We’re entering a weird phase now with comedy. Well, that’s an inaccuracy right there. Let me try again.
With the advent of memetic comedy (Microsoft Word is having a stroke trying to process that word) we’re seeing a renaissance of short punchy jokes that deliver a strong laugh with minimal trouble. Conversely I argue that satire has died or at least has developed to a point where we cannot tell it is satire. That may just be because we know of so many ludicrous things that happen in real life that it is difficult to satirize them; take, for example, reality television. I think it’s especially hard to identify non-comedic satire as at least comedic satire has at least the telling mark of being funny.
Then there is parody. Parody quality has become a proverbial dice roll these past few years. Now, don’t misunderstand, it isn’t hard to parody something that’s terrible in real life or in fiction. It’s only a matter of not stating the joke that you’re making as you parody.
But then, what happens why you try to parody something you actually like?
Take for example Lego Lord of the Rings. Recently I had a chance to sit down and enjoy this game but I noticed that it seemed like the game was having some difficulty making fun of the actual trilogy. Now with other Lego game parodies that hasn’t been an issue. And yet with the dialogue used from the movie there’s very few moments where the game takes a laugh AT the Lord of the Rings franchise. Why?
Is it because of the heavy use of movie dialogue… or… something else?
Maybe, it’s just difficult to parody something you like.
The Lord of the Rings trilogy, despite the internet’s best attempts to take the piss out of it, remains a beloved trilogy. The odyssey of the fellowship is a moving tale of friendship triumphing against all odds. More importantly, it’s recent.
I’ve seen professional comedic shows do little more then take slight jabs and use visual references when referring to the likes of Star Wars and Star Trek in their prime. It takes decades, regardless of Cracked articles, for a work that manages to inspire the human spirit to loosen its purchase as something sacred.
Even then, it’s still a hard thing to parody a beloved work without making fun of it but rather amplifying what already exists. The Dragonball Z and Yugioh abridged series manage to pull this feat but in their wake lay countless imitators that have since fallen into obscurity.
Still, those content creators are openly great fans of the works they parody so while it may be difficult for a fan to parody a beloved work, it is likely impossible for someone who isn’t. Look at that Scooby Doo movie in 2002 and its difficulty even isolating what parts of the franchise are worth parodying.
I don’t think this phase will end without gradual inclusions into true parody. I’m not even willing to say that there is no good evidence of parody but satire will definitively require the work of masters to not only produce great work but also to make it accessible to the masses.
So too does this work exist.