By Jeff Labrecque
Updated October 07, 2011 at 06:11 AM EDT
Credit: Patrick McElhenney/FX

The cast and crew of The League, FX’s raunchy comedy about a pack of dudes who compete in an intense fantasy football league, spent the whole summer answering questions about how an NFL work stoppage would effect their show. So it made perfect sense that its season 3 premiere was titled “The Lockout.” But last night’s kick-off wasn’t just memorable for its ironic twist on the traditional draft day episode; it finally introduced Dirty Randy, Rafi’s porn-scout pal who was the most intriguing sitcom non-character since Cosmo Kramer’s partner in crime, Bob Sacamano.

Ruxin (Nick Kroll) was just beginning to enjoy his reign as defending champ, and as always, he didn’t hesitate to rub it in. As a tribute to the great 1985 Chicago Bears squad, he recruited the star players from his fantasy roster to participate in a homemade music video, “The Shiva Bowl Shuffle.” Yes, the Shiva is officially back, banishing the poorly fashioned Dre trophy to the dustbin of history. Meanwhile, The Dre’s namesake, Andre (Paul Scheer), was forced to play the anti-Pied Piper of Chicago public transportation as punishment for finishing last in the league. If only that were the worst of his hazing.

Andre was also banned from attending the draft, and his frenemies couldn’t resist one last gag of hiring a crew to film a porn in his loft apartment. Enter Dirty Randy, i.e. Seth Rogen, the pun-minded filmmaker behind the adult classic, Sh–ler’s List. In previous episodes, Rafi had built Dirty Randy up to be some Rasputin-like force — “Don’t let him in if you’re alone. He preys on the weak.” — but Rogen’s portrayal was a more conventional mix of his characters from The 40 Year Old Virgin and Zach and Miri Make a Porno. Actually, since I have Kramer’s coterie of halfwits on the brain, Randy was a little like Brody, Seinfeld‘s ill-tempered pirate-video auteur. But his My Orgy at Andre’s opus backfired on the pranksters, as the gang locked themselves on Andre’s roof and then had to watch their fantasy-football teams draft on auto-pilot while some porn stars stained the apartment.

The B-story of Jenny (Katie Aselton) puppy-training her husband, Kevin (Stephen Rannazzisi) opted for cartoonish over clever, though it almost became worth the effort when Taco (Jonathan Lajoie) commanded him to sleep with a single suggestive trigger-word (“Pumpernickle!”). They might not ever be Coach and Tami Taylor, but Jenny and Kevin are already one of my favorite married couples on TV. They have great chemistry, and Jenny’s ability to keep up with the boys — or is it lower herself to their level — is one of the show’s most charming qualities. Together, men are idiots, but it’s nice to think that the intelligent, sexy women who love said idiots are just as willing to engage in the frivolity.

What did you think of Dirty Randy? Were you disappointed that the show “wasted” the character on such a big star, thus likely eliminating the prospects of a recurring role? Where do Jenny and Kevin currently rank on the list of best TV couples?

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