As one of those fellers who has always been particularly non-athletic (read: nerdy), I’ve always been completely unable to understand the downright fanaticism that the more sporty types in society (read: jocks) tend to exert on a perpetual basis toward their favorite teams and players. To me, the concept of a fantasy football league is just as absurd as is the realization of an actual football league. It has always been my opinion that fantasy football folk are little more than fools who probably have great difficulty with grasping reality.
But then again, I’m a guy who listens to lounge music and collects Betamax players, so what would I know? So, when one takes into consideration my own insularity at other people’s narrow-mindedness, you can appreciate that, as I sat down to check out The League, I was unable to shake the feeling of “I’m going to regret this.” Fortunately, I was wrong. As it turns out, The League is a damn funny show — even for people who don’t know anything about that game where guys kick an oddly-shaped “ball” around.
The FX series — which is most assuredly not for family audiences — tells the misadventures of a group of friends (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) in Chicago who are in a fantasy football league. After a short premiere season, which consisted of a whopping six episodes, The League returned for a second round; this time giving viewers 13 episodes to enjoy. We begin with the gang heading to Vegas, wherein last year’s winner, Andre (Paul Scheer) — a wealthy plastic surgeon whose taste in clothes, art, and just about everything in general is questionable at best — hosts a draft for his clubmates: an event that ends with a portion of Andre’s own trophy embedded in his backside.
Things go from amusingly bad to hilariously worse as neurotic attorney Ruxin (Nick Kroll) and the others try to find a way to get rid of Ruxin’s unbearable brother-in-law, who infiltrates the league; office worker Pete (Mark Duplass) buys a Crown Victoria, only to be mistaken for a cop by everyone; Jenny (Katie Aselton) and league commissioner Kevin (Stephen Rannazzisi) try to figure out whose potty-mouths are making an unfavorable impression on their little girl; and freeloader Taco (Jon Lajoie), Kevin’s extremely odd brother, discovers a toilet seat made entirely out of cocaine in the trash — to wit he becomes addicted to sitting on it.
There are a lot of marvelous moments to be found in The League: The Complete Season Two, many of which are partially improvised and executed by the show’s wonderful cast most exceptionally. The laughs come hard and fast like some sort of overused sports analogy, and, speaking of sports, there are a number of NFL players who pop up here in cameos (Chad Ochocinco, Josh Cribbs and Terrell Suggs). Several familiar faces from regular TV also appear, such as Arrested Development’s Alia Shawkat, and former Boston Legal lawyers Lake Bell and Craig Bierko.
Fox Home Entertainment brings The League: The Complete Season Two to Blu-ray in an overall excellent release; one that not only boasts wonderful audio and video aspects, but also contains a couple of special features. The 2-disc set is viewable in “Season Mode,” wherein you can watch all 13 thirty-minute episodes (in their extended versions whenever possible) back-to-back, and there are additional deleted scenes and outtakes on-hand as well. An included featurette depicts Paul Scheer as Bob Ross, showing us how to paint an atrocity along the lines of something his onscreen character would buy, and there are also several music videos for the outrageous Taco songs (the character, not the ‘80s group).
All in all, The League: The Complete Season Two is the kind of nerdy union I can make a pledge to. It’s a side-splitting series that I’m glad I came across — and one I intend to keep following.