{TB Talks TV} The League Review: “Man Land”

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Tweetable Takeaway: A night in the woods is all it takes for Kevin to regain his manhood.

Airtime: Wednesday nights on FXX
By: Jeff Iblings, Contributor

 

Here’s the thing about THE LEAGUE, when it’s good, it’s pretty good, but when it’s bad, it’s terrible. Luckily this was one of the good episodes. It had everything you need to build a funny and enjoyable experience.

The whole thing about Kevin having trouble getting it up has grown pretty tiresome. Today they play on this again, but now it’s Jenny’s dad questioning Kevin’s manhood. Jenny’s father is a manly man. He fixes things, goes hunting, and is as rugged as can be. He has no time for “ninnies,” and he thinks Kevin is a ninny. He challenges Kevin to go hunting with him. Challenge accepted. Thankfully they’ve pushed Kevin’s character into a scenario where he has something to prove.

Another key to this episode working so well is the return of Ruxin. I’ve talked before about how when Nick Kroll is not in the show, it doesn’t gel as well as it should. This is an example of how his presence helps to solidify the comedic interactions between the rest of the characters. He’s the dark matter holding The League universe together, without him everything descends into chaos. It’s also a big plus to see the gang go on the hunting trip to “Manland” with Kevin and his father in-law. Ruxin, the former Boy Scout, has all kinds of knot tying experience that is used to comedic effect.

The other big factor in the episode working as well as it does is Raffi. He shows up out of the blue in the woods during the hunting trip all camoed out, and explains his appearance by saying he’s been Kevin. He’s the wild card, and it works so well along with Jenny’s dad. They are kindred spirits. When shit goes crazy, you want Raffi along to amp things up. Throw in a bear, and you have yourself a hell of an outing.

I want to point out the third reason the episode works so nicely is that they haven’t crammed ten pounds of story into a two pound bag as per usual. I’ve ragged on this before, and if you go back and look at which episodes worked and which didn’t, the sole factor of a truly good episode is the simplicity of the storylines. When they get to convoluted, the show turns into a smoldering pile of crap. Thankfully this was not the case.

More thoughts from The League office:

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–  The shot the took at the offensiveness of the Washington Redskins name was great. The fact that the conversation about how bad the name is takes place at a bar filled with Native Americans is just the cherry on the top.

–  The Andre and Russell wine bar storyline was ok, but it really didn’t need to be anything special since the real meat was in the hunting trip.

–  Raffi foraging for food in the woods was hilarious. The fact that he was eating bear poop and referring to it as “second harvest” cracked me up.

–  Kevin finally proves his manhood by scaring away a bear and saving everyone’s life. Now maybe we can be done with his penile problems for the season.

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For six months out of the year Jeff is holed up in his home with nothing to do but shovel snow, watch television, write, and dream of warmer climates.
Twitter: @OfSoundnVision

Keep up with Jeff’s “The League” reviews here!
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