Series: The Spoils Of Babylon

The Spoils of Babylon is an IFC miniseries that parodies classic television soaps such as Dallas, and miniseries such as The Thorn Birds. The plot concerns the birth of a large corporation, Morehouse Conglomerated, and the drama over the Morehouse family who runs it. Rivalries, vendettas, and forbidden semi-incestuous love affairs abound. The story is framed by the twisted narrative of Eric Jonrosh, an old burnt-out author/actor who wrote the fictional Spoils of Babylon novel in-universe.

Many tropes that get misused get misused here, and to slightly over the top, comic effect. Tropes used include:

  • Actor Allusion: One of the shticks of the series is that the actors are playing actors, who in turn are playing the characters in the In-Universe epic 70's miniseries. One example is Jellybean Howie as Gumdrop Howard as Marianne More house.
  • All-Star Cast
  • Ambition Is Evil: An intended message of Eric Jonrosh's story. Jonas Morehouse is willing to give up the profit and success that comes with a huge oil conglomerate by switching to a more environmentally friendly technology. Similarly, Devon Morehouse abandons Morehouse Conglomerated while Cynthia and Devon become drunk on their own ambition and feed the Military Industrial Complex.
  • Beard of Sorrow: Devon wears one after leaving Morehouse Conglomerated in later episodes.
  • Big Fancy House
  • Billing Displacement / One-Scene Wonder: David Spade (as Joseph Soil) and Molly Shannon (as Odessa Dobson) are credited in the opening credits of the first episode alongside the leads, though each only appears in a a single scene in a single episode. Shannon only says two lines and a grand total of four words.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Cynthia and Winston.
  • Drunk with Power: Cynthia and her son Winston
  • Dumb Blonde: Cynthia Morehouse
  • Fake Nationality: Will Ferrell as Eric Jonrosh as the Shah of Iran
    • In-Universe, Englishman Sir Richard Driftwood plays American Jonas Morehouse. In reality, Tim Robbins does. So maybe it's a recursive example.
  • Going Cold Turkey: "I kicked heroin... I can't kick you."
  • Green Aesop: Horribly mishandled by Eric Jonrosh In-Universe
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: Haley Joel Osment as Winston
  • Incest Is Relative: Cynthia and Devon are adopted siblings and lovers
  • In Medias Res
  • Jerkass: Eric Jonrosh is a pretentious alcoholic weirdo prone to attempting sexual harassment
  • Old School Dogfight: Devon Morehouse becomes a fighter pilot during the second world war, prompting a scene of aerial combat.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Intentionally done by Tim Robbins (American) who plays Sir Richard Driftwood (British) who plays Jonas Morehouse (American). He goes from having a southern drawl to Received Pronunciation (with a lisp, no less) and back again multiple times in every scene.
  • Overcomplicated Menu Order: "The Age of the Bastard". While Devon cannot get a vegetation option at the steakhouse that somehow fits in the tiny submarine, Cynthia's order just gets more and more complicated.
    Cynthia: Oh, and another thing?
    Waiter: Yes, ma'am?
    Cynthia: Ah, yes, could I have a carafe of tomato soup, two turkey legs
    Waiter: Very nice.
    Cynthia: I'd like some cold cereal with some hot milk, two pots of tea, and a white wine in a coffee mug with a little bit of salt in it.
    Waiter: Okay, salt in it.
    Cynthia: Thank you so much.
    Waiter: Very good. Thank you.
    Cynthia: Thank you. Oh, and one more thing.
    Waiter: Yes?
    Cynthia: Could I have a cotton blend napkin? Sometimes when you iron out the regular napkins, they're too itchy for my thighs.
    Waiter: I understand.
  • Painting the Fourth Wall: The series is presented as if it's an actual 70's miniseries based on a novel that is only being shown for the first time, with author-director Eric Jonrosh introducing and outroducing each episode. Thus, we get chains of actors playing characters playing characters.
    • Tobey Maguire as Dirk Snowfield as Devon Morehouse
    • Kristen Wiig as Lauoreighiya Samcake as Cynthia Morehouse
    • Tim Robbins as Sir Richard Driftwood as Jonas Morehouse
    • etc.
  • Professional Killer: The two military officers who reappear several times throughout the series also do contract work as hitmen for Morehouse Conglomerated.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Winston, of course.
  • Shown Their Work: "Actually, my dear, Karl Marx wrote over twenty books..."
  • The Sixties: Parodied in the part of the story in which Devon Morehouse becomes a Bob Dylan lookalike Beat poet addicted to heroin
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Eric Jonrosh in-universe
  • So Unfunny It's Funny: Some rather strange and comical lines are delivered entirely straight, including bizarre forays into Shakespearean monologues in some scenes
  • Straw Political: Jonas Morehouse's business associates are a strawman stereotype of Herbert Hoover-era business conservatives. The writers of the show clearly had fun by having them complain about FDR using phrases that are nearly word-for-word from frequent criticisms of the Obama administration.
  • Stylistic Suck: Pretty much the series's raison d'etre. It's full of Bad Bad Acting, deliberate examples of Special Effects Failure and an entire part played by a mannequin voiced by Carey Mulligan.
  • Vanity Project: An in-universe example, "The Spoils of Babylon" was produced, written, and directed by Eric Jonrush who wrote the novel it was based on and plays the Shah of Iran in an episode.
  • War Is Hell
  • World of Ham