For Better or For Worse, The League Never Really Evolved

Last winter FX’s sort of fantasy sports related comedy The League ended after its 7th season (up on Netflix now). The League actually has a pretty original premise for a sitcom: a longtime group of friends bound together (and thrown into conflict) by an annual fantasy football league. The show never really goes too in-depth on fantasy football jargon or references which keeps it accessible to non-fantasy football players. There is about one joke per episode that makes a fantasy football metaphor about a real-life situation being experienced by one of the guys (or gal) in the league. Instead, The League stays focused on the life and relationships of the mostly male members of the league who have been friends since childhood.

Buried not-so-far below the surface of The League is a suite of statements from the male perspective about dating, marriage, fatherhood, and life in suburbia. In fact, each of the characters represents a different kind of male stereotype in the dating world. Kevin (Steve Rannazzisi) is the hapless married guy, and in true sit-com fashion he rarely does anything deserving of his uber-cool, beautiful, and most importantly, tolerant of shenanigans, wife Jenny (Kate Aselton). Jenny is in fact one of the best characters on the show, even if her inclusion as a main character felt a bit like an afterthought. Ruxin (Nick Kroll) is the reluctantly happy married guy who puts on a front of wanting to have the freedom of the single guys but ultimately enjoys the perks of marriage (his wife is also uber-cool, beautiful, and tolerant of shenanigans). Pete (Mark Duplass) is the perpetually single guy who strings together one hookup after another and makes fun of the married guys. Taco (Jon Lajoie), like Pete, is perpetually single. Taco is the show’s Kramer or Dwight Schrute, wholly unconventional in every aspect, including sex. Andre (Paul Scheer) is the hopeless loser friend, and whether in life or in love he is the brunt of most of the other guy’s jokes.

The final season of The League mostly runs true to the earlier seasons. The gang gets into sticky situations at work and at home because of their undying love for fantasy football. But of course this is a final season, so you could reasonably expect some finality. Without giving away enough details to enter into spoiler territory, there is a wedding, a death, and a conception, otherwise known as the television plot-line triple threat.

For most of the cast, the final season of The League won’t be the last you see of them. Nick Kroll is one of the bigger names in comedy now, he’s already had one headlining show and will have no problem lining up other projects. Mark Duplass has done relatively well for himself independently as well, both as a guest on other shows like The Mindy Project and in indie flicks. Jon LaJoie’s talents will translate to other work. And Paul Scheer is tied in with enough other comedians that he’ll pop up in many places. Kate Aselton is a strong actress and will continue to do well. It’s Steve Rannazzisi that has the best odds of being left behind now that The League has ended. He’s not as talented the other cast members, and the 9-11 comments certainly don’t help his stock. If I had him on a fantasy actors team I would probably be checking the waiver wire for a replacement.

Enjoy the final season of The League for what it is. If you liked the show up to this point you’ll get more of what you’ve come to expect. But don’t expect the final season of The League to put a bow on your viewing experience and give a nice tidy ending. You didn’t watch the show for the plot so don’t start expecting it in the show’s twilight moments. The last few episodes feature the guys and gal carrying on with their usual filthy trash talking banter right up to the finish line.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.