Here’s the deal, I watch a lot of TV, one might even say I watch an obscene amount; I watch so much my doctor recently warned me about the health risks, no joke, it happened! Even though I watch so much television there are times when I fail; sometimes I miss or ignore a program about which I should be obsessed. It was this way with 24; I missed the first two seasons and happened to catch Jack Bauer beating the “stuffing” out of some terrorist when flipping channels and then ten days and two bottles of TUMS Extra Strength later I was caught up.
So it is with The League; somehow I missed this program that is written, well, for me. Do you remember that scene in As Good As It Gets when Jack Nicholson’s character was stopped by the young blonde woman at his publisher’s office and she asked him something akin to “How do you know what it’s like to live in here?” and she gestured to her head and heart, remember that? If you don’t, can you imagine it? If I were to meet Jackie Marcus Schaffer and Jeff Schaffer, the creators of The League, I would have to ask them the same question, how do they know what it’s like to live in here?
The series is about a group of longtime friends who have a fantasy football league; there’s the smart and successful one, the almost as smart and successful one, the guy who got married but is now single and trying to figure that all out, the stoner younger brother, and the nerd who is sort of a hanger-on but is OK to have around and he’s been a fixture for so long nobody will ever get rid of him. Oh, and remember the girl in college who hung out with your group of friends and she knew more about sports than you and she was smart and really good-looking and then one of your buddies marries her and you kick yourself for not having that idea before him? Yeah, she’s on The League too.
The show is written in such a way that one need not be even vaguely familiar with fantasy football, I’m not and it doesn’t take anything away from the experience; what one does need to watch this program is a strong stomach, and perhaps a low standard for what is socially acceptable subject matter for television. The League is all about gross-out humor; there are sex addicts, a sadistic and disgusting brother-in-law, a cocaine toilet seat, breast milk theft, digital penetration of certain orifices, and many, many, many more moments that will make you groan and then think, “Holy crap, I know someone that did the exact same thing!” In fact, there is a whole episode dedicated to the guys punching each other in an area that shall not be named; I am sorry to say I had a group of friends who thought it was hilarious to do the same thing. I am often mystified at the fact any of us had children, I am also ashamed to admit I laughed so hard I had to pause that episode several times.
The League succeeds in entertaining because it offers comedy that is so disgusting, yet so familiar one can not help but laugh out loud often during each half-hour episode. If you are already a fan of the show, you know season five just got under way, if you are not a fan but are now thinking you might like to give it try you can see seasons one through four on Netflix, and then watch the first two episodes of this season on demand; you won’t be disappointed. Catch The League on FXX Wednesdays at 10:30 PM, right after It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
- John Morton