Jackie and Jeff Schaffer must have known going into this seventh season that this was going to be the last stand for The League because they are piling on the catch phrases and odd bits of vernacular that they hope will catch on like “eskimo brother” or “rosterbating” did.
In this week’s episode, we are presented with “slot shaming” and “dick chicken.” The former is not that exciting, just a silly pun that allows the characters to say naughty things about Jenny’s predilection for slot receivers. The latter I fear is going to become a regular hobby among frat boys and older men who should really know better. The concept: you and dude friend take your junk out, face each other, and then slowly walk toward one another to see who gets freaked out about the idea of, as Ruxin put it, helmet-to-helmet contact.
You may see that as a classic bit of gay panic in a very masculine show, but if you’ve grown up around enough dudes, you know how obsessed they are with dicks, both their own and other’s. Think of the scene in the first season of Big Love where Ben and his pals get into a car accident because one of them was attempting to steer the car with his wang. Heck, a guy I was in high school with used to bring his out under his desk in class, just to amuse his buddies. This stuff happens.
My justifications for the dick chicken element of this episode are surely unnecessary. Kevin and Pete, the originators of this “game,” show this to be exactly what it is: two guys trying to dominate each other at every turn. We can read whatever homoerotic subtext into it that we need to. Regardless, it’s pure silliness, which The League has proven to do so very well.
If you need more evidence of that, let’s look at the scene of Ruxin, sitting in the one spot where his wife’s security cameras can’t see him, gorging on junk food and using whipped cream as lubrication to wack off. Give Nick Kroll credit where credit is due: he throws himself into these moments with zero restraint. He sings to snack treats, joyously mimes masturbation, and looks beatific as he indulges above and beyond the call of duty.
The rest of the episode, as ever, is a bit of a wash. There’s gamesmanship about whose house the gang are going to watch football at. Some slight mocking of Amazon Prime with Taco’s EBDB Prime nonsense. Kevin’s horror at his daughter growing up and developing as a woman. And one of the most blatant bits of product placement (a certain fantasy football website that shall remain nameless) this side of Friends and their “love” of Crate & Barrel furniture. At this point, if you’re sticking with this show because the story arcs fascinate you and you just have to see who wins the Shiva at the end, you really need to consider readjusting your priorities in life.
Robert Ham is a Portland-based freelance writer and regular contributor to Paste. You can follow him on Twitter.