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; 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 parody is a direct imitation of situations, concepts, or events familiar to the reader. Moreover, parody does not have to take the form of social commentary or political critique. In fact, literature will often parody 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 is a parody of the medieval romance genre.

Examples of Parody

Parody Example 1. Shakespeare’s famous Sonnet, “My Mistress’ Eyes Are Nothing Like the Sun” parodies countless love poems that idealize the beauty of the beloved.

Parody Example 2. Henry Fielding parodies Samuel Richardson’s sentimental novel Pamela with his own, aptly named work, Shamela.

Parody Example 3. The Scary Movie series parodies scenes in various horror films to comic effect.

Parody Example 4. Weird Al Yankovic has made a career out of song parodies, such as “Eat It” and “Party in the CIA.”

Parody Example 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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