August 13th, 2008

wart

Parody, Parody, Double Parody!

Last night, I watched Terry Gilliam's The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, which I quite enjoyed. The ending was kind of confusing, but I guess it was supposed to be. And Robin Williams (who played the King of the Moon) was too much...well, himself. His part wasn't that big, though, and I did like the idea of the Moon People's detachable heads.

To switch to an unrelated topic (or maybe sort of related, since it DOES relate to humor), when searching for Al Franken's books on Amazon, I came across a listing for a book called Al Franken Is a Buck-Toothed Moron. Maybe I'm biased because I like Franken, but since the title of Franken's book was a joke on Rush Limbaugh's own habit of making ad hominem attacks, isn't doing a spoof of THAT title overkill? I guess I can see it if the author is pointing out that Franken's original joke wasn't funny, but...I don't know. The book is apparently pretty bad anyway, and no longer in print (not that that latter necessarily means anything, as I've quite enjoyed some out-of-print books).

This got me to thinking about when a double-parody might work. Pointing out how the original spoof wasn't funny is one obvious case, and another is when the original parody has become a valid part of the cultural lexicon. This certainly happens sometimes; look at how much more familiar Lewis Carroll's spoof poems are than their originals (well, aside from "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star"). Family Guy recently did parodies of The Naked Gun and Airplane!, which were, of course, spoofs in the first place. I got the impression that these were respectful parodies, i.e., relying on people's fond memories of the originals to make jokes, rather than making fun of the originals' crappiness. And Family Guy certainly does plenty of that latter sort of parody.
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