Yes. This season, in honor of fantasy football’s only sitcom…and really, fantasy football’s only TV show outside of ESPN, I’ve decided to recap each episode of “The League,” which comes on Thursday nights at 10:30 p.m. EST on FX, in case you missed the announcement.
This recap for Episode 1 ran a bit behind because I just decided to do this, but expect future editions to be on Fantasy Football Fools the same week that the episode airs, maybe next day. Who know? Am I supposed to…?
In case it’s not immediately obvious, these recaps will contain spoilers so make sure you’ve caught up on your DVR before you check these out each week if you want to be surprised.
First, a quick refresher course from Hulu on Season 1, a six-episode teaser that got us interested in “The League.”
Now on to the goods…
Episode 1: “Vegas Draft”
Just to make sure we’re all on the same page, here’s the cast of characters once again: Kevin’s married to Jenny, who is the brains behind his team, Ruxin’s the Mike Martz-esque evil mad scientist of the league, Pete’s almost “The Dude” if the “The Dude” played fantasy football, Andre dresses like a woman and talks like a prepubescent boy, and Taco lives a vagabond lifestyle while surviving off ringtone sales and Eskimo brothers. The only reason we really know that Taco still “walks the Earth” is that he sets his lineup every week.
This season begins with the “verbal game” at what appears to be a post-work (post-bong for Taco, I’m sure) happy hour. Ruxin has no idea how to play, and Pete and Kevin plan to torture him until he figures it out. [SPOILER: Find out how to play the game.]
UPDATE: It seems the powers that be have removed the video from YouTube with Pete and Kevin explaining the word game. Instead, here’s a general explanation of the verbal game, also known as “snaps.” Thanks, eHow.
Andre shows up just in time to rub in his championship victory and to name the draft location for this coming season, his right as last champion. Unfortunately for Andre, Pete cuts him off, offers up the idea to go to Las Vegas, the home of strippers, gambling, and ultimate happiness, just before Andre can get the words out and steals Andre’s thunder.
So begins Andre’s slow freefall back to the bottom.
While packing for the trip, Kevin is confronted by Jenny, who wants to join the league this year. She calls out those three “out-of-town dudes” who were mysteriously never really named in the first season and who never seem to win. That’s a good point.
It made sense with just six episodes in the first season to limit the number of characters, but I do hope, given a full slate of 13 episodes, we hear about at least one of these long-distance competitors winning a game against the show’s stars. Otherwise, I don’t see how this can be a very entertaining eight-man league.
Back to Jennygate, Kevin won’t go for it, even when she cuts him deep by calling out his skills as a team manager. Even her help and sleepers can’t prevent Kevin from screwing up his chance at a championship every season, which is true. Kevin explains that “No one drops out. It’s like the Supreme Court. People just die on the bench.” Poor example. As Jenny points out, the Supreme Court has nine judges…
Oh well. Too bad. So sad. OFF TO VEGAS!
At the airport, we finally learn how Kevin plans to set the draft order this season: Homeland Security. He tells the league that they’ll decide who gets the first pick by racing through the metal detector at airport security.
To rig the game, he’s given Ruxin a belated birthday present, AKA a fake bomb. “It’s a joke bomb!” (Never works. Believe me.)
Every league member has a scheme, but none of them are very successful. Andre tries the “I’m a doctor” excuse but fails when his outfit (designed by Santana) gets called out for being un-doctorish.
It comes down to Pete and Kevin, but Pete drives for the hard yardage with a granny in a wheelchair running blocker through the security line to secure Chris Johnson and guarantee at least three people will feel around inside his anal cavity before takeoff. *Shivers*
Why is it that the season always starts with someone invading Pete’s asshole? Seriously, why? Moving on…
The league members arrive in their suite, which Andre has put together, and discover that Chad Ochocinco will be the guest commissioner. Ochocinco’s going into the fake calves business with Andre, and this appearance is part of the deal.
Andre ends up clearly destroying the cool factor of Chad’s signature line, “Child Please.” Even rookies know you shouldn’t do that.
When tasked with coming up with his own line, all Andre can muster is “Try the veal!” That’s just creepy enough to work in a “It rubs the lotion on its skin” sort of way, but no one buys it. Best line award goes to Ruxin, who offered: “I’m an adult virgin!”
After talking to Ochocinco, the guys move to another room in the suite, only to find that Andre has converted the Shiva into the “Dre.” If you remember, Shiva didn’t quite make it through Season 1 in the best of shape, but they pieced her back together and made do. Andre’s defiled the classic league emblem with a Heisman-esque image of himself in wrestling/dancer gear at the top. Douche move, for sure, but hey, what are you going to do?
Why not give it a silly name to undermine his bragging rights? And so, the “ShiDre” was born, a name that works for both the trophy and Andre himself.
The guys go out to a strip club, where, lo and behold, one of the strippers happens to be Ms. Adam Schefter — so named because, as a stripper, she has insider knowledge from NFL players who stop through for a lap dance and to tell her everything they know. Hopefully, they don’t give her the full Big Ben treatment. That’ll just ruin it for me.
Kevin and Pete fight over who gets to take her back to the champagne room and talk about sleepers — that almost sounds like some suave way of saying “bang her” unless you read it in context.
Since Pete has the No. 1 overall pick, Ruxin sacrifices his own money to screw him over and pays for Kevin to have dibs on the stripper. So Kevin takes her back to the champagne room to pick her brain about taking Felix Jones in the second round. So wrong…about Felix Jones…not the champagne room.
The sickest part of this whole scene is that “The League” has now further perpetuated the stereotype that smokin’ hot strippers who know everything about fantasy football exist. It’s really a crime against humanity. How many young men will spend sleepless nights searching for this hottie that rarely, if ever, appears in the wild? Why “The League”? WHY?!!?
For their own sake, I hope the viewing public realizes the truth sooner rather than later.
The next day, we find the guys getting ready to draft around the pool. Unlike last season, when they drafted in the middle of a party at Andre’s place, only Kevin brings any kind of notes to the draft. Pretty impressive if you asked me, pretty impressive indeed. But maybe that’s the reason their draft seems a little…off. More on that later.
Ruxin drops a bomb on the rest of the crew by revealing that “Vince,” one of the mysterious out-of-towners, isn’t going to make it to Vegas and quit the league. That punishable by death in five states, and it leaves a big hole in an already small league. Even if a league member is comatose, he should still find a way to draft his team and set his starting lineup each week. I recommend using the “verbal game” and a system of twitches and blinks to draft and manage your team. Totally works.
To fill the hole in the league roster, Ruxin has secretly invited his brother, Rafi, to be in the league and has him waiting in the wings to drop his “penis beard” on them.
This guy seems like a very, very hairy and constantly intoxicated version of Taco, which is hard for me to take. I mean, when they come into contact, will the world end? Isn’t he Taco’s evil twin from another, hairier and more corny galaxy?
But before he’s confirmed in the league, another problem arises. Bikini-clad Jenny shows up to nominate herself for inclusion in the league this year. Time for a vote on who gets in and who gets left out.
Unfortunately for Kevin, as commish, he has to break the news to his own wife after the vote that Rafi is the newest member of the league, which probably guarantees Kevin will be slowly poisoned throughout the season. This confirms that if they are going to kill off a character this season, it’ll be Kevin.
But this betrayal also forces Jenny over to the dark side of the force, and she joins Ruxin to draft the perfect team.
TIME TO DRAFT! At last!
Rafi drafts a kicker in the first round. This guy isn’t winning any points with me, and that’s before they move the draft to the pool, which is awesome but also means they’re all drafting without notes or rankings. Risky bidness.
Now about those draft picks…I know they film this show months in advance, and they have to guess who is actually going to be a first round pick, but Miles Austin in the fifth round? Really? Who would have let that happen? He went in the first or second round in all of my drafts. The fifth round seems impossible.
Ruxin and Jenny complete their draft with what appears to be one badass team, and the league provides us with a great new word for the fantasy football lexicon: “Rosterbate.”
Rosterbate is the act of masturbating (moaning and muttering sweet nothings to yourself) over your lineup in the midst of or after the draft.
Post-draft, the guys head out to a club, where Taco’s on the hunt for more ringtones, and Ruxin continues his cynical approach to the Vegas experience by insisting his wife is hotter than everyone there and reiterating that he has no reason to say “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.”
The gang finds Jenny in the VIP with Ochocinco, where she refuses to let Kevin into the party until Pete intervenes. But after that confrontation, the party rolls on…
In an attempt to impress Ms. Adam Schefter, the stripper who knows fantasy football, shows up to party with her clients in a hot dress, and does not exist in the real world, Rafi tries to bump “stuff” with Andre, which is apparently sexy in the bizarro world from which he came. This non-sanctioned league move causes Andre to fall backwards and Tiger Woods cocktail his own backdoor with his “ShiDre.” Yes, he brought the trophy to the club. Who wouldn’t?
To bring things to a wrap for Episode 1, the show jumps the shark a bit with a remix of Andre’s “I’m Inside Me” wail, as performed by Ochocinco and Taco. The musical stylings of Taco, while much appreciated, were slightly over the top, but hey, it’s Vegas. Go big or go home, which it looks like they will for Episode 2.
We’re only one episode in and we’ve already had two anal violations, and one blackmail photo op involving Ruxin. I won’t give it away, but it’s looking like Season 2 won’t disappoint.
Memorable One-Liners from Episode 1
RUXIN: “Oh and by the way, the term ‘What happens in Vegas…’ that should be like buried in a graveyard of overused expressions along with ‘You go girl!’ and ‘Show me the money.’”
KEVIN: “Why do you look like a backup dancer from ‘This Is It’?” (to Andre, of course)
RUXIN: “And then I snuck a little Eli Manning in there. That goddamn mouth-breathing dummy.”
Looking ahead at the next episode: I hope we see the guys return to trash-talking in their natural environment. They were good together there. And I hope we see less of the Ruxin brother, who reminds me of a hairy Taco, which is never tasty or enjoyable. Interpret that as you will.