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You Can't Be Serious: Addendum: I Should Be In That Spoof: After messing around with the IMDB movie connections for the original "You Can't Be Serious", I've decided to measure a movie's spoofability with a ratio instead of just counting the number of times it's been spoofed. Counting spoofs only measures the impact a movie has on our culture. Star Wars is the most-spoofed movie by far, but also the most-referenced movie by far. Measuring the ratio of spoofs to earnest references will find movies whose impact on culture was primarily to give us something to spoof.

(I came into this hating the word "spoof", BTW, and the more I type it the more I hate it.)

I calculated the spoof/reference ratio for all IMDB entries with more than one spoof and more than 5 references. Surprisingly, the movies with spoof/reference ratios near or above unity aren't movies; they're almost all TV shows:
MovieRatioSpoofsReferences
"Crocodile Hunter" 1.62138
"TMZ on TV" 1.56149
"The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau" 1.43107
"The Twilight Zone" 1.43107
"Hardball with Chris Matthews" 1.402115
The Perils of Pauline 1.2997
"The McLaughlin Group" 1.1298
"Inside the Actors Studio" 1.071514
The Six Million Dollar Man 1.0088
Kids 1.0077
Der 90. Geburtstag oder Dinner for One 1.0077
Bigfoot 1.0066
"The Tomorrow Show" 1.001111
"Aquaman" 1.0066
Riverdance: The Show 0.911011
"Behind the Music" 0.911011
Uncle Tom's Cabin 0.90910
"Through the Keyhole" 0.8878
King's Quest: Quest for the Crown 0.8667
"The French Chef" 0.8356

I'll let you look up the ones you don't recognize, though I will say that "Der 90. Geburtstag oder Dinner for One" looks pretty great, and "Bigfoot" is exactly what you think it is: the one-minute 1967 film. (IMDB rating: 8.2!)

Calculating the average spoof/reference ratio is an iffy proposition, but for movies with a lot of references, it's around 0.15.

What movies have a very low ratio? Are there movies that are referenced, say, 100 times more often than they're spoofed? Once again, the question of what distinguishes a "reference" from a "spoof" rears its mediocre-looking head, but maybe it cancels out when we're calculating a ratio between the two. Let's find out.

MovieRatioSpoofsReferences
Sex, Lies, and Videotape 0.012138
Deep Throat 0.02292
"Little House on the Prairie" 0.02287
"Hogan's Heroes" 0.02283
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner 0.03277
Brazil 0.03273
The Searchers 0.03273
THX 1138 0.03271
"Green Acres" 0.03269
"Will & Grace" 0.03264
Vertigo 0.038253
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington 0.03263
Sleeping Beauty 0.03262
"Two and a Half Men" 0.03261
A Wild Hare 0.03260
The Way We Were 0.03260
To Kill a Mockingbird 0.03260
Tootsie 0.03259
"Captain Kangaroo" 0.03258
Sophie's Choice 0.03258

I was skeptical about this list, but upon investigation it's pretty good! Certainly better results than I got on Sunday. Sex, Lies, and Videotape the movie wasn't that influential, but it has one of the most influential titles in cinema history. Similarly for Mr. Smith Goes to Washington: lots of title references and lots of conspicuously visible movie posters. A Wild Hare was the origin of the phrase "What's up, Doc?". Guess Who's Coming to Dinner scores whenever a character wryly cracks that phrase at the end of a scene. And so on.


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