Follow TV Tropes

Discussion Main / ShallowParody

Go To

Nov 9th 2019 at 12:45:47 PM •••

“This is roughly the equivalent of a parody of The Incredible Hulk that\'s utterly convinced the Hulk is a physically-ten-year-old Robot Girl whose primary form of attack is an exploding Rocket Punch —“

OH MY GOD, SOMEBODY GIVE THIS GIRL AN ENTIRE FRANCHISE!

Feb 9th 2019 at 12:12:06 PM •••

Oh my, this page needs a LOT of clean-up. At least half the entries are people getting very mad at a parody taking potshots at a work they like or are being complaining about very specific minutia from a show being ignored by a parody. I\'m gonna take a weed-whacker to this thing, I might end up pruning some more relevant examples in the process so someone might want to go through afterwards and do a double-check on my edits...

Hide/Show Replies
Feb 9th 2019 at 1:08:31 PM •••

Alright, I\'ve pruned a bunch of examples from the page but there\'s still probably a bunch more that need to be rewritten or reworked. A few of the examples I removed seemed like they had an example of this trope at their core but would need to be heavily rewritten to fit on this page. The stuff I removed is included in the revision history, so if anyone wants to take a crack at rewriting some of the removed content please feel free.

Oct 23rd 2018 at 1:23:19 PM •••

The following entry was removed:

  • Mystery Science Theater 3000 is considered a famous show that launched the parody video review genre and it\'s still widely enjoyed for its roasts and riffs on famous movies. But a number of observers, and regular target Roger Corman, have argued that a lot of the holes it pokes into about low-budget films for its cheap special effects and hokey dialogue could be said of even the mainstream respectable films of that era or any era, and that it amounts to making fun of film-makers for making movies with low budget or no budget, neglecting the skill and hard work it took to make a film even under those trying circumstances. Rather than punching up, it punches down at a bunch of modest, unpretentious, genre fare that nobody ever took seriously on initial release.

The reason given for this is: \"The laconic definition of a Shallow Parody is \"A spoof done by people who don\'t know much about what they\'re spoofing\", or \"bears only a superficial resemblance to what is being parodied.\" Just because the acting and effects being bad came from the nonexistent budgets and B-movie status of those old movies doesn\'t mean those effects and performances weren\'t bad. Tommy Wiseau couldn\'t help his accent.\"

Firstly, the references in the paragraph are to Roger Corman and other old fashioned B-Movies. Tommy Wiseau\'s film is a modern independent would-be-but-failed auteur film, it isn\'t an unpretentious genre film in the old style at all. MST 3 K commentary and impressions of these films are highly superficial and it rarely goes beyond old movies had dated special effects. A specific example that I didn\'t mention owing to brevity is the fact that the movie parodied This Island Earth a technicolor science-fiction film that is considered one of the best of that decade by the likes of Joe Dante and others, but which the movie slandered by using a cheap print to make their argument, when on a good print, the movie holds up very well. It also isn\'t my opinion, it\'s that of Corman and others as well. And not everyone thinks those films are bad, or bad for the same reasons.

And of course confusing Bad movies with B-Movies is not going to help defenders of MST 3 K.

Hide/Show Replies
MBG
Oct 23rd 2018 at 3:01:06 PM •••

The example of The Room was not to say The Room is a genre B-movie. It was to say that \"a movie can\'t help having these problems\" doesn\'t mean \"a movie\'s problems can\'t be made fun of\" or \"making fun of those problems is being \'shallow.\'\" And yes, Roger Corman wasn\'t fond of them, and just saw his movies as a bit of fun. He was the one being made fun of; he\'s rather a biased source. It\'s true that there\'s no real point in critiquing trashy B-movies that were never seen as particularly good, but making fun of something is not the same as critiquing it, and doesn\'t need to have a purpose aside from entertainment.

For that matter, there are countless MST 3 K jokes that don\'t lean on \"the effects are bad.\" I\'ve seen maybe three episodes in my life and remember almost nothing of them, and even from this wiki, I can tell you they made fun of pacing, bad writing, weak performances, and many other things that can\'t just be credited to genre or budget. Because, as mentioned, the format of MST 3 K required going through the movie, showing each individual scene to the audience, and then making a joke out of it. It cannot be a Shallow Parody because literally every joke is pulled straight from the source material. You can say it\'s shallow analysis or shallow critique, but it\'s not shallow parody.

Parody\'s a very different beast to analysis or criticism; it only requires that you take the original, or elements of it, and twist it to be humorous. Shallow parody refers to when the creator does not take the original or its elements, but instead just general appraisals or Pop Cultural Osmosis, and it\'s distinguished by the parody bearing only superficial resemblance to the original work, or the creator making errors that could only be made by someone who hadn\'t seen it.

To make my point, I cracked open a random number generator and took five random examples from this page:

- A parody of various cartoons in Mighty Mouse, where the designs of the parodied characters bore little resemblance to the actual work, and many gags seemed to be based on something not present in any of the involved shows.

- A gag in YGOTAS that hinged on a character playing the game having broken the rules, when their strategy in the original was perfectly legal.

- A Robot Chicken sketch making fun of a character for being morbidly obese, when they were no longer fat and hadn\'t been for years.

- A note involving Lil Formers, discussing how the strip\'s parodies of any subject outside of Transformers G1 were either based on vague fandom gags, criticism containing errors, or just \"everything but G1 is bad.\"

- An episode of Teen Titans Go! that parodied Gumball, but where the actual plot of the episode was a takeoff on the Roadrunner and Coyote shorts, meaning very little of Gumball made it in.

Five random examples, and they all fit the above definition. In fact, the overwhelming majority of tropes on this page follow a format along the lines of either \"[x] is a parody of [y], but it has [extremely obvious error], when [explanation of how it\'s an error]\", or \"[x] is a parody of [y], but it doesn\'t have much in common with [y] outside of [surface similarity that could be gathered from minimal research].\" In some cases, it involves a statement that the creator of the parody explicitly was not familiar with the original when they were working on it. Your claim that a parody can be made by a creator who is completely familiar with the original work, whose work contains many references to the original that could only be made by those who have seen it, when the original was so obscure that they likely could not rely on the impressions of others or broad pop-cultural consensus, and when the parody consists in large part of the original, meaning the audience can see for themselves that every single joke or criticism being made is accurate, and still qualify as this trope, is... the odd one out, at the very least.

I don\'t disagree that MST 3 K often \"punched down\", or framed its subjects as trashier than they were, but that\'s not this trope. And when I said \"you added that\", I referred to the fact that you were the one who added to the description that \"punching down\" was a possible definition of Shallow Parody. I have no idea why it would be. Even if some \"punching down\" is shallow (and it might not be; just because a person is your lesser doesn\'t mean your criticisms of them are surface-level, invalid, or inaccurate), it\'s a vastly different concept. I\'d recommend offering it up to the YKTTW folks, though it\'d probably get eaten alive by the Rule Of Cautious Editing Judgement.

The only grain of \"MST 3 K is shallow parody\" in here is that their version of This Island Earth was, by your accounts, a poor-quality copy and made it look worse than it was. Even that\'s fairly spurious.

Edited by MBG
Oct 23rd 2018 at 3:17:04 PM •••

... what MBG said. You\'re not necessarily wrong about MS T3k, but you\'re misusing a trope to make the statement.

Oct 23rd 2018 at 6:31:50 PM •••

MBG saying they only saw three episodes of the series, and clearly being unfamiliar with the references in the paragraph strikes me as a case of Praising Shows You Dont Watch (in the case of MST) while also Complaining About Shows You Dont Watch (in the case of Corman). Surely that\'s not good grounds for making any call to remove any entry.

In the case of the idea of criticism not being parody, modern video-essays (which MST inspired) editorialize and make comments especially in the case of creating fictional characters as mouthpieces and that makes it less of criticism than parody. This is obvious in the case of MST where the video cut-outs are all about their makeshift characters and doesn\'t offer actual criticism. Many of their comments often don\'t have anything to do with the films themselves, and it\'s often just Excuse Plot but it\'s problematic because that show was the introduction many had about the earlier films, which obviously makes it right for people to call it a Shallow Parody.

MBG
Oct 23rd 2018 at 7:09:57 PM •••

I made that comment to point out that I\'m not a drooling defender. I\'m not even a fan. But I am familiar with the show, I have some experience with it, and I have watched a handful of episodes, more than enough to at least get the gist of their style and how they operate. I just wasn\'t fond of it. Seems my attempt to explain this didn\'t work, because you interpreted \"I saw a couple episodes years ago, and even I know not every joke was making fun of the effects\" to mean \"All the cool people tell me it\'s genius!\" Please stop addressing me as if I\'m praising the show, because at no point did I even imply MST 3 K was good - only that it wasn\'t this trope, and furthermore that your attempts to place it here are made in error. For that matter, nowhere did I imply I wasn\'t familiar with the works of Roger Corman. And even if I were completely unfamiliar with either, that wouldn\'t make my argument wrong.

As for your second paragraph... I am not exactly sure how to parse this because your wording\'s a dang mess, so I\'m gonna go through it bit by bit.

\"In the case of the idea of criticism not being parody,\"

This is true. Spaceballs was not made to criticize Star Wars.

\"modern video-essays (which MST inspired) editorialize and make comments especially in the case of creating fictional characters as mouthpieces and that makes it less of criticism than parody.\"

Um... what? So you\'re talking about something that is explicitly not MST 3 K, but some people who were inspired by them? And how does creating your own characters and having them be mouthpieces for you make something not criticism or parody? Neither definition excludes an Author Avatar; in fact, many classic works of both contain such things.

\"This is obvious in the case of MST where the video cut-outs are all about their makeshift characters and doesn\'t offer actual criticism.\"

So... you acknowledge that MST 3 K isn\'t always a work of critique? Great; that\'s my point, too. MST 3 K is not supposed to be a takedown, its purpose was to give the experience of sitting down and watching cheesy late-night movies with your friends. Moreover, having humorous skits or asides that don\'t deal with the parodied work doesn\'t mean the jokes or points made in the rest of the work invalid, especially (as in MST 3 K) if there is a clear delineation between the bits dealing with the movie and the bits that are just the writers goofing off.

\"Many of their comments often don\'t have anything to do with the films themselves, and it\'s often just Excuse Plot\"

What are you referring to? Are you referring to the skits? Because they don\'t impact it. Are you referring to the times in watching the movies where they\'ll offer a comment along the lines of \"Hey, that monster looks like Bruce Willis!\" or do an impression? Because if any parody to make jokes about something aside from the source material is shallow, then that\'s pretty much every parody ever made. Turns out Spaceballs is a Shallow Parody of Star Wars because there are parts where they make jokes about Jewish culture. And furthermore, not only is that not the same as an Excuse Plot, but an Excuse Plot and a Shallow Parody have nothing to do with each other.

\"but it\'s problematic because that show was the introduction many had about the earlier films, which obviously makes it right for people to call it a Shallow Parody.\"

No, it doesn\'t. A parody being a person\'s introduction to something does not make it shallow. It\'s hugely subjective, it\'s not this trope, and it\'s not the fault of the original work at all. Your argument seems to be that they were misrepresenting the original work by being its introduction for so many people, but again: still not this trope. Of course they were going to misrepresent it to some degree. The entire point of parody is to change something to make it funny.

If someone were to do a parody of a movie that got done on MST 3 K, and they only used the MST 3 K version as a source, and the original version somehow invalidated that person\'s parody (perhaps by virtue of a scene that\'d been edited out in that version), then that would be Shallow Parody. Not the MST 3 K version, just that person\'s parody. If you can find such a parody, you could add it. Good job!

At most, you seem to be referring to the culture that followed MST 3 K, and not MST 3 K itself. I might agree with you that the resulting culture was problematic, but again - that\'s not this trope.

Edited by MBG
Oct 23rd 2018 at 7:30:59 PM •••

I apologize if I gave the impression of making an Ad Hominem attack. That was certainly not my intent, I was simply looking at what you wrote (\"seen maybe three episodes in my life and I remember almost nothing of them\") and going off that. If you aren\'t familiar with what the paragraph was referring to, and the paragraph was a general gist of the show in regards to its overall formula and reputation in regards to classic B Movie of the kind typified by Corman, then it\'s perfectly legitimate for me or anyone else to question why you would want to remove that entry in particular, because I think making that kind of judgment call should require a level of familiarity greater than you have.

Anyway, I don\'t have anything more to say beyond this. This won\'t be my hill to die on so I withdraw that entry and won\'t try to include it again.

Sep 18th 2018 at 5:17:30 PM •••

Re this entry:

  • When Frank Cho was drawing Liberty Meadows, he took plenty of mean-spirited potshots at Peanuts. It\'s pretty clear from his parodies, though, that he never actually read the strip (at least not as an adult).

As I recall, the potshots consisted of strips in which characters did nothing but act sappy, e.g. Snoopy hugging Woodstock and calling him \"my feathered friend.\" With these, Cho wasn\'t parodying the entire Peanuts run as such, but rather the Seasonal Rot many readers feel it underwent from the eighties through its 2000 conclusion. In their view, the characters\' existential torment and psychological quirks, as well as the theological humour, were all but dropped in favour of Snoopy constantly craving cookies, his brother Spike \"talking\" to a cactus in the desert, and Rerun being a generic cute little kid, leaving the strip something of a Zombie Franchise. That said, I\'m going to leave the entry as is because the question of the strip\'s post-1970s quality is very much a subjective matter, and I\'m aware many readers do enjoy the later strips.

Sep 12th 2014 at 3:58:13 AM •••

Could someone maybe elaborate on The Jennifer Morgue? Because maybe it's just me but I thought it was a pretty sharp Bond parody, and can't see any similarities to Austin Powers.

Edited by 86.131.196.161
Sep 6th 2014 at 7:29:22 PM •••

The Phineas & Ferb episode "The Wizard of Odd" is not so much a shallow parody of the book but an AWESOME parody of the movie.

Apr 6th 2014 at 9:07:20 PM •••

Just to be sure:

Is this refering to the Simpsons? It's listed right under the list of Simpsons examples, but as a single-bullet point instead of a double it seems just a little ambiguous. Is this another one from Simpsons that was simply formatted wrong or is this something new that didn't include the name of the show?

Hide/Show Replies
Jul 22nd 2014 at 4:18:08 PM •••

There does seem to be a Simpsons episode that fits the description, so I'm assuming it's that.

Apr 14th 2016 at 2:24:21 AM •••

Eh, I think it's kind of debatable. The parody was more centred around abusive parenting in media/entertainment (the Precious part was just one of a sequence of nightmares Homer was having where he was physically/emotionally/verbally abused by Bart). Granted, I don't know much about Precious, but I assumed the fat jokes were more towards Homer, seeing as that's a staple of his character.

Jan 2nd 2014 at 9:49:00 PM •••

Not sure about the entry for The Editing Room, added a "sometimes" to make it evident that the writers don't always (and actually in very few occasions) not read on the source material or the movie's background, when some of the scripts actually make rifts out of the lore the movie the abridged script is parodying came from, and sometimes there are jokes about the production.

Also the "after a while they seem shallow and juvenile" reeks of being an example of the author of the entry finding a reason for He Panned It, Now He Sucks!.

Edited by 190.96.181.187
Feb 7th 2012 at 7:29:54 PM •••

I deleted the following:

  • You Have To Burn The Rope presents itself as a parody of Portal. The entire game consists of walking down a tunnel that tells you how to win the game, burning the rope to kill the boss, and then listening to a song that's longer than it takes to play the game. Given that the entire point of Portal is atmosphere, one wonders if the makers of the parody ever played it. (Any Portal parody in which the boss doesn't talk fails from the word go.)

I don't think You Have To Burn The Rope is any kind of parody of Portal. It's much more obviously a humorous inversion of Nintendo Hard Platform Hell games.

Feb 7th 2012 at 11:40:44 AM •••

This was removed about a month ago, with the edit summary "I'm not sure WHAT the joke was there, but the last few panels ends with them all farming halfway decently, so it's not what was stated here."

  • The Bob The Angry Flower parody of Atlas Shrugged is built around the heroes not knowing how to farm, despite living in an agrarian collective for most of the last third of the book.

I may not have put it the best way, since it's not that they couldn't farm, but that they were unwilling to take upon themselves the work necessary for a society, despite the fact that the entire Galt's Gulch sequence seems intended (successfully or not) to address that very accusation. As such, I'm reinstating it with slightly different wording.

Sep 1st 2011 at 1:55:21 AM •••

Okay, tropes are tools, remember? Sometimes shallow parodies can be better than overly "affectionate" parodies, in that they consist of jokes that people who have seen the trailers are likely to get, rather than extensive knowledge of "the Verse." Also, they allow more freedom than strictly sticking to the source material does.

Jun 22nd 2011 at 1:19:13 PM •••

Deleted this entry. If anyone can give any evidence (either that Oasis has been accused of plagiarising the Beatles or not), then you can maybe re-add it (or not). Just trying to avoid having controversial edits around attracting Natter.

  • When the Gallagher brothers of Oasis confessed to being involved in robberies when they were younger, both the New Musical Express and Private Eye hit upon the idea of parodying Noel Gallagher's tendency to plagiarise. But whereas the New Musical Express featured spoof quotes from musicians who had actually been plagiarised (The Seekers, Stevie Wonder and Neil Innes), Private Eye simply had Gallagher confessing to stealing from The Beatles - one of the few groups that Noel Gallagher hadn't been accused of stealing from.
    • Umm, yes they have. Many Times. In fact, their plagiarism of the Beatles is probably the most obvious of all of their plagiarisms.

Sep 13th 2010 at 10:54:21 PM •••

The Family Guy entry is suspect. Not only does it reek of Complaining About Shows You Dont Like, it's also using an example that is not, in the strictest sense (or even looser senses) a Star Trek parody. It's not supposed to be a Star Trek parody. Rather, it is playing with the idea that the actors end up being so childish and stupid that Stewie (a baby) has to babysit them for an entire day and goes from fanboy status to quite literally hating all of them by the end of the episode. It's not so much satirizing anyone as outright Adam Westing them (granted, that's self-parody, but note that all of the Star Trek actors provide their own voices, which again, makes it a parody of the actors not the show). The other complaints i.e. cons and con attendees seem pretty on the level, though. I'm leaving it alone, because I'm not sure how to edit it without removing it completely and I think some (like one) of its points are valid, I just thought I'd open up the discussion.

Type the word in the image. This goes away if you get known.
If you can't read this one, hit reload for the page.
The next one might be easier to see.
Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report