Another treat from College Humor is this written piece, based on the notion of a fourth key character in the series, one “Kenny Nesbit,” who was removed from the series during revisions. And for good reason — he points out plot holes (“Harry, are you still taking that class? Everyone who teaches it has secretly been a crazy person who later tried to kill you”), ridicules his classmates (to Hermione: “Holy crap, woman. We get it. You read books”), and is generally a total dick.
The Onion: “Harry Potter Books Spark Rise in Satanism Among Children”
On its own, this 2000 piece from The Onion is worth inclusion for its straight-faced description of a nationwide boom in the dark arts thanks to the Potter books (“In 1995, it was estimated that some 100,000 Americans, mostly adults, were involved in devil-worship groups. Today, more than 14 million children alone belong to the Church of Satan, thanks largely to the unassuming boy wizard from 4 Privet Drive”). But this is also one of those wonderful cases of the truly clueless taking an Onion article at face value — in this case, the nutjobs at World Net Daily (a haven for birthers and gold-hoarders), which ran a 2001 “commentary” on the dark side of Pottermania, and pulled a quote from The Onion article (“High Priest Egan of The First Church of Satan in Salem, Mass., celebrates Harry’s contribution, saying, ‘Harry is an absolute godsend … we’ve had more applicants than we can handle lately.’”) as if it were the real thing. (The quote was subsequently pulled, but the good folks at Snopes direct us to an archived version with it intact.)
Rifftrax: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Rifftrax is a spin-off of the immortal Mystery Science Theater 3000, in which the three stars of that show’s final incarnation (Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy, and Bill Corbett) give the MST-style “riff” treatment to modern films, via downloadable .mp3 tracks that viewers can sync up to their own DVDs. Oddly, they don’t confine themselves purely to bad movies (Jaws and The Dark Knight have gotten the Rifftrax treatment), but they do their best work on lesser titles — hence, we heartily recommend their merciless riffs on the first two (and, let’s admit it, not terribly good) Potter flicks.
The Simpsons: “Wiz Kids”
The November 2001 “Treehouse of Horror XII” episode was an early entry in the Potter parody derby, airing a few weeks before the release of the first film. The third act, “Wiz Kids,” reimagined Bart and Lisa as wizardry students at a Hogwarts-style school, where of course Lisa dominates (“Lisa’s casting spells at an eight grade level; you’ve sinned against nature”). Mr. Burns is cast, of course, in the Voldemort role, attempting to lure Bart into helping him capture Lisa: “It would involve betrayal and unspeakable evil — ” “Hey, hey,” Bart interrupts, “you made your sale.”