Shallow Parody

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
See, it's funny because it's Superman, only he's not a man, but a mouse! Ah ha ha... Genius satire.

"The objections to breadth in parody are that it is not sporting to hunt with a machine gun, that jocularity is not wit, and that the critical edge is blunted. Most of what passes for parody is actually so broad as to be mere burlesque."

Simply put, this trope is what happens when The Parody is created by people who Did Not Do the Research. Instead, they watched the trailer (or the commercials or just absorbed it through Popcultural Osmosis) and then wrote the parody from that. Close enough, they decide.

Therefore, the "parody" will only bear a superficial resemblance to what is supposedly being parodied. Expect the parody to coast on Parody Names, Stock Parodies and (especially in recent years) Refuge in Vulgarity.

More egregious cases will often ignore elements that justify the more ridiculous aspects of the work or mock the original for things the original doesn't even have.

Note this is sometimes unavoidable. For example, if you're parodying a film that hasn't come out yet, the trailer may be all you have to go on (although parodying something that has not yet branded itself into the public's consciousness would seem a little pointless). Occasionally, the parodists may make good guesses and succeed anyway. However, if you're making a parody of Citizen Kane and all you know is the "Rosebud" scene... well, there really is no excuse.

Also note that this trope does not encompass all bad parodies. Just knowing what you're parodying does not automatically make your parody funny... but it's at least a start.

However, Tropes Are Not Bad. Sometimes these parodies can be understood as effective parodies of trailers, of basic premises, or as exaggerations of elements in The Theme Park Version of said subject matter. For many people a Shallow Parody can be funnier than an overdone Affectionate Parody because of the lack of obscure inside jokes. Still, people who are actually fans of the subject of the parody will, more often than not, laugh at said parodies rather than with them (at best). It's notable that some of the below examples are intentional shallow parodies and derive humor from getting things wrong.

Often caused by Complaining About Shows You Don't Watch. Related: Narrow Parody, in which the target is something relatively recent due to the assumption the target audience won't recognize something older even if it's riper for spoofing; and Parody Failure, where the parody writers actually do what the piece's real creators would do, but think themselves as writing a clever spoof. Compare Outside Joke, where a joke is only funny to people who Did Not Do the Research.

Examples of Shallow Parody include:

Comic Books

  • Mad magazine (and the TV series) sink to this. It can be justified, as the parody has to fall close to the date of the work's release, and often the writer(s) are working on early script drafts or leaked information.
    • For example, the parody of the first Harry Potter movie included a scene that was in the book, but was left out of the movie.
    • Mad parodies used to be written after the film was released and thus published a few months later, in part to keep on top of what movies were well-known enough to warrant them. One late-1970s article had them "selling" prematurely written parodies of movies and TV shows that weren't popular (Gable and Lombard, for instance) at a discount. This lag still applies to TV shows—their parody of 8 Simple Rules was in the October 2003 issue... just in time for John Ritter's sudden death.
    • The Watchmen parody claimed that "The book is still great" while making fun of many of the things that were directly lifted from the book. This is a recurring trend; MAD will often make fun of a work at the time of its release, then later unfavorably compare newer works to it, but it is rarely this inconsistent.
      • On the same note their Jurassic Park parody included the subplot from the book about some of the dinosaurs stowing away on a commercial freighter, a subplot that was dropped quite early during the production of the movie.
    • Mad explained away in another Harry Potter parody that they knew they got things wrong but didn't particularly care.
    • They also did a parody of X-Men 2 from a draft script of the movie, as it poked fun at subplots that weren't actually in the film.
    • Similarly to the Jurassic Park example: the parody comic of Star Trek: First Contact was based on the first draft screenplay, which was significantly different from the finished film. In their rush to get a parody out on time, they ended up parodying something that only barely resembled the movie itself.
    • From the animated TV show's Naruto parody you'd think they only watched the first 3 or 4 episodes.
  • Marvel's Marville hopes irrelevant pop culture is enough to count as parody.
    • It even explained the shallow parodies to people in the first page. Like nobody would get the jokes.
  • Marvel's parody comic Not Brand Ecch portrayed the Doom Patrol as shameless rip-offs of the more popular X-Men when in reality the Patrol came first.
    • Though only by a few months at a time when comic book scripts were written longer in advance than that. Not to mention that the creator of Doom Patrol used to work for Marvel.
  • Cracked, when it still was a magazine along the lines of Mad, had an issue (#248 or #249 or thereabouts) covering the 1989 Batman film wherein a Burt Ward-style Robin complains that not only is he absent from the film, but he's dead in the comics. Never mind that it was Jason Todd who died and Dick Grayson was currently Nightwing. (To be fair, in the eyes of most casual Batman fans that is basically nit-picking.)
    • Pretty much any Cracked magazine parody, for that matter. They did little more than re-tell the movie or TV show straight up, with Parody Names.
  • The LucasArts Sam and Max strips frequently fell into this, possibly deliberately. Being produced for the LucasArts company newsletter and Sam And Max not starting out as LucasArts characters, Steve Purcell was allowed to draw them only if he parodied whatever games were coming out at the time. Because of this, he preferred to take the basic setting of the game he was parodying, dress Sam up as the main character of that game, and then just have the characters do their own thing - being more like one-off, themed adventures about fighting monsters or being bikers instead of parodies of Maniac Mansion and Full Throttle. Notably, the Monkey Island parody had Sam and Max in pirate costumes going to a desert island... full of monkeys. The strips are probably more hilarious for not being true parody.
  • In a glaring example of Tropes Are Not Bad, Rat-Man's first story was a parody of Tim Burton's Batman, which the author had never seen. Despite this, it won the Lucca Comics award for the best script and set the foundation for what in Italy is considered one of the funniest comics ever published.
  • It's very amusing indeed to read old comics and magazines from the early/mid-1960s and come across a Shallow Parody of The Beatles. One can just imagine a stodgy, middle-aged writer writing one in hope of shaming those silly kids for falling for this ridiculous fad. Shallow Parodies of the Beatles usually have them all dressing, looking and speaking identically (hilariously, this usually means that they all look and talk like Ringo Starr), and have them endlessly singing "Yeah Yeah Yeah" (far from the Beatles' best or most notable song, but likely a victim of Popcultural Osmosis). Later parodies would have them playing concerts in their "Sgt. Pepper" uniforms (which they never did) and occasionally would depict John Lennon in his iconic 1969-era look while the rest of them still looked like they did on the Ed Sullivan Show. Nowadays, of course, parodies like this have effectively died out.
  • Some comics with Squirrel Girl in them would have rather blatant, shallow parodies of things that were currently big issues in comics (usually Marvel's main competitor). Then, just to make sure the drooling idiots didn't miss it, one of her squirrel friends would pop up in the margins with a nice big sign to really hammer it home. "Monkey Joe says: Any character being an urban legend longer than a year or two is idiotic!" One wonders how hard they had to resist the urge to put a little Bat-logo at the end of the sentence.


  • One of many, many flaws in the Seltzer and Friedberg "parody" films, such as Date Movie, Epic Movie, Meet the Spartans, and the aptly named Disaster Movie. In fact, Disaster Movie parodied films which were not released at the time the script was written. As a result, it included parodies of films which flopped and were already forgotten by the time Disaster Movie made it to theaters.
    • Tellingly not the case with Superhero Movie, not by Seltzer and Friedberg, though often assumed to be. Though not a great movie by a long shot, it is a rather direct parody of the first Spider-Man film, as is the better for it.
    • It's been argued that Seltzer and Friedberg don't, in fact, do parody at all. What they do is pop culture acknowledgements, feeling secure in the knowledge that there exist in America enough people devoid of a sense of humor enough that they will think the movies are funny because of the marketing alone.
    • Vampires Suck mostly averted this, except for a couple of throwaway gags.
  • Somewhat more excusable example: Airplane! includes a parody of a famous scene from From Here to Eternity despite none of the writers having watched that film. Mind you, that's one parody in a film which included... well, a lot.
  • Pleasantville has the eponymous, which is supposed to be a parody of shows from the 50's, but is actually just how a modern person who has never watched Leave It to Beaver or The Andy Griffith Show assumes they are. Sure, there was a lot less drama and they were more family-friendly, but they were hardly surrealistic utopias where outsiders and fire didn't exist.
  • The 41-Year-Old Virgin who Knocked Up Sarah Marshall and Felt Superbad About It. "Hey, remember this scene from a Judd Apatow movie? Well we don't have any writers, so we're just going to do the scene just the same, but make it longer and less funny. Hey, here's the Verizon guy!"
  • Starship Troopers- was said to be a parody of the novel after it was released, despite the fact the Verhoeven only read the first few chapters.
    • The movie has "parodies" of specific scenes from the books, but they mostly amount to taking the scenes and stripping them of the philosophy and context. Verhoeven tries to sell them as "ironic", despite being markedly less aware of the implications than the original scene. If you didn't know that the book was written first, you'd think that it was actually a scathing rebuttal of the movie.
  • In general, if Michael Bay's movie style is parodied, it will focus on things randomly exploding. Just explosions happening the entire time, for no reason whatsoever. If the parody is particularly adventurous it might bother to have something about a slightly melodramatic romance, but generally all that seems to be required for a "spot on" Michael Bay "parody" is just throwing in a bunch of random explosions.


  • Candide by Voltaire fits this trope in its attempts to parody the philosophy of Leibniz.
  • Phule's Errand by Peter J. Heck includes a long sequence which is a painfully Shallow Parody of Isaac Asimov's Foundation novels. "Perry Sodden" = Comedy gold!
  • 'Most parodies of one's own work strike one as very poor,' noted T. S. Eliot. 'In fact one is apt to think one could parody oneself much better.' He noted this in the context of praising an aversion; Henry Reed's "Chard Whitlow", which doesn't settle for making cheap swipes at Eliot's best known works, but parodies what his poems are actually like.

Live Action TV

  • Mad TV once did a parody of The Dark Knight during its final season where Batman (played by Matt Braunger) couldn't afford good gadgets because of current economic issues and make it seem like that without gadgets, his villains could easily kick his ass. If only the writers knew that the Dark Knight Batman was trained by ninjas and that he hasn't been an (extremely) gadget-heavy hero since the campy 1960s TV show starring Adam West.
    • Also somewhat Hilarious in Hindsight considering that this is also (vaguely) the plot of The Dark Knight Returns.
  • Zigzagged with Saturday Night Live. Some of their parody sketches will be dead-on with what they're parodying; others...not so much.
    • On the one side of the spectrum, there are shallow parodies that are just there to serve as the backdrop for an SNL recurring character to appear [1] or are intentionally made shallow to deconstruct the work (as seen in the Digital Short Party at Mr. Bernard's or the "Little Mermaid" sketch with Reese Witherspoon as Ariel telling Eric [played by Will Ferrell] that she's an actual half-human, half-fish creature whose father had sex with a mackerel to create her) or shoehorn a political message or warped Aesop (as seen in their other parody of The Little Mermaid—this time with Tina Fey as Ariel trying to justify the decision to have Osama bin Laden wrapped in a shroud and sunk into the ocean).
    • On the other side of the spectrum, you have the SNL parodies that are actually well-researched and spot-on, such as the Harry Potter parodies (which use characters that aren't featured in the movie trailers, use the first names of the Hogwarts teachers, and mention things like butterbeer) [2] and the one-off parody of There Will Be Blood from the season 33 episode hosted by Tina Fey (which was a Food Network show called "I Drink Your Milkshake," in which Daniel Plainview [Bill Hader] travels to America's malt shops and literally drinks their milkshakes). Bill Hader's Daniel Day Lewis is pitch-perfect, and the sketch references moments in the film that aren't Memetic Mutations, such as "I'VE ABANDONED MY CHIIIIIIIIIIILD" and Plainview's opening speech.
    • Intentionally used with the sketch "What Is Burn Notice?" from the season 35 episode hosted by Ashton Kutcher. The sketch was a game show in which the contestants have to tell the host (Jason Sudeikis) what the premise of Burn Notice is about, because he apparently doesn't know. The joke being that even though Burn Notice is purportedly one of the most popular shows on television, no one you know has ever seen it.
  • Get Smart usually did targeted parodies pretty well, considering its entire premise was general parody. However, its parody of The Avengers falls into this. Donald Snead and Emily Neal are British, styled correctly and have a lot of sexual tension, but that's where the similarities end. Snead bears very little resemblance to John Steed personality-wise, and Mrs. Neal's use of a deadly lipstick is particularly glaring, much more reminiscent of April Dancer than Emma Peel. The episode is funny, but it's pretty clear the creators are unaware of just how stylistically different The Avengers was from most other spy shows.
  • Done intentionally and fully admitted to on the "Movie Trailers That Are Destroying America" segment of The Colbert Report, where Colbert thinks of ridiculous reasons to consider movies offensive based entirely on the trailers.
  • French and Saunders did a sketch about the The Lord of the Rings apparently without having read the books or seen the movies: Gandalf and Frodo repeatedly mention Frodo's quest to find the one ring to rule them all.
    • A better example of the same flaw can be seen in Dead Ringers` early LOTR parodies, in which indeed Gandalf sends Frodo on a quest to find the Ring. Later on they were better researched.
    • Similarly on The Chaser's War on Everything with a sketch about rumours of a movie version of The Hobbit and imagining it directed by various people (Nick Giannopoulos, Woody Allen and Michael Moore). For some reason the first one had two Hobbits with a dynamic suspiciously similar to Frodo and Sam, and not a dwarf in sight.
    • Note though that this was technically a parody of The Wog Boy and not of The Hobbit. Same for the Woody Allen and Michael Moore trailers.
  • Bob Hope parodied Shogun on one of his specials. The sketch writers assumed Anjin-san (Richard Chamberlain) was the title character.
  • The Julie Brown vehicle The Edge never got much past this.
  • Que Vida Mas Triste had a Back to The Future parody where the main character was sent to the past to make sure his parents got together. Of course, anyone who actually saw the movie knows Marty went to the past to save his life (More or less), accidentally prevented his parents' meeting and THEN tried to get them together. They probably got confused with the second movie where Marty goes to the future to save his son. The worst part? Another Spanish show did the EXACT same mistake.


  • A notable aversion is Weird Al's "The Saga Begins," a parody of "American Pie" about Star Wars Episode I, almost entirely before the movie was released. It works because he got all the plot details from fan sites. He also spent $300 to attend an early screening of the film to make sure he had all of the details correct. In fact, he only had to change one detail after the movie came out, because Episode I left it rather vague whether or not Padme and Anakin would marry. Reportedly, when Al sent the song to Lucasfilm for approval, George Lucas himself was impressed at how accurate it was (and he absolutely loved the song on top of that).

New Media

  • Something Awful's "Truth Media" reviews are an intentional combination of this and Stealth Parody in regards to "leaked scripts" of movies and other "sneak-peek" reviews of popular media. A particularly noteworthy example was their Star Wars Episode II "leaked script" review, mostly because pretty much everything they predicted wound up being true.
    • Truth Media usually tries really hard to get everything wrong so they can post and mock the inevitable replies from Trolls and so-called-experts. The GTA San Andreas review was quite noticeable for getting the main character's name wrong despite knowing his initials.
  • As an April Fools' Day joke, Maddox of The Best Page in The Universe did a trailer for a fictional film, Vague Genre Movie, mocking shallow parodies such as the Seltzer and Friedberg ones mentioned above.
  •'s 7 Least Faithful Comic Book Movies talks about Ang Lee's Hulk movie and how it differed from the comics, saying that The Incredible Hulk didn't delve into psychological themes and that it spent an odd amount of time focusing on Bruce Banner's father. The thing is, though, Bruce Banner's multiple personality disorder and abusive childhood became a huge part of his mythos starting as far back as the 80s with Joe Fixit (and maybe even earlier than that) and continued during the 90s. Assuming this is still canon then that accounts for over half of the The Hulk's canon.

Newspaper Comics

  • Pop Culture Shocke Therapy uses Shallow Parody as mortar and brick. Every strip is just some random thing happening, only for a random character to be involved and thus... and thus... it is considered a "joke". A highway worker finds a dead cat on the road... ha ha! It's Garfield! A woman making a bed is revealed to sport a tramp-stamp... ha ha! It's Snow White! A person spontaneously combusts and burns to death... ha ha! It's Thing #1 from the Cat in the Hat! Aren't you just killing yourself laughing right now?

Professional Wrestling


  • Every parody of A Prairie Home Companion's Garrison Keillor is based around: "The News From Lake Wobegon" (which is just one segment of a two hour show), his alleged need to "be more funny" (his style of humor is intended to be subtle and whimsical, not broadly comedic, and he also has a strong satirical streak), his excessive folksiness (which is meant to be a bit tongue-in-cheek), and his voice (which is so distinctive that most imitators can't seem to do it properly. A lot of Keillor imitations end up sounding more like Stuart McLean of The Vinyl Cafe.)
  • The 2000s British radio comedy Atomic Tales parodies 1940s and 1950s American radio sci-fi drama. The only problem is that it largely does so based on the popular conception of what such shows were like rather than what they were actually like. A major feature of the parody is unsubtle, invariably rightwing, "moral lessons" at the end, despite the fact that such radio drama rarely had characters deliver political speeches (not least because they were primarily adventure stories largely intended for children and were supposed to be escapist). Another target of the parody is the notion that science is "evil" despite the fact that such shows often celebrated scientific endeavour and achievement in a way, ironically, that makes them look naive now; the "dire warnings" aspect usually came-about from "mad scientists" who twisted science to evil purposes rather than science being evil itself.
  • That Mitchell & Webb Sound, the radio predecessor to That Mitchell and Webb Look, had a few notable examples.
    • One of the most glaring ones is a Batman parody that portrays an older Robin as a deadbeat layabout who mooches off Batman and only sits around the Batcave watching TV and playing videogames, while Batman laments that his ward shows no interest in growing up and leaving the house to become a solo masked crimefighter, "Robin-Man or something." Seems Mitchell and Webb had absolutely no idea that the original Robin became a solo crimefighter dedades ago, as there is absolutely no reference to Nightwing, or to the fact that there has been more than one Robin.
    • Likewise, a series of skits in the fourth season parodying Pinocchio bore almost no resemblance to the source material, centering mainly around how Pinocchio was an annoying, wide-eyed and overeager goof who kept getting in Gepetto's way and was oblivious to the fact that his "Papa" absolutely hated him and made several attempts to send him away or even outright murder him. Which is almost the opposite of the original book, where the problem was that Pinocchio kept running away from Gepetto, and was a bit of a Jerkass from the start.
    • The same series had a number of skits parodying the Stargate Verse, all of which are solely built around the premise of people getting reprimanded for throwing their rubbish into the Stargate, or using it as a supply cabinet, or a toilet, etc.
      • That Mitchell and Webb Look, on the other hand, had fewer parodies—likely because it's much easier to set up a parody in a non-visual medium, when you don't have to worry about getting costumes or props to make it look right—and so the trope was mostly (if not completely) avoided.

Stand Up Comedy

  • Pretty much any parody of Jerry Seinfeld will include the line "What's the deal with airline food?" Jerry's entire stand-up career was based around the fact that he tackled much more esoteric subjects than the standard hack topics of airline food. He did, however, use the line in an SNL sketch about a game show of Seinfeldian comedians.


  • The Drowsy Chaperone purports to be a forgotten Broadway musical from 1928, but bears very little resemblance (especially in its songs) to the musicals of The Twenties it aims to parody. This may have to do with actual musicals of the period being rarely seen on stage generations later except in Adaptation Decayed revival editions. The review at even pointed out that complete cast recordings of shows weren't made back then, which means that the musical theater fans the show is meant to appeal to will realize this is shallow almost immediately. (A more accurate Affectionate Parody of these shows is The Boy Friend, which was written in the 1950s.)
  • Travesties, in which characters from other works were placed in ridiculous situations that had little to do with the original, may be older than deeper parodies. As Macdonald notes in his careful dissection of the delicate art of parody, this was a sure recipe for dumb, cheap laughs. Disaster Movie and its ilk are therefore Older Than You Think, and demand our respect and veneration. Then again, with a name like Travesty, at least you know what to expect when you go into it.
  • Parodies of/jokes about Cirque Du Soleil, no matter the medium, can wind up as this. Apparently, everybody in a given troupe is French or French-Canadian, they spend the whole show posing or contorting pretentiously if they aren't weird clowns who accost helpless audience members—as in an ad with a man's Imagine Spot having him pulled on stage to have a smiley face painted on his stomach—and it's all boring, needlessly expensive, and incomprehensible. This is a side effect of Cirque being a Love It or Hate It thing, possibly in conjunction with its perceived "unmanliness".
  • This is Older Than Feudalism. Aristophanes' portrayal of Socrates in The Clouds has pretty much nothing to do with Socrates' actual views as a philosopher, and treats him as a combination of a pre-Socratic natural philosopher and a rhetorician. It also includes the common misconception of natural philosophers as atheists (which they generally weren't). Unfortunately, the misconceptions voiced by the play were partially responsible for Socrates' execution.

Video Games

  • The Gex series was about a wise-cracking Gecko going into shallow parodies of pop culture. Notably, some levels can't even decide what they're parodying.
    • One claimed to mock Sherlock Holmes while not actually being anything like a Sherlock Holmes story. Also suffered from Small Reference Pools.
    • The second game had levels that didn't even fit the TV theme and were more like generic platformer levels, like the prehistoric stages. It also featured Gex...restating famous movie lines in a appropriate context. Not even doing a voice like in 3. Just...repeating them. Hilarious?
    • In the 2nd game's prehistoric levels, Gex would say lines from Planet of the Apes. "Dr Zaius, would an ape make a human doll that talks?" "You cut out his brain, you nutty baboon." He didn't even repeat them as Charlton Heston said them, he asks the first one quite casually rather than the accusatory way it was said originally, though the second line was hissed.
  • Most parodies of Pokémon Red and Blue will name the main character "Ash" and give him his counterpart from the anime Ash's personality, when the game character's actual name is Red. Likewise, his rival will be named Gary instead of Blue, and if Team Rocket shows up, they'll usually be the more-or-less anime-exclusive Jessie, James and Meowth. In general, the parody will base itself mostly on the anime, even though it's quite different from the games. Even parodies made by gamers and fans are, at times, guilty of this.
  • Thelemite, and how. It's a fairly good game on its own merits, but as a parody of Prototype, it sort of kind of resemble the original game if you squint, and seems to have been written by someone who heard a summary of the game and once saw a picture of Alex Mercer. For starters, their Mercer stand-in becomes a "mutant ninja" who flies around kicking people complete with Power Glows and Kiai. 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—the character is entirely unrelated, and although the attack does somewhat resemble something in their arsenal, it gets almost every other detail of it wrong.
  • An advertisement for the racing game Blur acts like the Mario Kart games are kiddie games that are about "making friends" rather than competition. Only the complete opposite is true, especially in online races with other players. Wi-Fi competitions can be BRUTAL.
  • The movie Dragon Brain in Grand Theft Auto IV appears to be a parody of High Fantasy films in general, but most of the jokes are about merchandising and CGI, rather than about typical fantasy movie cliches.

Web Comics

  • This PHD strip was apparently written by someone whose entire understanding of MythBusters comes from the commercials - especially seeing how there's hardly an episode where they don't use a control in their experiments. While they openly admit that most of the science that goes into each episode is left on the cutting room floor due to time constraints, their methodology does not exactly boil down to "blow something up and call it science". This Xkcd provides a nice counterpoint.
  • Lil Formers seems to think that all of the humor in Transformers came from endless repetitions of "more than meets the eye". The quotation was only used twice; once by Optimus Prime at the end, and again by Sam near the beginning, and even then he remarks on how lame his use of it was.
    • Anytime Lil Formers parodies Transformers that aren't Generation 1, this trope comes in full effect. The films, Transformers Animated, the Unicron Trilogy... Eventually, Shortpacked did a strip parodying Moylan's tendencies to not research his stuff at all and only mock them because they're "new" and "not G1".
  • Intentional in Problem Sleuth, which purports to be a Film Noir parody, but has very little in common with the genre except for using lots of black and white, taking place in a 'vaguely Prohibition-era' setting, and having three fedora-wearing detectives as the main characters (who don't actually do any crime-solving until right at the very end). They don't even act like film noir characters, except for Problem Sleuth, who is occasionally Wrong Genre Savvy and dreams of solving crimes for 'hysterical dames'. In this case, it's just to contribute to the surrealism of it all.
  • Unwinder's Tall Comics: The Rant for this page discusses this trope. Parker noted that everybody and their mother has parodied Citizen Kane at some point, but the majority seem to only reference the scenes (the bit about the sled, "Rosebud", etc) that have spread via Popcultural Osmosis. Parker deliberately set out to avoid doing that with his parody, so he imagined a Citizen Kane sequel made by a director who's obviously familiar with the original but still managed to completely miss the point. Furthermore, Parker wasn't content to simply make "the Citizen Kane parody for people who actually watched the film"—he referenced a subplot that was left out of the finished film, making his comic into "the Citizen Kane parody for people who read the screenplay".
  • The author of Electric Wonderland admitted to have written this parody of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers without watching the show, instead relying on Linkara's History of Power Rangers video about the series.
  • In-universe in Bobwhite. Cleo tries to play an ironic ukelele cover version of Lady Gaga's "Born This Way". She gets a few lines in before admitting that she's never actually listened to the song.
  • The Bob the Angry Flower parody of Atlas Shrugged is built around the heroes being unwilling to take upon themselves the responsibilities of rebuilding society, despite spending the last third of the book in a commune seemingly devoted entirely to demonstrating they could.

Web Original

  • Mondo Media's Like News shorts repeat one point without parodying much of the content. For example, Charlie Brown is old, or Indiana Jones is old. That's it.
  • Homestar Runner's stock Anime parody Stinkoman K 20X6. Possibly an in-character example as it was created by Strong Bad, whose knowledge on the subject is limited to having seen one of them once in The Eighties, back when it was okay to call it Japanimation.
  • ItsJustSomeRandomGuy's parody of True Blood consists mainly of pointing out that the main characters have lots of sex onscreen.
    • It also only makes fun of the TV version of Sookie Stackhouse. In the books Sookie is more pragmatic, logical, and nowhere near as cheery as TV Sookie due to Adaptation Decay. Also, while you could argue that the books aren't 'Great Literature' it's more on the level of the Dexter series rather than Twilight in terms of writing/character depth...but, again, Adaptation Decay.
  • "The Editing Room" is a satirical website consisting of "abridged screenplays", whereby the author takes the mickey out of a film by having its character hang lampshades all over the place and by snarking away at story points. Most are quite clever, but after a while some seem juvenile and shallow.
    • It Gets Worse when you realize that the writer doesn't even bother to do any research into the background of the movie, or at times doesn't appropriately represent the story.
  • A review of Game of Thrones on attempted to parody A Song of Ice and Fire... by using a prose style more reminiscent of Jim Theis than George R. R. Martin.
  • Peter Coffin's parodies of the New Moon trailers are the Tropes Are Not Bad version of this trope. It's also Justified, as the intention was to fool Twilight fangirls into thinking they were the real trailers - so he had to make them right after said trailers were first released. And it works; if the videos themselves aren't hilarious enough for you, the angry responses from fans about how they were TRICKED!!!!1111 will be.
  • Invoked in MSF High, in-game. Lily, when asked to cosplay as her boyfriend, instead did a Shallow Parody of RPG heroes, of which her boyfriend, Drake, is a Deconstruction/Reconstruction.
    • Why? She loves him too much to attempt to imitate him, which she knows would probably be more of a Deconstructive Parody

Western Animation

Paul Walker: We're going to have to go... Into The Blue!
Jessica Alba: Into the blue?
Paul Walker: Into the blue
Jessica Alba: I'm in a bikini!
Paul Walker: I do lots of situps...

  • Most Western Animation parodies of Anime seem to fall into this. Many draw from extremely small reference pools, and are done by people that seem to fall into one of three camps: saw half an episode of Pokémon, saw two minutes of Sailor Moon, or has some vague memories of watching Speed Racer. If they're really, really, really on the ball, they might get so edgy and modern as to crack jokes about powering up for three months and yelling while looking constipated.
    • The Simpsons had something resembling an anime parody on the season 12 episode "HOMR." While at an animation convention, Bart and Lisa watch a Japanese cartoon (which Bart refers to as "Japanimation," which actually isn't used as much as the term anime) in which a robot-wolf-like creature captures a female warrior who turns into a prawn and destroys the robo-wolf, who then turns into a pair of wind-up shoes and walks away. So the point Al Jean (the episode writer) is making is "Ha-ha-ha, anime is weird" (which Bart and Lisa lampshade). Oddly, it seemed more like a parody of American science-fantasy cartoons from the '80s (Masters of the Universe, Thundarr the Barbarian etc.) than actual anime. Same thing with the "Battling Seizure Robot" parody from season 10 (though that's was more of a reference to that infamous Pokémon episode "Electric Soldier Porygon," which was banned after viewers suffered seizures).
    • Futurama has shown no improvement with its "Action Delivery Force" bit. For being first aired in 2011 and the most topical gag is Amy in a Sailor Moon knock-off outfit. And while older animes, like the heavily referenced Voltron, weren't known for overly fluid animation or quality adaptations to America the dubs never spoke with sterotypical Japanese accents either.
    • For a dizzying combination of the traits described above, there's the recurring Pokémon parody Tinymon in Johnny Test, whose hero looks like Ash Ketchum, acts more like a Bruce Lee parody and, naturally, talks like Speed Racer.
      • The "Tinymon" in Johnny Test also have more complex a and unnatural appearences making them look more like Digimon than Pokémon.
      • Except for the one he catches. That one is a dead ringer for Shadow Lugia.
    • While the Fairly Oddparents episode "Channel Chasers" visits two Animesque shows, the one with poor lipsync and bizarre enunciation is specifically a parody of Speed Racer, so it's somewhat better than most other examples.
    • Dexter's Laboratory did anime parody twice, once specifically of Speed Racer and later in the series of common anime villains traits (like being Bishonen and wearing Scary Impractical Armor). The only problem was that the villain from the latter was a Card-Carrying Villain while majority of villains he was parodying at least try to justify their crimes. And he has speech pattern like he ran away from Speed Racer.
    • Popeye versus anime is an internet animation that does this.
  • A lot of animated shows parody comic book superheroes. Almost all of them act as if comic books stopped being published after the Silver Age and the last comic book adaption released was the Adam West Batman series.
    • And some go into the notion that Superheroes aren't about fighting evil but violence and that every supervillain in the history is Card-Carrying Villain.
  • There was an episode of Droopy, Master Detective that was a satire of Romeo and Juliet, and apparently, whoever wrote that episode was under the impression that Juliet was a princess who got captured and that Romeo rescued her.
  • An episode of Drawn Together included Daria as a victim of torture in Hot Topic's basement. She quips this is men's fault, which is missing the point, since she tends to be misanthropic towards everyone regardless of gender. (The mischaracterization was probably because Daria looks so much like the stereotypical Straw Feminist, being "ugly" and all.)
    • A Robot Chicken episode also featured a parody of Ms. Morgendorffer... or rather, Mr. Morgendorffer. In the segment, sometime after the events of the show and being interviewed by Michael Moore in a "Where Are They Now? 90s" send-up, Daria became a post-op FTM transgendered person named Daryl. Daryl drolly explained the procedure to Moore, who in turn lost his lunch. That was based on the other generalized misperception (by many who didn't watch the show as well as some of the characters in the show itself) of Daria as being emotionless or "The Misery Chick". Being Robot Chicken, though, it's entirely conceivable they made the parody for the people who didn't watch Daria.
  • This trailer for a canceled animated movie called Blue Planet begins with a rather shallow parody of Toy Story and A Bugs Life.
    • The movie itself was eventually released as an FMV On-Rails shooter called Deadly Tide.
  • The writers of Futurama spare no opportunity to mock PCs. The only problem? They've apparently never actually used one. For instance, in the televised version of Into the Wild Green Yonder (the original DVD release used a different joke), one of the robots thinks, "I'd like to thank my operating system, Windows 7, for... ... System error." Windows 7 being most famous among users for never crashing.
  • "Fear of Flying," an episode of The Simpsons, has a parody of Lost in Space that makes it look like the writers thought John Robinson and Dr Smith were a single character.
    • Leapt into with both feet in "Lisa the Drama Queen," an apparent parody of the IMDB entry for Heavenly Creatures.
  • Recess gives us Bonkey the Green Dragon, a shallow parody to Barney The Dionsaur.
  • Squat from Sidekick is a shallow parody of Twitter.
  1. (cf. The "Mad Men" parody on Jon Hamm's first episode quickly devolved to a sketch featuring Jason Sudeikis and Kristen Wiig's characters, "The Two A-Holes" [it was even retitled "Two A-Holes Visit An Ad Agency in the 1960s"], the "Basic Instinct" parody that had Julia Sweeney's Pat character, the "Crying Game" parody that also Pat in it, the "Glee" parody that had Kristen Wiig's Gilly character)
  2. -- including the one that had Daniel Radcliffe on it as a washed-up Harry Potter who still lives in Hogwarts ten years after he was supposed to graduate