The Parody has been called the most difficult story to write, although I’m not sure who said that or even if it’s true. Just by taking a look around the fanfic sites, however, one can see that it’s a difficult thing to do well. How does one warp familiar characters to fit the parts of other familiar characters, and yet still maintain their original personalities? Does the author make changes to the Daria characters themselves, or to the work being parodied, and to what extent can the story be bent without being broken?
It’s a difficult task, one that was pulled off flawlessly by the winner of the Parody award…
“DARIA’S CHRISTMAS CAROL”
Well, I violated one of my (unwritten) rules – I gave an award to the same author twice (John Takis was already given the ficlet award for “The Last Word”). But I couldn’t help it. This story was done so well, I had to grant the parody award here.
When I decided to write a parody, I chose “Cinderella” because it was so well-known, had been done already many times, and dealt with classic themes. John Takis chooses “A Christmas Carol” for these reasons, but also for others. One is that he truly loves the original work – he says as much in his notes surrounding the story, but it’s obvious even without his coming out and saying it. He also was insightful enough to see how perfect the story was for Daria – more on that in a bit.
John makes the wise move of mining only the original Dickens for his material, rather than pulling from one of the many adaptations of the work. The appropriate flavor for the story is captured as John paraphrases the opening to the original Dickens, with necessary changes made to fit Daria. Once mood is established, he abandons this approach and continues the story with a more modern tone. Somehow, it works. Actually, it makes me want to read the original story, something I imagine John was trying to get across.
It’s extraordinary how perfectly the characters of Daria fit into this story. Only one extra is introduced (C.E. Forman’s Aunt Eleanor character, playing the Marley’s Ghost role) and everyone else finds their various places nicely. Some characters end up where they are least expected – Jake as Tiny Tim, Jodie as the spirit of Christmas Present, Kevin and Brittany as the charity collectors. Who would have thought that Beavis and Butt-Head could be made to work in any sort of dramatic role? And yet, it all comes together flawlessly.
I would suggest that Daria’s final revelation is somehow even more horrifying than Scrooge’s – but you’ll have to read the story for details. There is also a wonderful warmth to the Christmas Morning scene; much like Scrooge let go of his greed, Daria drops her emotional barriers in a touching way.
I think Dickens would have been very pleased.
"Daria's Christmas Carol" can be found here