American Gothics: Ten Terrific Parodies of the Classic Painting

The spoofs are innumerable (as any Google search quickly demonstrates), but here are ten of my personal-favorite reworkings of Grant Wood’s famous 1930 painting:

This wild darkening of the original seems strangely fitting, considering that a rural farmhouse served as the centerpiece of the film that gave birth to the modern zombie mythos. Here the notoriously tight-lipped pair bare their teeth in a display of carnivorous desire and grim decomposition. Perhaps the most gloriously mordant detail of all: the reflection of the pitchfork in the man’s overalls being further accented by a graphic skewering.


Further proof of the ubiquity of these goggling Twinkies. An apropos parody, too, given the Minions’ penchant for wearing overalls and also dressing in drag.


Parody of parodies: playing on traditional images of Presidential couples cut-and-pasted into the American Gothic scene.  Palin and Trump’s kooky expressions are brilliantly glossed by the punning title of the piece.


The perennially sex-starved Amy forms a perfect substitute for Wood’s spinsterish female figure, while Sheldon’s nerdy turn as the male figure is deserving of a “Bazinga!”


Irony-rich, with Bob Ross as the least likely painter of such a joyless couple.  Not even the “happy little trees” added to the background can brighten the mood of this piece.


A splendid transposition, capturing Miss Piggy’s dominance in this inter-species relationship. Kermit, with his trademark distressed expression, also forms a remarkable match with American Gothic’s female figure.


The Gothic theme of false appearances resounds here in this portrait of chem-teacher-cum-meth-kingpin Walter White. It’s a spurious memento, for sure: Skylar’s scowl, not to mention the fiery debris streaking down towards her husband, show that this family is about to go nuclear.


The induction of the prim-and-proper couple into the
Kiss Army makes for some hilarious incongruity. Gene Simmons’s Demon makeup proves particularly effective on the man’s long face. The thought of a monstrous, lascivious tongue lurking behind the man’s lips only enhances the wicked wit of this parody.


An extra-clever invocation of The X-Files: Scully and Mulder prove perfectly oblivious to the evidence of the extraterrestrial in their midst.  The transformation of farmer into rooftop Martian, though, is the crowning detail here.


One of Wood’s upright figures is strikingly leveled in this black-humored portrait of murderous misogyny. We finally find out what it takes for Mr. Sourpuss to crack a smile!

One thought on “American Gothics: Ten Terrific Parodies of the Classic Painting

  1. The one parody I didn’t come across, and wished existed: a pairing of Johnny Depp’s and Winona Ryder’s characters from Edward Scissorhands. It’s easy to imagine what would stand in here for the pitchfork, but picture, too, Grant Wood’s bushy trees reconfigured by Edward’s amazing hedge-shaping skills. Such a parody seems all the more called for when one notes that the now-famous house that inspired Wood’s painting is located at the intersection of American Gothic Street and Burton Street.

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