IFC's The Spoils of Babylon, which premiered last night, isn't trying to win the Emmy for Best Miniseries. It's a six-episode-long joke meant to spoof all the other miniseries gunning for the trophy (and basically every miniseries ever). An adaptation of fictional author Eric Jonrosh's (Will Ferrell) best-selling novel of the same name, Babylon tells the story of an orphaned kid Devon (Tobey Maguire) who's taken in by the Morehouse family, patriarch Jonas (Tim Robbins) and little princess Cynthia (Kristen Wiig). The miniseries tracks every misadventure in his life, from striking oil to being gunned down during WWII, to his marriage to the classy and British Lady Anne York, to whatever happens in the upcoming episodes. Eventually, it'll find its way through the '70s and '80s, where Jessica Alba, Michael Sheen, and Haley Joel Osment come in.
It sounds epic, it's billed as epic, but it's not as epic as it seems. The jokes on Southern dummies are predictable and the scenarios unimaginative, making you wish that what should be a fun 22-minute episode was condensed to five instead. Wherever you think this will go, it goes there. Just take the most cliched movie moments you can think of, and add it together. For your convenience, use the formula below.
Will Ferrell dressed as a drunken Hagrid
Tim Robbins as an old-timey Chris Gardner without the intelligence
Tobey Maguire as a poor man's Gatsby with a mean streak
Kristen Wiig's overgrown Cindy Brady with Kathy Griffin's hair
A quickie marriage to an inanimate Carrie Mulligan
General Hospital drama
Boogie Nights camp
If you haven't caught the premiere yet, don't worry, you've essentially just watched the entire episode.