Parodies can be wonderfully clever pieces of writing or film. They make you laugh, they play with their source and they give you a fresh take on a story. Still not all parodies are the same and I can’t say that the genre is one of my favourites as such. But there are many great artists to be discovered with incredible talents and very special skills.
I personally enjoy parodies most when I feel that the people behind the scenes really love the source material a lot. This becomes apparent in subtle and obscure references only insiders would know and also the sheer dedication and work put into the parody itself.
For example the creative driving force behind A Very Potter Musical are such amazing people. They take something they love and turn it into something different. While it aims to entertain and make people laugh, it is also clear that the creators don’t make fun of Harry Potter, but have produced an homage. LittleKuriboh, the voice over genius who created Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series, is just the same. His relentless energy and all the effort he puts into producing his video parodies is simply incredible. And they all do it for love, not for profit.
And that is where some parodies go wrong. They just poke fun at the whole source material and don’t show the due respect. It’s about making the object of the parody look bad. It’s about laughing and pointing. It’s about the clicks, views or sales figures. I don’t think there is anything wrong with earning money from parodies. In fact many artists deserve much more than they get (and often they don’t even get anything for their parodies). But earning money from disrespectful lampooning is something that I’m not particularly in favour of.
When some film or book becomes popular it is very likely that parodies will pop up here and there. While some of them are lovingly made, others can be a thinly veiled attempt to make money. Parodies should be feel-good creations, not heartless spoofs. There are so many passionate and skilled independent artists out there who are making so many fans of the original happy. I’m glad those kind of parodies exist. They pay respect to the original creator, but also add something of their own which makes the parodies so unique and entertaining to watch.