2012: The Year in TV Moments
Entry 21: Parking-lot flag football in The League.
Photo by Michael Becker/FX.
FX, Nov. 15, 10:52 p.m.
Living in a golden age of television has its down sides. Like how it can take until Wednesday to finish watching all the shows I record on Sunday night. But more importantly, it can be emotionally draining to watch intense, well-made dramas like Dexter and Homeland and The Walking Dead.
So thank god for The League, a goofy, absurdist comedy about a group of friends who allow their fantasy-football league just a touch more priority in their lives than they should. The show has hit its stride in this, its fourth season. The opener featured Taco (Jonathan Lajoie) acquiring the naming rights to the baby his brother Kevin (Stephen Rannazzisi) and sister-in-law Jenny (Katie Aselton) just had, and calling him “Chalupa Batman.” The ridiculousness has only escalated from there.
In the Nov. 15 episode “The Tailgate,” each character was at his or her utmost best (or worst). Andre (Paul Scheer)—always achingly, awkwardly generous—rents an RV so the gang can tailgate at a Bears game, only to pack tofu dogs and vegetarian chili. Ruxin (Nick Kroll) is at his most obnoxious, Kevin his most stubborn, and Taco reaches new heights of harmless obliviousness. Jenny, annoyed with Kevin for not treating her like a lady, opportunistically pounds beers with their tailgate neighbors, who just happen to be high school rivals of the guys, the Vatos Locos.
It all comes to a head when the Vatos Locos challenge the League to a flag-football game. If the guys win, Ruxin gets to use the operational toilet on their RV. If the Locos win, they take the box seats that Andre has reserved for the game. It’s not looking good for our guys—until Ruxin sneaks into the Locos’ bathroom during halftime and realizes that Vato Loco Frank “The Body” Gibiatti had used a peephole to watch Jenny pee while she partied with them. Jenny jumps into the game and clotheslines The Body, allowing Kevin to score a touchdown and save their tickets.
One reason I watch The League is because, in a way, I am Jenny. Or at least want to be her. SportsCenter hovers in the background constantly, I will rearrange my day to watch a big game, and I’m generally more comfortable with a group of guys than at a girls’ day out. But, like Jenny, I don’t want to be “one of the guys” all the time. In this, the funniest scene of my favorite stupid comedy, Jenny shows what will happen if you don’t respect her: She’ll kick your ass. Give that lady a beer.
Rachael Larimore is Slate's managing editor.