Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Parody in the WWE

Parody has become a staple of the wrestling program, especially with McMahon as the figurehead of the professional wrestling. As a dramaturgical device, parody is defined as a composition that imitates somebody's style in a humorous way. In wrestling, parody is most interestingly employed as a means to provide social commentary.

Vince McMahon's regime of professional wrestling has consistently taken themes from ongoing political/social affairs and transmuted them into gimmicks for old and new wrestlers. Almost every major current issue and event over the past years has seen itself become a part of the farce that is the McMahon style of professional wrestling.

Though McMahon's tactics are certainly not new, they do push the envelope of what is considered socially acceptable--would we, could we expect any less.

The wrestling character JBL (John Bradshw Layfield) is a prime example of the WWE's attempt at social commentary. It makes fun of the right wing conservative politician by completely blowing up his views and making him extremely close minded. JBL's character makes us realize how ridiculuous some of his very real opinions may be. We are able to take a step back and see this archetypal character in a different light; we can assess the reality of the claims made.

Another example of the WWE's use of parody was the inception of the RTC (Right to Censor) duo. In this case they do something similar to the JBL character making a parody of the idea of their program as a corrupting influence on young viewers. In actuality, the RTC was a way to retaliate to the claims made by a specific group against the WWE--the PTC (Parent Television Council). The WWE was attempting to discredit their claims by ridiculing the PTCs attempts to censor them. Once again, the WWE was putting a new spin on a specific set of beliefs that existed outside the ring.

McMahon often makes the claim that the WWE may never go out of business. It's kind of hard not to believe him when there is so much fuel for his program in the everyday going-ons of society.

6 comments:

Ismael said...

I thought it was interesting how it was commented that social and political issues in old newspapers often correlated to the show during that period. It shows that the parodies have meaning to them and aren't just thoughts created in a writer's head. It shows that the WWE is very knolwedgeable of the events occurring in our society and are able to captialize off of them. I don't know whether this is right or wrong, but it at least mkes us think of these issues. By using parodies, the WWE is able to bring these issues to the forefront in a way that fits into the wrestlng performance.

Sam Ford said...

I remember when RAW used to tape several weeks in one night, they would go back in and add a lot of current events references into the taped shows, to make it seem more "live." It always made for interesting commentary, as they tried to find ways to work in references to current events while talking about the action in the ring...

c said...

Here's a different type of pro-wrestling parody. still hilarious - www.patriceoneal.com - episode 2:cockfights. no worries, it isn't porn.

WWE Fanatic said...

Hmm...interesting. I love to watch the wrestling, check out http://wwemania17.blogspot.com for proof. The only thing I don't like about it are the blatant cross-promotions that go on.

Anonymous said...

Acctually JBL is a right wing conservative in real life.

Sam Ford said...

That's true, but he has admitted that he is parodying extreme right-wingers with his character like Pat Buchanan.