A form of Parody in which existing material—especially advertising, Public Service Announcements, Very Special Episodes and Aesops of the more Anvilicious or paranoid sort—is co-opted or repurposed for a message different from (or better yet, completely opposite to) the one it was originally intended to give.
The Trope Namer is the Situationist International movement, a French Marx-ish movement focused on the effects of mass alienation through cultural control. They asserted that people within a mass culture were manipulated by a constant mass-media / government / religion "Spectacle," proposed by Guy Debord in "Society of the Spectacle." Detournement was one way of bringing modern art into politics, since they rejected any 20th century art that removed itself from the politics of its time.
Not to be confused with Denouement.
- Any MTV interviews handed over to "Weird Al" Yankovic for his "AlTV" specials get cut-and-pasted into absolutely bozo exchanges that make the celebrities in them look like complete idiots or lunatics.
- Old educational films were edited into wacky shorts for The Weird Al Show as well.
- In a similar format, MTV2 UK's "Ginger Bloke" shorts, where MTV interviews are cut-and-pasted to have the Ginger Bloke mocking them to their faces, or otherwise bizarre exchanges.
- This is half the purpose of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report.
- More The Colbert Report. Jon Stewart has said in interviews that he and his crew try very hard not to distort the message of anything they put on air unless it is clearly intended to be farcical.
- Sometimes happened in Mystery Science Theater 3000, especially when it was on Comedy Central.
- One Drugs Are Bad segment from Star Trek: The Next Generation, in Stupid Statement Dance Mix form: this YTMND.
- Not the Nine O'Clock News did this with the rather threatening British television licence PSA campaign using the slogan "Get a TV licence - it's cheaper than a fine"; their parody showed The BBC instead staging plane crashes for people that didn't pay their licence fee and then having their houses bulldozed, with the slogan "Get a TV licence -- it's cheaper than a funeral".
- Space Ghost Coast to Coast rearranged whatever his Guests said to make it look like everyone was as crazy as Space Ghost. It's safe to say that Ghost Planet, no, that entire Universe, is Cloudcuckooland.
- The climax of the early Daffy Duck short Daffy Duck in Hollywood has Daffy creating an insanely goofy movie by editing newsreel clips—actually live-action Warner Bros. stock footage—together and giving them absurd voiceovers/soundtracks. For instance, a zoo lion proclaims "Motion pictures are your best entertainment!" and jitterbug music underscores an elegant waltz. Some might say that Daffy Duck made the first YouTube Poop.
- Teaser material for the movie Mean Girls involved PSAs about the grave issues of teenage life, with a mean twist:
Gretchen: Even in fancy countries like the United States and England, seven out of ten girls have a negative body image.
Regina: Who cares? Six of those girls are right.
- Le grand Détournement is a 72-minute-long French film made of extracts of many Warner Bros. films. The story is more or less a parody of Citizen Kane, where two journalists investigate why Georges Abitbol, "the classiest man on Earth", said monde de merde ("world of shit") before dying. The alternative title La classe américaine means that this movie is also a tribute to the American films that director Michel Hazanavicius watched in his youth (those films "taught" him how to make a movie). The cast of this film includes John Wayne, Burt Lancaster, Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford, Paul Newman, Orson Welles, Lana Turner, Henry Fonda, Robert Mitchum, Charles Bronson, James Stewart, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Spencer Tracy and Lauren Bacall.
- This often happens with Jack Chick's comics - a somewhat popular pursuit is to take one and replace the dialogue so that it gives the exact opposite message, the original message in even more Anvilicious terms, or something completely different.
- The Snuggie Cult adverts all over YouTube.
- Occasionally, YouTube Poop.
- Photoshop Phriday on Something Awful.
- Anti Bullying comic challenges where 4chan provides their "insightful" advice to dealing with bullying. Be warned...