FX’s The League – A Primer for Tonight’s Season 4 Premiere
Thomas McFeeley will be providing episode recaps of “The League” every Friday. Seen on FX Thursday nights at 10:30 p.m. Eastern, “The League” is entering its fourth season. And it’s probably cooler than your fantasy league.
“There are many things a man can do with his time. (Fantasy Football) is better than those things.”
This statement was made in the opening scene of “The League.” What is “The League?” Well, If you don’t watch “The League,” you can’t be my friend. And you definitely can’t be in my fantasy league.
For those who have no idea what “The League” is, you’re missing what I think is the funniest thing on television now. It’s on FX (hell, I don’t even know what channel that is – I think it’s in the 240s), and it’s a raunchy sitcom about six 30-something friends and members of a fantasy league (there are out-of-town league owners rarely mentioned). The entire show is about how these long-time friends conspire to cheat and/or get in the heads of their competitors to win their league’s championship trophy, known as the Shiva – which is named for the ugliest girl from their high school days. (Yeah, it’s like that)
(If your league doesn’t have a trophy, and/or a ring for each year’s champion, you are only doing fantasy football in a half-assed manner.)
“The League” is completely inappropriate, which of course is what makes it great. The show is mostly improvised from a simple outline, which I believe is the root of its hilarity. It’s also what can make the occasional episode a little wacky and inaccessible (think “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”) so it won’t win an Emmy anytime soon. But the laughs are worth it. The humor is very base, and you might ask “Can they do/say that on television?” Then 5 minutes later you’ll say, if they CAN do that on television why has nobody done it before?
Here is a primer on the characters of the show:
Kevin: The league commissioner who, despite strenuous effort, can never win the league’s Shiva. His frustrations have contributed to his young daughter’s truck-driver language.
Jenny: Kevin’s foul-mouthed wife who knows more about fantasy football than her husband. She’s more focused on her team than giving Kevin a second child.
Taco: Kevin’s stoner brother who, despite being in the league, never seems to know the rules or sets his lineup. He’s constantly involved in new wacky ventures, such as a vendor for “Three Penis” wine.
Andre: The rich gap-toothed plastic surgeon who is socially inept but thinks he is a fashion trend-setter. He gets easily rattled in fantasy football, such as picking Keyshawn Johnson three years after his retirement.
Pete: The 3-time champion of the league who is newly single and engages in practical jokes against other members of the league, such as sending cult members to ring the doorbell of a competitor.
Rodney Ruxin: People call him Ruxin and he is always paranoid that people are conspiring against him in fantasy football. He is the most filthy-mouthed, most gifted trash talker of the group, (which makes him my favorite) as evidenced by the above clip.
For those who do watch “The League” and those who want a flavor for what it’s about, here are my top five episodes from the first three seasons of “The League” (and a brief description):
Thanksgiving – Season 3, episode 8: In the two most perfect guest starring roles Jeff Goldblum appears as Ruxin’s dad and Sarah Silverman is Andre’s sister visiting for the holiday. Silverman plays the loose girl who taught most of the boys everything they know. And there’s hilarity involving a guinea pig and the consumption or sorbet. We all get to see Goldblum’s “vinegar strokes.”
High School Reunion – Season 2, Episode 10: The guys attend their high school reunion, where Ruxin shows off his smokin’ hot wife. They sabotage Andre’s reunion program bio to state that he has only one testicle. Taco attempts to compile a symphony of vinegar strokes, and captures Ruxin’s on tape. (Aren’t you curious about these vinegar strokes now?). The league creates a last-place trophy. We learn that Andre and Kevin are eskimo brothers, and who screamed the first Shiva Blast.
The Marathon (The What?) – Season 2, Episode 5: Andre and Pete bet over their times for an upcoming marathon (a what?). Andre gets addicted to Sports Performance Utility Nutrition Kick (SPUNK). Ruxin tries to resist an office charity terrorist. Taco becomes a “noterizer.”
The Sukkah – Season 3, Episode 2: Ruxin, a Jewish lawyer, attempts to get his son into an exclusive private school. To influence the school director’s decision, Ruxin hosts a party for a lesser-known Jewish holiday, which of course fails comically because of the guys in the league. Pete organizes a complicated multi-team trade, and Jenny advertises her new realtor business on a park bench.
The White Knuckler – Season 2, Episode 3: Kevin reveals his love of the “For Dummies” books (“How to Hide Your Glaring Lack of Knowledge for Dummies”). Ruxin uses Josh Cribbs and the “Make a Wish” program to help his own fantasy team. Andre courts a new business partner, who is black, and throws a “white party” to celebrate the partnership. Pete goes out with a girl Kevin once dated, and she remember’s Kevin’s “pretty cock.”
Quibble with my rankings. Catch up on the series and tell me what you like about it, or tell me I’m an immature imbeccle. But I dare you to watch “The League”