is quite possibly a parody of the stereotypical "displaced aliens hide out on Earth and decide to take it out on the locals for no real reason" plot. Likewise, the "cold star" can be seen as a parody of the abuses of science often committed on the show.
- "Kerblam!" mocks a certain moment of Special Effect Failure from "The Ark in Space" by literally having killer bubble wrap.
- Eerie, Indiana season 1 closer "Reality Takes a Holiday" has self-parody aspects, like Omri Katz as a jaded kid star (although it's hard to say with all the Mind Screw going on...).
- In Father Ted, the priests are big fans of a series called Father Ben about stupid priests who live on an island.
- Game of Thrones was known for its gratuitous sex and nudity, which actually got toned down in later seasons. However, the show seemed to poke fun at its reputation in the final season when Bronn has a threesome with two hookers whose goods are on full display...and they spend the entire time talking about the war with Danaerys' forces and badly-maimed soldiers that were regular clients, much to Bronn's frustration.
- From House, some of House's favorite soaps (though they're really more parodies of General Hospital, or at least parodies of what people who don't like soaps think General Hospital is like).
- How I Met Your Mother's "The Stinson Missile Crisis" parodied itself with Robin in court-mandated therapy, telling her therapist the story of How She Wound Up Assaulting A Woman And Getting Stuck In This Court-Mandated Therapy. She then proceeds to use an unnecessary level of detail and a ridiculous number of tangents that she insists are essential in order to understand the full story, while her therapist waits impatiently and is repeatedly fooled into thinking that this moment is the one where she finally Assaults The Woman. Basically, she's doing to her therapist exactly what the show has been doing to its viewers for seven years. The episode also takes advantage of the parody format to exaggerate its specific style of using Flash Forwards, Flash Backs, Flash-Sidewayses, Imagine Spots, cutaway gags, Internal Monologues, Three Lines, Some Waiting, and Lemony Narrator-esque commentary.
- In the Monk episode "Mr. Monk and the Actor", the previous episode "Mr. Monk and the Astronaut" gets made into a movie. Among the changes made is Disher is cast as a woman who has an affair with Leland. When the real Stottlemeyer and Disher view the filming of that scene:
Captain Leland Stottlemeyer: That didn't happen.
Lt. Randy Disher: Not even once.
- Major Crimes: Lt. Tao is the technical advisor and later writer on a Show Within a Show called Badge of Justice which, like Major Crimes is a basic cable cop show. The characters frequently snark on the show as being unrealistic. In one episode, Luke Perry guest stars as the vain star of Badge of Justice who becomes involved in a real case when his stalker is murdered. This gives Perry a chance to parody his own history as a former teen heartthrob and working tv actor.
- In Monty Python's Flying Circus, the sketch "What the Stars Foretell" has a character starting to rattle off synonyms, then a poster drops down so the studio audience can continue reading from the Long List. Terry Jones and Michael Palin wrote this as a parody of Chapman and Cleese's thesaurus-inspired sketches; they were surprised when it was accepted for the show.
- Also written as a joke was the sketch "The Extremely Dull Life of a City Stockbroker", a parody of Jones and Palin's sketches by Chapman and Idle. This goes to show how easily a Gag Series can accommodate Self-Parody.
- One Tree Hill
- There's an episode where the Tree Hill gang rescues Mouth when Rachel leaves him in a small Texas town. None of them made it to their prom so they crash the local high school and find out that the teens in this actual small American town aren't as attractive as they are and they don't live exciting lives as they do.
- Another episode is about the Tree Hill kids putting on a stage show chronicling the love story of Nathan and Hailey.
- Person of Interest season 2 episode 12 "Prisoner's Dilemma", by having a character other than the main hero in the role, the standard save the victim plot feels odd. Doesn't change the fact that it's also a Wham Episode.
- In Season 3 of Shtisel, Lippe provides catering for the set of a TV show about Haredi Jews, and even gets a one-time job as an extra (and later provides other extras).
- Stargate SG-1:
- "Wormhole X-Treme!", the show's 100th episode, is all about the titular Show Within a Show, which is used as a way for them to mercilessly make fun of themselves.
- "200", another hundred episodes later, does the same thing, this time with the characters discussing concepts for the Wormhole X-Treme! movie.
- Supernatural does this at least once a season, in episodes such as "Hollywood Babylon" and "The Real Ghostbusters". Both of which pale into insignificance next to "The French Mistake". Exaggerated in the 200th musical episode.
- Gekisou Sentai Carranger is both a full Super Sentai series and a parody of the Sentai formula. Hikonin Sentai Akibaranger is its Spiritual Successor.
- And on the other side of the Pacific, Power Rangers Ninja Storm and (to a lesser extent) Power Rangers RPM. RPM was something of an interesting clash, as it was the same time a Darker and Edgier take on the source material (the Rangers are the main force protecting the only human city left after a robot apocalypse) and constantly lampshaded its own tropes at the same time ("Sometimes when I morph, I can't help but notice this gigantic explosion right behind me for no apparent reason. (...) Now, could that happen to me in the kitchen or something?").
- Ultraman Taro for the Ultra Series, embodying every negative stereotype associated with Ultraman and Tokusatsu. It's got ridiculous plots (episodes have included such plot points as the characters playing volleyball against a giant monster), some of the goofiest-looking kaiju ever (like the buck-toothed Okariyan and the Pinnochio-like alien Piccolo), slapstick-like battles (in more than one fight, the monster attacks Taro by farting in his face), defense team ZAT being outright lazy and incompetent (in several episodes, they refuse to deal with the Monster of the Week and complain that Ultraman Taro should just solve the problem for them), and a propensity for extreme Mood Whiplash (episodes could have characters acting like idiots in one scene, only for the next scene to depict brutal monster-on-Ultra violence or humans being massacred in kaiju rampages). This show was made as Tsuburaya Productions' 10th anniversary series.
- Every The X-Files that bordered on Deconstruction entered this at times. Examples include "Jose Chung's From Outer Space" (where as a writer hears Scully recall interviews with various witnesses regarding an alien abduction case, those reports are conflicting and shown in increasingly bizarre ways), "X-Cops" (COPS follows one of Mulder and Scully's cases), and "Hollywood AD" (a movie adaptation of the X-Files is made, leading the duo to raise extra complaints regarding their depiction).
- KMFDM has quite a few songs dedicated to lampooning itself. There's Sucks (KMFDM SUCKS! remains a popular chant to this day) and Megalomaniac and Light and Intro. Oh, and Virus, to a lesser extent.
- "Insert Generic Title" by Daniel Kandi. Though just the title. The song itself is actually pretty good.
- In the world of drum and bugle corps, Cadets of Bergen County's championship-winning 1990 show (especially the closer) was a self-parody of sorts. The drill moves (the Z-pull, reversed(!) and the company front coming from 1984), the musical phrases (one can detect West Side Story, Candide, and Appalachian Spring in the mishmash of statements that form the closer) and some of the entire show concept are all reprising their earlier ventures in some way or another
- Weird Al is known for food-themed parodies of popular songs, though this was more a staple of his early career. His album, Mandatory Fun, seemed to have another such song in "Foil" when describing how well it worked for containing foods. At first.
- "Charlie Brooker Is Right About Everything" by The Attery Squash, is a pastiche of their own "Devo Was Right About Everything".
- The music video for Freddie Mercury's cover of The Platters' Doo Wop song, "The Great Pretender" parodies the classic music videos of Mercury's band Queen.
- Weezer's video for "Africa" is a re-enactment of the video for "Undone—The Sweater Song", but with other people replacing the band members, and none other than "Weird Al" Yankovic replacing Rivers Cuomo and lip syncing the lead vocal.
- In the midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Oliver Adams, composer of the famed Mortal Kombat theme "Techno Syndrome", did an all-new remix with the hook changed to "MORTAL VIRUS!"
- The video for Nightwish's "Noise" features a blonde model stripping and taking selfies, and later undergoing cosmetic surgery to keep her looks as she ages. The actress is an actual Instagram model, playing a parody of herself.
- In 2021, Nickelback did an ad for Google Photos that consisted of them singing a self-deprecating parody of their Signature Song "Photograph".
- The Filk community often writes parody songs, and in 1989 three tapes were released comprised solely of parody songs, mostly parodies of existing filk songs by the same artists.
- Seanan McGuire wrote a parody of her own song "Pretty Little Dead Girl", changing the words to be about Malcolm Reynolds.
- Early in the COVID-19 Pandemic, memes on social media started cropping up using Neil Diamond 's "Sweet Caroline" lyrics "Hands, touching hands, reaching out, touching me, touching you" as an example of what NOT to do. Neil released a new version that says "Hands, washing hands, reaching out, don't touch me, I won't touch you" instead.
- As you might have guessed, MAD Magazine has done this. It's perhaps most notable when they have a movie spoof of their own film Up the Academy. It was much shorter than a regular parody, ending with them disowning the film, which they actually DID do in Real Life.
- Orson Welles was the guest host of The Jack Benny Program for four episodes in 1943 while Jack was ill. The main humor of the episodes comes from Welles parodying his own image as a director with a huge ego and a flair for over-the-top filmmaking:
Don: Oh, by the way, Orson, what's the title of this picture you're making?
Welles: Well, I've called my story very simply "The March of Destiny", and it deals with everything that ever happened.
- The last episode of season 7 of John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme gives the show itself the "Accidentally Listening To A Bit of The Archers" treatment:
Carrie: It's John Finnemore's Cosy Warm Bath of Gentle Whimsy!
Boos from audience
John: Ding, ding!
Lawry: Good morning, sir!
John: Good morning, I'm looking for a shop sketch.
Lawry: You're in luck, sir! We're one of the last shows in the world that still stocks them!
- The Black Dog Game Factory in Werewolf: The Apocalypse, a branch of Pentex, and the home of the Talespinner system (Storyteller) and World of Shadows setting (The World of Darkness). Not only are all their games parodies of White Wolf products (Revenant: The Ravishing; Lycanthrope: The Rapture; Warlock: The Pretention; Deviant etc. etc.), but the names and some characteristics of the staff were strangely familiar, albeit all evil and/or insane.
- In the Tooniversal Tour Guide for the Toon RPG by Steve Jackson Games, the CarToon Wars setting is a parody of Car Wars by Steve Jackson Games. Meanwhile, SJG's Pyramid magazine include pastiches of The Old World of Darkness by Jeff Koke (who adapted the oWoD for GURPS) and "Trans-Toony Space" by David Morgan-Mar (who co-wrote GURPS Bio-Tech and Transhuman Space: Under Pressure).
- Castle Greyhawk was a mega-dungeon adventure set in the Greyhawk setting (of course) written by Gary Gygax himself, and was presumably something he had written up to playtest Dungeons & Dragons as a concept. The plot (to use the term loosely) involved players going through the eponymous castle through comedic encounters that made no sense at all when viewed as a whole. Villains in the adventure were Shout Outs to a rather wide array of television, comic book, and advertising icons (players would encounter Driderman, The Inedible Bulk, and Da Ting in one room, and face Poppinfarsh the Dough Golem in the next) with weird places like The Temple of Really Bad Dead Things and the Honeycomb Hive). The Final Boss was a nutty illusionist who spent all his time at the bottom level of the tower watching a giant tapestry which is basically a TV. (This was a caricature of Gygax himself.) While some fans saw the adventure as So Bad, It's Good, many accused TSR of doing it to purposely ruin Gygax's reputation (it was released after he left the company) while others just claim they thought It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time. (Ironically, it was also known for being brutally hard.)
- Many people complain about Monopoly taking forever. Hasbro decided to lean into this and release Monopoly: Longest Game Ever, which is deliberately designed to take an eternity with its massive game board, single die, and bizarre rules like "you don't lose by going bankrupt" and "if you need more money, you can tear up your bills to get more". It also explicitly features two common house rules ("no auctions" and "Free Parking jackpot") that mostly serve to drag out the game. The game only ends once someone owns every single property, which is made even harder by the added rule of "if you land on someone's property, you can force them to sell it to you if you pay them enough".
- The final clown segment in Dralion goofily reenacts all of the show's serious acts, complete with threadbare mockeries of key costumes and props.
- An accidental example of this is "Right Brain", a song from the 1994 New York Theatre Workshop version of Jonathan Larson's RENT. Later becoming "One Song Glory", many fans who hear this old version of the inspirational song can hardly listen without feeling the need to vomit or burst into a fit of uncontrollable laughter.
- The tribute concert to Cameron Mackintosh, "Hey Mr Producer", features a pre-taped segment in which Stephen Sondheim and Andrew Lloyd Webber parody their songs "Send in the Clowns" and "Music of the Night", while ribbing Cameron Mackintosh at the same time. It can be called the highlight of the show.
- Shirley MacLaine's appearance on the 1977 Royal Variety Performance features a self-deprecating parody of "If My Friends Could See Me Now".
- Moose Toys managed to get on the map with The Trash Pack, a gross-out collectible toy that grew very popular. Their next big venture was Shopkins, which became even more popular, even surpassing Trash Pack. When Shopkins was still hot and Trash Pack was gone, they created The Grossery Gang...basically a sickening Trash Pack-style mockery of their own Shopkins line. They would later flat-out parody Shopkins as "Slopkins" in one of their Grossery Gang webseries videos.
- Wacky Packages has no issue with parodying Topps products. From the candy brands to Garbage Pail Kids, to even Wacky Packages themselves, nothing is off the menu to be parodied. This actually saved Wacky Packages as a product, proving that they parodied so many things, themselves included, that it saved them from a lawsuit against Tetly Tea.
- Topps has featured spoofs of Garbage Pail Kids in at least two of their other products.
- Wacky Packages has included Garbage Pail Geezers (the mascot being an elderly version of Adam Bomb connected to an IV full of vomit while his dentures fall out and pressing the button on his detonator only causes a very tiny mushroom cloud to burst out of his head), Garbage Pail Kidders (where the mushroom cloud coming out of Adam Bomb's head is substituted with a jack-in-the-box jester) and Gentle Plain Kids (presented as trading cards based on class photos of normal children with the mascot being named A+ Adam and a label stating that the product is 100% Parent-Approved).
- In 1991, Topps tried to cash in on the Troll Dolls craze by creating a trading card series called Trash Can Trolls, which were pretty much Garbage Pail Kids with the characters modeled on Troll Dolls rather than Cabbage Patch Kids. In fact, the very first card Joel Troll/Fall-Out Paul depicts Adam Bomb being kicked away by a much larger Troll version of Adam Bomb, as if signifying that Garbage Pail Kids were yesterday's trend and that Trash Can Trolls were the new smash hit (incidentally, Trash Can Trolls only lasted one series, while Garbage Pail Kids would eventually be revived in the mid-2000s and remain in production to this day).
- Metal Gear:
- Metal Gear: Ghost Babel has the secret radio show Idea Spy 2.5, a parody of the Spy Genre as well as Metal Gear itself, with all the ridiculous events that happen.
- The "External Gazer" Snake Tales scenario in Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance is more of a Crack Fic overall, but the segment of the story featuring Jack and Rose is very much a spoof of the main storyline, when the villain's plot is to replace Snake with Raiden and have him endure nonsensical events until his spirit breaks.
- Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater has the secret theater, which plays the ridiculousness of the Metal Gear series for comedy. The extremely comical "CHAIR RACE" Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots trailer was included as part of this and certainly qualifies.
- Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes has the "Deja Vu" mission, which derails into a surreal game show with a Studio Audience hosted by Liquid Snake and Ocelot (all played by Robin Atkin Downes Acting for Two).
- Parodius, to Gradius. As the Laconic entry for Parodius states, it's "Gradius on acid", featuring an aesthetic that would not be out of place in a kid-oriented Widget Series. Many moments spoof specific elements of the Gradius series, such as bellydancers mimicking Gradius crab walker bosses and a bald eagle in American patriotic garb replicating the Stage 1 boss of Gradius II.
- Borderlands 2 makes fun of one line of quests in the original Borderlands where a gun is hidden in pieces on one of the maps and must be found and reassembled. These Scavenger quests tended towards being lengthy and obtuse, and the payout was no better than any other randomly generated item in the game...so Borderlands 2 included the Hungry Like The Skag optional mission, where the Vault Hunters find a recorder from a bandit. In it, he talks about how it's a great day to walk around blithely talking into an ECHO recorder without skags preparing to ambush him and tear his favorite gun to four separate pieces, then eating it and him—whereupon that exact scenario happens. The Vault Hunters must once again go rooting through Skag guts to find the parts and put the gun back together, just like old times.
- Wario Land can be seen as a self parody of Super Mario Bros While Mario is a heroic character who collects coins while he is saving the day, Wario Land turns it on its head and is about a greedy Anti-Hero exploring for pure profit and inadvertently saves the day by accident. Further showcased by the power-ups, which among other things, includes being squished, turned into a zombie, and set on fire.
- The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks light-heartedly pokes fun at a lot of the series' standards; for example, early in the game Zelda refuses to accompany you into a dungeon on the grounds that leaving the dangerous work to the heroes is "family tradition." And yet, later on, she takes on a much more active role than in every other game of the series to date.
- Max Payne 2 does this with the Show Within a Show, Dick Justice, a Blaxploitation tv-show that refers the plot of the first game.
The rain was comin' down like all the angels in heaven decided to take a piss at the same time. When you're in a situation like mine, you can only think in metaphors.
- The PlayStation Portable release of Fate/hollow ataraxia included Capsule Servant, a minigame spoofing the whole concept of the Fate Series' Holy Grail Wars by making one a straightforward Mons Series.
- Diablo III has the "Reformed Cultist" quest in which a formerly evil cultist regrets his past spent desecrating tombs and robbing corpses - things you would never do! (Players, in fact, do these things all the time.)
- Airdorf Games, the creators of FAITH, did a short licensed game based off of the horror comedy film Extra Ordinary, which uses many aspects of FAITH's style, such as its Retraux aesthetic and use of Classical Music, with the latter resulting in humorous surreal juxtaposition of what's on-screen (such as being attacked by furniture).
- Yakuza has the mini-game Mesuking, a recreation of Sega's very own Mushiking arcade game series, but with the fighting bugs replaced with sexy human ladies dressed as bugs.
- Kirby Super Star Ultra has Revenge of the King, a parody of Revenge of Meta Knight from the original SNES release. It’s a remake of Kirby's Dream Land’s Extra Mode with elements from Revenge of Meta Knight, including Dedede and Bandana Dee talking to each other about Kirby, and the Masked Dedede battle starting with you picking up a hammer, similar to the Meta Knight battle from Revenge of Meta Knight.
- The beginning of Splatoon 3’s hero mode is one giant mockery of the prior two games hero modes, consisting of 4 incredibly short and laughably easy levels, following the exact same format as the previous two games’ hero modes, with even the background music to the levels being a goofier version of the typical hero mode music. The story is even nearly identical to that of Splatoon. This ends with a simplified fight against the antagonist of the previous two games, DJ Octavio. After this, the real hero mode begins.
- Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies has a segment in the third case where Apollo, Athena and Klavier enact a mock trial (well, "mock-mock trial", a re-enactment of an earlier mock trial. It Makes Sense in Context) that pokes fun at many of the series' Courtroom Antics.
- Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse pokes fun at different aspects of the Barbie universe, such as Barbie having a vast career history, and Ken existing only to become Barbie's Love Interest.
- RWBY Chibi is a Played for Laughs spin-off of the core series.
- In Koan of the Day, the guru discusses the problem with koans.
- The last panel in this comic: "We rejoin Diesel Sweeties #2513 already in progress..."
Red Robot:"Punchline five people will get!"
Clango: "Additional nonsensical rejoinder!"
- Drow Tales has a couple of chibi pages at the end of every chapter, parodying or spoofing the events in that chapter and the setting of the comic.
- Learning with Manga! FGO is a self-parody of Fate/Grand Order, where an aspect of the Audience Surrogate main character is that she plays mobile games, almost nobody cares about the plot, and the only things about Servants that matter to the protagonists are how cute they are (both) and how rare it is to get one (Gudako).
- The game later did one better and declared the webcomic an Alternate Universe in an event, and the servant you get from it turned on Gudako directly because of her usual shenanigans. Gudako's character is punched up from merely a Bad Boss to a Humanoid Abomination using meta-speak to communicate on our level.
- The SCP Foundation wiki has an entire section dedicated to Joke pages; which are humorous spoofs of the more serious SCP files and stories, often poking fun at common cliches found in them, as well as making meta-jokes about the site's community and culture.
- TV Tropes has [Trope Name], [Work Name], and their numerous respective subpages (listed on [Index Name]), which all make fun of frequent editing cliches and mistakes made across the wiki.
- Baumgartner Restoration: With Love and Lightheartedness shows Julian wrapping up a gift box, narrating it in his customary style and using archival-grade material as he does for the paintings he usually spends videos restoring.
- Mission 404 is a short film made especially for the web, parodying the web as a Crapsack World, with an Anthropomorphic Personification of Youtube (where the video was first posted). Also, the cast consists entirely of actors who started on the Internet as YouTubers, and one of the characters is famous on Youtube in-universe as well.
- IOSYS has done many famous Touhou parody songs and Flash animations. They've also done plenty of parodies of their own parodies. A couple of examples:
- Marisa Stole the Precious Thing + Mahjong = Marisa Tanked My Score With an Incredible Hand.
- [Singing Attempt] The Brides that Queue Up the Affected Area are Impending the Precious Sun, Perfect Ignorant Fools! [Prismriver] is a mashup of a bunch of their own previous parody and remix songs, titles included.
- The Nostalgia Critic reviewed his own anniversary movies, due to him getting amnesia from being in the Plot Hole.
- The Cold Open of his Planet of the Apes is an Honest Trailer mocking conventions of the post-2013 series.
- Phelous did a review of his own review.
- In an unreleased promo for introducing Steam Train, note Arin and Jon of Game Grumps are shown as extremely stereotyped versions of themselves:
Jon: Look at this dang-ass game! It's legitimately in my top ten.
Arin: I hate video games!
- South Park does this on occasion:
- The episode "Butt Out" is a parody of the standard South Park formula, as Kyle points out in a moment of Genre Savvy.
- Word of God confirms this in the case of Terrance and Phillip: When the Moral Guardians first started complaining about the show, they decided to make a show within their show that was even worse.
- It goes meta in "200", in which Kyle and Cartman call each other fat-ass and jew, and Stan complains that they always do the same thing. The exact same dialogue took place in an earlier episode.
- The episodes "Cartoon Wars Part I" and "Cartoon Wars Part II" spend a good amount of time criticizing Family Guy for its formula. South Park says Family Guy is just random joke after random joke with no consistent relationship to the story. However, in "Cartoon Wars Part II", a trucker is talking about how he likes Family Guy and says: "I mean, I know it's just joke after joke, but I like that. At least it doesn't get all preachy and up its own ass with messages, you know?"
- ReBoot has "The True Stories of Mainframe", which consists of binome actors performing Stylistic Suck takes on the events of earlier episodes.
- The Super Hero Squad Show could be said to be this for Marvel.
- The Life and Times of Juniper Lee had a monster filming Juniper's adventures and broadcasting them in a show named "The Battles and Brawls of Juniper Lee".
- At the end of the Wizard of Odd episode of Phineas and Ferb, Candace parodied her song "Busted" from a previous episode by singing about how the Tin Man was "Rusted."
- "Fairly Odd Primates" from the The Fairly OddParents! special "Abracatastrophe", in which the theme song was spoofed. "Bananas, bananas, bananas, bananas!"
- In Johnny Test, The Dawg and Bone Show in is a parody of the show itself starring Flanderized versions of Johnny and Dukey named "Dawg" and "Bone" respectively. Their only personality traits are talking with slang accents and being obsessed with zombie hunting.
- Additionally, the episode also parodies its own animation by stating that Dawg and Bone are Squash and Stretch and therefore cannot be stopped from physical harm, but Johnny and Dukey now have to go out of their way to avoid being injured.
- Twice during the episode, Dukey lampshades how familiar The Dawg and Bone Show seems, but Johnny is too stupid to see it.
- A lot of The Simpsons episodes have played out as self-parodies of how weird and wacky the show has become. Some examples:
- "Saddlesore Galactica" (the one where the Simpsons keep a horse as a pet and Bart and Homer run afoul of jockey elves): Those who don't see it as a sign that the show was becoming a cheap clone of South Park and Family Guy (despite that those shows copied The Simpsons style and made it more over the top than The Simpsons ever could be) do see it as a self-parody and an exercise in modern surrealism.
- "Homer Loves Flanders": Lisa points out that Homer and Flanders being friends won't last because of how formulaic the show is...until Homer and Flanders remain friends in the end (at least until the next episode when Homer tells Flanders to go to Hell after Flanders comes over to say, "Hi") and Lisa realizes that the wacky adventures might be coming to an end.
- The end of the Gump Roast Clip Show episode gives us a sneak peek of future episodes to the song "They'll Never Stop The Simpsons" to reassure viewers they aren't out of ideas: Grampa Simpson marries both of Marge's sisters in one, Marge becomes a robot in another, etc.
Narrator: We're sorry for the clip shoooowww....
- In Futurama, Matt Groening's head presents a pilot for his (presumably) animated series to an audience at Comic-Con, called Futurella. Set in the year 4000, the opening title looks exactly like Futurama's and abruptly follows with a message that the show's been cancelled.
Matt Groening's head: Wow. Fox has really streamlined the process.
- Animaniacs: The episode where Yakko sings all the words in the English language to the tune of the Mexican Hat Dance (the same tune he sang "Yakko's World" to).
- The 1991 Looney Tunes short "(blooper) Bunny!" is a parody of the Bugs Bunny Milestone Celebration the previous year.
Daffy: Oh brother! Fifty-first and a half anniversary!
- For the Scooby-Doo franchise, this started with the Denser and Wackier 1980s series A Pup Named Scooby-Doo. Other later installments would also poke fun at the franchise's many, many tropes; almost every single Scooby production from Pup onward has joked about the Those Meddling Kids line at least once, for example.
- In Arthur "The Contest" is an episode featuring many Affectionate Parody skits of cartoons. It starts with Arthur and friends watching Andy and Company, a show where all the characters appear to be parodies of them. Brain questions the Funny Animal world and asks if their school serves bugs and garbage for lunch, and Arthur realizes he doesn't know what species Andy is supposed to be.
- The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) "Turtles In Space Part 1: The Fugitoid" has the heroes in a half-shell stranded on an alien planet. They retreat to the sewers, where Michelangelo witnesses four alien rats in masks, much like the kind he and his brothers are wearing, led by a terrapin-sensei in a robe and cane like Splinter's.
Ninja Rat: (Indecipherable noise, subtitled as "Cowabunga!")
Michelangelo: Whoa... Bizarroworld!
- Dexter's Laboratory has "Dee Dee and The Man", where Dexter fires Dee Dee as his sister.
- Teen Titans Go! is this to both the original show and DC Comics in general.
- Pib and Pog is a self-parody by Aardman Animations, in which a pre-school kids' show featuring two cute claymation creatures rapidly descends into grotesque tit-for-tat acts of ultraviolence.
- Sonic Boom celebrates and mocks everything about the Sonic franchise in equal amounts, along with the periodic potshot at Sonic's Unpleasable Fanbase (including one aimed specifically at the infamous creator of Sonichu). Shadow the Hedgehog embodies this, with his Boom version being as much of an edgelord as fans and nonfans alike have accused him of being.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender had "The Ember Island Players", where a group in the show is putting on a play about the Avatar and his crew that gleefully mocks the characters, their adventures, and even takes a fantastic potshot at the much-disliked "Great Divide". Pretty much everyone is thoroughly insulted save for Toph, who thinks being portrayed as a muscle-bound moron is hilarious. Since it's the Fire Nation putting it on, it's wholly justified that it wouldn't be a particularly flattering portrayal of the Avatar's crew, and unsurprisingly, ends with all of them being brutally killed by the Fire Lord while everyone in the audience cheers.note
Zuko: That ... wasn't a good play.
Aang: I'll say.
Katara: No kidding.
Toph: You said it.
Sokka: But the effects were decent!
- The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy had them watching "The Extreme Adventures of Brandon and Mallory", a Totally Radical animesque version of their show.
- Gravity Falls has the Show Within a Show Duck-tective, which apparently shares many tropes with the show, including a Periphery Demographic, Parental Bonus jokes, and a plot twist involving Duck-tective's twin brother.
- SpongeBob SquarePants has a human recreation of a "Plankton tries to rob the Krusty Krab" type of episode in SpongeBob's Big Birthday Blowout when on a tour of the surface world, SpongeBob's tour bus visits a diner called "The Trusty Slab", where the human substitutes of the main cast are played by their voice actors.
- Hotel Transylvania: The Series occasionally shows Mavis and her friends watching an in-universe television show called Hotel Pennsylvania, with the main cast being human (and in Mavis and Pedro's cases, gender-swapped) versions of Mavis, Hank, Wendy and Pedro.