Glosario: Mockumentary

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Mockumentary, a portmanteau of mock documentary, is a film and TV genre, or a single work of the genre. The mockumentary is presented as if it were a documentary, though it is not factual. It is a commonly used medium for parody and satire.

(El mockumentary es un género de film o TV que se presenta como si fuera un documental, pero no responde a hechos factuales. En general se usa como medio para la parodia o sátira).


Mockumentaries are often presented as historical documentaries with b roll and talking heads discussing past events or as cinéma vérité pieces following people as they go through various events. Examples of this type of satire date back at least to the 1950s (a very early example was a short piece on the "Swiss Spaghetti Harvest" that appeared as an April fool's joke on the British television program Panorama in 1957), though the term "mockumentary" is thought to have first appeared in the mid-1980s when This Is Spinal Tap director Rob Reiner used it in interviews to describe that film.

The false documentary form has also been used for some dramatic productions (and precursors to this approach date back to the radio days and Orson Welles' production of H. G. Wells' novel, The War of the Worlds).

Mockumentaries are often partly or wholly improvised, as an unscripted style of acting helps to maintain the pretense of reality. Comedic mockumentaries rarely have laugh tracks, also to sustain the atmosphere, although there are exceptions - for example, Operation Good Guys had a laugh track from its second series onwards.

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