Another week, and another so-so episode of THE LEAGUE. If you hear a high pitched sound, it’s the show’s wheels spinning. I can only describe this episode as recycled. I feel like I’ve seen parts of it before in earlier episodes, and it even has a certain similarity to the anti-dentite episode of “Seinfeld.” Perhaps the “Seinfeld” homage is purposeful, since Jeff Schafer (the co-creator of the show) also wrote for that brilliant show. Either way, they’re running out of story and it’s not pretty.
Maybe I’m in the minority, but I don’t like seeing American comedies run themselves into the ground. It’s more than just comedies, dramas are in the same predicament (I’m looking at you “X-Files”). If something works, keep kicking that dead horse until there’s no more dead horse to kick. It’s sad, and it devalues the earlier quality of a show.
The first season of “The League” was shockingly good. It was fresh, funny, off the cuff, and only 6 episodes long. That’s half of what a season of “The League” is now. They expanded to 13 in the second season and it worked out pretty well. We’re 61 episodes deep at this point, and the show is really struggling to be fresh and funny. Perhaps cutting the season back to 8 or 6 episodes would make it easier to have solid story again with less filler.
Early in the show, guest appearances by NFL players were rare. There are actually none that I can recall in the first season, and it didn’t matter. The show could stand on its own merits. Now, there’s one almost every episode. They feel forced, and many of the players are super awkward. This episode Darren Sproles guest stars in a truly forced storyline that is not a bit believable.
One of my biggest gripes with the show is cramming too many storylines in an episode, and having none of them end satisfyingly. All 5 characters do not need their own separate storylines. Here’s this week’s:
– Jenny is accused of being a “Height Supremacist” since she only starts tall players on her fantasy team. This boils over when she meets Kevin’s short boss and humiliates him. Kevin’s boss is a huge Eagles fan, but everything backfires when Jenny tries to get him and Darren Sproles together.
– Ruxin is sent to Korea by his boss as punishment after Geoffrey’s juicing disqualified the team from the Little League championship game. He interacts with the gang through Skype on an Ipad. It reminded me a bit of Max Headroom, and made me laugh.
– Pete tries to get a raise at work, and uses a fake job offer from Taco Corp to secure it.
– Andre awaits punishment for using Brian Glazer to help him zing the gang and set his fantasy lineup. Since they won’t tell him what his punishment is, he punishes himself and dresses in drag.
– Taco sells the EBDB idea to Mark Cuban for over one million dollars. Another super awkward guest appearance.
– Elli is used by Jenny to make a video that gets Darren Sproles to go to a school dance with her.
That’s six, count them, six characters with separate storylines in a 22-minute show. Even if each were given equal spotlight, that leaves only 4 minutes per storyline!
Next week brings the return of Rafi and Dirty Randy. I love when Rafi is in episodes, but I could really do without Dirty Randy ever appearing in “The League” again. Prepare yourselves for another throw away episode.
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.