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Spoofed the Ironic Film Seriously

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"They shouldn't satirise the show, though. It was already tongue-in-cheek. This is a sendup of a sendup, so it's cancelling itself out."
Nick Setchfield, SFX magazine, on The Avengers (1998) as a remake of the TV show.

Parodies often delight in pointing out works' contradictions and silly nature. But sometimes, parodies mistakenly spoof a work that's intentionally contradictory or silly. The spoof writer misses the point of the original, mocking it for entirely intended qualities.

Similarly, parodies often play with original works by throwing in silliness of their own. But the writer may underestimate the original's capacity for incongruous situations, characterization or dialogue, falsely thinking such elements will necessarily parody the source. The result is a silly work but one that duplicates the original rather than mocking it.

Compare Spoofing Spoofiness, when a spoof knowingly mocks a work's ironic qualities. See also Redundant Parody, which occurs when a parody unwittingly reproduces an exact joke from the original.

Contrast Shallow Parody, which is when a work spoofs another work for qualities that it didn't really have to begin with.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • The cancelled-after-one-chapter story Cheat Slayer claimed isekai protagonists were terrible people, shown through some very unflattering Captain Ersatz versions of notable isekai characters. One of the characters shown is a parody of Aqua from Konosuba... apparently unaware that Konosuba was already a parody of the genre, and its protagonist, Kazuma, is a self-centered loser who is respected by no one.
    • Another character is a parody of Subaru from Re:Zero, which while not being a straight-up parody, is more of a Genre Deconstruction where Subaruís beliefs about isekai cliches are shown to be wrong and he has to learn to be a better person the hard way.

    Fan Works 


    Live-Action TV 
  • One of the very last Bob Hope specials on NBC tried to lampoon the 1989 Batman movie, and had Hope done up as Jack Nicholson's Joker. The dialogue had a light, derisive tone that evidently conflicted with the writers' view of serious superheroes and supervillains. Actually, the Joker takes this exact tone (he is named "the Joker" after all) and even volleyed the same sort of insults in the real movie as those the special featured.
  • Cirque du Soleil parodies often ignore the fact that the shows are often extremely funny and not simply two hours of posing and pretentiousness.
  • A particular problem with British comedy shows in The '80s was impressionists "doing" people like "Dame Edna Everage", "Frank Spencer" and "Inspector Clouseau", completely ignoring the fact that these were already comedy caricatures created by Barry Humphries, Michael Crawford, and Peter Sellers respectively, leaving absolutely nothing left to parody.
  • Parodies of the Energizer Bunny, which tend to forget that one of the Bunny's original gimmicks was interrupting absurd parody commercials. That they all make the same joke (stretching the "it keeps going and going" line until it becomes annoying) doesn't help.
  • MADtv (1995) did a parody music of Jewel's Intuition video and 0304 pop album, labeling her a pop sellout... except that video and album were satire of the then-current teen pop trend. The Intuition original video featured such mockery as texts reading "Jewel's voice sounds much better now that she's dancing" and a pyrotechnics performance that ended with the fire department's arrival.
  • Andrea Martin of SCTV once remarked that the only show they couldn't spoof was Laverne & Shirley because they couldn't come up with any situation that was more ridiculous than what the show already did.
  • In the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode guide, the writers admit that Catalina Caper was one of the hardest episodes to write, being an unfunny musical comedy, thus making it difficult to effectively mock. One of MST3K's several Spiritual Successors, RiffTrax, sets a policy of never featuring comedy movies for this precise reason.
  • Most parodies of Batman (1966) starring Adam West. Even a cursory look will show it wasn't meant to be taken seriously and was, in fact, itself parodying comics of the time and the '40s Batman serials.
  • Fromage often fell into this, much to the chagrin of its bitter chain-smoking host Ed the Sock, where fans would pressure him to riff on deliberately cheesy music videos. He'd call them out every time, pointing out that Fromage was there to call out songs that weren't meant to be cheesy.

  • There's a "response" to The Lonely Island's "Jizz In My Pants" called "Puke In My Mouth". Those behind it fail to see the original was a parody, self-deprecating and actually funny. The result is you get a bunch of attractive women who spend the entire song mocking other people.
  • Numerous parodies of The Lonely Island's track "I'm On a Boat", ignore the fact that the original song was itself a parody of materialistic hip-hop themed around ostentatious displays of wealth and luxury.
  • Ray Stevens' song "Teenage Mutant Kung Fu Chickens" spoofed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which was itself a parody of Frank Miller's Ronin among others. There was also a whole genre of Ninja Turtles parody knockoffs of which Stevens appears unaware when he made his own parody knockoff.
  • Cakewalk song and dance numbers performed in Minstrel Shows by white dancers in blackface are a parody of a particular style of dance held by black former slaves on plantations. However, the type of dance they're parodying is itself a parody of dances performed by white plantation owners.


    Video Games 
  • Friday Night Funkin': Senpai, the opponent of Week 6, was based on a combination of arrogant pretty boy characters and Romance Game archetypes. One inspiration PhantomArcade names directly is Tamaki Suoh of Ouran High School Host Club, a series that itself played shoujo romance manga tropes of the day for laughs.
  • Pretty much all the stuff that's played for laughs (like stupid guards and rescuing hostages on the toilet) in Mesal Gear Solid, the Metal Gear parody in Ape Escape 3, is stuff that was played for laughs (or at least played non-seriously) in the actual series. The ending line of the PAL version ("I go wherever the wind takes me. So long as war never ends, I will always have a place in this world.") would not sound remotely out of place in the actual games - the canon is already so deliberately over-the-top that it's pretty much impossible to parody.

    Web Original 
  • The Nostalgia Critic will often take comedic moments or sometimes entire comedies and treat them as if they were meant to be taken seriously. For instance, his review of Last Action Hero doesn't give the slightest indication he knows the film was supposed to be a comedy, and in his review of Godzilla (1998) he goes on a minutes-long rant about why he doesn't understand the inclusion of the line "That's a lot of fish" when the asinine nature of the line was meant to be the joke. He also acknowledges the possibility that Starship Troopers is a Stealth Parody (it is), but spends the rest of the review taking it deadly seriously and criticizing its over-the-top fascistic elements.
  • Doug Walker explained in his list of Top 11 Movies I'll Never Review this is the reason he'll never review Killer Klowns from Outer Space or Attack of the Killer Tomatoes!:
    Doug: It's meant to be bad, guys! It's like reviewing Evil Dead 2 or Army of Darkness! There's no point! It makes fun of itself! It's supposed to be silly!
  • Various paleontology personalities known for making fun of poor paleoart or reconstructions have been known to mock this image of "Aeolosaurus", supposedly an ankylosaur that could glide like a flying squirrel. In fact, the creature was a joke created for an "identify which of these dinosaurs isn't real"-type quiz, underlined even further by the fact that it sits opposite "Rhedosaurus."

    Western Animation 
  • The old cartoon Batfink is basically a spoof of...the silly Adam West Batman (1966) show. Which was a spoof of superheroes to begin with.
    • Even a classic Simpsons episode ("Radioactive Man") was guilty of this. The parody was merciless and hilarious... until you learned that the original was intentionally silly.
  • The Futurama episode "War is the H-Word" parodies a lot of war media, but the premise is closest to Starship Troopers, and quite a few jokes seem to be derived from that film, like the laughable Hollywood Tactics, the incredibly spurious reason behind the conflict, and the fact that humanity turns out to be the invaders. Of course, the film itself was already playing those elements for satire.
  • The Simpsons tried to spoof VeggieTales one time. The scene they showed was of Moses, as a pickle, confronting "King Yameses" about his people having to build "food pyramids" and telling him to "let my pickles go." Thing is, this is exactly the kind of humor the actual cartoon is famous for. So much so that probably the only thing stopping this from being a full-on Redundant Parody was that VeggieTales hadn't gotten around to doing a Moses episode yet.
  • Hey Arnold! episode "Quantity Time" ends with Helga and her father, Bob, watching "Rats: The Musical", a parody of Cats. The show depicts "Rats" as a musical that takes itself completely seriously, with an orchestral soundtrack, a Love Dodecahedron story arc, and a well-dressed couple in the audience lauding it for its artistry. This is the complete opposite of how Cats treats itself, with a contemporary pop soundtrack, highly-energetic choreography, and an Excuse Plot that only drops its silliness whenever it's time for Grizabella to sing. The aforementioned couple would most likely hate Cats, just as Helga and Bob did with "Rats".