This may just be a personal peeve. I’m not sure if I’m identifying a grander trend in spoof comedy. But I must say, I am sick, sick, sick to death of anything mocking the 50s and 60s and the drug use/music that came with it, be it hippie-flavored or some lame packaged satire on the beats and jazz. That’s pretty much the reason this episode of The Spoils Of Babylon didn’t fly with me. Yes, I know that everything is being mocked under the grand umbrella of epic TV miniseries, and ridiculous portrayals of drug addiction certainly fall under that purview, but I don’t care. It’s super hacky.
On this week’s Spoils Of Babylon, perhaps the most shocking development is the swift murder of poor Lady Ann. Anne? We’ll never know (I could check, but who cares, she’s a mannequin). She gets burnt alive in a fire started by Cynthia, complete with brilliant 3-D effects (did anyone check to see if they actually worked?) I’ll miss Ann, because she was a mannequin voiced by Carey Mulligan and that was never not a brilliant, insane idea that this show had. She at least got to squeeze out a baby doll somehow, named Maryann, so maybe she can be a character in future episodes.
After the house burns down, Cynthia figures Devon will hook right up with her, but instead he goes on a mysterious journey, leaving her in charge of the company while he gets addicted to smack and lives in a crummy Greenwich Village apartment. This might have worked as a one-minute joke. As the crux of the episode, it’s incredibly tiresome, and Devon and Cynthia’s cold turkey scene goes on way too long. No criticism intended for Tobey Maguire and Kristen Wiig, who are doing fine, limited work in their spoofy little universe. The joke just feels incredibly overdone.
Then, just in case you forgot about him, here’s Jonas again, dying of old person coughing disease and repeatedly belting his son with a cane for legitimate (he wants to marry his sister) and not-legitimate reasons. Tim Robbins is so hysterical in this role and is even better once it’s dialed up to crazy old man levels. Maybe it’s just his natural proclivities as an over-actor (I said it), but he has an understanding for this ridiculous material that no one else on the screen has really displayed so far.
Well, too bad for me, since Jonas is dead now, and Cynthia and Devon can get married and run the company together. As usual, the best material of the episode comes right at the beginning and end, with Eric Jonrosh ranting about his addiction to some obscure hallucinogen and wrapping the night up with this beautiful stream of consciousness: “Isn't there something in the mystery of mini-particles forever dancing in the chaos of our vision? You don't even know what I'm talking about, so shut your mouth. How old are you? What? 22? It's not even an age, stop lying to me!” I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Will Ferrell is a very funny man.
- Jonrosh fought off a cast revolt at one point. “I knew to carry a gun. I would not allow the film to be shut down, although I did take a two-month hiatus to find out where my head was at.”
- Ann is cold, but she doesn’t mind. “Devon should be home soon. He can warm me with his lovemaking.”
- “It makes no sense.” “See, fires are very dangerous. Not to be blunt, but it makes total sense, scientifically.”