September 12, 2013

This Week on Netflix: The League

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So I’ve always watched a handful of football games every season. I usually wait until right before the playoffs when tensions are high, thus making the act of watching the game much more enjoyable (and louder in my presence). This year, however, I am watching from the very beginning. Why? Because I have made possibly the dumbest decision of my life — and the bar was already set pretty high — and have joined a fantasy football league for money. The next question might be: Why would you enter a league if you don’t really watch too much football? My equally dumb answer to that would be because of a little FX series called The League.

The League follows a group of lifelong friends that are all a part of a fantasy football league vying for the coveted Shiva trophy. The trophy is named after their high school valedictorian, Shiva Kamini Soma Kandarkram, and she even makes a few appearances throughout the show. The best part, however, is that you need not know anything about fantasy football other than it exists and people get really into it. The crux of the show is all about the trash talking and shenanigans that the characters get into.

The gaggle of friends consists of Pete; Ruxin; Andre; Kevin; his wife Jenny and his brother, Taco. Pete and Ruxin are my main reasons for even getting into the show in the first place, because they are played by Mark Duplass and Nick Kroll respectively, and I am obsessed with the two of them. Duplass’s real-life wife plays Jenny, Kevin’s wife, which sounds weird, but it works so well. Jenny used to be the ghost member of The League, as she would basically manage Kevin’s team since he was pretty bad on his own. Taco, played by Jon Lajoie (the musical genius behind “Show Me Your Genitals” and “E=MC Vagina”), is the resident stoner of the group who knows nothing about fantasy football and has somehow won the Shiva Bowl, much to Kevin’s dismay. Andre is basically the creep who tries too hard to be cool and fails every time; he’s  the butt of most jokes. Pete is the cool divorcée. And, lastly, Ruxin is probably the most high strung and the biggest sore loser/obnoxious winner.

But back to the show and its trash talking. Its bevy of inside jokes will very quickly become a part of your daily jargon. That is, if you embrace dirty jokes as wholeheartedly as I do. From vaginal hubris to vinegar strokes, you will be introduced to very important terms that you wish your group of friends had come up with. In addition, the week to week taunt videos are quite ingenious and creative. Trash talk never looked so good.

The secondary characters on the show also add to its overall comedic genius. Kevin and Jenny’s daughter, Ellie, is innocently hilarious. One of her best moments is when her dad sends his brother, Taco, to dress up as Mr. McGibblets — a children’s TV show character — and scare her out of her obsession. Instead, her innocent and trusting nature makes friend with Mr. McGibblets and gives him her parents’ laptop as long as he dances with her. On the far other side of the spectrum is Ruxin’s brother in law, El Cuñado, or Rafi. Rafi is totally a creepy guy, from his unruly beard to his grossly inappropriate comments and explicit sexuality. He always crosses the line, and is the one character you love to hate. Finally, there is the slew of NFL cameos. I can’t always appreciate them because I didn’t follow football that closely until now, but I’m sure it’s pretty awesome for those who do.

So whether you’re a football fanatic or do not give a damn about it, The League, can still be your next weekend binge. If you like raunchy and obscene jokes, this is definitely the show to catch up on with Netflix. I’ve watched all the episodes, but had to do so again in honor of the official start to the NFL season this past week. In the meantime, I can pretend I’m doing research for my own team, but let’s be honest, I’m still extremely oblivious as to how the process really works. And hey, you may even be inspired to play for your own Shiva Bowl.