In a season that has been fairly rough around the edges, when The League hits its stride, even for a small stretch, it can feel as effortless as any TV comedy. That was certainly the case with this week’s episode, which hit the mark with much more consistency than it had in the previous seven installments.
Credit for that has to be handed down, in part, to Dan O’Keefe who wrote this episode using the same base template that League creators Jeff and Jackie Schaffer utilized in their work for Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm: have one of your main characters lie about some key aspect of his/her life in order to gain an advantage. In this world, it was Andre, pretending that he wanted to attend a Korean church just so he could have access to their parking lot. Naturally, this doesn’t end well, and his comeuppance (pun fully intended) was pretty great, involving the creepy Lane (the ever-hilarious Zach Woods) and a sex swing. Not together, unfortunately, but still both were used quite well.
This episode also had the added bonus of Ruxin being fully back in the mix. As I’ve been lamenting for a while, his spark of snark is what this show constantly needs. His scenes were consistently great, with those stinging little touches like him snapping to attention when Andre started discussing how bad his car’s undercarriage was getting beaten up by his parking garage (which I can’t figure since it looks like he drives a Land Rover) and him dithering when confronted with Golden Tate, just days after threatening to punch him for ruining his fantasy week.
Better still were the scenes with Ruxin and Kevin going head to head in court, and in the judge’s chambers over their collusion in fantasy football and alleged collusion in a case. I’m still not entirely sure why the writers for this show find that word as funny as they do but it keeps coming up in season after season. The actual humor came from Ruxin trying to do everything in his power to not follow the judge’s orders to promise not to collude in court or in fantasy football. He did everything from mispronouncing the word to trying to mumble speak so it would technically take. Another example of this show proving how men are, deep down, still little boys trying to get into trouble and avoid consequences.
The not cool part of the episode was Kevin having “sleep sex” with Jenny. That is getting in the mood for nookie, realizing his wife was asleep, and then boning her anyway. The show does its best to skirt around the creepiness of it by Jenny owning up that she was actually awake the whole time and just wanting him to get it over with, but the icky factor that Kevin would actually do that felt, well, a little too rape-y for this viewer. No amount of Cosby jokes could wash the stink of that away.
Robert Ham is a Portland-based freelance writer and regular contributor to Paste. You can follow him on Twitter.