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Trades. Every league wants trades. They keep the league competitive and promote inspired conversation between league members. But it’s very difficult to maintain the culture that allows for them within a league because they are the most dangerous version of in-season gambling.
Play a trade well…and you’ll have the envy and hatred of the rest of your league. You’re team will be better, stronger, and more playoff-bound, but you’ll have to endure plenty of ridicule from those who feel you unfairly improved your team through a trade.
And make the wrong play? Well, if you lose on a trade, you’re just going to be apologizing for the rest of season to your league as they lose to the monstrosity of a team you allowed your trade partner to create.
Much like the delicate rain forest ecosystem, trading is hard to sustain. Eventually, the trading parties dry up. Fewer teams are willing to trade, and those that want to trade fear getting screwed by the other party or being mocked by the rest of the league for making a bad deal.
It’s a true test to the type of league you have if you can pull your league out of that nosedive to no-trade land. And this is where we find the league in the second episode.
When we last left the league, they were locked out of their own draft while Dirty Randy and Rafi filmed a porn inside Andre’s apartment. Now they have to deal with the consequences.
Jenny’s hitting the streets (and park bench advertisements) again as a real estate agent. Ruxin’s tasked with getting Baby Geoffrey into the best Jewish prep school.
That leaves Pete tasked with successfully fixing the league by encouraging trades to balance the teams they autodrafted. But no one trusts Pete…or anyone else in the league, and why would they when your league is tossing out trades like Dwayne Bowe for Owen Daniels or Owen Daniels for LeSean McCoy and Tolbert (A little much, no?).
Unfortunately for Jenny, her first park bench ad for her return to the real estate game becomes the bed and motorboat of choice of a homeless man. Jenny tasks Kevin with evicting him, but Kevin confessing to the homeless dude that it was “that time of the month” only makes things worse.
Kevin ends up following Ruxin’s example to get the problem solved, which is never a good way to solve a problem and come out clean.
Since the draft, Andre’s noticed a few strange things in his apartment…but he hasn’t caught on to what went on in there. Even though the rest of the league is disgusted to even enter his place, he only picks up on the hints when he contracts thrush through “immaculate infection.”
Andre threatens the league with an offer: he’ll trade any player to anyone who’ll give him info about what went on in his apartment during the draft.
The ultimatum scares Kevin, always the weakest of the league, as he fears Ruxin will cave to Andre about “Sexfest 2011″ to benefit from the trade. And upon hearing what the rest of the league did, Andre might, in anger, confess to Ruxin that the draft order was falsified when his name was drawn first overall.
The fear leads Kevin to allow Ruxin to throw his Sukkot, a Jewish harvest festival, in Kevin’s own backyard. Ruxin’s own house had to be ruled out because he was captured by Google Earth spray-painting a swastika on a pothole to get the city to fix it.
The Sukkot starts to get a little more like Festivus when Pete proposes an airing of grievances to reestablish trust in the league (even though the lies continue).
Once the ruse of truthliness is complete, Pete launches into an eight-way trade proposal, balancing the teams and filling all the position holes the autodraft created. It’s actually quite impressive. Bravo, Pete. Bra-vo.
In the process of Pete’s trade genius-ary, we get a glimpse of the full league roster, including the strangers we’ve never seen before. There’s Jenny, Taco, Kevin, Pete, Ruxin, and Andre plus the mysterious twosome of Chuck and Ted.
Will we ever meet Chuck? Or Ted? One can only hope they make as great a first impression as Dirty Randy…and they better have really good excuses for drafting from afar all these years. Live drafts are the only way to fly.
With the fantasy football work done, the league gets to the Sukkot-ing, but the party is destined to fail as soon as everyone sees how deeply involved Taco is. He’s made plans to host “Taccot,” his own combination Jewish festival and shroom rave after the Sukkot in the same tent, but he’s not content to keep the party elements at bay until the rave begins.
For starters, he volunteers his weed as the “plants” for the lulav tradition in the Sukkot ceremony, despite Ruxin’s groans. Oh, the bitter herb. Luckily, the representative from the Jewish prep school Ruxin is trying to impress doesn’t realize what she’s working with during the ceremony.
Meanwhile, the trades have all gone through. Pete’s happy to see that everyone’s teams have improved, but Kevin comes to tell him that Andre has declined his trade with Pete. Andre wants to take Pete’s place as “patient zero” of the league this year, the one who benefits from others misplaced trust, and he does so by screwing the master himself.
As Taco’s intruding on the festivities continues, Taco sends Ellie to put a “sukkah” DVD that he made in honor of the festival, we’re smart enough to know where this is going.
Instead of Taco’s DVD, Ellie finds the first copy of the “Sacko” porn Dirty Randy filmed in Andre’s apartment, and Ellie plays it for the masses at the Jewish ceremony on the outdoor screen.
Ruxin’s hopes of Geoffrey going to private school? Ruined. At least he’ll be able to hold his own in the preschool fantasy league.
Memorable quotes from Episode 2:
TACO: “What if she’s in a terrible accident one day, and someone has to tell them how to put her titties back together?”
RUXIN: “Yes, minus the patchouli and underlying sadness.”
RUXIN: “I’ve called the city 100 times, but they do not care about the plight of the upper-middle class white suburban male at all.”
KEVIN: “We do not get our periods at the same time.”
RUXIN: “Does a man ever tire of looking at the sunrise…when he’s balls deep in Kevin?”
RUXIN: “It’s like you trolling around the bar looking for a hand jibber, every once in a while, someone says ‘yes.'”
TACO: “I was in the room. There was so much semen.”
RUXIN: “And second, if I did look inward, which I won’t, I think we would find that my Judaism is the least objectionable thing about me.”
JENNY: “Problem plus swastika equals problem solved.” RUXIN: “Tell that to the Jews.”
ANDRE: “This is not about me. I am the accuser. ‘Cause I know there be a witch in this town, and you’re all suspects, you cowpokes. And this dark city of Gotham’s got a gloomy cloud…’cause I’m gonna ride my horse right down Main Street.”
HOMELESS GUY: “She’s the floating muse, a dreamscape of femininity.”
KEVIN: “I’m not going to be trade-raped by my own wife.” JENNY: “I’d be so gentle.”
KEVIN: “Maybe he’s like a menstrual medium.”
JENNY: “Are your brain and mouth connected, Kevin?” KEVIN: “Sometimes.”
TACO: “Taccot is an ideal plane of existence where the 12 tribes of Israel come together with people who are high on mushrooms and groove to Aphex Twin.”
What is Aphex Twin, you ask? This…
PETE: “We’ve crossed the distrust horizon into the land of no trades.”
JENNY: “You are the patient zero of distrust, Pete.”
RUXIN: “Wait — an eight-way? But Andre’s sister’s not even here.”
All this season, just like last season, I’ll be recapping episodes of FX’s The League, a tribute to fantasy football culture in sitcom form. Stop by every Friday to discuss the highlights of each episode and commemorate the best trash talk and one-liners. Bang-bang! What’s the hang?
What better way to begin a season of The League than with The Shiva Bowl Shuffle from Ruxin and his entire fantasy team from last season? I especially enjoyed the Sidney Rice bit: “I’m hip to IR.”
But do you guys see the “George Clooney stubble” on Ruxin? I don’t think I do. Then again, I don’t think I could say I did…even if I did.
At last The League has returned to us like a prodigal son going to Vegas and only giving us periodic, seasonal updates on his winnings who finally comes in the door stinking of booze, bankruptcy, and bad decisions.
In the season premiere, we got caught up with what’s happened in the offseason — mostly just the guys punishing Andre as much as possible for winning The Sacko while Taco walked the earth — and we pushed ahead into how the league is going to screw Ruxin and get away with it. I don’t think they will…do you?
We should all be so lucky as to steal a few moves from The League penance playbook. For being last in the league, Andre had to grow out his hair, play a flute at a bus stop for strangers, take last pick int he draft, AND draft from an alternate location while the league held a draft party at his house. That’s just cold…but so good.
Andre, your life is terrible, but I want to steal all of these ideas for my own leagues.
Taco would be the one to find himself cast as the American cautionary tale on Algerian television, wouldn’t he? He may make all Americans shamefaced in Algeria, but at least he blessed the world with his music.
I’m not sure what a Kevin baby would look like, but the entire time he was talking to Kate about having one, I was imagining what a “rankings slave” baby would look like. Would it try to get out of the womb first, before its peers? Or would it rather stay in the womb until after the due date and be a sleeper baby? Also, would it be as susceptible to dog training as Kevin?
My leagues always talk about a cool way to pick the draft order each year. Personally, I think it should involve some kind of unrelated and uncontrolled competition like a turtle race or a WNBA game. In that regard, Season 1’s No Child Left Behind foot race remains the best way to determine draft positions that I’ve ever seen.
Inevitably, my leagues always end up drawing names or numbers out of a hat like the league did this season with the cobra box. So sad.
How the hell did Ruxin know exactly how they screwed him in picking the draft order? He walks in and called it like he had a mic in the room. And who is Chuck? So many questions! WHEN DO THEY OPEN THE HATCH?
Kevin’s always the weak one. It kind of makes you feel worse for him than Andre because he has the perception of power. He gets trained by half the league through various forms of mind weakness — dog training tricks, pen clicks, and high-notizing. If he wins the league, it might only be because someone guides him to the Shiva like a puppet.
To cheer Kevin up after the draft, the league turns to the dirtiest of Randys, Dirty Randy. And Seth Rogen is perfect for the part. I can actually imagine him being a porn director in between his mainstream movies, but maybe that’s just the Zack and Miri Make a Porno effect on his image.
Before we talk about the porno, by the way, I must say I did not understand how it would have been feasible to draft online with only one computer like Ruxin had planned.
In a perfect world, people would walk up, make a pick, and sit down, but this is not a perfect world. Stickers and a paper draft board I get, but I’ve never seen an online draft go well without everyone having their own computer on which to queue players.
Unfortunately for all, the draft plans go awry as Ruxin’s celebration of self runs long on his rooftop shrine. While he rants about LinkedIn and league rules, Taco lets the Dirty Randy crew into Andre’s place to start shooting, and in classic Taco fashion, he locks the rest of the league on the roof.
The highlight of the porn shoot for me — well, besides the porn star screaming “You have hair! It’s awesome!” to Dr. Nodick — was the Taco, Rafi, and Dirty Randy discussion of middle eastern politics and culture. There’s a color analyst among those three. I just know it.
I’d say it was a successful first episode from the writers this season. There’s plenty of drama to be had now that the entire league — other than Andre and the mysterious outsiders like Chuck — autodrafted. Maybe we’ll see some more trading this year? Yes, please.
For now, we got our The League fix, plus a little porn and plenty of terrible ideas to punish those who finish last in our own league. What more could you ask for in a season premiere? No, really? I’d like to know.
Memorable quotes from Episode 1:
PETE: “It’s definitely less creepy when you follow them onto the bus.”
RUXIN: “Andre, do you see yourself more as like a rapist who does magic or a magician who also likes to rape?” ANDRE: “With me, magic always comes first.”
RUXIN: “A little Shiva-lingus? Come on, Kevin, find out if it tastes the same.”
ANDRE: “You are Sauron.”
TACO: “Bang-bang! What’s the hang?”
TACO (as Cowboy of Algerian TV): “Back in the USA, we get venereal disease from our cell phones, and homeless people know karate and carry guns.”
JENNY: “I, as much as I wish I could, cannot give birth to a Shiva.”
KEVIN: “It hurts so bad when I pull hard!”
RUXIN: “And then we’ll let the other three lemmings keep their act together as long as they can without exploding with the shame of diarrhea that is currently soaking their pants.”
RUXIN: “Why don’t you put the guns away, anorexic David Crosby?”
TACO: “Blood oath. Kevin, give me your penis.”
RAFI: “I am day drunk. (In song) Get ready to SEE my dick!”
DIRTY RANDY (to Ruxin): “You, though…I’d film the SHIT out of you.”
DIRTY RANDY: “Puns are as vital to the porn industry as they are to the pet shop industry and the child hair salon industry.”
RAFI: “It’s like a white rain of 1,000 loads.”
RUXIN: “You don’t do morally bankrupt…but me? I swim around in it like Scrooge McDuck in a pile of coins.”
RUXIN: “Don’t invite me to join LinkedIn. It just reeks of dudes with cell phone holsters.”
ANDRE: “You have have two kickers? I don’t even have ONE. I KNEW it was a kicker year!”
KEVIN: “You know, I’ve been watching football my whole life — I don’t even know who this person is.”
RUXIN: “Oh, Shiva ring, forever UNCLEAN!”
JENNY: “This porn is disgusting, you guys. Is this what you like?” OTHERS: “NO!” KEVIN (softly): “No…”
We’re trying something a little new here tonight for the season premiere of The League: The Open Thread. I’ve covered events live in the past, and you guys usually contribute in the comments. Now’s your chance to run the show. Feel free to drop your favorite quotes, trash talk, and general observations from tonight’s episode of The League in the comments below.
Let’s not struggle with the sadness of this moment, that a season of The League is once again coming to an end.
Let’s, instead, celebrate what we have been given: a new champion, a new reason to look forward to next football season even if our fantasy football team sucks again in 2011 (there will, after all, be a Season 3), and at least a handful of new vocabulary words you can sneak into your TPS reports like “vaginal hubris,”“vinegar strokes,” and “rankings slave.”
So let’s not treat this like the end. Let’s treat this moment like a new beginning. And let’s celebrate “The Sacko Bowl” for all its glory.
We’re back in this.
Before the championship game, the league comes together to force Andre to give up The Dre, his perversion of the Shiva, and sacrifice their annual offerings. For the sake of simplicity, Kevin resorts to calling the trophy The ShiDre, and I will, too.
Jenny gives The ShiDre a hemorrhoid pillow in remembrance of the Andre incident in Vegas at the beginning of this season. Ruxin sacrifices the Kevin Federline hat that Andre gave him for Christmas. (He would be a regifter.)
And Pete offers up The Sacko since Andre will probably be stuck with it once he loses to Taco.
At the bar with Pete, Kevin’s miserable because he’s dreading Jenny winning the trophy and forcing him to stare at it for an entire season. But he only gets more miserable the more Ruxin gloats.
“Smartass Kermit” brags that he’ll be the one to bring home the trophy and then proceeds to poll the bar patrons about who to start in his flex spot, Donald Brown or Steve Breaston.
As Ruxin acts as “census taker,” Kevin’s able to listen in because he has learned to read lips by watching porn on an iPhone while in the shower. It seems Jenny hasn’t been around to heat up the bedroom lately since she’s been working so hard on her fantasy football team. He’s had to resort to his special skills.
To escape from the Ruxin reign of tyranny inside the bar, Pete takes Kevin outside for a surprise, his new Crown Vic. Kevin doesn’t understand why Pete would buy a cop car.
You see, driving a Crown Vic doesn’t make you a cop, but being a cop almost certainly means you drive a Crown Vic. It’s not really an easy stereotype to escape.
On the home front, Kevin and Jenny discuss her lineup for the week. Kevin’s concerned about her starting Steve Johnson in the week he plays the Jets and Darrelle Revis, but she won’t be swayed by his talk of matchups.
This is how secretaries who don’t watch football win every office league, by the way.
Things haven’t been easy for Andre this season. When he arrives at the bar complaining about his streak of bad luck, the guys tell him he’s being punished by Shiva for destroying the trophy and remaking it as The Dre. He’s got “DRAIDS.”
Ruxin tells Jenny that she emasculated Kevin by dominating in fantasy football, and Jenny seems to believe there’s some truth to that.
At a loss for who to start in his flex, Ruxin consults Rafi at the gym. He’s fighting chicks. “It’s erotic.” Dominating his league, Rafi tells him his method is just to “jerk it out” and stop thinking so much.
But Ruxin’s not that kind of guy.
To force Ruxin to decide, Rafi puts him into Dirty Randy’s “stuffed pepper” hold, and Ruxin coughs out Donald Browns just before he loses consciousness.
Lots of priceless quotes from Rafi here. Kind of makes you missed that guy and his “murder boner.”
With the games upon us, Pete’s embracing his new cop image by collecting free sandwiches and needlessly harassing hot chicks on the street with Taco.
Meanwhile, Jenny’s seeking out the sausage place that Kevin likes to do something wifey for him and ease the emasculation and depression he’s suffered from her dominance in her first year in the league.
But before she gets there, she can’t help but drop into a trophy store along the way. Inside, she asks about the largest trophy they sell but gets quickly buzzkilled when she sees Andre, having a replica made of The ShiDre.
The close contact with the former champion instantly curses Jenny with her own case of the DRAIDS. It’s not looking good for her season. At least that roster’s already set?
Back at the house, Kevin’s looking at just that. Kevin swaps Steve Johnson for Percy Harvin due to matchups and jumps in the shower convinced he’s helped Jenny win the Shiva Bowl.
Next thing he knows, Jenny throws open the shower curtain Psycho-style to tell Kevin she’s got the DRAIDS. Now with her roster altered, she’s doomed to fail, and Kevin’s caught jerking it to his silent picture porn in the shower by his own wife. Masculinity fail.
Time to face the music.
On Sunday, Kevin, Jenny, Taco, and Pete sit disgusted as they watch the football games roll on while Ruxin dances maniacal around the room in celebration. He’s going to take home the championship, and everybody knows it.
Taco, in losing, looks to be the winner of The Sacko, even though he can’t understand why he gets it for losing a game instead of winning.
But Andre’s in for a surprise. There was a recalculation of Joe Flacco’s touchdown pass to Anquan Boldin, and in that recalc, the pass was reclassified as a handoff. So instead of having a 4-point win, Andre gets a 2-point loss and The Sacko. “First to worst.”
At this moment, Andre’s greatest time of weakness, Ruxin marches in to collect The Shiva from him, but Andre’s not ready to give it up.
Andre races up to the roof of his condo before Ruxin can catch him. And while locked in mortal combat, Ruxin and Andre accidentally let The ShiDre drop off the building and into the windshield of a parked car. Finding the driver less than pleased, the gang starts to try to talk their way out of it, but he’s got no mercy for fantasy football.
Luckily, Pete arrives in his cop car to take everyone but Ruxin away to safety. Technically, the trophy is Ruxin’s and his problem to handle.
At least the league is nice enough to pick Ruxin up after he’s done getting booked.
Emerging from the police station, Ruxin’s insanity has reached a new level. And as he places the winner name plaque onto the trophy and announces his reign of terror, the malevolent forces welling up inside of him as he Shiva blasts seem to cause a solar eclipse.
So what does this mean for our league? For the world? Will we ever play fantasy football again?
Given the pivotal moment here, I think it’s best we end things with Pete’s words: “Ruxin has won. It is the end of days!”
See you all in Season 3.
Memorable Quotes from Episode 13:
JENNY: “ShiDre, your hemorrhoid donut that you earned in Vegas when you made that hard drive up Andre’s backfield. May you sit comfortably for all the rest of your years.”
TACO: “You’re going down, Dr. No Dick.”
TACO: “I’m gonna burn your nipples, bitch.”
KEVIN: “I hate fantasy football. And it’s the only thing I ever really loved.”
PETE: “Look, look. He’s the census taker. He’s polling around everyone on the planet asking ‘em the same question.”
KEVIN: “Well, I have this phone that I just downloaded all this filth on. And I bring it into the shower, and I turn the sound off so I don’t get caught.”
KEVIN: “I’m a very verbally-stimulated person. I need to know how good she needs it…why he’s delivering that pizza there. Plot points!”
KEVIN: “Well, did it come with a mustache and a bad attitude?” (about Pete’s car)
PETE: “Do you have any idea how infuriating it is to actually drive the speed limit?”
RUXIN: “You’ve been worshipping false idols, Andre.”
PETE: “I think you have the DRAIDS.”
JENNY: “And you are going to lose. And you’re going to go home, and you’re just going to savage your pud.”
RAFI: “Can I get the knife now? Is that cool? AHH! When are we gonna fight with the knife?”
RAFI: “Uh, the winner gets to punch the loser in the face as hard as he can…Yeah, it’s a dominance league.”
RAFI: “Thinking is pointless like motorcycle helmets.”
RAFI: “I don’t know what the technical term is, but Dirty Randy calls it the Stuffed Pepper. Do you feel it?”
RAFI: “Concept of extinguishing a human life really gets me aroused…It’s called a murder boner.”
TACO: “Okay. ‘Cause you can’t arrest me. You gave me a sandwich. This is entrapment.”
JENNY: “Are those sandwich bags?”
KEVIN: “Yeah. They work so good.”
RUXIN: “The beautiful flower that you see before you needed sunlight. It needed soil, but most of all, it needed manure. And that’s where you shit people came in, and as your leader, I love you as I will love all of my subjects. ‘Cause you’re shit people. But you’re my shit people. Beat you!”
TACO: “Six points from Flacco means you get The Sacko…from Taco.”
RUXIN: “Wow, it pierced this like it did Andre’s asshole.”
RUXIN: “Free at last. Free at last. Oh, Shiva, I am free at last.”
RUXIN: “Let the unrelenting reign of Ruxin begin.”
Season 2 is coming to an end. And while I’m sad to see it go, it went out with a bang with “Kegel the Elf” and “The Sacko Bowl” both in the same night.
“Kegel the Elf” takes us to Ellie’s school Christmas concert. Kevin and Jenny watch on with pride while Pete joins them because he is hot for teacher–Ellie’s teacher, that is.
After the singing is over, Miss Martin, Ellie’s teacher asks to speak to Kevin and Jenny alone. It seems Ellie’s been drawing “the flex,” otherwise known as Cadillac Williams during art time, runs incredibly elaborate three-way trades at lunch, and has started to act like the class bookie.
All of that would seem to make a father like Kevin proud, but Ellie’s also telling other students to “take a ride on her suck stick.” And that’s not exactly one to stick on the fridge.
Being the good parents that they arewish they were claim to be, Kevin and Jenny can’t figure out where Ellie’s gotten her foul mouth, but they bring in some reinforcements in the form of an “Elf on the Shelf,” a doll that parents use to make kids behave by tricking them into believing the elf is a spy for Santa.
When they first introduce the new elfy companion to Ellie, she continues to complain about bath time and finally storms off after demanding that they “stop busting my balls.” Kids really are the most innocent of us all.
At the bar, Ruxin and Kevin are in the heat of trash-talking battle. They’re facing off this week in the playoffs for a spot in championship game. The rest of the league isn’t nearly so excited about this week since they are already out of the hunt, except for those who are still trying to avoid the Sacko Bowl.
That honor includes Andre, who claims to enjoy not being in the playoffs. At least until Ruxin tells him he’s invisible. Pete doesn’t even notice the soy-recovering member of the league when he arrives at the bar.
Pete laments that he’s not getting any from Ellie’s hot teacher just yet because she just had a kid last year. Things get even scarier when Ruxin explains that Sofia and he didn’t have sex for six months because Baby Geoffrey “blew the church doors wide open.” In other words, “Baghdad’s not ready for the Olympics.”
Being medical and such, Andre suggests a vaginal weight specialist could help strengthen her vaginal wall for the sexy time, which leads to jokes about vaginal Strongman competitions pulling Mack trucks with labias. “This was fun. Now you’re making it gross.”
Back at his evil household lair, Ruxin gets a box in the mail, which he assumes is from Kevin, especially when it’s full of stinky, old eggs that make his son cry.
To carry out the most important Ruxin family value, revenge, Ruxin crafts a deadly chicken-milk stink bomb and disguises it inside a pretty Christmas package so that no one will suspect a thing.
Back at Kevin’s house, Ellie decides to name her elf “Kegel,” which isn’t exactly what Kevin and Jenny had in mind. But Andre claims that it was Kevin, and not he, who used “suck stick” in the league trash-talking.
It’s starting to look like Ellie’s behavior is poor parenting and not the bad influence of the league.
Pete asks Jenny to meet him for a drink to discuss Miss Martin’s confidence issue since Jenny has vaginal hubris.
And to make sure Jenny’s willing to talk to Miss Martin for him, Pete threatens to show Miss Martin Jenny’s latest video post on the league message boards, which would surely lead her to call another parent-teacher conference that might interfere with Jenny’s precious lineup tweaks on Sunday morning.
Having delivered his stink bomb, Ruxin gets a visit from Taco to ask if Ruxin had received his old eggs. Taco had planned on passing them down through his family until they became 1000-year-old eggs, and he sent them to Ruxin for safekeeping as his lawyer.
Taco’s ridiculous plotting aside, Ruxin now realizes his mistake and has to find some way into Kevin’s house to get back his stink bomb gift before it explodes. That wouldn’t really be a fair gift exchange for the wine-of-the-month club that Kevin and Jenny bought him.
Taking Pete’s deal, Jenny invites Miss Martin over to meet Andre and have him explain vaginal strengthening and conditioning. But Miss Martin’s already been working with Stu Beagle, a doctor with whom Andre seems to have a history. Something to do with a wine bar and losing a shirt, but that’s not important to Jenny.
Miss Martin tells Jenny that she is speeding through Dr. Beagle’s program and is “stronger than she has ever been.” She asks Jenny not to share this info with Pete, and Jenny not surprisingly agrees. Why would she give Pete a heads up that he’s about to enter the jaws of life?
Ruxin goes into Mission Impossible mode to infiltrate Kevin’s house and find his stink bomb.
Inside, he is quickly discovered by Ellie, but she thinks he’s another Elf on the Shelf. Ruxin promises a crap-ton of ridiculous presents–pony included–if Ellie will retrieve the one present he dropped off.
But when she returns, he also does a good deed for Kevin and Jenny by giving Ellie some straight talk about how she’s been a dick and needs to man up and behave. Not wanting to be a dick, she agrees to change her ways. But sadly, no one will ever know how Ruxin did something nice.
Soon after her promise to change, Kevin awakes and hears Ellie talking downstairs. Ruxin falls out of a window trying to escape and lands right on his own stink bomb. “I’m forever unclean.”
Meanwhile, Pete finally gets to experience the full power of Miss Martin, and it’s more than he bargained for. Her jaws of steel end of crushing his little man.
Sunday comes, and Jenny quickly secures her spot in the Shiva Bowl thanks to the three hours Pete had to spend in the hospital getting realigned instead of setting his lineup.
Ruxin’s forced to watch from outside Kevin’s house because he still stinks from falling on his own stink grenade. But he’s still in it, winning by just one point in his matchup with Kevin.
Akers is the only player Kevin has left, and as the Philly game winds down, the Eagles line up Akers for a kick, which (if made) would give Kevin 3 points and a spot against Jenny in the Shiva Bowl.
Fully aware of the suspense of this moment, Taco announces that he’s set up an egg nativity scene in the front lawn to celebrate Eggs-mas, and Ruxin follows him around to the eggs to blame Taco for his stink bomb suicide and to wish a pox upon Taco’s eggs.
In typical Ruxin fashion, seconds later, he’s praying to all the gods he can name that Akers’ kick misses, sending him and not Kevin to the Shiva Bowl.
Given the inevitability of this moment, Pete starts to lament the all-MacArthur Shiva Bowl since Akers is a top kicker with no wind…but that’s the jinx.
The kick hits the post.
Kevin’s sent into a spiral. Taking it outside, he rants about the trouble the league puts him through each season as commish, trouble he puts up with only to lose every year.
He takes out the anger on anything in sight, including Taco’s precious eggs. But he puts the worst on Ellie, his own daughter. “Look me in the eye, Ellie. There is no Kegel. And there’s no Santa Claus, and there’s no Christmas. There’s no God. There’s no Easter Bunny. There’s nothing. Nothing! Nothing, nothing, nothing…nothing!”
He takes it pretty hard. But I can’t blame him. Being one point away from any victory is horrifying, but a one-point loss that would have put you in the championship game? That’ll make you sick.
Having endured the weekend, Kevin and Jenny get called in to see Miss Martin for another parent-teacher conference.
This time, she’s got the video evidence Pete turned over of Jenny describing her metaphorical destruction Pete’s vagina and asshole that week in the league, which explains Ellie’s bad influence once and for all. It’s Jenny.
Memorable Quotes from Episode 12:
KEVIN: “I knew we were going to have a dick kid. I knew it!”
RUXIN: “No, you are fading away like that photograph in Back to the Future. And until McFly screws Caroline in the City…you’re gone!”
ANDRE: “Oh, like you didn’t like that Iron Man 2 replica mask.”
PETE: “Would there be such a thing as a vaginal Strongman?”
PETE: “It is decided. It is decided. It is…decided.” (of course, with the voice Pete used)
KEVIN: “I’m an elf. I’m Santa’s wartime consigliere.”
PETE: “I wanted firm, not Terminator.”
PETE: “You know, they couldn’t even identify it. It looked like goddamn Joshua tree.”
RUXIN: “I gotta say, I feel like I just won twice.”
Men learn at a very young age that boobs are distracting, and Ruxin proves this when his own wife starts breastfeeding his 19-month-old son while smoozing a client at dinner. Clearly, his son has already taken notice.
Is 19 months too old to be breastfeeding? I have no idea, but the client’s reaction paired with his kid appearing to be the size of Andre leads me to believe this is not normal.
Speaking of Andre, he’s taken to bringing his own snacks to the bar as part of his pure soy diet. When one of those homemade snacks causes him to choke momentarily, Taco reveals that he’s writing obituaries for everyone in the league, predicting their sudden and untimely demises in a very Taco way. At least he’s prepared.
K-dog, a.k.a. Kevin, calls into Fantasy Sports Radio with fantasy experts John Hansen (Is that Chris Hansen’s brother?) and Adam Caplan to ask whether he should start Robert Meachem or Mike Wallace. They tell him to roll with Wallace, despite how close they are in the rankings.
An important caveat here: when you consult anyone about your fantasy roster, their decision will inevitably prove to be your downfall. It happens every time. If you ask who to start, the one you sit will be the better player that week.
You can try to be tricky. Some people may ask another who to start and then go against the advice in order to win out in the end. But it doesn’t work. Somehow the fantasy gods know what you were trying to pull, and they make sure that the player on your bench outperforms your starter.
Such is fantasy football. Moral of the story: It’s usually best to live or die by your own hand.
Now back to the show.
Pete’s at the office (Wait, Pete has an office?) working on his fantasy team (What else do you do in your office?) when he gets called into see the bossman.
His boss pulled Pete’s Internet records, which prove that all Pete does is look at porn and fantasy football. Some would argue that those are the two main food groups of the Internet.
Pete’s offered a chance to keep his job if he can help his boss compete in his fantasy league with the other VPs. Pete’s boss needs the “Reaking Haddocks” to win the next two weeks to save face.
But as fate would have it, Pete gets stuck in the elevator on his way up to his office to set lineups for Thursday Night Football. He’s forced to go into superhero mode, jump into the ceiling, get a bar, and pry the doors open. A suit who happens to be in the elevator at the time wants to thank him, and the woman he saved wants to date him. But with only one thing on his mind, Pete bolts to a computer to try to get lineups set in time for kickoff.
Unfortunately, he only has time to lock in one lineup…and he chooses his own. Pete dooms the “Reaking Haddocks” to fail by not setting a starting quarterback before the rosters froze.
That weekend, as we would have expected, Meachem has a big week. Kevin’s fit that follows leads Pete to call him a “rankings slave” for taking rankings as gospel without consideration for any other factor.
Normally that’d just go down as friendly banter between leaguemates, but Jenny confirms that Kevin has a real problem with rankings by pointing out his purchase of the Neopolitano Ramona cappuccino maker, which Kevin bought because it was the No. 1 cappuccino maker even though he never uses it.
Taco appropriately updates Kevin’s obituary so that he’s prepared when Kevin’s No. 1 ranked GPS leads him straight off a cliff. Taco’s prediction, not mine.
Watching his team fall apart for another week in a row and pumped full of soy that’s giving him lady parts, Andre hits a breaking point and has to leave. Taco updates Andre’s obit to detail how he sadly succumbed to ovarian cancer in 2014.
In a moment of desperation, Ruxin decides to call into the same Fantasy Sports Radio show, but in order to get them to answer his question, he has to fabricate a story about his first wife’s death.
Sofia overhears his sad tale and assumes Ruxin’s been hiding his first wife’s death from her all this time. Under the pressure of being confronted and caught in a brief lull in creativity, Ruxin tells Sofia that his first wife’s name was Ramona Neopolitano.
I bet she liked cappuccinos.
Infuriated by Meachem’s outscoring of Mike Wallace, Kevin calls back in to take it out on the hosts of the Fantasy Sports Radio show. But the hosts just call him a rankings slave, too. When his complaints continue, Fantasy Guru John Hansen bans him from the show…for life.
Unsurprisingly, Pete finds his boss fuming about getting shafted with an illegal lineup when Pete goes into work the next day. He attempts to fire Pete there on the spot, but the suit that Pete saved back in the elevator must be the VP of perfect timing.
The suit just happens to be passing by when the firing takes place and demands that the “hero” be protected. He’s a company man, after all.
Just goes to show you that looking at nothing but fantasy football and porn while you’re at work makes you management material. Have we learned nothing from Office Space?
On Sunday, Ruxin invites the league over to watch football at his house, but he must first prep them that his wifey now believes she’s the second wife of a widower.
But more importantly, soon after arriving everyone notices that Andre’s got some soy-induced manboobs and is going through “manopause.” At least he’s done with “manstration.”
To get out of the heat of his own hot flashes, Andre escapes upstairs and takes his shirt off. Is that cool for house guests to do? Do standard etiquette rules apply when you grow manboobs? So many questions.
Jenny arrives later than the rest of the crew to Ruxin’s with the Kevin’s famed cappuccino machine. Kevin’s decided to give it up since he never uses it, and his loss is the Ruxin family’s gain.
But Sofia reads the brand name (Neopolitano Ramona) and instantly realizes she’s been duped by Ruxin’s widower tale. As the claws come out along with various foreign slurs, she kicks the league out of her house.
Meanwhile, Andre’s still recuperating upstairs when Geoffrey, Ruxin’s son, finds him crying in a bedroom. Andre’s tears cause Geoffrey to cry as well, which compels Andre to pick the child up…only to discover Geoffrey’s talent for latching onto the nipple.
At the end of a long day of games, Kevin once again decides to call into the radio show for advice. Since he’s banned, he’s speaking through Ellie, but the hosts aren’t fooled.
They ban Ellie from the show, too. It’s no fun for the whole family.
Memorable Quotes from Episode 11:
RUXIN: “What’s she gonna do? Is he going to be at little league and she’s gonna to have to be in the dugout squirtin’ it out if he needs a little taste?”
RUXIN: “I’m just worried that he’s going to end up weird. Not like serial killer weird, but like fat, ambisexual church receptionist weird.”
TACO: “Pete (no known last name) died in 2071. He loved to watch TV…that’s all I have.”
BOSS: “It’s clear to us that you have been working on…not work…but on fantasy football as well as some out there porn sites.”
BOSS: “Be honest with me. Do you have Asberger’s?”
TACO: “You have manboobs.”
KEVIN: “I haven’t made decisions for myself since the day I got married.”
PETE: “Godspeed…oh King of Chardannay!”
ANDRE: “I don’t have a diary. I have a dream journal!”
TACO: “Leche de mama…ON TAP!”
PETE: “Is there such a word as better than perfect?”
High school reunions are a special kind of awful. No one really wants to see their old classmates. If they did, they’d arrange to meet up with them on their own.
People go to their high school reunion is to prove they are better than their high school selves. You go, as Ruxin so aptly put it just a few episodes ago, to show your friends that you’re better than they are. The league is no different.
In fact, a fantasy football draft is a form of a reunion. You come back, year after year, to either 1) waive your championship trophy around or 2) prove you’re better than the team you drafted last season by starting fresh.
In the case of The League, Ruxin found himself a hot wife. Andre’s got a baller job and the Benjamins to match. Kevin’s a successful lawyer with a family, which I guess is impressive. And even though we can’t really tell what Pete does for a living, at least he appears able to land dates since his divorce. Of course, Pete does have those fantasy championships under his belt.
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for a “High School Reunion.”
Pete wants a new trophy, a last place trophy to celebrate the terribleness of the most horrible team in the league.
But before they can name said trophy, Andre announces the upcoming North Winnetka High School reunion. He’s been looking forward to this opportunity to rub his success in the faces of the former classmates that abused and walked all over him, but no one else cares to attend.
Enter Frank “The Body,” also a fellow classmate.
Frank just happens to go to the same barbershop as Ruxin, and in their a combative exchange, Frank brags about having a hot wife, Miss Kiev 2004, and explains why Ruxin was called “The Herdsman” in high school. SPOILER ALERT: Ruxin used to date the chubby girls.
Ruxin claims he became “The Herdsman” only because he was less shallow than the rest of the league, but Pete’s description of Ruxin as a hyena, taking any scraps of meat that he could find, seems more like the Ruxin we know and love.
After his run-in with Frank, Ruxin’s determined to bring his very hot wife to the reunion to prove her existence. So Pete makes a game out of it. The league members agree to go to the reunion in order to name the newly-created last place trophy after the worst person they find there.
Back at Taco HQ, Taco catches a piggy bank to the face mid-sexing and explains the battle wound to the guys as a casualty of his “vinegar strokes,” another one for The League lexicon.
Vinegar Strokes — The point during a sexual experience when a man is about to orgasm, and he makes a face like someone put a spoonful of vinegar up to his nose. As Kevin puts it, a bee could be stinging your eyeball, but you gotta finish.
According to Taco, if you look into a man’s eyes during his vinegar strokes, you can peer into his soul, but, strangely, no one among the league has ever seen another man’s vinegar strokes to prove this theory. Thus, a new Taco obsession is born.
At Andre’s, Taco shows Andre a DVD of his attempt at filming his own vinegar strokes that just so happens to take place all over Andre’s apartment and, more specifically, right on the desk at which Andre sits.
By the way, how does Taco get into everyone else’s place? I would change my locks…
Taco explains that he is putting together his masterpiece, his vinegar strokes symphony, and wants to complete it before his high school reunion. But unable to capture his own vinegar strokes, Taco asks if he can watch Andre have sex.
You just can’t count on your buddies anymore these days.
At the reunion, the very first person Andre runs into tells him how sorry she is to hear about what happened to him. He finds that his perfectly-crafted bio has been ruined with an even more fictional addition about Andre getting sack-tapped so hard that he lost a testicle and had a nudicle implanted in its place. Now Andre won’t be able to tell anyone that the nudicle is a lie without creating suspicion about the rest of his masterfully crafted bio and success story. Kevin truly is evil.
Ruxin and Sofia arrive dressed like Barbie and Ken and showing plenty of PDA. She leaves Ruxin only for a second to get drinks, but that’s long enough for him to get stuck with one of his more “Herdsman” ex-girlfriends and for Frank “The Body” to swoop in to introduce his model wife.
Lucky for Ruxin, Sofia returns to save his pride. The burn of seeing Sophia, a true hot wife, sends Frank running for Andre to ask about plastic surgery to get his “6” wife up to an “8.” (You get what you pay for when you import.)
Not to be left out, Taco attends the reunion as well, even though he wasn’t in the same class as the rest of the guys. Taco’s there for a different reason–vinegar strokes. After all, reunions are always a place for “sexing” and bad decisions.
Meanwhile, Kevin and Pete single out “Box of Frogs,” the guy who broke into Pete’s mom’s car, had sex, and left the condom on the steering wheel, as the No. 1 contender for the loser trophy name. Pete ends up at the bar talking to “Box of Frogs” Stu, who offers him a six-figure job finding and securing local bands for Stu’s music website. Even though Pete loves the sound of this job…he won’t get it. And this will also be Kevin’s fault.
While tearing up the dance floor to the quietest dance music ever and singing his own song entitled “Look At How Hot My Wife Is,” Ruxin confesses his fantasy of having sex in a high school to Sofia. Whether it’s the hot wife thing going to her head or just the punch, Sophia agrees. Clearly, the rich just get richer.
Those two immediately slip away, but Ruxin stops to remove a “Ruxin Call Me!” sign from the school mascot, a bull, and unknowingly unlocks the fence that’s holding the bull at bay.
Pete, being that mature individual that he is, chose to think over the job Box of Frogs offered him while smashing Box of Frogs’ window and hanging a used condom that he “made” from the steering wheel. But in the midst of explaining this victory to Kevin, Shiva, and Andre, Shiva drops a bomb on Pete.
Kevin was actually the one who had sex in Pete’s mother’s car…with Shiva. Shiva took Kevin’s V-card. And Kevin was so excited when he finished that he kicked through the window and screamed her full name. So the first Shiva blast was Kevin’s vinegar strokes.
Pete tries to undo the damage he’s done, but he runs into Box of Frogs a minute (and a clean-up job) too late.
In search of the roaming bull, all the reunion guests start wandering the school and end up walking in on Ruxin’s vinegar strokes with Sofia while the bull, which found its way to them, watches and while Taco films what he hopes is Ruxin’s soul.
Unfortunately, we’ll never know if there was really a soul inside there.
After the events of the reunion, Pete decides the last place trophy will be called “The Sacko,” named after a bull scrotum in honor of the league itself. And that’s fitting because the league members themselves are the worst people he knows.
Memorable quotes from Episode 10
RUXIN: “Pete, do you have anything to fill your sad existence of a life besides fantasy football?”
PETE: “Absolutely not…do you guys?”
PETE: “It should be wrong to have this thing. I mean, literally, like showing up on an airplane with a tuna fish sandwich.”
RUXIN: “I see all the people from high school that I wanna see, and I don’t even enjoy that.”
KEVIN: “Ruxin, if we lined up every girl you had sex with in high school, we could run for 1,000 yards behind them in the NFL.”
PETE: “That is how we embrace. Ridicule.”
KEVIN: “Yeah. And shame.”
ANDRE: “The vest WORKS. You seen Mark Harmon on NCIS lately? It works.
TACO: “High school reunions are like office parties except, the next day, you don’t have to see the other person at work. Trust me, mistakes will be made tonight. People will be sexing. And when they do, I’ll be there to capture it!”
The first few days of NFL free agency are like sitting in Santa’s lap. You can ask for anything you want with the assumption that you’ll get it. And I do that every year.
Ask for things in free agency, that is. Not sit in Santa’s lap.
Since the NFL left us cold and alone for a whole offseason only to now bombard us all with free agency madness like we’re an ex-girlfriend waiting on-stage at Jerry Springer for a mystery announcement, it’s only fair that they see to it that these player moves happen just as I asked for them.
Some of these transactions require several planets and a few Belichicks to align in order for them to happen, but the NFL owes me, right? They can’t go Bad Santa on that.
1. Vince Young to Minnesota Vikings
I’ll admit that I’m a Longhorn. As such, I give VY more credit than he’s probably due. But he’s still a winning quarterback, and it doesn’t seem right for a winning quarterback to get cut loose by the team that drafted him and have a problem finding a reasonable starting gig with another franchise.
Minnesota has no quarterback right now. Rather than trade for McNabb and take their chances with a veteran who might fall apart too early for Christian Ponder, their rookie quarterback-of-the-future, to take the reins, why not put a player on the field that could really win a few games for you?
Young might even be able to fill in for more than one-year stint. Much like the Eagles did with Vick and Kolb, having a developed prospect waiting in the wings a little longer after he ripens isn’t so bad. Now Kolb’s some valuable trade bait.
Leslie Frazier seems like a reasonable coach, and there’s enough leadership in place to make sure that VY will be successful transitioning into his second starting job.
I can’t see VY in Minnesota being a bad fit, especially after hearing about VY and Adrian Peterson practicing together this offseason. During their college years, I always wondered what life would have been like if Adrian Peterson and Vince Young had ended up in the same backfield.
Now I’d like that dream to be made a reality.
2. Matt Leinart to Seattle Seahawks
I felt silly just typing that, and it’s not even that far-fetched since we’ve now heard that the Seahawks are chasing him. At this point, I have a strong feeling Leinart isn’t going to amount to anything unless Pete Carroll works some USC magic on him.
You’d think being paid to play football would be just another day at the office for Leinart, but apparently, he’s missing something else that he had in college. Perhaps it’s the hot tubs?
Maybe Carroll can get him back on track and make a decent No. 2 if not starter out of Leinart. If nothing else, Leinart would provide an interesting story line for Seahawks’ games besides “Can just give them Andrew Luck now?”
3. Braylon Edwards or Roy Williams to Chicago Bears
The Bears need a big receiver for Jay Cutler to make sweet, sweet aerial love to this season, and I don’t care too much about who that is.
Roy Williams will already be in play as soon as he’s released by the Cowboys. And he did have one great season in Martz’s offense during his time in Detroit. But Edwards has a similarly checkered past and need to prove himself.
Either big wideout would be a win for the Bears, and I’d like to see one of the two of them get a shot at being the No. 1 in Chicago. If that doesn’t work out, then I’ll take Malcom Floyd as a consolation prize.
Just give Cutler a shiny new toy. Is that so much to ask?
4. Steve Smith (CAR) to New England Patriots
Steve Smith has had it rough in Carolina these last few years. Since Delhomme, they haven’t been able to get any kind of stability at quarterback, and the Panthers are headed into a rebuilding phase with a new head coach and another new quarterback.
Smith deserves a chance to play for a contender again before he retires, and the Patriots could be that contender if they could work out a trade with Carolina. I have a feeling his passion for the game and desire for a championship would fit in perfectly within Bill Belichick’s organization.
And what new head coach wouldn’t take a piece or two of the Patriots’ draft pick war chest for a veteran they won’t have much longer? Smith’s not going to do them a lot of good while Carolina develops Cam Newton, and the Patriots could give the Panthers some draft picks to build the future wide receiver corps.
On the Patriots side, Smith would be an upgrade at wide receiver and a fighter–literally at times.
5. Kyle Orton to Miami Dolphins
Orton’s on the trading block already, and rumor has it that Miami is one of the teams looking to acquire him. I don’t think I have to sell too hard on this one.
In Miami, Orton would take the team in the right direction, whether Chad Henne ever develops or not. At least they’d be able to move forward as an offense. And Orton would be reunited with Brandon Marshall, who had success with Orton in Denver.
Orton’s got a little more left in the tank than a veteran like Hasselbeck, and he’s got plenty to prove after being ditched by both Chicago and Denver.
So Dear NFL Santa, let’s make these moves happen. If nothing else, they’ll make for a more exciting 2011 season.
If they don’t happen, I’ll have to pretend to hold a grudge against you when the season starts…and we both know I’m not going to be able to keep that up for long.
What free agent signings or trades do you still want to see happen? Sound off in the comments.