Pop Culture

6 Times The Knockoff Was Better Than The Original

We ranked the best of parodies, sequels, and plain ripoffs.

Get out your Chinatown Louis Vuitton luggage, kids, because we are taking the express train to Knockoff Village. The eight items below are the best in parodies, reboots and knock offs, so pop open a diet Shasta, grab a couple of Hydrox cookies and enjoy! 


Seeing these octogenarians boogie worry free kicks bootie. The performers have an average age of 82 and a combined age of more than 4,000, so the lyrics of shaking off what other people think of you resonate on a different level than they do coming from Taylor Swift -- who was 24 at the time. Also, it’s some of the breakdancing I’ve ever seen. Well done, Julia Wallace Retirement Village. Can’t wait to see what you do with with Major Lazer. 

2. Best Product Knockoff: Dumb Starbucks

As if the easy listening whipped cream franchise wasn’t dumb enough, in 2014, comedian Nathan Fielder (Nathan for You) set up a Starbucks parody called simply: Dumb Starbucks. In one of the best uses of parody law I’ve ever seen, the pop up was exactly like a real Starbucks store, but with the word “dumb” written before many of its items, including their music selection of “Dumb Nora Jones Duets.” Though not particularly pleased to be at the receiving end of the punchline, the real Starbucks couldn’t do anything about it because legally, “Dumb Starbucks” was technically an art gallery where the works of art were cups of coffee and were all available for purchase. 

3. Best Movie Remake: Oceans 11

Guys, if you haven’t re-watched this helluva heist, you should. George Clooney and Brad Pitt head up an all star cast with some of the tightest comebacks in town. If superhero movies have gotten you down with their lazy writing and uninspiring inspirational speeches, check out this 2001 remake of the 1960 Sinatra flick bearing the same mane. 


In 2007, Alanis Morissette covered the then ubiquitous Fergie Ferg jam, "Humps." Morissette doesn’t need drum machines and she doesn’t need Spanx to get her point across. I have no idea how or why this cover came to pass, but in a world of pop beats, this thoughtful remake made me smile, and it reminded me that everything sounds better on a piano. 

5. Best Video Game Sequel: Pokemon Go

I know, I know, shut up about Pokemon, already! Sorry, pops. Nothing doing. I thought Pokemon was kid stuff when I was a kid, but now as a grown ass adult, I can’t get enough of it. It has people walking around town and talking to their neighbors! Though it may be one more link in the chain that shackles us to our phones, at least it seems to be bringing a little bit of joy into the world. On top of that, be honest: you were probably on your phone anyway. The only thing Pokemon is taking you away from is Instagram.


To be fair, Coolio’s original Gangsta’s Paradise is nothing to sneeze at, but Weird Al’s parody cover is the perfect combination of random and ridiculous to make the rap opus sing. Could I have also cited “Weird” Al’s Word Crimes cover of Robin Thicke’s "Blurred Lines" aka pop culture’s sonata of sexual assault? Yes. But, guys: “An Amish with a 'tude? You know that's unheard of.” 

[Top Photo Credit: Edward Woo]


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