The League Season Premiere Review
By Alex Hall (@AlexKHall)
FX’s hit fantasy football-centered comedy The League kicked off its fourth season last night and it was arguably the strongest season premiere since the pilot episode of the series.
The show opens with a cameo from NFL rookies Robert Griffin III and Trent Richardson in the gang’s version of the 2012 NFL Draft. Ruxin drafts RGIII with what appears to be the first pick of the draft, with the quarterback telling Rich Eisen he couldn’t be happier to be on his team. With the next pick Richardson goes to Andre’s squad and immediately demands a trade before chaos ensues and the audience realizes this is all a figment of Ruxin’s imagination.
At first, this scene felt kind of forced simply to have both of the rookies on the show, but it ended up working when it all just became a dream instead of the actual league draft. Overall, the show runners found a nice way to work in some notable cameos while having Ruxin be his usual self.
A recurring theme throughout the episode is the fact that Jenny is pregnant and days away from having her baby which Kevin has been given full naming rights to. To his wife’s later dismay however, Kevin traded away rights to his unborn son’s name order to have his league title from last season be validated despite collusion that occurred during that year.
This is a classic staple of the show. These six fantasy players have shown over the past three years that they care more about winning “The Shiva Bowl” than pretty much anything else. This trade by Kevin and the eventual final scene to the premiere exemplify this fact perfectly.
The cameo appearances didn’t stop in the first scene however, as the entire gang took a trip down to Dallas Cowboys. Team owner Jerry Jones awarded the fantasy players (with the exception of a pregnant Jenny) a free trip down in order to negotiate the Taco-owned “dallascowboys.com” domain name.
Running back Felix Jones and tight end Jason Witten featured prominently in the scenes at Cowboys camp, even helping the league decide how to earn the No. 1 overall draft pick. Jones and Witten challenged all league members to dash from one end zone to the next with their respective football…having to go through many Cowboys players to do so. Taco would emerge victorious thanks to his decision to streak down the field, ensuring everyone would get out of his way en route to the finish line.
The scene is a little unrealistic but it’s not supposed to be anything other than zany fun which is pretty much what it came off as. There could have been a few less one-second cameos during the dash to the finish, but overall Taco’s unpredictability is what saved made the scene a solid one.
Speaking of Jon LaJoie’s character, Taco would feature prominently in the final scene of the premiere when Jenny is giving birth to her son. Much to the dismay of her doctors, new league commissioner Ruxin decides to hold the draft in Jenny’s hospital room, where he announces a crucial trade has been made.
The commissioner reached an agreement with Taco where in exchange for his overall pick, Ruxin would give baby naming rights to Jenny’s brother. Taco then proceeds to announce his sister’s baby boy will be named Chalupa Batman MacArthur and the episode concludes.
Again, this scene brings back the fact that the football league is everything to these characters, with the exception of Taco who is simply the resident wild card. The banter between Kevin, Jenny and her delivery doctor regarding the integrity of their eight-person league is hilarious to listen to. In fantasy football circles, eight-team leagues are actually frowned upon quite frequently, so it was great to see the show give a little nod to that fact and poke a bit of fun at itself.
Taco naming the baby while signing with a cowboy was a bit over the top, it would have worked just fine, if not better if it was announced in simple conversation. Still, this show is all about being over the top about what should be a rather small part of these people’s lives, so it should have been expected on some levels.
Overall, this was a fantastic premiere for arguably FX’s funniest fall comedy. The show didn’t steer away from the actual fantasy football side of the show while still keeping in the great scenes with the whole cast that produce the show’s best moments.
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars