The League: Judge MacArthur Review
By Alex Hall (@AlexKHall)
With the two-hour fall season premiere of Burn Notice, a new Elementary and of course It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia on, The League had a lot of competition last Thursday night. With so much quality television on the same night that “Judge MacArthur” came out, the show had to have one heck of an episode to be on par with quality episodes from other popular shows. “Judge MacArthur” was just that.
This week, the gang is all about crowning the smartest person in the league. Early in the episode, Kevin explains that he’s looking to be promoted from lawyer to judge. In fact in his interview for the position, he tells the judge interviewing him that he’s been commissioner for eight years…not referring to the actual occupation but his time as commish of the fantasy football league.
Because this was the first story introduced, the audience likely got the impression that this was going to be the show’s main storyline. Instead the writers decided to tease the judge storyline in the beginning, only to be brought into the spotlight in the final scenes of the episode. This is different from the usual mold of the series and felt like a nice change of pace.
What the main storyline ends up being is who is the smartest of the guys in the league, with Pete and the rest deciding to settle the debate by taking the Wonderlic test; the same one taken by all incoming NFL rookies.
The scene in which the guys sit around the bar and take the test was pure gold and embodied all of their respective characters. Taco doesn’t even start the test until the last five of the ten allotted minutes, electing to get high and drink beforehand. Kevin, Ruxin and Andre freak out over how hard the test actually is, while Pete calmly and cooly fills in the answers.
The results are tallied and it is revealed that Pete and Andre are the smartest among their friends, with Ruxin finishing third, barely beating out the brothers MacArthur. This sends Ruxin into a tailspin, as he has prided himself on being the smartest of his friends for quite some time. For the rest of the episode, Ruxin loses his ability to function and becomes mind-numbingly dumb, with Taco and Pete referring to him as a “mouth breather” on multiple occasions.
Seeing Ruxin out of his element and unable to cope with the Wonderlic results was interesting because the audience saw a different side to his character. Instead of seeing confident and arrogant Ruxin, we saw defeated, stupid and paranoid Ruxin. Definitely a decision that helped make the episode more interesting and made fans want to see more of the character in the episode.
All of the seemingly random events such as the Wonderlic test and Andre receiving lice from having a tea party with Kevin and Jenny’s daughter finally tie together in the final few scenes.
The gang all attend a judges party that Kevin was invited to off-screen, with Andre actually hitting it off well with the man who will decide whether his friend gets promoted. This initially makes Jenny and Kevin happy Andre admittedly for one of the few times, but things quickly turn south when they notice him continuing to scratch his head.
The couple determine that Andre must have gotten lice from coming over and hanging out with their daughter who they just found out had it. To top everything off, Andre is clearly shown unknowingly infecting the judge.
Whenever Andre is the butt of the jokes or the one left in the dark on things, it’s always hilarious to watch. Overall, he’s just a nice guy that just happens to have unfortunate things happen to him and it’s great watching those events unfold.
Pete, Ruxin and Taco are also at the event, where the run into special guest speaker, Buffalo Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. Continuing his efforts to prove he’s smart, Ruxin asks what Fitzpatrick got on the Wonderlic, believing it to be a low score. The Bills quarterback replies he only got two questions wrong and finished in less than nine minutes and explains he is a Harvard graduate after Ruxin brags about attending Northwestern.
Eventually, all of Ruxin’s frustration leads to him attempting to punch Fitzpatrick, the gang is then thrown out of the party and Kevin doesn’t get his judging gig. But hey, at least Andre gave that judge lice.
The final few scenes were typical league hilarity. Everything seems to be going well, there’s a football star cameo and everyone seems to be enjoying the event. Then all of a sudden, everything goes terribly south in a dramatic manner.
The episode wasn’t drop-dead hilarious, but we saw a different side of Ruxin, Andre was the butt of many jokes and there was great dialogue between the gang. Oh, and not to mention long-time fans will appreciate the several call backs to previous episodes such as the “yobagoya” and Dr. Andre NoDick references throughout.
The episode wasn’t a top notch New York steak to make a food reference, but it was a pretty good steak with some solid side dishes to go along with it. Overall, this was a solid episode that had a fair amount of layers to it.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars