“God bless fantasy football. There are many things a man can do with his time. And this is better than most of those things.”
I’m a big football fan. I watch the Vikings from my high-definition theater here in Tampa, Florida thanks to the wonderful invention of the Sunday Football Ticket. No, this is not an advertisement for DirecTV. In fact, don’t get me started on the problems these guys cause me every year. The point is, the Sunday Ticket allows me to watch my favorite football team even if it’s not the local losers. I think that was how it was intended to work. But lately fantasy football has literally taken over the sport. Players in these fantasy leagues need information from all of the games so that they can keep an eye on how their players are doing. I tried it once. It just is too much work. It’s bad enough that watching movies has become work these days. Why would I want my football to become work as well? What the heck am I going to do for fun then? But, for some, fantasy football is very serious business. Don’t believe me? Watch a few episodes of The League.
Meet Pete (Duplass). He’s been the champion of his fantasy football league for the last two years. The league even has a trophy, called the Shiva Trophy. It’s a combination trophy with the high-school picture of a girl they all knew back in school named Shiva. Of course, Shiva doesn’t know anything about this deal. This year, the rest of the league is out to finally put Pete in his place. Ruxin (Kroll) is a lawyer who is willing to work league trades into plea deals with fellow league member and prosecutor Kevin (Rannazzisi). Kevin isn’t even running his own team. His wife is the controlling partner in that team, and she’s more competitive than the guys are. Taco (Lajoie) is the burned-out hippie of the group. He can’t hold down a job and lives through the kindness of his “Eskimo Brothers”. Apparently, when two guys learn they’ve slept with the same woman, it makes them brothers. So Taco gets anything he wants for free from his many Eskimo brothers. You can guess that he sleeps with a ton of women. He’s also a songwriter who pens a song for a 5-year-old girl’s birthday party that describes how she was conceived. Yeah, he has appropriateness issues. Finally, there is Andre (Sheer). He’s the laughingstock of the team. He’s a plastic surgeon and is the butt of the gang’s jokes. He’s easy to take advantage of in trades. But this year is going to be different. You see, everyone tries to steal items that once belong to the real Shiva, in the belief it will bring them luck. Andre has the ultimate Shiva weapon. He’s sleeping with the real Shiva but keeps her and his friends apart for obvious reasons. It won’t be pretty if Shiva finds out about the trophy.
The series isn’t really all that bad. The problem is that it isn’t really all that good either. The actors do a lot of improve, and that can make the show a little fresh, except that they go for the lazy laugh every time. The innuendo jokes dominate the series to a point where you really forget about the concept. I would have loved to see more real football moments enter into the mix. Terry Bradshaw and Antonio Gates make very humorous appearances. The show really needs more of that. It’s edgy, but it never takes any more advantage of that than merely aiming for risqué. It wears thin quite quickly, which is likely why there are only six episodes for this first season. It’s pretty bad when even that feels like too many.
Each episode is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The 1080p image is arrived at with an AVC/MPEG-4 codec. The show certainly looks good. The picture has more than enough detail to give you the impression you are watching more than a sit-com here. F/X has done a great job with the production values on all of their shows as of late. The high-definition transfers are some of the more solid stuff coming from television on Blu-ray. Black levels are excellent. Contrast and color are picture-perfect.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 isn’t going to be very much of a stretch here. It’s a dialog show. There aren’t any fancy things going on here. There shouldn’t be.
Deleted Scenes: (9:48)
These guys are obsessed with fantasy football, but the show really isn’t. When it loses focus, it becomes pretty much like all of the other raunchy comedies I’ve seen over the years. It doesn’t help that none of these characters are likable. You root for Andre because of how badly he’s treated, but you really will never bring yourself to like him. What else can one say about a fantasy football comedy? “It’s like faux football, by the way. It’s fake”.