Grade 9: Parody

“A parody is a humorous or mocking imitation of something, using the same form as the original. To parody a poem, you have to write another poem.”

Check out for more information on this definition

A further definition is found at

A modern curse (parody of Dr Seuss Green eggs and ham)

I do not like your mobile phone.
I do not like its ringing tone.
I do not like it here nor there;
I do not like it any where.

I do not like it on a plane,
nor when I’m on a crowded train;
not in a bus, not in a car,
not even in a crowded bar.
I do not want to hear it ping
or, even worse, Madonna sing.

I do not like the sound of pop;
that wretched noise has got to stop.
So let me make this mighty clear,
your phone, I do not want to hear.
And, should it ever start to ring,
I’ll come and smash the wretched thing

A parody can also be called a spoof, take off, send up or lampoon, although most people would agree that a parody is a higher form of exaggeration than a spoof which usually relies on repetition for its humour

The easiest way to understand what is a parody is to look at movie parodies.

* Shrek is a parody of the fairy tale story. In this case the good guy (Shrek) is who would normally be the bad guy in normal fairy tales.
* Austin Powers International man of Mystery is a parody of the spy stories, especially the James Bond movies. Johnny English is also a parody of James Bond.
* Police Academy is a parody of police movies of the 1980s
* Blazing Saddles is a parody of Western movies. It was produced by Mel Broks who also made Spaceballs a parody of Star Wars movies and Young Frankenstein which is a parody of Fankenstein and classic monster movies
* Airplane is a parody of disaster movies of the 1970s
* Robin Hood: Men in Tights is a parody of all Robin Hood movies
* Scary Movie is a parody of horror movies

Sesame Street often parodies things. Here is their parody of The Voice

Shakespeare wrote “Sonnet 13” in parody of traditional love poems common in his day. He presents an anti-love poem theme in a manner of a love poem mocking the exaggerated comparisons they made:

“My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips’ red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damasked, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;”

Unlike a love-poem goddess, his mistress does not have eyes like the sun, she does not have red lips nor does she have a white complexion. Her cheeks do not have a rosy color to it and her hair was not silky smooth. All the cliché (cliche) qualities are missing in his mistress. Such description allows Shakespeare to poke fun at the love poets who looked for such impossible qualities in their beloved.

Song parodies

Song of the Prairie is a puppet film produced by Jiri Trinka a Czechoslovakian film maker in 1949. It is a parody of the western (cowboy) films produced by American film makers. The story takes place in the ‘wild west’ where a beautiful young lady is travelling in a stage coach and a singing cowboy rescues her from the clutches of an evil bandit.

Because it is a parody everything that is a convention of an American western film is exaggerated and made to look comical (parodied)

“If we look closer at the structure of western films, we find a simple pattern which is repeated throughout the decades only with subtle variations: the hero arrives in town, learns that the community is tyrannized by a villain and his mob, helps the town to get rid of him/them and leaves the town after accomplishing his mission. The hero is usually rewarded for his heroic deeds by the love of the town’s most beautiful and virtuous woman, whose feelings he can not reciprocate.” (Guns, Horses and Indians – Defining the Genre –

Here are some structures and features of the classical American western

1. Heroes are often loners, clean shaved, dressed in white, typically moral and courageous, skilled in shooting, riding etc, can often sing well and have a favourite horse – also often white
2. Villains wear black, ride a black horse, are unshaven, rude, leaders of a gang, bullies and never as talented as the hero
3. There is always a woman who needs to be rescued from the baddie and who falls in love with the hero
4. Settings are in the desert, in a stage coach, in a small isolated ranch, a typical western town main street and saloon
5. Cactuses, coyotes, indians, whisky, bandits, shootouts, cattle stampeding
6. The central plot is about maintaining law and order where the hero arrives to assist a town being menaced by a gang of baddies
7. It is about contrasts: “good vs. bad, virtue vs. evil, white hat vs. black hat, man vs. man, new arrivals vs. Native Americans (inhumanely portrayed as savage Indians), settlers vs. Indians, humanity vs. nature, civilization vs. wilderness or lawlessness, schoolteachers vs. saloon dance-hall girls, villains vs. heroes, lawman or sheriff vs. gunslinger, social law and order vs. anarchy, the rugged individualist vs. the community, the cultivated East vs. West, settler vs. nomad, and farmer vs. industrialist to name a few. Often the hero of a western meets his opposite “double,” a mirror of his own evil side that he has to destroy.” (sourced from

Look for these conventions in this parody called “Song of the prairie”

Parodies of movie posters

Parody poster from Lord of the Rings

Parody of the poster for Jaws

Assessment task

Choose a movie poster or a song you like or a famous poem you like and creat a parody of it. You only need to explain and sketch the poster idea and write a verse or two of the song and poem. These do not need to be completed pieces – simply an idea in draft form.

Attach an explanation of the intention underlying your parody

Skip to toolbar