“The League” is a comedy about six childhood friends who play in a fantasy football league: Taco (Jon Lajoie), Pete (Mark Duplass), Kevin (Stephen Rannazzisi), Andre (Paul Scheer), Jenny (Katie Aselton), and Ruxin (Nick Kroll). To the five guys and one wife, it’s not just a game. They will do whatever it takes to win their equivalent of the Super Bowl, the Shiva Bowl. In the past, “The League” has had guest stars from various football players such as Chad Ochocinco, Antonio Gates, Josh Cribbs, and Terrell Suggs. “The League” returned for its third season on October 6 on FX.Whether you watch Thursday Night Football, and manage a fantasy team, or catch “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” on FX just after “The League,” I guarantee it is worth your while to watch this show. Furthermore, if you already plan on watching the premiere of the third season of “The League,” then stop reading now. I am in all likelihood about to spoil the episode for you.
The premiere begins with Ruxin rubbing his victory in over the league message boards. He has made and posted a music video called “The Shiva Bowl Shuffle,” featuring his fantasy team as back up. It’s a song and dance that is an allusion to 1985 Chicago Bears’ “Super Bowl Shuffle” video.
At the end of the second season, Andre “won” the Sacko bowl Trophy, which goes to the person who finishes last in the fantasy league. Aside from the physical reminder, the “winner” of the Sacko is then effectively subordinate to the group. Part of Andre’s punishment is to not shave or cut his hair until the next season; combine that with his fashion sense, and he looks even more like a pedophile than he had in the past.
With the new football season coming up, the guys look for extra ways to mess with Andre while he still owns the Sacko.
Despite the humor being mildly offensive at times, “The League” manages to keep things witty. The actors are great at improvisation, and a large amount of the show’s running time is improv. Had I not been told, I would never have known that the show was only semi-scripted.
For the final prank, the guys tell Andre that the draft is going to occur in his apartment and he can’t be there. While he is out, Raffi’s porn director friend “Dirty Randy” (Seth Rogan), teams up with the guys to shoot a porno in Andre’s apartment. However, things go wrong, and everyone gets locked out of the apartment. Consequently the computer auto-drafts their teams.
My only complaint with “The League” is its runtime. With only a 30-minute time slot, the episode ended and I was ready to see a lot more. Otherwise, the show has really hit its stride and I cannot wait to see where the writers take it next. “The League” remains extremely entertaining with a successful transistion into its third season. ♦