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A Look at FX’s “The League”: TV Review

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A Review of FX’s “The League”

The League TV Review“The League”:

The crudest show you never thought you’d want to watch? FX’s “The League”. Characters offend just about everyone with off-color comments about sexuality, Judaism, women’s rights and everything in between.  So why tune-in? Because the dialogue is witty, the characters well-developed, and plot points carry over from show to show. It’s also one of the few shows that can make me laugh out loud. Not just a chuckle “oh that’s rich” laugh. No. I’m talking about “holy-cow-that-is-the-funniest-thing-I’ve-ever-heard-I-would-tweet-this-if-I-had-a-Twitter-account-oh-no-I-just-missed-that-next-line-which-I’m-sure-was-even-funnier” laugh.

The Series:

Five guys who knew each other in high school are in a fantasy football league together. They’re part of an eight-man league but the additional members are simply referred to as the Out-of-Towners. These individuals never win and are never seen or heard.

We meet the group in their fifth year of competition right before their annual draft party. Each week is a new head-to-head match up, which means multiple chances to ridicule one another in between real world obligations of work and family. The group meets frequently at a local bar that we’re assuming is convenient for both the single guys in the urban setting of Chicago and the wedded men out in the suburbs. Last minute trades, setting of lineups, and knowing when a player is out for the week means that everyone is on their phone or computer for a large chunk of each episode.

As we get closer to the end of the season, the insults really begin to fly. Just when you think someone can’t possibly stoop any lower to get into their opponent’s head, they do. It starts with nagging about inadequacies in bed and escalates to using a sick kid to meet an NFL star. What may be torturous for the characters is simply hilarious for the audience.

The Players Cheat Sheet:

Pete (Mark Duplass) leaves his wife in the first episode after she gives away his favorite t-shirt. He’s the reigning champion and rarely misses an opportunity to flaunt his three-year winning streak via video posts and one-liners. Watch him make bad life choices when it comes to women and great ones in regards to pranks on Andre.

Kevin (Stephen Rannazzisi) is the commissioner of the league. This means he determines the picking order in the draft, collects league dues, and is, essentially, the keeper of rules and regulations. His love for his wife and determination to make it to the Shiva Bowl (their version of the Super Bowl) makes him your favorite early on.

Jenny (Katie Aselton) is married to Kevin and basically manages his team for him. Kevin will try to tell you differently, but don’t believe him. Jenny is, without question, the coolest wife ever.

Ruxin (Nick Kroll) is a horrible human being.

Andre (Paul Scheer) is a very successful plastic surgeon who does not have his emotions in check. He wants-needs to be liked by everyone. I struggle between thinking he needs a big hug and knowing he needs a slap in the face.

Taco (Johnathan Lajoie) is Kevin’s brother who you may recognize from such YouTube hits as Regular Everyday Normal Guy. He regularly breaks out into song and is almost always high, including a particularly entertaining episode involving a toilet seat found in a dumpster.

The Playoffs:

Members play for a chance to win the Shiva (she-vah), an outlandish trophy named for a girl they went to high school with. Sexual innuendos abound. The entire season leads up to this moment where the victor claims the Shiva as his own for the entire year.

The Return:

If you’re not a fan of vulgar language, sex, drugs, and/or alcohol, this might not be the show for you. But if you are, you’re in for a treat. In today’s world of sitcoms, rarely, I feel, does a show 1) make a person genuinely laugh and 2) last longer that one season. With “The League,” that’s exactly what you have.

Season three kicks off this fall on FX. Don’t have cable? Me either. But and Netflix have got us covered. Enjoy.

–Halley Ofner is a Contributor to The Free George.

The Free George is the online magazine and visitors’ guide of Upstate NY, covering things from Albany to Lake Placid, including Saratoga, the Lake George region and the Adirondacks. Check out our new City Blogs section for our extended coverage areas as well.

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