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Stealth Parody

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"The most perfidious way of harming a cause consists of defending it deliberately with faulty arguments."
Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science

Parodies that pretend to be serious works, no matter how absurd or mocking their contents are, often with the purpose of getting Misaimed Fandom to generate hilarious feedback. The Internet Age has made it particularly easy to do this. You can never be sure the person on the other computer isn't that obtuse. In the more general sense, standard internet discourse in highly exclusive internet forums can be very difficult to decipher by outsiders; stealth parody submitted to such communities is commonly known as "trolling".

It can be lots of fun to find a particularly awful piece of Fan Fiction and review it as if it is one of these. Sometimes it actually is, and sometimes an author may claim that it is later. Being "stealthy", it can be hard to tell.

Sometimes overlaps with "Poe's Law", but Poe's Law is applied specifically when a parody of anything extreme is mistakenly taken at face value, or the opposite: an over-the-top work that is intended to be serious is confused with a parody. It also sometimes overlaps with Spoofed with Their Own Words.

Compare Indecisive Parody, which is when someone involved in an otherwise-serious project mocks it. See also Parody Retcon, when a creator tries to claim that a badly-received work was one of these.

Be careful when adding entries to this list. A badly done Stealth Parody is still bad, unless it's a stealth parody of stealth parodies. Eat your heart out, Poe.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Mobile Fighter G Gundam: The director hated being forced to include a ridiculous, borderline racist plot. So he wrote everyone in an over-the-top manner, with Domon being a Jerkass who does things like sucker punching his opponent to announce that he wants to fight and mocks some of the plans Bandai came up with. For example, he hated the ring he has Domon bounce off the damn thing. In the end, it was so ridiculous that it goes from Narm to Narm Charm. The finale is the most over-the-top use of The Power of Love ever, and has an entry on this site's Awesome page.
  • Strawberry Panic!, which loves taking shots at everything and anything related to Yuri Genre works, but amusingly can still be taken as a serious piece too.
  • Hayate the Combat Butler does this to Harem Genre tropes and virtually any series it happens to Shout-Out to.
  • Code Geass: At first glance, it's kind of hard to tell if Okouchi and Taniguchi were serious. The villains all dress in ridiculous outfits, guards tend to menace people with spears, and the series appears to have been written for a young William Shatner and Brian Blessed. When you listen to the audio commentaries and other additional materials for the series you begin to realize that the Code Geass staff had a lot of fun working on this production, coming up with all manner of crazy ideas and in-jokes, suggesting they weren't above liberally combining Rule of Cool and Rule of Funny for the sake of increasing entertainment value. For example, the creators used the Britannia Emperor's larger-than-life character design in the show because it was hilarious for them. Combined with Norio Wakamoto's voice acting, this eventually led them to making the "Rocketmoto" sequence during a climatic part of the story, which the staff also approved due to its comedy value.
  • I Don’t Like You at All, Big Brother!! is a Stealth Parody for the Brother–Sister Incest subgenre of ecchi anime. Everything in this show is obviously over-the-top that it plays with typical tropes seen in these shows. Of note is that the feeling is arguably mutual between the siblings in question and that the sister is encouraging the brother's pervertedness, even if it's not targeted at her.
  • Some have speculated that Death Note is this for Shōnen tropes. Despite being a dark crime thriller with a megalomaniacal mass-murderer for a protagonist, when you get down to it it contains all the basic elements of a typical shonen series, albeit in forms twisted nearly beyond recognition: a young, justice-loving Chaste Hero (a narcissistic Knight Templar with delusions of godhood) who discovers magical powers (a notebook that can be used to instantly murder anybody) and gains a Fairy Companion (an amoral embodiment of death), makes a Worthy Opponent rival (a detective trying to apprehend him for his crimes) and picks up a persistent Genki Girl love interest (a vapid pop idol who's fanatically obsessed with him and, despite barely knowing him, is instantly willing to kill for, die for and marry him). Tsugumi Ohba comes off as a living super computer who knows every single manga trope inside and out. And he loves mindgames. The Stealth Parody interpretation makes a lot of sense.
  • While Soul Eater can be taken at face value, it is quite likely that it is simply a long joke about Shōnen stereotypes. Black*Star and Tsubaki are widely considered to be expies of Naruto and Hinata, many of Maka's lines can be taken directly from Ed, and Soul has an interesting resemblance in backstory to Gokudera. The idea that the Grim Reaper is scary is thrown out the window, and a blatantly obvious love interest is thrown in and shoved in the face of the audience, but nothing happens. The author also said in an interview that he was really only considering putting in one or two canon pairings, and soon after put two minor characters in a relationship. The fandom was not happy. He seems to enjoy messing with his audience, although the show is still considered serious by many.
  • The Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt episode "Ghost: The Phantom of Daten City" is often considered to be a stealth parody, though young teenage fangirls often take the episode rather seriously.
  • There's significant evidence that The Lost Village is an intentional attempt to create a narmy, So Bad, It's Good horror series. While kind of terrible, it's terrible in an often hilarious way. Not to mention that the staff is usually fairly competent, or at least incompetent in ways very different from what's on display here.
  • Re:CREATORS was never meant to be a comedy, but the show's staff clearly ironically portray the interaction of fictional characters with the real world, especially when it comes to genre psychology like the exposition of JRPG's NPC Meteora or idealism of the light novel's heroine Celestia.
  • Toriko is a shounen series where everything is so exaggerated and over-the-top that it's impossible to take it seriously after a while. With its 80s-inspired graphic style, overly macho main characters with Ho Yay-filled interactions and all the ludicrously powerful attacks and counter-attacks, it's either a throwback to simpler times or a stealth parody of shonen series like Hunter X Hunter, Fist of the North Star and Naruto, of the tendency to fill those series with homoerotic subtext in order to attract a peripheric fanbase, and probably also of the tendency of Japanese media to be Mundane Made Awesome (Toriko is set in a world which is all about food and making the perfect menu).
  • The Majin Buu arc of Dragon Ball Z is more humorous than the preceding arcs had been, but it also has the makings of someone lampooning how overblown the series had become at that point — except that someone was Akira Toriyama himself. note  Two characters make up ridiculously over-the-top names for ineffective attacks in a nod to the Calling Your Attacks nature of the series. One of those characters irreverently invokes more of the series' clichés for drama while fighting the Big Bad (long powers-ups, holding back his true power, trash talking, Heroic Second Wind, and New Powers as the Plot Demands), turning a long-awaited battle with the fate of the universe at stake into an outright farce. Another character gets an enormous power up just by sitting still for a long time as opposed to a grueling training session; while the character providing said power up is introduced in a series of jokes that take the piss out of some of the series' oldest clichés. The characters have become so ridiculously powerful that they can open holes between dimensions just by screaming. The Big Bad initially appears as a fat, pink, childlike demon that kills people by turning them into sweets and eating them; with one character noting that his name sounds like a fart. He is so ridiculously overpowered that he's nigh-unkillable (at one point he recovers from being reduced to smoke), has an insane amount of transformations (8 in total), and causes so much destruction that at one point almost the entire cast (along with Earth's population) is dead and the Earth itself is destroyed. The Joke Character ends up saving the world (momentarily) simply by telling the Big Bad that killing people is wrong. The revered Super Saiyan transformation, which once required extreme circumstances to reach, is easily obtained by a couple of young bratty kids that have no clue of its importance; while the new Super Saiyan form has a very exaggerated appearance and ends up only being useful for stalling the Big Bad due to failing at two critical moments, resulting in the Big Bad being defeated through a collaborative effort instead of one guy's game-changing power up. Finally, at one point, the Big Bad gets curb stomped by a fighting piece of candy.
  • 4Kids Entertainment's infamous dub of One Piece was intended to be a variation of this: Toei, in a similar way to how Toonami were forced to air Hamtaro, forced 4Kids to dub One Piece. However, 4Kids didn't think One Piece was suitable for children… and thus one of the worst dubs in anime history was made, and a huge flame war was declared on 4Kids by many a Fan Dumb.

    Comic Books 
  • Believe it or not, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Mirage) started out as a parody of dark, edgy comics of its time, specifically Daredevil and Ronin (1983), but forgot it was a parody about three issues in. Although the line was pretty blurred even at the start — the only thing that makes TMNT #1 a parody, and not a regular ninja revenge story with a couple of Daredevil references, is the fact that four turtles and a rat have the leading roles. The comic's creators originally had no idea the comic would be a success, so the fact that it later became Serious Business is hilarious in itself. It was also meant to parody the rampant sell-out/cash-in desires of its era's comic creators, making it more hilarious.
  • There is a very good chance that Doom (here) falls under this category.
    Doomguy: Dig the prowess, the capacity for violence! I'm the man! I'm superbad! Imps? Zombies? You think you can get me?!? (Wait. Maybe they don't think.) Well, I do! And I think you're DEAD!
    Doomguy: You're stupid! And you're gonna be stupid and dead! Dance! Dance, bonedaddy!
    Doomguy: Rip and tear! RIP AND TEAR YOUR GUTS! You are huge! That means you have huge guts! RIP AND TEAR!
    Doomguy: Gaah! Radioactive waste! BURNS! STINKS! Get off scum! Who do you suppose let all that radioactive waste down there? And why? Why? Now I'm radioactive! That can't be good! Why can't we find a way to safely dispose of radioactive waste and protect the environment? Even if I personally stop this alien invasion, what kind of planet will we be leaving to our children? And our children's children? And... Oh the humanity! My big gun is out of bullets!
  • Lobo started as DC's over-the-top parody of Wolverine; then he became successful on his own. Marvel came right back (fifteen years later) with Lunatik, an even over-the-topper parody of Lobo, who in turn found brief success. How can you go over the top anymore when they keep moving the top? Rob Liefeld himself would create Bloodwulf as an even further exaggerated spoof of Lobo. Being that he is Rob Liefeld and "over the top" is printed on his business card, he certainly succeeded in making a much more ridiculous character if nothing else.
  • According to some sources, the over-the-top macho "big muscles, big guns" Dark Age comic Guy Gardner: Warrior, in which the titular Green Lantern loses his ring and gains the power to turn into a musclebound tattooed hunk with cannons for hands, was the result of writer Beau Smith writing the pitch as a joke and accidentally having it approved. According to Smith himself, his original intention was to make Gardner a non-powered tough-guy adventurer, but had to give him a super power of some sort due to Executive Meddling.
  • Bookhunter is an action story about some Cowboy Cops that hits on all the usual Police Procedural tropes. The fact that the cops in question are the Library Police, and the enormous manpower and resources they're expending are to retrieve a single stolen book, is treated as completely normal by everyone.
  • German comic Nick Knatterton started as this. The fans took it straight and liked it. The author not so much.
  • Upon first glance, The Punisher 2099 appears to be a generic '90s Anti-Hero with a cyberpunk theme. Upon second glance you find scenes like this. Considering it was mostly written by the creator of Judge Dredd, this shouldn't be too surprising.
  • It's been speculated that Frank Miller may be doing this with his later, less liked works, massively cranking up the grittiness and stylized nature of his previous works to undermine and mock the very ideas he helped start. While debatable, one can see where these people are coming from once you actually read the comics in question; after all, All-Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder does include lines like "Damn you and your lemonade!". It certainly helps that Miller has both shown before that he can write characters like Batman very well and expressed regret for helping start the Dark Age of Comics.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The (in)famous Chick Tract strip "Dark Dungeons" has been turned into a movie. The creators have not said if it was serious or not. Given the notoriety of this tract, it's open for debate. note  It's not all in question whether it's meant to be funny (it is) or whether the creators think the message it presents is true (they do not); what makes it ambiguous is that it's an official licenced adaptation played totally straight and allowed to be ridiculous on its own merits.
  • Quite a few people saw This is Spın̈al Tap and believed that it was real, having never experienced a mockumentary before. A number of bands, however, recognized that it was a parody and thought that it was them that it was parodying. Robert Plant, Dee Snider, Ozzy Osbourne, Alice Cooper, Eddie Van Halen, George Lynch, Steven Tyler, and Mike Mills all recognized aspects of the film that they had themselves experienced. One band (possibly Mötley Crüe) even tried to sue them. Other bands (most notably Slade) actually wanted to take credit as the band Spinal Tap was mocking.
  • Paul Verhoeven's version of Starship Troopers was a satirical take both on the Robert A. Heinlein novel and jingoistic war movies in general. Not everybody got this when the film was released.
  • The character of Borat Sagdiyev, at least to all the unsuspecting people filmed cluelessly interacting with him. The film Borat itself is not an example, though, as by then the viewer has an idea of what's really going on.
  • The cult classic Arnie flick Last Action Hero is a victim of this. Many didn't get its sly humour on release, which led to the film getting a bad rep as just a dumb action/fantasy comedy, when in actuality it was a spoof of the action genre.
  • The good South African folk responsible for MST3K-bait movie Space Mutiny insist that it's a parody of space adventure films. This claim has been met with skepticism.
  • The film City Limits, which Kim Cattrall, at the '96 MST3K ConventioConExpoFestARama 2: Electric Bugaloo, insists was meant to be a parody.
    Cattrall: Some would say it's impossible to parody a parody, but somehow, you guys did it!
  • Hobgoblins writer and director Rick Sloane has claimed that the film was a parody of all the bad, low-budget copycat films that followed in the wake of Gremlins.
  • Tommy Wiseau's So Bad, It's Good film The Room (2003) was written and filmed as a relationship melodrama, but after the movie started gaining an ironic cult following, Wiseau started referencing it as a Black Comedy. However, his hatred of any criticism towards the movie tends to negate this stance.
  • Tsui Hark's movie Knock Off is said to have been deliberately designed to be So Bad, It's Good, in order to ridicule Jean-Claude Van Damme as a sneaky retaliation for his incessant disruptions during the shooting of Double Team. If this is true, no one apparently noticed while it was being made.
  • M. Night Shyamalan attempted to downplay The Happening's critical curb-stomping by claiming he intended it as a parody of bad B movies. No one believed him.
  • Scream attempted to deconstruct the Slasher Movie, which at the time of the first film's release was already in disfavor among audiences. In the process, however, it actually managed to reconstruct the genre as well, leading to a second wave of slasher movies in the late '90s.
  • Some observant viewers think the Battleship movie might be one of these. Given that the aliens, despite being depicted as Obviously Evil, never attack noncombatants, it may actually be the story of a First Contact Gone Horribly Wrong instead of an Alien Invasion being heroically repelled.
  • Basic Instinct. In his book The Devil's Guide to Hollywood, screenwriter Joe Eszterhas states essentially that he conceived and wrote this film in 13 days as a cynical exercise in creating the Lowest Common Denominator screenplay possible, so he could get back his record of being the highest paid screenwriter in Hollywood. And he succeeded.
  • The Princess Bride is even more of a Stealth Parody than the novel (see its entry under Literature), since it doesn't contain the fictionalized version of William Goldman making snide, Genre Savvy remarks on the side; in his place is simply an unnamed preadolescent boy, and most of the humor in the film's frame story comes from the boy's discomfort at the "kissing" scenes, rather than from broader satirical comments on the genre. The film works on the most basic level as straight adventure, with the elements of comic sendup found somewhat between the lines. There are a few actors blatantly hamming it up, but most of them are confined to single scenes (Mel Smith as the Albino; Billy Crystal and Carol Kane as Miracle Max and his wife; Peter Cook as a wedding clergyman), whereas the bulk of the performances in the film are fairly straight and deadpan. Roger Ebert in his review notes that the director, Rob Reiner, seems to be taking the same approach as in his earlier film This is Spinal Tap, where he stays true to the form of the genre he's parodying so that it can be appreciated on either level.
  • Showgirls satirizes Hollywood's 'a star is born' movies and shows how good Paul Verhoeven is at revealing the narrative and ideological problems with common tropes — too good, as most people just see Showgirls as trash.
  • An accidental one happens in John Milius' own Red Dawn (1984). Once the town of Columet, Co. is taken over, we see a close-up of a Soviet paratrooper crouching down and taking a semi-automatic pistol from a gunned-down civilian, while a bumper sticker that reads, "You can have my gun from when you pry it from my cold dead fingers" appears on the background. This was meant to be seen as a Badass Boast from someone who was Defiant to the End; instead, it came out as someone who fell victim to his own bravado.
  • The Slumber Party Massacre was written by feminist author Rita Mae Brown as a parody of misogynistic slasher films, but was ultimately filmed as a straight slasher.
  • God's Club, a film reviewed by The Cinema Snob, is assumed to be a parody by some due to having been written and directed by people experienced in the horror movie genre and containing every Christian persecution complex film stereotype under the sun and having twisted messages about mental health and prescription drug usage. It is also assumed the distributor took it seriously due to it being marketed as a normal Christian film of the "persecution complex" type.
  • Josie and the Pussycats seems like a movie targeted towards young girls, and that's how it was marketed. In reality, it served as a parody of overcommercialization and of the shallowness of the music industry, among other targets. This weird approach, with many people missing the fact that the absurd amounts of Product Placement were part of the parody, caused it to become a Box Office Bomb, but it's since developed a cult fanbase.

  • Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal is arguably the most famous Stealth Parody, and in some ways the Trope Codifier.
  • Gulliver's Travels was also intended as political satire, but the original meaning is mostly lost on modern audiences. It was also lost on most contemporary audiences when it first debuted. In Gulliver's case, the problem was that the parody was too stealthy. Circumstance, sadly, probably wouldn't have allowed it to ever be otherwise; if he had written a straight-up attack on English society, he would have risked political retribution, or at the very least, the ire of other citizens, so his only option was writing a symbolic fantasy story. Then again, it's probably better that it succeeded too well than succeeded too little. The fact that most remakes ignore the second half of the book (only covering Lilliput and Brobdingnag) probably doesn't help.
  • Thackerey's Catherine, intended to show how stupid the popular Victorian 'Newgate Novels' sensationalizing crime were, was acclaimed as the greatest Newgate Novel ever written.
  • Might is Right was a social Darwinist screed written by someone using the pseudonym "Ragnar Redbeard" that railed against Christianity, socialism, egalitarianism, and the rights of women, non-whites, and Jews while espousing a hyper-masculine creed that celebrated extreme individualism, violence, power, and war. Since its publication, it's been speculated that its true author was none other than the avowed socialist Jack London, who may well have written Might is Right to satirize and caricature his capitalist opponents. (Others have speculated that the author was the New Zealander Arthur Desmond, a champion of the progressive Georgist movement in the late 19th century who may have had a similar motive.) Either way, if it was satire, its intended targets missed the point — it's since been embraced by white supremacists, who republished it in 1999 in an "Exclusive Millennial Wotansvolk Edition".
  • Horace Miner's famous essay Body Ritual Among the Nacirema. Can be found here.
  • Thomas More's Utopia may or may not have been this, and scholars are still divided about it.
  • Dashiell Hammett wrote the novella Nightmare Town in response to the two-fisted non-stop violence that he saw pervading the genre of detective fiction. It opens with a woman almost being run over and ends with an entire city exploding in flames. He may have failed because, while it is no where near the quality of his usual work, Nightmare Town is gorgeously written and certainly a cut above the works he was lampooning.
  • Molvania: A Land Untouched by Modern Dentistry is a travel guide for a fictional country... except, naturally, that there have been people who didn't realize it was fictional (it can occasionally be found occupying the "Travel" shelves in bookstores). And who can forget Molvania's Eurovision Song Contest entry, "Electronik Supersonik" by Zlad?
  • Many argue that Rudyard Kipling's "White Man's Burden" is an example of this. Others don't buy that for a minute.
  • The Princess Bride. S. Morgenstern is not real, and there was never a European country called Florin. But Goldman's comments and backstory are pretty convincing...
  • Two Australian poets frustrated with the impenetrability of modernist poetry created the character of Ern Malley, to whom they attributed 17 poems built around random cut-and-pasted snippets — from Shakespeare's Pericles to the American Armed Forces Guide to Mosquito Infestation. Their target, celebrated editor Max Harris, was so taken with the work that he rushed out a special Ern Malley edition of his journal Angry Penguins. In something of a backfire, the Malley oeuvre has eclipsed the hoaxers' own work to this day, with many calling it a genuine (if accidental) achievement.
  • "Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!", by Ralph Nader (no, really), which Nader presents as "a practical utopia," is an critical look at America's obsession with the ultra-wealthy. The reviews have yet to notice this.
  • The conspiracy theory text Report from Iron Mountain is probably one of these. At least, that's what THEY want you to think. From the Author's own afterword (on page 119) "The book is, of course, a satirical hoax-" Apparently in the 1980's right wing groups were taking the report seriously, and the author had to take legal action to stop them from copying and distributing it. Left-wingers also took it seriously, insisting it HAD to be genuine. Its own introduction said so!
  • H. P. Lovecraft:
  • "Birth Control is Sinful in the Christian Marriages and also Robbing God of Priesthood Children!!" Um, yeah… Poe's Law is in full effect.
  • Possibly A Brother's Price, which is much more entertaining read as a satire of the concept of a sexual Double Standard.
  • The Alice in Wonderland books are just some goofy fantasy kids' books, right? Wrong. It turns out, they're full of references to then-modern elements of Carol's time, and pretty much just mock the hell out of everything he could get his hands on, even politics and science. In a more straight-forward fashion, the books themselves are deconstructed fairy tales that have Aesops in them played to their logical extent, stripped of any and all content.
  • Awoken is this to young adult Paranormal Romance, about a girl who literally romances Cthulhu (who takes the form of a hot guy, natch). Supposedly written by by "Serra Elinsen" (a parody of insecure, egotistical YA writers who get into online fights with their critics), it was actually created by The Nostalgia Chick's Lindsay Ellis, Antonella Inserra and Elisa Hansen, plus five ghostwriters, after crowdsourcing ideas in this video series.
    • Continuing that, the TV Tropes page for Serra Elinsen is studiously sanitized for any hint that it isn't meant to be taken seriously, and is full of insane cruft that pops up in only the most overwrought places on the Internet. Even we can't tell what's real and what's fake anymore!
  • Do You Love Your Mom and Her Two-Hit Multi-Target Attacks? is Dachima Inaka's take on Little Sister Heroine stories, only punched up to Mother-Son Incest Subtext rather than Brother-Sister. Mamako's interactions with Masato are outright scenes you would find in any little sister story, complete with "We're related, so it's okay" justifications from Mamako.
  • Naked Came the Stranger came out in 1969 and was meant to parody how obsessed the literary world had become with sex. There's a basic plot — a woman learns of her husband's affair and has many of her own as revenge — but each chapter is a vignette by a different author, with many different tones and styles. It was published under the pseudonym "Penelope Ashe" and became a bestseller before the truth was revealed.
  • Niccolņ Machiavelli's most famous work, The Prince, can be read this way. Ostensibly a guidebook on how to be a successful monarch, it advocates being amoral, sneaky and ruthless if necessary. However, most of Machiavelli's other works advocate republics as the best form of government for all their people (a claim which The Prince even repeats). As such, many read The Prince as a sarcastic "Okay, you want to be a good monarch? Then just be a bad person."

    Live-Action TV 
  • The BBC TV show Look Around You, a parody of science education programs from the late 1970's and early '80's, is a dead-on imitation, presented completely straight. The only thing breaking the illusion is the fact that the "science" it teaches is so utterly absurd. It has still fooled a few people into thinking it's a real science program. (Either these people believed the "facts" presented, or they just assumed that the show was serious but poorly researched.) The pilot was never shown on TV because one of the chemical mixtures is shown to be benign, although mixing it in real life would cause an explosion. Mind you, you have to pity any little kids taken in by it — sleepless nights could result from really believing things like the Helvetica Scenario, the death of Intelligent Calcium, or the use of ghosts as laboratory assistants.
  • Garth Marenghis Darkplace, whose premise is a deliberately cheesy homage to 80s action/horror TV shows as envisioned by a comically-pretentious auteur who assumes Viewers Are Morons...albeit played with a completely straight face.
  • The BBC's Ghostwatch and Alternative 3. In particular, Alternative 3 (broadcast in the UK in 1977) starts out as as a spoof edition of a genuine science programme that had just been cancelled. Investigating the disappearance of top scientists, it unfolds into a vast conspiracy that has established that overpopulation will soon make Earth uninhabitable, and the powers that be are secretly terraforming Mars to abandon everyone else. Despite everyone involved freely admitting it was a hoax, credits that named interviewees and correspondents as actors (some well known at the time) and dating the show to April 1stnote , some people are still convinced that Alternative 3 is real.
  • Brass Eye, a spot-on satire of prime-time "special investigation" programmes that fooled quite a lot of people — including the celebrities asked to take part — into believing that they were serious despite the complete absurdity of the content. Most notably, their final programme — a special on paedophilia — generated immense outrage from several newspapers at the "paedophile comedy" despite the actual target of the show being media outlets that treated paedophilia with far too much manufactured outrage. One such newspaper was unfortunate enough to print a story deriding the show right next to an article complimenting the size of (the fifteen-year-old) Charlotte Church's breasts.
  • Andy Kaufman's Tony Clifton alter ego — Clifton was a ridiculously over-the-top Lounge Lizard, but how Kaufman (and later Bob Zmuda, whom he passed the role on to) presented him was not unlike Sacha Baron Cohen's characters years later. Kaufman always claimed Clifton was an actual, separate person who had to be hired and treated as such, and in fact sometimes performed "solo". Beyond this, Clifton was extremely obnoxious to everyone, including his audiences, talk show hosts, and the cast of Taxi — he was hired to appear in an episode in the first season, a condition Andy had stipulated when he signed on to the show, but was fired when it was clear he was completely worthless on the set. Even those aware of the truth (including the Taxi cast) found Clifton too much to take, making this is an extreme example in that instead of generating a Misaimed Fandom it earned a genuine Hatedom, which is what Andy wanted.
  • While it is true that there are conservatives who have thought The Colbert Report was a serious news commentary program, these do not, as is often claimed, include the minds behind the "infamous" Press Corps dinner. The person who invited Colbert knew fairly little about him, but was aware he was a comedian, not a pundit. Ironically, this could make Colbert's appearance itself a Stealth Parody of his own side; and, indeed, many think that this is the premise of the entire show.
  • The Lexx episode "Prime Ridge," about an "ideal community" obsessed with meat, guns, drugs, and lawn care, was well-received as a satire of Middle American suburbia. Creator Paul Donovan had to explain that it actually satirized how America satirized itself in the film American Beauty (which he called "facile," "holier-than-thou," and "a smug piece of shit").
  • The "Investigative News Programme" This is David Lander featured Stephen Fry doing a dead-on straight faced parody of Roger Cook, a real investigator, only his stories were parodies. Fry was not available for series 2, so it was renamed This is David Harper with Tony Slattery.
  • It's up for debate whether Glee is a satire of High School Musical, "High School Musical for adults", or just cashing in on High School Musical's success by completely ripping it off... the jury's out.
  • Occasionally, Saturday Night Live celebrity impersonators will have quotes so ubiquitous, they're incorrectly attributed to the original celebrity. Especially common when the celebrities are political, rather than media figures. Sarah Palin never actually claimed that she could see Russia from her house, that was Tina Fey in character as Palin.
  • Ian Benardo, who has appeared on both American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance. An obvious troll clearly parodying the usually over-the-top entrants on the show, he has still managed to fool many people in the YouTube comments section into believing he's real.
  • So Random!, an Affectionate Parody of teen sketch shows such as All That began as the Show Within a Show in Sonny with a Chance. However, after Demi Lovato left the show following the second season after going to rehab due to personal issues, the show was rebooted as a defictionalized version of So Random! without Lovato, retaining the show's Stylistic Suck and outrageously over-the-top comic premises. Fans and critics unaware of the show's concept dismissed the show out of hand, and the reboot only survived one season.
  • The 1990 NSFW Tuscon public access special The Great Satan At Large appears to have been a obvious attempt at trolling it's viewers.
  • Comrade Detective seems like a communist Miami Vice clone shown in 1980s Romania, with the PBS-like intro segments once every few episodes further confusing the non-Romanian viewer into believing so. The slick cinematography is the only giveaway that it's a Prime Video original filmed in The New '10s.
  • The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window is an Affectionate Parody of a Psychological Thriller movies like The Girl on the Train or Gone Girl that is shot and acted so seriously that most of the jokes are Background Gags or characters acting unbelievably dumb. Unfortunately it got mixed reviews because half the critics thought it was just a particularly bad thriller.

  • A Cracked article "6 classic songs that were supposed to be jokes" discusses several examples from music.
  • Die Prinzen's song "Deutschland" is believed by many people, especially those not fluent in German, to be a German pride song. Seemingly all of the lyrics sing the praise of Germany, though there are two give-aways towards the end which hint that the song is actually a parody of nationalism. One is the line "Wir sind jederzeit für 'nen Krieg bereit" (We're always ready for a war) which can be taken as a criticism of Germany's past. The second is a joke that doesn't work very well in English. "Wir können stolz auf Deutschland... SCHWEIN! Schwein... Schwein..." During the hold after "Deutschland," it seems like they're going to say "sein." Which would make the sentence "We can be proud of Germany." Instead, they say Schwein, which means "pig." The album that this song is on was released on the 40th anniversary of the building of the Berlin wall, another stealthy jab at the band's native land.
  • Another example from Germany: the 1984 Herbert Grönemeyer song Männer. To this day, no one is sure if this a satire on the then-young Men's Rights Movement or a shameless eulogy on man-hood, yet the public discourse leans towards the Stealth Parody interpretation since Grönemeyer self-identifies as "Softie".
  • Anal Cunt. Look at the YouTube comments for added lulz — anyone who doesn't realize the band is sucking on purpose gets extremely angry. The same can also apply to Seth Putnam's other projects, Vaginal Jesus (a stealth parody of white supremacists) and Impaled Northern Moonforest (the inventors of acoustic black metal).
  • The music of Devin Millar looks well-made, but many don't realize he creates novelty music.
  • Green Jell˙. They even SAY they're proud to be the world's worst band. Too bad many people don't get the joke.
  • There are lots of very good reasons that Immortal is a parody of the Black Metal genre. But then, it's almost impossible to distinguish between fake black metal videos and genuine ones, so there's the slight possibility that the entire genre is one big, long running stealth parody. Immortal realizes that they look ridiculous, which is why of all the original Norwegian bands, they're the only ones who didn't drop the corpse paint. They probably see it as a signature aspect of the band.
  • The Eroguro Kei subgenre of Visual Kei is mostly this. There are some bands that actually aren't/that aren't self-aware enough to be considered this that still fall under the umbrella of Eroguro Kei, but most Eroguro bands are self-aware extreme satire of something (anything from mainstream society to other bands).
  • Passenger of Shit, who is perhaps comparable to the former. Some take him at face value, some believe he is, in fact, a cleverly crafted attempt at mocking the hardcore genre.
  • This MTV News column makes the argument that Soulja Boy Tell'em's entire career is one big example of this. Then again, his lack of any sense of humor when dealing with people who understandably don't like his music gives some lie to such a theory, as do his boasts about his skills as a gamer that turned out to be hot air.
  • Jethro Tull's "Thick As A Brick" album was, according to Ian Anderson, a parody of progressive rock and pretentious concept albums of The '70s. He wrote the piece in response to Aqualung being called a "concept album" by critics and rock journalists, due to a few of Aqualung 's songs having similar themes about abuse of religion and Man's place in society. Anderson intended to write "the mother of all concept albums" in response. The album often gets mistaken for the real thing, due to its high quality, authenticity and complete believability both as a subtle parody and as a straightforward work, yet the humor of it is usually lost. Though its ridiculously profound and symbolic lyrics and the fictitious backstory in the included fake "newspaper" that its Wangsty lyrics were written by a eight-year-old child prodigy give the game away to a degree, Ian Anderson still gets comments by Tull fans over how much older "Gerald Bostock"' must have gotten since the record was released to the present day.
  • YouTube user Santeri "StSanders" Ojala has produced a series of videos called "Shreds", in which Ojala overdubs video footage of rock stars with horribly off-key riffs that are completely in synch. (See, for instance, this one and this one.) The dubbing is so in synch that many YouTube commenters don't realize the videos are Gag Dubs.
  • It's not obvious, but LMFAO's "I'm In Miami Bitch" was intended to parody the playboys of Miami's nightlife, but it doesn't come across as that to most viewers. (It's an incredibly generic electro song about sexing up women, by the way, and something that wouldn't sound out of place in popular rap albums.) The music video, even more so.
  • Lady Gaga. Come on, no one would wear what she wears and perform the way she performs on stage without a previous, devious plan of becoming stealth parody of the pop industry.
  • East coast Rapper Masta Ace was believed to be a Stealth Parody of west coast gangsta rap. His group's (Masta Ace, Inc.) song "Slaughtahouse" is less stealthy, "performed" by MC Negro and Ignant MC.
  • An All Music Guide review of Simon & Garfunkel's "I Am A Rock" suggests that Paul Simon may have written the poignant lyrics as deliberate Wangst, painting a picture of an isolationist character who may have embraced the folk-rock movement as justification for his shutting out the whole world. It becomes more apparent by the last verse.
  • "(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!)" by Beastie Boys was originally made as a parody of "attitude" songs, but this was lost on basically everyone. This upset the Boys so much that they haven't played the song live since 1987.
  • Purple Duck both played this straight and subverted this completely on the song "Mating Season."
  • "My Humps" by Black Eyed Peas was supposed to be a parody of crunk rap, but it wound up destroying their artistic credibility — people thought it was a straight example because it was done in the same style as the genre it's parodying, and the lyrics don't make it clear that it's supposed to be a parody. Alanis Morissette's cover in her Signature Style helped emphasize that it was a joke.
  • The Diamonds recorded "Little Darlin'" as a doo-wop parody. It hit #1 and is now one of the most beloved doo-wop songs of all time.
  • Metal band Terror 2000 is a parody of over-the-top prideful thrash and power metal. Some of their fanbase doesn't seem to realize this.
  • On a similar note, Dethklok. Although the show Metalocalypse is obviously a parody, the music is surprisingly good and likely to be mistaken for sincere metal by someone who hears it out of context.
  • R.E.M.'s "Pop Song 89" and "Stand". Michael Stipe has commented on them, saying that they were lampooning pop songs. Conversely, "Shiny Happy People" is not, despite a common fan theory suggesting otherwise.
  • Muse's song Neutron Star Collision is seen as this by some people. It's the theme song to the third Twilight movie, so...
  • Blur's "Song 2" is a stealth parody of American bands popular at the time the song was written. Ironically, it's the song they're best known for in America.
  • By the end of the 1960's, The Turtles were unhappy at their record label, White Whale, who wanted commercial, feel-good sunshine pop hits like "Happy Together" and "She'd Rather Be With Me", while the band wanted to explore concept albums and more ambitious music. The band decided to write a parody of the songs they were known for, with the most banal lyrics imaginable ("Your looks intoxicate me, even though your folks hate me"). That song was "Elenore", one of their biggest and most enduring hits.
  • Ween — a lot of the stuff but specifically the song "Gabrielle" from "Shinola, Vol.1" a song written as a stereotypical rock love song by an asshole excusing himself, went on to receive a lot of airplay (at least here in Australia) and was a minor hit.
  • Some of the musical output of Canadian rapper Gary Switler, better known as Chuggo, strongly seems like it is a stealth parody of Gangsta Rap — particularly the infamous "Aw Come On" and its equally ridiculous music video, which is So Bad, It's Good to so great an extent that it would probably qualify as a Stealth Parody even if it weren't intentional! Still, in many videos where he performs for an audience, such as his rap battle videos, he has a surprisingly amiable and jolly attitude, heavily implying that it is intentional. Nonetheless, a number of people still take him seriously.
  • Jewel's album 0304 was a parody of the kind of bubblegum pop music that was popular in the early '00s, something that was made clear by the video for its lead single, "Intuition". Like the Black Eyed Peas example above, it did a lot of damage to Jewel's credibility when people took it seriously and thought that she had genuinely sold out.
  • Limp Bizkit, although their Hatedom took it seriously.
  • Both Cobra Starship and 3OH!3 are stealth parodies of not only the type of music they make, but the type of people they market themselves as. While Cobra Starship's lyrics almost directly poke fun at rich, post-fratboy life styles (The City Is At War being a great example), 3OH!3 actually seem to live that lifestyle while making complete satire of it. Both, however, don't take themselves too seriously.
  • Lil B. The same rapper responsible for these masterpieces is responsible for this song about....wait for it.....The internet dumbing things down for the human race. WAIT, WHAT?
  • The Nig-Heist were a band consisting of Black Flag roadie Mugger, members of Black Flag themselves, and/or anyone who was on tour with them and wanted to join in; they were pretty much expressly formed to troll Black Flag fans as an opening act. Their performances involved insulting the audience and playing sexist Intercourse with You-laden hard rock while disguised in long wigs, with Mugger usually performing in underwear or naked. While they were generally pretty open about it all being a joke offstage, onstage they presented themselves as a "real" band, and plenty of audience members took the bait; they very rarely got through their intended six song set without someone starting a fight with them or an offended club owner shutting them down. They also claim to have received fan mail from notoriously transgressive punk vocalist GG Allin — fan mail sent from prison no less.
  • The Frogs' It's Only Right And Natural, though the "stealth" aspect was more in how it was marketed than in the actual content: The band had recorded a series of improvised home-made tapes full of Black Comedy and over-the-top depictions of Depraved Homosexuals, meant for their own amusement and that of a few friends. Then they agreed to let Homestead Records release 14 of their homosexual-themed songs as an album, Homestead put out a press release about them being leaders of a "new gay supremacy movement", and they started playing concerts in character. The bait was taken by conservative Christian documentary Hells Bells: The Dangers Of Rock & Roll, which included a brief segment of "Gather Round For Saviour #2", apparently taking its message that children should reject Christianity in favor of homosexuality at face value.
  • According to this article in The Atlantic, PSY's popular, South Korean YouTube sensation, "Gangnam Style" is a Stealth Parody of materialism and Conspicuous Consumption in his home country. Though it's not very stealthy once you know the cultural background; the video in particular is very blatant about its satire of rich and wannabe-rich people.
  • Similar to LMFAO, PSY, and (maybe) Kesha, Die Antwoord is a satirical rap group from South Africa that uses of white lower-class imagery. It's sometimes obvious due to all the Boastful Rap, the arguably not-so-good lyrics and if you know the couple's previous musical projects, but when they became known internationally, most people, including even media specialized in music, were unaware that Ninja and Yo-Landi are just personas, which divided international audiences in two groups: those who take them seriously and think that they really suck, and those who take them seriously and like them for the cheap style.
  • Legendary German Post-Punk band Fehlfarben made Militürk, also known as Kebapträume which paints a bleak picture of East Germany being overrun by turkish immigrants. The Mind Screw-laden lyrics were penned by Gabi Delgado-López, Ambiguously Bi EBM pioneer of Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft who loves playing with fascist imaginary. He is an immigrant himself.
  • From his second album on, "Weird Al" Yankovic has tried to replicate the sound of the songs he parodies perfectly to trick people into thinking they're listening to the real song up to the point that the lyrics start.
    • This became an issue with "Beverly Hillbillies." Mark Knopfler gave permission for a parody of "Money for Nothing" on the condition that he play guitar on the track. Since he'd been playing it on tour, his recording was looser than the original, losing some of the intended accuracy.
  • Basically anything by Finnish country & western band Freud, Marx, Engels & Jung, but especially their song Buuri Johannesburgista which is the Finnish version of Kinky Friedman's 'Jerk from Johannesburg'. It at first sounds as an extremely bad taste bigot song, but actually is a very cruel satire of the Apartheid era South Africa.
  • Miley Cyrus' Bangerz persona, particularly in the live performances, seems to not only show a lot of Self-Parody about her new image and the media's perception of it, but Stealth Parody (or at least a lot of humor over) pop music, pop performances, and many of the trends in pop music in general, as well as of Former Child Stars who attempt to throw off Contractual Purity with grossly oversexed and one-dimensionally edgy new personas and/or dramatically self-destruct. She seems to be having a giggle and riling up her critics and social media almost as much as she is reinventing herself.
  • Nine Inch Nails' "Big Man with a Gun" was written as a parody of Misogyny Songs, but a lot of people missed the satire and it gained a Misaimed Fandom. Of course, that's not the only song on the album that has gained a Misaimed Fandom; "Closer" is undoubtedly the best known example.
  • "Glokenpop" by Spiderbait initially seems to be a sweet, cutesy ear worm. The song itself is actually a mockery of Glurge-y, money-driven and repetitive Pop songs, with a creepy music video to reaffirm this.
  • Given Scritti Politti's socialist background and politics-laden debut album, one can't make such stereotypical '80s Synth-Pop songs like "Perfect Way" and "Absolute" without tongue-planted-firmly-in-cheek, right?
  • Hardcore Punk band Chaotic Dischord were basically formed for the sake of Biting-the-Hand Humor — members of the band Vice Squad took a dim view of some of the other acts signed to their label Riot City records, having an argument with label head Simon Edwards in which they claimed they could make something of the same quality "in ten minutes". Shortly after, the group took a couple roadies into the studio with them and quickly wrote and recorded the song "Glue Accident", then submitted it to a Riot City compilation under a fake name, claiming to be friends of Vice Squad who would only deal with the label through them. Not only did Chaotic Dischord get signed to Riot City, they became one or the label's best selling acts.
  • Stone Temple Pilots' "Sex Type Thing" uses misogynistic lyrics ironically to show how demented they are. This irony was lost on many people, who originally treated it as an advocacy of date rape, but it's actually a Take That! against rapists, rape apologists, and the general treatment of women as sex objects.
  • The Korgis made "Everybody's Got To Learn Sometime" to lampoon the hell out of the then-rampant pop ballad genre, but they didn't make it clear enough that it's a parody, so most people see it as an actual pop ballad.
  • Roxette recorded "Listen to Your Heart" as a parody of the type of power ballads popular in the mid-to-late-80s, with Per Gessle stating it was "us trying to recreate that overblown American FM-rock sound to the point where it almost becomes absurd." This was lost on critics (the AllMusic review said it was "bland" and "overproduced", even though that was the intention) and the general public (who managed to get it to #1 on the Hot 100 in the US, basically making the song the 80s version of the above-mentioned "Elenore").
  • According to Mollie Marriott, one of the former singers of UK girl pop group D2M, the song "Blah Blah Blah" was jokingly written by her as a parody of rebellious teen songs at the time, to the point of having a "childish" chorus, and she was quite mortified that not only did their label want to record the song, but push it as the group's biggest single. It didn't help that the group had started as more of a mature rock-oriented act and this was part of the label pushing them into a more teeniebopper-friendly band. The creative fallout, mainly caused by this song, caused the group to dissolve less than a year later.

    Professional Wrestling 

  • The UK's BBC Radio 4 ran a programme called Down The Line, a phone-in talk show where the host was an idiot and the callers ran the gamut of fools, drunks, the confused and the very strange. It was promoted as being a serious programme (despite being in the comedy slot) and there were complaints that it was dumbing-down, the host shouldn't have let near a microphone (or the callers allowed on air) and the whole thing was a terrible mistake. Naturally, it was all a parody.
    • Down The Line was also funny since it was made by the same people behind The Fast Show, and anyone who'd seen that show would have immediately recognised the voices of Paul Whitehouse, Charlie Higson, and Rhys Thomas ('Paul' in the Swiss Toni sketches) as the host.
  • In the US, Phil Hendrie's syndicated radio show follows a very similar formula; both the guests and show staff members were fictional. It should be noted that The Phil Hendrie Show never made any attempt at presenting itself as a serious program, and actually featured a disclaimer every hour, usually in the voice of one of Phil's characters, that the whole thing was a put-on. Which should have been obvious, given "experts" making claims such as that JFK Jr. crashed his plane when he got disoriented by the chatter of his two female companions returning from a shopping trip, and that anorexic women (Calista Flockhart, specifically) should not be allowed to adopt children, due to a condition caused by food deprivation that causes them to view the children as food. Yet, there was never any shortage of gullibles, who would call in to give the "guests" a piece of their mind only to be verbally abused, with Phil posing as the Only Sane Man.
  • Restoring The Balance on the Triple J network in Australia. Its hosts claimed it was a serious piece of conservative programming to compensate for the notorious left-wing bias on Triple J and ensure that the network complied with media bias laws. Despite being a fairly unsubtle and occasionally surreal farce, they still managed to generate plenty of genuine hatemail and angry phone calls.
  • This Is That on CBC Radio One parodies the earnest tone of other (factual) CBC Radio programs so well that it may be difficult to tell them apart from the real news shows. It is also difficult to tell which listeners who call in to comment on previous stories are in on the joke, and which are not.

    Theme Parks 
  • Many visitors to the DinoLand USA section of Disney's Animal Kingdom, part of the Walt Disney World resort, complain that it looks like a cheap carnival. What they don't realize is that it's supposed to look like a cheap carnival, set up in the "parking lot" of the Dino Institute (where the DINOSAUR ride is). The Imagineers did too good a job in bringing their theme to life.

    Video Games 
  • April 1st, 2006, Blizzard had a "fired" employee "leak" patch notes to the World of Warcraft 1.11 patch (despite patch 1.10 having come out last week, meaning they wouldn't have had time to test anything to determine what needed to be fixed.) The patch notes consisted of over 100 unbelievable patches, including major buffs to the Shaman (wolf form now takes 30% less damage and can cast all spells) and major Nerfing to the Rogue ("fixed a bug which let the Rogue equip two weapons at once"). If contacted, Blizzard employees responded in a realistic manner, insisting that this information was not supposed to be public and refusing to comment on how much of it was true. How successful this was is hard to tell, as it's hard to tell on forums if they are being serious or not.
    • One of the notes was 'Mages: Fixed a bug which occasionally permitted Arcane Missiles to work.' Everyone with an IQ above room temperature knew they were joking. especially fans of Penny Arcade, who had seen the same fake bug fix in a comic a year earlier.
    • Pretty much the same stunt was repeated in 2014, with patch notes such as 'Shadow Priests will be buffed to be almost as good as Warlocks in every way. Almost.' and 'The paladin ability Eternal Flame will now correctly set opponents on fire, forever'.
  • When Warcraft III was nearing release, they had stated that two of the factions would be completely new. On 1st April, they announced the Pandaren race, complete with press release and screen shots. The race was basically a random mix of Asian stereotypes with a cultural fascination with beer, which many gaming outlets accepted without question. The race is something of a running joke in the games ever since, with occasional sightings of brewmasters, finally leading to the race actually appearing in World of Warcraft.
  • The in-game media through the Grand Theft Auto series is this to American culture.
  • Metal Wolf Chaos... Possibly. It's kinda hard to tell. Either way, it's awesome.
  • Duck Sim 2008. You can tell the reviewers who got the joke and those who didn't.
  • Metal Gear Solid games, especially the second one (but also the fourth) are sometimes accused of this.
  • Cow Clicker is a Facebook game that is a parody of monotonous but addictive Facebook games. Created to illustrate a talk on how these games were the worst aspects of the gaming industry, it actually became successful, consuming 18 months of the creator's and players' lives before he shut it down, as told by "The Curse Of Cow Clicker".
  • Mortal Kombat began as a video game adaption of a Jean-Claude Van Damme movie. The character Johnny Cage is an obvious parody of Van Damme and basically everything about the game is ridiculously over-the-top, from the violence to the characters and endings to the fact that characters can continue living (and fighting) without vital organs. Somehow, the series manages to actually get more gruesome with each installment note .
  • Crypt is intended to be a game sent to friends telling them that it is a legitimate Survival Horror title for reaction purposes. In reality, the game is meant to mess with the player. It features puzzles with lying or nonexistent hints, a Pixel Hunt in the middle of a massive maze, and an ending purposefully hard to achieve. The creator describes it as less of a game and more of a "human torture device."

    Web Animation 
  • Jerry Jackson is a thirteen year old boy who thinks his flash cartoons are awesome. Devvo is a chav who gives surprisingly candid (if often incoherent) interviews about everyday life in a series of short web-hosted documentaries. Or... maybe not. Both of them were just made up by David Firth to see who'd take them seriously.
  • Octocat Adventure was originally taken as a serious attempt by a prepubescent child with a YouTube account to tell a story using the crudest of tools and the worst voice acting available. Rather than responding negatively as usual, many viewers took it upon themselves to sarcastically praise the animation and write detailed analysis of its plot. Then the final episode was released, and everyone learns they have underestimated the creator's capabilities all along.
  • The Legend of Zelda: The Light of Courage started as ostensibly an animation test from a new computer-animated Zelda cartoon from DiC Entertainment. It's actually a stealth parody of IGN forum user Joe_Cracker's futile attempts to get his awful but sincere Zelda movie script made into an animated movie. Joe_Cracker himself was fooled at first, even voicing Majora's Mask in the first episode, but the parody became less stealthy once he backed out.
  • Some YouTube Poop movies fall under this, claiming to be a improved version of the godawful Philips CD-i cutscenes. Members of the You Chew Poop forums created a joke account SupremeBros, which purposely made poops with old, played-out memes, to parody bad poopers and see how many subscribers the channel gets.
  • Large Bagel doesn't even try to hide that it's a parody, it's so over-the-top and always lampshading itself. However people still confuse it for a bad cartoon like My Life Me or Neko Sugar Girls.
  • Neko Sugar Girls itself is actually a Stealth Parody. It becomes blatantly obvious as the series goes on, as well as by looking at the video tags. In fact, a lot of fanime tend to be parodies.
  • Sugoi Quest For Kokoro is a parody of bad Homestuck self-insert Original Characters, but it's made to look like it's some little kid's video at first. It gradually becomes more noticeable that it's a parody.


    Web Original 
  • The Onion sometimes achieves this effect by using the same writing style and format as a serious news website would, and sometimes is rather too successful. More confusingly, its "Kelly" political cartoons so resemble the strawman view of (right-wing) political cartoonists that they've been taken as such by papers who wouldn't know a conservative from Stephen Colbert.
  • Some Weekly World News items have been taken seriously by people who didn't check up on where their news was coming from. This was sometimes exacerbated by some news aggregators (lookin' at you Yahoo) that mixed the WWN in with the normal gossip news.
  • Syd Lexia contributor "Haddox's" website could easily be considered a stealth parody of Maddox's "Best Page in the Universe," by way of the fact that the page is one letter "M" away from being completely indistinguishable from the original, but somehow funnier for it.
  • Something Awful TruthMedia. Except in the case of their Star Wars Episode II "leaked script" review: unfortunately, they were dead-on accurate about that one.
  • One of the most well-known in Internet culture is, a site purportedly created by an immature 13-year-old kid named Robert Hamburger describing his wild (and awesome) misconceptions about ninjas. In fact, Robert Hamburger is not a 13-year-old kid, and seems to delight in the hate mail his site generates.
  • Mega Man 9 Sucks Fuckin Balls Starts off looking like an incredibly stupid Youtube video by a clueless teenager, but if you examine the video closely you can determine that he is using techniques which speedrunners and other such people use when he's discussing the game and not trying to "show off" how bad it is, and he knows the original Japanese name for Mega Man. If you pay enough attention, it's easy to come to the conclusion that this is either an elaborate trolling plot, or one of the funniest parodies that nobody ever figured out. The guy who made it actually loves Mega Man 9.
  • Improv Everywhere, a group semi-famous for their "Best Game Ever" in which they replicated a Major League Baseball game for Little Leaguers (complete with real sportscasters, hot dog hawkers, mascots, and even the Goodyear Blimp), after pulling off similar stunts, pissed off a lot of their fans when they posted a video called "Best Funeral Ever", which imitated their style perfectly. The video showed many volunteer actors crashing a poorly-attended funeral, all claiming to be "friends of the deceased". It's about as painful to watch as it sounds, and attracted a significant Hatedom in the one month between being posted and the announcement that the entire thing was a hoax, everyone involved was an actor, and it was perpetrated solely to see the fans' reactions. Many vowed never to watch any of their videos again, some said that it was a nice thing to do, and no one seemed to notice that the video was posted on April 1st...
  •, a site that talks about urban legends and reveals their research into which ones are false and which ones are true, has a page ("The Repository Of Lost Legends", or "T.R.O.L.L."), which has a list of made-up (and largely absurd) urban legends. It then says they're all true (or if the "urban legend" is mundane, false). One such page talks about how Mr. Ed was a zebra, rather than a horse, because it was better-looking on camera and no one could tell in black-and-white video anyway. For laughs, on the site's forum, the site's proprietors post a lot of allegedly genuine responses to this, either accepting that Mr. Ed is a zebra or talking about all the ways in which it can be proved that Mr. Ed is not a zebra — none of which mention that the thought of a black-and-white zebra looking like a horse in black-and-white video is ridiculous. (It's part of their Aesop about trusting anybody too much. Whether it's a chain mail from your grandma or a trusted authority figure, don't use anyone as a crutch.)
    • The article actually has an explanation for the whole black-and-white thing now, albeit a purposefully utterly absurd Voodoo Shark, describing how black and white too close together are rendered invisible on black and white television, and describing how this led to players being unable to spot referees in football and prisoners effortlessly sneaking past guards in Johnny Cash prison concerts. Despite the fact that, this logic followed to its (internally) logical thread would mean Mr Ed would too be invisible. Also the fact that since THE WORLD wasn’t black and white when TV was, it makes zero sense for the people standing right there to be affected.
  • Epic Legends Of The Hierarchs: The Elemenstor Saga, and its "counterpart", Song of the Sorcelator, both creations of Penny Arcade fans.
  • During the midst of the Harry Potter craze, humor site Cap'n Wacky got lots of e-mails about this obvious parody review of Harry Potter Bathes in the Blood of Virgins.
  • Lee Mercer Jr. At least, one hopes this is the case.
  • This is the entire point of the online novel Atlanta Nights, which is a collaborative attempt of various sci-fi writers to discredit PublishAmerica, a famed vanity publisher who infamously denigrated both science fiction and fantasy genres. Grammar is nonstandard, a chapter is missing (but there are two different Chapter 12's to make up for it), character descriptions change frequently, the Reset Button is used frequently, and one chapter is generated entirely by a random string generator... the faults are endless. Despite that, PublishAmerica did originally agree to publish the novel. They backed out after the hoax was revealed. You can hear a dramatic reading of Atlanta Nights right here. Its working title was "Naked Came the Badfic", in honor of Naked Came the Stranger, a similar collaborative hoax from The '60s that set out to — and eventually did — prove that you can make a book a #1 bestseller if you load it with enough sex, regardless of the actual literary quality.
  • Songun Blog initially appears to be the work of a sincere, albeit incredibly delusional/brainwashed, North Korean propagandist. A closer inspection reveals absurdities that not even the most hysterical, thoroughly-indoctrinated fanatic of Kim Jong-il could have produced. (Otherwise, please accept this Face Palm on behalf of all humanity.)
  • The Angry German Kid was created by a very sane, if talented, kid during one height of the endlessly recurring German "Killerspiele" (= "killer games") political debate. It ended up being cited by several media outlets as a genuine example of videogame-inspired violence.
  • The short film Doom House (written and directed by and starring Lowtax and Fragmaster) very thinly masquerades as a horror film with rock-bottom production values on every conceivable level. At last count, its IMDb page mostly consisted of reviewers playing along and hailing it (in detail) as a triumph of modern horror cinema, and one confused reviewer who took it at "face" value.
  • In Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden basketball is Serious Business.
  • Dr. Albert Oxford, creation of David Wong/Jason Pargin has constantly been "proven wrong" by teenage fangirls of The Lord of the Rings, Matrix and Eminem who fail to see it as an obvious joke. The man is brilliant satire of uniformed critics bashing something (in the manner of Stephen Colbert's "Movies That Are Destroying America"). A collection of all the Lord of the Rings threads can be found here; it's pretty funny, though it's one of the saddest sight you will ever see.
  • Aversion: Conservapedia is often accused of this, but, sadly, the founder is serious: he works for a conservative interest group headed by his mother and founded it when a student cited that Wikipedia used CE along with AD, which inspired him to create a wiki without "liberal bias". It's used to teach in his classes, in fact. How many of the contributors are serious is another matter. It is fairly widely believed that he banned everyone but the trolls when he tried to crack down on the parody edits. Rational Wiki has described this as a "Poe Paradox", in which people who are too far to the left of his own position (which is most of the genuinely well-intentioned editors who otherwise broadly align with his political views) are banned as being potential parodists, while the ones extreme enough to make the grade are the most likely to be trolls upholding their Kayfabe.
  • Ulli's Roy Orbison In Clingfilm Website is a brilliant parody of highly-specialized Internet erotic fiction. It's pretty obviously a joke, but the author never tips his hand.
  • (and its spinoffs including Landover Baptists) during the Bush era.
  • Docfuture's Let's Play of Sonic the Hedgehog 2: Special Edition, a completely non-existent Updated Re-release of Sonic 2. The first video in the series is a pretty convincing hoax, but then every subsequent video adds increasing quantities of random crap to clue in the viewers that the whole thing is a joke. The only place where the satire really fails is the acapella rendition of Mystic Cave Zone's background music. Because it's awesome.
  • RedLetterMedia's sci-fi film reviews, such as this epic skewering of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. At first they seem like overly elaborate Accentuate the Negative presentations, but "Mr. Plinkett" makes so many bizarre, Crosses the Line Twice references to his own personal life that it eventually becomes obvious that he's just as fictional as the movies he's reviewing.
  • Back when Your Webcomic is Bad and You Should Feel Bad was considered a big deal, Eli Parker (author of Unwinder's Tall Comics) created a fictional persona named Sonty Mick. The Mickster wrote his own webcomic review blog, These Web Comics Are So Bad; his reviews were equal parts Caustic Critic, Comically Missing the Point, and Cloudcuckoolander. (And many of the comics that Sonty railed against were actually some of Parker's favorites.) At times it bordered on outright trolling, as he would occasionally post — in-character as Sonty — on webcomic messageboards or the comments section of John Solomon's blog. Though people who mistook Sonty for a real person were more likely to feel sorry for the poor fool than to be angry at him.
  • Edward Current
  • During the Bush era, the Betty Bowers and the Landover Baptist church, a satire of religious extremists, were so well known that some actual religious extremists took them serious. Cue the sites being applauded by New Atheists for supposedly "criticizing" religion, even if the sites' target is clearly not Christians but rather religious extremists who modify their interpretations of the Bible as an excuse to support a right-wing cause.
  • Yet another religious Stealth Parody, Jesusophile. His first videos are pretty deadpan, and rather difficult to recognize as parody, but it gets more obvious the more you watch.
  • Robert Erickson delivered a speech at a Minneapolis Tea Party event using the same rhetoric of anti-immigration activists, but actually directed against European immigrants instead of illegal immigrants from Latin America. Watching the descendents of those immigrants call for their own deportation is incredibly hilarious.
  • And for yet another parodic religious site, ChristWire, featuring such utterly insane faux-extreme religious right-wing articles as posting a picture of a dressed-up cat in front of a birthday cake and trying to pass it off as a Satanic ritual, or trying to convince people that the biggest threat to their college son are college girls "vajazzling" (aka covering their crotch with little tiny plastic jewels, or "sparkly satan treats") to lure them into their pants.
  • BlackPeopleLoveUs.Com, a website about two suburban white people's incredible appeal to black people, is in fact a parody of misconceptions that both white and black people have about each other. About half of the emails they publish understand this.
  • The People's Cube makes fun of politically correct media, or rather provides "Correct Opinions for Progressive Liberals". The "People's Cube" is actually a Rubik's Cube in which every segment is red, so nobody can ever have their feelings hurt when they fail to solve it — because it's impossible to fail to solve it.
  • IrateVGNerd reviews Sonic 3 vs. Knuckles is a parody of The Irate Gamer, and thus features misinformation, horrible gaming skills and general stupidity. It's not stealthy at all, but that didn't stop many from mistaking it as a genuinely bad AVGN knockoff..
  • Tenka Seiha runs a blog that parodies anime Hatedom by anime fans. In a community that treats nearly every series as polarizing, the reasoning for all the hate can become a little arbitrary. Seiha takes the common Fan Dumb behaviours and exaggerates them, which unfortunately still makes it hard to tell from the real thing. Keep in mind one of the running gags is that Japanese animators are overpaid, underworked people with lavish social lives and she provides a thorough screen cap gallery for the fans of shows she has so much disdain for. Half the summaries and gripes about the plot and gags tend to be horribly off, or avoids touching the writing entirely in favor of ranting about a short sight gag for the whole review. Which fits the bill for a hater who does not know Japanese... except Seiha is a game translator. People who pretend they know what they're hating on are a definite target. There are still commentors who use her "opinions" as a basis to skip the show. (Of course, they could just be in on the joke.)
  • Some of the hate-mail the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster homepage recieves shows that the people didn't get the joke, or did get the joke and played along.
  • THE BEST GAMERS, a Youtube channel which parodies and satirizes other video game review channels like IGN and elitists with extremely inaccurate information and biased reviewing (depending on the reviewer.) Information is often so inaccurate that they end up playing the incorrect game, as seen in their Epic Mickey review note  and Modern Warfare 2 review. Their Minecraft review received a 100% concentrated all-natural amounts of hate when it was first revealed as it was a little too subtle, but eventually people got the joke. The amount of bias and inaccurate information depends on who is reviewing, such as ROCKCOCK64 who reviews Pilotwings Resort pretty well because of how easy it is, but fails to understand Minecraft to lack of a tutorial. Eventually, they toned down the subtlety since the Minecraft review, but some people still find it to be real...until they tear open a 3DS looking for the 3D.
  • The Cinema Snob, who is a parody of Caustic Critics who hate anything that isn't True Art. Of course, most of the movies he reviews are sleazy, poorly edited, tasteless gorefests, have plots with the integrity of swiss cheese, or some combination of the above, so many new viewers tend to genuinely believe that he's being serious with his criticisms. A few episodes make the parody clear, such as his reviews of Caligula and Pieces (where Brad Jones appears As Himself to explain the whole thing up front), his review of Maniac (where he combines actual criticisms by noted critics with blatant Hypocritical Humor), and the increase in jokes about how the Snob sometimes hates movies only because he thinks he needs to hate anything that other critics hate.
    Watching the Snob praise Salo (an incredibly filthy Italian film which Brad despises but critics enjoy) is one of the most incredible parody moments ever put to film. The Snob spends the entire review sitting on the floor in his bathroom; most of his "serious" criticism of the film is punctuated by regular breaks to throw up violently into the toilet next to him.
  • Similarly, Oancitizen mocks high-brow art film reviewers. His review of A Serbian Film, for instance, sees him praise the film while containing his rage until he can't take it anymore and his nose starts bleeding (similar to the Salo review above). Then he tries to nuke Serbia. Somewhat averted in that he really is that obsessed with William Shakespeare.
  • Is This Feminist?
  • The "le monkey face" meme is an example of this. For some backstory: The expression "that really rustled my jimmies" became a huge injoke on 4chan, being associated with an angry-looking gorilla. An opposite expression, "My jimmies remain unrustled", became associated with the calm-looking gorilla found on the Gorilla Munch cereal box. One day, this comic, allegedly from Reddit, was posted on 4chan, allegedly from Reddit, showing that the Gorilla Munch gorilla had been made into a stereotypical rage face called "le monkey face". 4chan users were initially furious that their beloved injoke had been butchered by another website, but it then turned out that the comic was in fact a parody of the various unfunny rage comics that sites like Reddit and 9gag are host to, posted for the sake of trolling 4chan. "Le monkey face" has begun to see further usage outside of 4chan in deliberately-unfunny rage comic parodies.
  • The now-defunct Play 4 Real Gaming, and its Spiritual Successor Hard Drive, are gaming website parodies/satires in the same sense as The Onion, complete with ludicrous stories about the video game industry that you'd think people would realize were false (like "most gamers can't beat first level of Super Mario Bros" or "Satanists give Pokémon X and Y 6/10 for not recruiting Satanists well enough"). And just like The Onion, a whole bunch of people in the video game media and on forums have ended up taking them seriously and using them as "news" sources, looking like right morons in the process.
  • The popular Fan Film Power/Rangers mocks True Art Is Angsty by applying the trope to Power Rangers of all things and playing it with a straight face. The message is that making something Darker and Edgier doesn't automatically make it any less stupid and goofy; if anything, it just makes all the stupid stuff stand out even worse than it did before. Naturally, a lot of people didn't get the joke and thought the creators were seriously attempting to make a grim and gritty Power Rangers movie, mainly because the filmmakers really did some in-depth research into canon and put a lot of effort into making the film look good, in order to help sell the satire. Even Saban themselves fell for it, which led to the film briefly getting taken down for copyright infringement.
  • A satirical Facebook and Tumblr account called Shares From Your Aunt (which makes fun of Facebook memes and conservative media, usually replete with intentional spelling errors and Cowboy BeBop at His Computer), put up a billboard in Iowa just before the 2016 caucuses with the hashtag #takebackarecountry. The Daily Mail fell for it, as well as many other news outlets and social media users.
  • Happy Appy was eventually revealed to be a Troll Fic that deliberately embodied many worn-out creepypasta cliches many years after its original publication. (More specifically, the author originally intended for it to be serious, but after a friend laid out all the flaws in the story before publication, he decided to turn it into a trollpasta and ran with it.)
  • The Angry Video Game Nerd character was not meant to be taken seriously. Though his criticisms are generally valid, the whole joke is he's an overly fanatic nerd who gets way too angry and upset about games that are decades old. The man behind the pocket protector, James Rolfe, has explained that his Friday the 13th review was a sneaky parody of this, with Jason Voorhees representing the people who take him completely seriously at face value: fans who realize this can have a laugh at the expense of those it's poking fun at, while fans who don't realize this can enjoy that it's otherwise a straightforward Nerd episode.
  • Slate's "Dear Prudence" advice column has become notorious in some quarters for letters that present absolutely wild scenarios, often touching on hot button social justice issues ("Help! My Ex-Husband Slept With My Mom.", "Help! I Found Out My Boyfriend Did Blackface In College.", "Help! My Niece’s Email Address Is a Racist Slur."), and responses that sometimes turn into an Author Tract. As a result, many people started suspecting that it was full of fabricated letters. In 2021, this was partly confirmed when Young Adult Literature novelist Bennett Madison admitted that he'd been trolling the column for years with fake letters, with several getting published and treated as serious. He finally confessed after one of the them (a plea from a wife about her husband not taking his mask off for sex even though they were both fully vaccinated against COVID-19) ended up getting lambasted on Fox News as an example of left-wing nuttiness.
  • O. Sharp's Tolkien Sarcasm website is a compendium of comedy pieces inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien's work, some of them subtle enough to almost pass for the real thing—especially if you're linked directly to them, and never see the intro page that spells out that this is all a joke.
    • "The Tale of Lossiel" pretends to be an excerpt from an unpublished volume of the History of Middle-earth. Look past the imitation of J. R. R. Tolkien's prose and his son's editing, and note how the story cleverly avoids using the words "snow," "white", and "Disney".
    • The Lord of the Rings e-text is a broad parody of The Lord of the Rings, that the intro page tries to pass off as a real digital transcription of the original. "Now those who refuse to purchase J.R.R. Tolkien's epic novel The Lord of the Rings in print form, but are seeking an electronic copy to download instead, can get exactly what they deserve!"
    • Perhaps most sinister, "A Brief Synopsis of The Lord of the Rings" claims to be a study aide for students who are too busy to read The Lord of the Rings themselves. It's actually full of mostly-plausible misinformation, the sort of mistakes you'd only catch if you've already read the original book. Allegedly, London's Sunday Times took the bait, and used O. Sharp's synopsis as background information for an interview with Cate Blanchett regarding her role in Peter Jackson's adaptation. But given the lack of references to this interview elsewhere on the internet, it's possible that this is just further satire.
  • The Auralnauts have the series Star Wars Reimagined, a Gag Dub which claims to be an effort to improve the Star Wars original trilogy by making the films more consistent with later entries in the franchise. The editing is seamless, and they got a darn good James Earl Jones soundalike to record Darth Vader's new lines, and those new lines start off as pretty reasonable changes. But as the first episode goes on, the absurdity gradually ramps up, until Darth Vader becomes a fountain of unnecessary exposition who interrupts his lightsaber duel with Obi-Wan to ramble about Senator Jar-Jar Binks. It's around that point that most viewers realize the Auralnauts are actually mocking the mindset that a classic film could be improved by editing it to be more like movies made decades later.
  • How It's Actually Made is a Gag Dub of the documentary series How It's Made, replacing the original, informative narration with a stream of inaccurate, satirical, and often disturbing "facts". Even so, series creator Huggbees does a very good impersonation of the voiceover style from the original series, and most episodes start off with a subtle mixture of real facts and plausible lies, before gradually escalating into complete nonsense. The Youtube comments below each episode are filled with people describing how long it took them to realize they weren't watching a real episode of How It's Made. And of course, there was the time CNN got fooled, and linked to his "Bread" episode at the end of a news roundup. Huggbees himself doesn't think he's being particularly stealthy, and says people who mistake his show for the original are just not paying attention at all.
    Huggbees: It takes zero seconds to realize it's a parody. "How It's Actually Made," by a random channel with my fucking face on it! Not, the Science Channel, not Discovery Channel, not even a company or a reuploader. Just me with my big, dumb grin! Context clues go a long way!
  • The Game Fucking Fuck Fuck Fucker Fucking Fuck Fucker is a stealth parody of the typical swear-aholic video game reviewer made popular by The Angry Video Game Nerd. The character is increasingly frightening because the longer he, his targets, and his target's fans continue to proliferate, the more obvious it becomes that his reviews are the logical conclusion everyone else is aspiring towards.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • Physics professor Alan Sokal set out to prove that the postmodernist cultural studies journal Social Text would publish absolute nonsense so long as "(a) it sounded good and (b) it flattered the editors' ideological preconceptions." He wrote a paper attacking the "dogma" that cultural criticism has nothing to contribute to physics, arguing that quantum gravity proves the universe to be a social/linguistic construct and that math must be amended to incorporate "the insights of the feminist, queer, multiculturalist and ecological critiques." (He also invokes a "morphogenetic field" that pervades all things, links set theory's axiom of choice to the pro-choice movement, and flat-out denies that the "(so-called) scientific method" can ever lead to "reliable knowledge.") The piece was published unaltered and immediately denounced as a "pastiche of left-wing cant" by its author, leaving Social Text to admit that "the idea did not even occur to us that we had to check [the] physics [of a] credentialed physicist." Sokal later published a book about this, Intellectual Impostures.
    • This kind of potshot at Post-Modernist Feminist Research was repeated in 2017 with a paper labeled "The Conceptual Penis as a Social Construct" (yes really), which is equally as incomprehensible and even includes several generated papers as citations, among other things.
  • The Yes Men can be so convincing that even when they whipped out a huge golden phallus in the middle of a speech, one of the newspapers reporting on the event failed to recognize it as a parody.
  • Durwood Fincher, a.k.a. "Mr. Doubletalk", pretends to be a big-shot media interviewer... except that his interview questions are in complete gibberish. This man-on-the-street interview from the 2008 Republican Convention and this one from the Democratic Convention are particularly great. Although he usually reveals that he's a parody artist at the end of the interview, the increasing confusion that leads up to that moment is quite hilarious.
  • Similar to the Atlanta Nights example, a group of MIT students once got a paper that was completely computer-generated (and absolute gibberish) accepted to a conference before the news leaked out, at which point the invitation was hastily withdrawn.
  • In 1955, some students at Chalmer's Institute of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden, invented a whole new branch of mathematics ("Fatilary Calculus") by making up their own sciencey-sounding words. They presented it in a mock PhD defense, to which several national newspapers were invited. Some of them bought the story and published. It has a Wikipedia page, but it's in Swedish.
  • Joey Skaggs has made a career out of the Stealth Parody, generally to "wake up" the media's breathlessly reporting on anything that comes down the line, thus making them susceptible to people like Skaggs. Some of his more memorable works:
  • Rodney Marks is a prankster/hoaxter who will gladly give speeches on subjects he knows nothing about, especially to corporate seminars. He gave a hilarious performance on ABC's Science Show as "Theo Thanos", arguing with host Robyn Williams about the non-existence of death.
  • At least one blogger has theorized that Amanda Bynes's freaky Twitter behavior was a Stealth Parody of the site, of its users, and of the news media's obsession with it.
  • Some claim that Andy Warhol's entire life and public behavior is just such a parody.
  • The song "Lied der Partei" (hymn of the party) was the song of the Socialist Unity Party, the ruling party of East Germany. It was originally written as an over the top satire on communist propaganda (the chorus translates to "The party, the party, is always right"). Still, they took it seriously and played it on official occasions.
  • It's commonly thought that the expression "Luck of the Irish" refers to how lucky the Irish are. It's actually a joke among the Irish about how unlucky they are. Their country's had a very long history of violence and occupation, and then they faced huge amounts of discrimination as immigrants.
  • You like to think that that political pundit you don't like is one of these.
  • The weekly New York Times feature "Metropolitan Diary" (made up of often extremely sappy Big Applesauce anecdotes submitted by readers) was successfully pranked by the hosts of the non-commercial radio show ''Seven Second Delay'' (including Monk creator Andy Breckman) in 2007. With the help of listeners and staffers they created a submission that succinctly parodied the main elements of a typical "Metropolitan Diary" entry: overwritten prose, unrealistic dialogue, a weak punchline, and author unawareness that they travel in wealthier circles than most New Yorkers. The Times published it, then was forced to make a retraction after learning it was a hoax. Cue much gnashing of teeth from the "Metropolitan Diary" editor. He even threatened to scuttle the Fulbright Scholarship application of the intern who submitted the entry in her name.
  • Melania Trump's speech at the 2016 Republican National Convention is speculated to have been sabotaged by the speech writers. Besides plagiarizing a paragraph from Michelle Obama's 2008 speech, her speech also contained the line "He will never, ever, give up. And, most importantly, he will never, ever, let you down."
  • Fredrick Crews once wrote The Pooh Perplex, a satirical essay mimicking the obsessive over-analyzing and politicizing amongst pop culture critics, applying that analysis style to Winnie the Pooh (only the original books; the Disney adaptations are dismissed as lowbrow schlock, parodying the bizarre elitism that runs rampant in literary circles). When people easily fell for the joke, Crews wrote a sequel — The Postmodern Pooh — that not only cranked the parody up, but included citations from real academics who spouted the exact same Epileptic Trees that Crews was pulling out his ass with complete sincerity.
  • One of the more infamous possible examples of this in regards to "viral sensations" is "The dress", a meme that led into studies in differences in human colour perception. It's been speculated that the original poster of the image and his friends orchestrated the whole "what's the color of the dress" thing just to expose how even the most trivial things can go viral. This is supported by things such as the friend of the bride and groom saying that the dress was "obviously blue and black" in real life and the dress' maker only manufacturing a white and gold version until after the meme became huge.

Alternative Title(s): Stealth Parodies