What Is Parody?
Parody is a deliberate exaggeration of a particular situation or person, done for comic effect. Television shows like Saturday Night Live use parody most famously in skits that lead up to someone’s announcing, “Live from New York — It’s Saturday Night.” Parody of famous people may focus on a trademark characteristic of their; for instance, a billionaire might be parodied as carrying around suitcases stuffed full of so much money that bills are falling to the ground around them.
How Do You Identify Parody in Writing?
Unlike satire, with which it is sometimes confused, parody is a direct imitation of situation, concept, or event familiar to the reader. Moreover, parody does not have to take the form of social commentary or political critique. In fact, literature often parodies its own conventions, as in the case in Cervantes’ Don Quixote, whose deluded hero believes that he is a medieval knight doing battle. The novel parodies the medieval romance genre. In so doing, Cervantes gives rise to a new literary genre, the novel.
Examples of Parody
1. Shakespeare’s famous Sonnet, “My Mistress’ Eyes Are Nothing Like the Sun” parodies countless love poems that idealize the beauty of the beloved. Instead of having flowing silken tresses, his mistress’ hairs are “black wires,” and rather than have alabaster skin, hers is “dun.”
2. Henry Fielding parodies Samuel Richardson’s sentimental novel Pamela with his own, aptly named work, Shamela.
3. The Scary Movie series parodies scenes in various horror films to comic effect.
4. Weird Al Yankovic has made a career out of song parodies, such as “Eat It” and “Party in the CIA.”
5. The Simpsons contains so many movie parodies it’s hard to keep track. In the episode “Homer Loves Flanders,” there is a hilarious parody of the film Terminator 2.
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