I mentioned last week that I wasn’t looking forward to this episode of THE LEAGUE, as I’ve been severely disappointed by any episode that Dirty Randy (Seth Rogen) appears in. This week’s episode was no different, and is a perfect example of what I like to call “the Rafi paradigm” being out of whack.
What is the Rafi paradigm? I’m glad you asked, but before I really get into the meat of it, I thought I should first talk about the character of Rafi. Rafi is played by Jason Mantzoukas, and he’s the crazy brother of Ruxin’s wife Sofia. He was first introduced in season 2 as a replacement owner to take over one of the leagues fantasy teams. His character was likable right away. Rafi is absolutely bonkers, has no boundaries, and is always doing and saying things that are super extreme and inappropriate.
For the longest time his character worked so well when juxtaposed with the other characters, because his extremeness lifted them to do things they wouldn’t normally do. He also reliably got the gang into super uncomfortable situations. This is where Rafi’s comedy gold lies. He’s unpredictable, probably has murdered people, and has no moral quandaries about anything.
Rafi would show up several times a season to wreak havoc in everyone’s lives, most specially his brother in law Ruxin. There was also the possibility that Rafi and Sofia had shared an incestuous relationship, which drove Ruxin crazy, and was never denied by his wife. A paintball episode featuring Rafi was one of my absolute favorites, and I believe it’s where the term “murder boner” originated. In the past his character always lifted an episode, and made it more enjoyable.
This changed with the arrival of the Dirty Randy character played by Seth Rogen. Dirty Randy is Rafi’s best friend, works in a library, and is a director of super low budget porn. He’s just as crazy as Rafi, and that’s where the problem lies. When one character is out of control amongst a group of pretty straight-laced characters, comedy usually ensues. When two characters have zero boundaries and do disgusting and inappropriate things, the novelty wears off. It becomes ridiculous, and often just launches into either a parody of itself or a gross out fest. Either way, it’s not funny.
Sadly this has been the norm with the Rafi character lately. Instead of appearing in episodes with the gang letting his unpredictability create comedy, he’s been appearing in several Rafi and Dirty Randy-centric episodes which always fall flat. The show has wasted one of its best elements, much like neglecting to have Taco (Jon Lajoie) do any of his funny songs anymore.
Tonight’s episode was the origin story of Rafi and Dirty Randy’s friendship. It started out pretty well. They met in an insane asylum after some personal tragedies. It had a real “One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest” vibe going for a while, which made me hopeful things would be different this time. I was soon disappointed as it descended into a ridiculous poop and masturbation joke fest. It ended in a wedding, which is the only time we see most of the gang (sans Ruxin), but all in all it was just a jumbled mess of an episode.
After I ragged on how recent seasons of “The League” cram too many storylines into a 22-minute episode, I rewatched the entire first season. It consisted of 6 tight and hilarious stories. Each episode felt more laid back, and took its time to let the comedy blossom instead of ramming sequence after sequence down our throats. I wish the creators would go back to what worked so well in the beginning, before they turned the show into a parody of itself.
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.