The League: Losing Streak

The League

Placed on IR

The League had such potential. A comedy about fantasy football on FX? Brotastic! After a promising first couple episodes, I expected the characters to develop and for the writers to get more sophisticated with their fantasy humor and story lines. I’ve stuck with the show so far, but like Ryan Grant, The League was hurt early and now out for the season.

My biggest beef is that on paper, this show should be amazing. Really, how hard is it to write a 22 minute comedy with talented actors centered around a fantasy football league? The problem is two fold: the writers are trying too hard and at the same time not trying hard enough. First, the producers have never made it absolutely clear whether this is a show about a group of friends who happen to play fantasy football, or die-hard fantasy players that happen to be friends. From what I’ve seen in season two, it’s obviously the former, and with that, they’re just pushing too hard for comedy, forcing jokes and hurting the end product. The introduction of Ruckson’s brother-in-law; great, a new character to change the dynamic, but he was way over the top and a parody of a wild in-law.

Then there’s the show’s biggest flaw: Jon LaJoie. He became famous for his (pretty stupid) viral videos and I’m sure the producers thought that by casting him, they’d get some street cred. The only problem is that his character Taco is terrible. Not as a human being or in his craft, but Taco brings nothing to the group, is never funny and makes those around him dumber. The writers are trying to take what LaJoie did before the show and write it into the scripts and that’s a horrible plan. That idiotic “My Naginta” rap at the all-white party? Come on–lazy writing that is no better than BEEP My Dad Says. Is it suppose to be edgy? Is it edgy because people are hearing a racist slang term? Either treat Taco like a real character or kill him off.

I will say that there have been a couple funny moments this season, my favorite being Ruckson’s rant against Team Twilah and the marathon. But using that episode as an example, they killed the humor by beating it to death. It’s a funny little subplot, and I generally like Andre (Paul Scheer), but does every episode need to be the guys ganging up on him and watching him fail despite his successful career?

Now, I am a true fantasy football player currently in three leagues. I’d love to hear the characters actually talk like they were in a fucking league. The bullshit trades in their dialogue, the injuries, the faux-trash talk. I mean, come on! There’s no way these writers actually play. How about some real facts like how waiver wire transactions clear on Thursday morning or that players lock at 1 p.m. so you have to set you rosters or that some leagues don’t count special teams return yards for individual players. Also, every major conflict seems to revolve around characters needing to adjust their rosters. Hello, that’s the easiest part of fantasy football. Something, anything needs to be done to prove these characters know what they’re doing.

Obviously, the easier answer is that they don’t want to alienate viewers who don’t play football and pull them out of the show with nerd-like dialogue. But that’s where skillful writing comes in. Maybe they should watch Community (the best comedy on TV). Their writers seamlessly weave references and one-offs into the regular plot and the people who catch it, get it and love it, and those who don’t just keep staring at Alison Brie.

ANYWAYS, my point is, since the show really isn’t funny anymore, they should just go full sports-geek and appease the core audience of fantasy football players. The talented cast is sabatoaged by poor scripts and any improv is dead on arrival. Sorry, boys, I have real leagues that deserve more attention than this show.

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3 Comments

Filed under Blog, Television

3 responses to “The League: Losing Streak

  1. Rich

    I wanted to like this show so much. I didn’t get what I wanted.

  2. Neil

    Thanks for the comment Rich. I’m interested in your take as to where the actual comedy falls short. Ensemble? Trying too hard? Too many audiences?

  3. Rich

    Sorry this is coming late. I think, as you said, a lot of the jokes are forced or “labored”. It tries to emulate how groups of guys really are: ripping on each other and giving each other shit. It sounds like a great idea for a show, but this show has proved it’s just not as fun to hear when it’s not YOUR friends. There are too many characters, most of which are the same. Half of them are sarcastic wise crackers and half are clueless idiots. You really only need one of each. But, then, you can’t have a show about a fantasy football league if there are only two or three main characters.

    It is disappointing there isn’t more football talk. Obviously the challenge there is that they shoot this show before the NFL season even starts, so they really have no idea what’s going to be relevant when it airs. Still, more stories could be centered around fantasy things like waiver order or acquiring inside info. They did that more in the first season and it was enjoyable.

    Also, Jon LaJoie sucks.

    Basically having a show about a fantasy football league sounds like a great idea, but when it comes time to make it, it proves nearly impossible to execute.

    Also, as I write this, you’re ahead of me by 3 points with the Monday game coming up tonight. We’ll see if Heath Miller can steal me another win.

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