Event TV, ‘Housewives’ and HBO Shows Heat Up Parody Landscape

TV parodies are gaining momentum thanks to social media and viral videos, with some popular Web series making the jump to TV. Yahoo got onboard in 2012, with dating-show spoof “Burning Love,” produced by Ben Stiller. Jimmy Fallon extends the reach of “The Tonight Show” with skits, designed for social sharing, that parody shows such as “Breaking Bad” (“Joking Bad”) and “Game of Thrones” (“Game of Desks”).

Why the swell in spoofs? “It becomes part of what used to be water cooler conversation and is now a social media conver-sation,” said IFC president Jennifer Caserta.

EPIC INSPIRATION: The Spoils of Babylon

“When something becomes very popular, relevant or part of the cultural conversation, you know it’s arrived when people start to make fun of it,” Caserta said. IFC’s “The Spoils of Babylon,” a spoof of epic-scale television, is produced by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay of Funny or Die, the video website that’s known for its star-studded parodies. Inspired by the resurgence of the miniseries format, the show brought a fresh edge to comedy, Caserta noted. “This was taking it to the next level,” she said.

BIGGER AMBITIONS: The Hotwives of Orlando

There’s no shortage of fan-produced parodies on the Web, but budgets and production values are growing as they make the leap to cable and OTT outlets. Hulu offered lots of leeway to the creators of half-hour scripted series “The Hotwives of Orlando,” a play on the popular “Real Housewives” franchise. “They let the creators do the show that they wanted to do with literally zero interference,” says cast member Paul Scheer. ”That’s something that I’ve never experienced anywhere else.”

HOMAGE TO HBO: School of Thrones, L.A. Girls

“Game of Thrones” and “Girls” are among the most often parodied shows. Sadly, Funny or Die’s “Bros,” a “Girls” knock-off, never made it beyond its pilot. But who’s going to program an HBO parody?

School of Thrones: Created by Zach Grafton, the five-minute segs revolve around members in the cliques of Westeros Valley High, who ride bikes and skateboards instead of dragons and horses.

L.A. Girls: The Left Coast parody replaces Brooklyn brownstones with Beverly Hills palm trees, and gives Jessa a white African child, just for kicks.

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