The guys at Funny or Die have unleashed the fake literary event of the decade with the IFC’s The Spoils of Babylon, a new miniseries that spoofs all those epic miniseries events that filled the television airwaves during the ’80s. The series follows the story Devon Morehouse (Tobey Maguire), the son of an oil magnate, and the first two episodes are a tour de force of insanity. Here are the 10 weirdest things about the series that will have you both scratching you head in confusion, and salivating for more Morehouse absurdity.
1. The Whole Thing Is Based on a Fake Novel Written by a Fake Author Played by Will Ferrell
Will Ferrell plays Eric Jonrosh, the drunken recluse of an author that wrote the novel that the mini-series is based on, though he’s sure to let you know that his original novel is a literary masterpiece that’s far superior to the truncated miniseries. He demands two full wine glasses at all times, and has apparently slept with every member of the cast. Ferrell is hilarious, and you can just smell the literary prestige and wine stink falling off of him in heavy waves.
2. Jonas Morehouse Just Adopts Some Kid Off the Side of the Road
The epic saga of Devon Morehouse begins with the dirt-poor Jonas Morehouse (Tim Robbins) finding an amnesia stricken boy walking along the side of the road. Morehouse simply decides to take the child and make him a Morehouse without a second thought. He could have at least checked the boy’s collar to find an address for his owner.
3. All the Exterior Shots Are Terrible-Looking Small Scale Models
The models used to recreate exterior locations in The Spoils of Babylon look like they’re constructed with building materials that are just a small step up from LEGO bricks. On top of that, all the cars are toys that are dragged along a set with a highly visible piece of string. It’s especially odd seeing a tiny plastic Tobey Maguire sticking out of a yellow matchbox car during the show’s opening credits.
4. Devin Morehouse’s Wife Is a British Mannequin Named Lady-Anne
Probably the weirdest moment is the reveal that Devon Morehouse’s wife is a plastic mannequin with the disembodied voice of Academy Award nominated actress Carey Mulligan. And nobody ever acknowledges this. Wait… what?
5. …And They Have Weird Human/Mannequin Sex
Limbs literally go everywhere when Devon Morehouse and Lady-Anne get together for a sensuous scene of lovemaking where flesh meets plastic and dreams come true. The scene ends with Tobey Maguire walking out triumphantly while the usually regal Lady-Anne is left in a clump of deeply satisfied plastic limbs.
6. Devin’s Watch Has an Incredibly Long Inscription
Jonas Morehouse gives his son a pocket watch with a loving, albeit long inscription. The jeweler somehow fits a full novel worth of good advice that’s about as long as your college dissertation. What results in an almost three minute monologue from Maguire, and after lines upon lines of fatherly advice, the inscription ends with “Your fat” because there wasn’t enough space for “Your father.”
7. Cynthia Morehouse Is Uncomfortably Incestuous
Even though Devin and Cynthia Morehouse (Kristen Wiig) aren’t related by blood, they did grow up as brother and sister, which makes Cynthia’s pining for her brother extremely uncomfortable. It all comes to a head when Lady-Anne pops into the situation and offers some stiff competition for Devon’s heart.
8. It Gets Randomly and Suddenly Violent
When Devin Morehouse’s plane is shot down over Okajaba (that’s not a spelling error), he becomes a prisoner of the Japanese army, but thoughts about his lovely sister empower him to break through his bamboo cage and slaughter his prison guards in an absurdly violent scene. Don’t worry, though, the bodies all have little x’s over their eyes like a old Disney cartoon.
9. Other Than the Toy Cars, It’s Shockingly Well-Produced
The Spoils of Babylon doesn’t just dip its toe into its object of parody, but it lovingly recreates so many aspects that made the 1980s mini-series so grand yet so cringe worthy. All the sets and costumes are either great or terrible looking, depending on the desired effect, and even the show’s lead in to commercials breaks have a vintage quality to them.
10. And It’s Oddly Engaging
Even with all the absurdity flying across the screen left and right, we found ourselves strangely wrapped up in the actual story. We can’t wait to not only see Eric Jonrosh drink two more glasses wine, but to feast our eyes on the continuation of the epic Morehouse saga.