Deconstructive Parody

    Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

    "If you are in the market for easy laughs, you learn that two well-tried ways are either to trip up a cliche or take things absolutely literally."


    Most parodies work in a light hearted manner, taking the basic plot of the thing they parody, and making it humorous. The giant space station may have wiped out half the Earth in the original, but in the parody only some unimportant Acceptable Targets got destroyed, and Hilarity Ensues.

    And then there are these. While the parody might have made the plot silly, and light hearted, the Deconstructive Parody plays exactly like any other Deconstruction, in that everything is treated as if it were to really happen - it's just that humour is still drawn from the original story, while also serving to show what would really happen.

    In a Deconstructive Parody the giant space station will still wipe out half the Earth, and while the characters will reflect on this tragedy, and take it seriously, it will still be presented humorously. Maybe all that's left are the Acceptable Targets, or perhaps the doomsday device is entirely ridiculous and non-threatening in conception, yet still works. Either way, what matters is that the plot is still treated as real, and plays out tropes as you would expect from an atypical Deconstruction.

    Just to note, a bunch of Lampshade Hangings don't really count, so this may not necessarily include an Abridged Series, or some Webcomics.

    Contrast Affectionate Parody, Decon Recon Switch.

    Examples from Fanfic go on the Deconstruction Fic page.

    Examples of Deconstructive Parody include:


    • This Sprite commercial gleefully deconstructs and parodies the usage of advertising characters appearing in the real world alongside real people.

    Anime and Manga

    Comic Books

    • Deconstructive parodies of comic book superheroes are practically a dime a dozen. These days, if you count all media, it's rarer to see them played straight.



    Joss Whedon: On another level it's a serious critique of what we love and what we don't about horror movies. I love being scared. I love that mixture of thrill, of horror, that objectification/identification thing of wanting definitely for the people to be alright but at the same time hoping they’ll go somewhere dark and face something awful. The things that I don't like are kids acting like idiots, the devolution of the horror movie into Torture Porn and into a long series of sadistic comeuppances. Drew and I both felt that the pendulum had swung a little too far in that direction.

    • Tropic Thunder is a parody (whether it's affectionate or a poisonous Valentine is up for debate) of the filmmaking process itself and the cliche sort of people involved (the hothead producer, the eager but inexperienced director, the takes-himself-seriously consultant, the pyro guy, the prima donna actor, the agent, the rapper-trying-to-turn actor, and on and on...), in most cases by casting people that partially fill those roles in real life as the respective characters in the film. It also loosely parodies Apocalypse Now and its hectic, troubled production as well.


    Live-Action TV


    Rachel: There is NOTHING ironic about show choir!

      • Which is of course is ironic because it's an unintentional deconstruction if anything.
    • The Good Guys does this to the idea of the Cowboy Cop and other action-movie tropes. (It was created by Matt Nix, the creator of Burn Notice.) The cop in question is an older detective—paired with a young, By-The-Book Cop—who's mentally stuck in The Eighties, unable to adjust to changed police methods or even basic fashion. The only reason he's even still on the force is that he rescued a VIP some time ago, at the cost of his partner having a nervous breakdown when he forced him to jump from one moving car to another, a typical cop-movie stunt. At the end of the first episode, they're both dressed down for the dozens of rules of police procedure they managed to break—including Armed Altruism, BTW—and he asks when they're getting their medal. And all of it is played for laughs.
      • And again with the Gut Feeling in a later episode. The feeling is correct, but the bulk of the police force thinks they were catching the bad guys. What they've actually got are the decoys(who thought they were the only bank robbers), and the real thieves see our heroes at their intended target and flee. With no evidence, Jack and Dan's boss chalks it all up to Dan's crazy rubbing off on Jack.
    • Mitchell and Webb as a couple who are sick of having James Bond show up at their parties.

    Webb: It's Moneypenny I feel sorry for. Did you see when I was going around with the voddy?
    Mitchell: What?
    Webb: Well, I said to Moneypenny, "Can you manage another finger in there?", meaning --
    Mitchell: Finger of vodka in her glass of drink.
    Webb: Exactly!
    Mitchell: Self-explanatory.
    Webb: Yeah! And then James starts rolling his eyes like he's having some sort of stroke and says, "Oh, you can always get another finger inside Moneypenny!"
    Mitchell: HE SAID WHAT?
    Webb: Literally did not know where to look.

      • Later on in this sketch he brutally attacks someone for an offhand comment and then makes a trademark quip about it. The outrage is as much about the fact that the quip wasn't very good as that he threw someone out of a window.
      • They did a similar dialogue with Scooby Doo.

    Webb: It's a shame, because he's clearly invested so much time in teaching that dog to talk and it just can't.
    Mitchell: Whereas the dog's nephew actually talks quite well.
    Webb: A little precocious though, isn't he?
    Mitchell: Yes, but I think one can forgive that of a talking dog.

    • The Late Late Show: Instead of having a talk show sidekick to laugh at the host's jokes and spout the occasional Catch Phrase, the show has Geoff Peterson, a robot that laughs at the host's jokes and spouts the occasional Catch Phrase.

    Geoff: Balls!

    • Can a court case be deconstructed? If so, then The Colbert Report{{']}}s Colbert SuperPAC is playing every aspect of the Citizens United case to its logical extreme for as many laughs as possible, while making a mockery of the US political system.
      • Even more brilliantly, by actually creating a political action committee, he basically conscripted Viacom and the Federal Election Commission into the joke against their will. He does things so ridiculous that they have to respond, then shows that the laws support what he just did. Maybe one of the finest real life deconstructions ever done.
    • Arguably the first season of Batman and Batman: The Movie: In the pilot, the Riddler deconstructs the Superhero by tricking Batman into false arresting him so he can make a Frivolous Lawsuit for a million dollars, exposing Batman’s Secret Identity. The second episode shows the Penguin taking advantage of Batman’s Bat Deduction to commit crimes. Mr. Freeze is Dangerously Genre Savvy. Batman: The Movie ends lampshading Reed Richards Is Useless when Batman refuses Robin’s idea to alter the personalities of the world leaders for the betterment of the world (and then happens exactly that). The next two seasons suffer great Seasonal Rot and were examples of Indecisive Deconstruction and Indecisive Parody.


    • Tenacious D once applied the deconstructive parody approach to Author Tract music. After taking over "City Hall", the D are rulers of the world. They issue absurd decrees that show they really are the wrong sort of minds to make big, important world decisions. "From now on we'll travel in TUBES!"
    • In 2010, some guys who go simply by the name of "UAB Productions" released a song called "Pregnant Lady (Dance Parody)" which seems, obviously, to be a parody of rap's recent infatuation with ridiculous dance songs.

    Video Games

    • Nelson Tethers: Puzzle Agent is a Deconstructive Parody of Professor Layton. Even though Tethers is in an FBI division dedicated to puzzles, he's aware that there are far more puzzles in this town than there should be. It's revealed that the gnomes he sees speak to the townsfolk in puzzles and caused a weird cult-ish group in the town.
    • Achievement Unlocked and Achievement Unlocked 2 by jmtb02 both parody the common game concept of unlocking achievements. In these games, unlocking all the achievements is the whole point of the game and there are hundreds of them for ridiculous things such as killing yourself 100 times and visiting the hint page.
    • Bulletstorm is about Space Marines who discovered they were being manipulated into killing innocent people by their corrupt superior. Upon finding out, they become Space Pirates. Ten years later, the leader and Player Character is a self-destructive alcoholic, and his rash decision to go after their old boss when he shows up get most of his crew killed and one seriously harmed. In addition to the guilt over the assassinations his team unwittingly performed, he feels guilty about harming his crew, and desperately tries to reconcile with the only surviving one, who rebuffs his advances. Said survivor, Ishi, has been turned into a cyborg by extremely painful surgery to combine him with a robot. The central gameplay gimmick of the game, The Leash, was designed by their corrupt superior to reward his men for killing people in creative ways, much like some sort of video game. The planet most of the game takes place on is a failed resort world, and is extremely colorful and varied, instead of the usual Real Is Brown. If it weren't for the swearing, fun, and Stuff Blowing Up, it would be a very dark game.
    • The Rance Series is one for the traditional Medieval European Fantasy Role-Playing Game albeit an unusual one. Some deconstruction aspects are played for laughs (such as the Black Comedy Rape), others are played for drama (It is undeniably a Crap Saccharine World), and at the end of the day, it's clear that the makers love the genre so much that it could be considered an Affectionate Parody or even a straight example. The Rance series is an Indecisive Deconstructive Parody.

    Web Comics

    • Add in Spinnerette to the list of comic book deconstructions/parodies.
    • The Last Days of Foxhound. Sure, there's one metric fucktonne of swearing, and characters are deliberately exaggerated for laughs, but it does an excellent job of analyzing the why and how of the plot behind Metal Gear Solid. Plus, when you can make the characters' deaths in the actual game Tear Jerkers (as noted on the Tear Jerker page for Metal Gear itself), you've done something worthy of Deconstruction.
    • Living With Insanity did an arc where David wrote a story about his Mary Sue (a Rambo copy named Marty Stu) saving a bunch of orphans from Saint Hitler and his stormtroopers (as in, actual Star Wars stormtroopers) who were obsessed with anal rape. It ended with the Marty's sexiness causing a lady Nazi to give up without a fight and Hitler surrendering for no real reason. And they all lived happily ever after. Except for Hitler, who died two weeks later of AIDS.
      • Just so no one thinks it was serious, the entire arc was called "Bad Writing".
    • Overlord Bob does this with viarous fantasy cliches - bunch of adventurers invades Evil Overlord's inner sanctuary and he uses their stereotypical flaws to defeat them and transform into viarous sexy creatures. In the end the same happens to him and his rival, evil sorcerrer Tim. Maid's Quest, set in the same Universe and does the same with viarous stereotypical evil knights.
    • Wonderella to so many superhero tropes.
    • Manly Guys Doing Manly Things to many video game tropes.

    Web Original

    • Average Cats is an Anti-Humor deconstruction of the LOLcats meme. The humor from Average Cats comes from describing the image as it really is, with correct grammar, insisting that the macros normally seen in LOL Cats do not happen in real life. In this case, it's the deconstructive intent that's Played for Laughs.
    • Next Time on Lonny is a parody of reality shows.
    • Taking care of a dog prepares you for parenthood? Riiiight!
    • The Nostalgia Critic plays with a few tropes, but the most obvious is how he's shown how pathetic, miserable and masochistic you have to be in order to become a Caustic Critic.
    • The comedy group Dormtainment parodies rap in the video "Create A Rapper". In it, there is a hypothetical video game where you create a rapper. The four options are Thug Rapper, Hipster Rapper, Real Hip Hop Rapper, and Pop Rapper. The goal is to make the most money. The thug rapper ends up "losing" the game because he gets shot by his crew, the hipster rapper is an alcoholic and pot head and "loses" by overdosing, and the Real Hip Hop Rapper is selling CDs on a street corner and starves. The Pop Rapper is the only one that "wins" the game, by selling out.
    • AOK's videos have Johnny Bravo suffer consequences for his lecherous behavior. While his lecherous behavior was largely played for laughs on the actual show, it's portrayed more seriously in this one.

    Western Animation

    • As noted on the Deconstruction page, The Venture Brothers that airs on Adult Swim functions as both a Deconstruction and an Affectionate Parody of Jonny Quest and other adventure stories. Jonny actually shows up as a drug-addled, burned-out middle-aged man, raging against his negligent father and running scared from an old foe, Dr. Zin. Although a recent appearance has shown that Jonny's recovered enough to converse with Zin like a normal person.
    • Megas XLR is a Destructive Parody of the Humongous Mecha genre.
    • Family Guy is a Deconstructive Parody of the Dom Com genre—or more accurately, a Deconstructive Parody of straight parodies of the Dom Com genre, such as The Simpsons.
    • Shrek is a deconstructive parody of fairy tales and all concepts and ideas related to them, using characters from the book of the same name by William Stieg.