The League season premiere recap: That Other Draft
Last season ended with a fire, and the new one began with one.
Taco’s (Jon Lajoie) holding his annual Taco Corp board meeting on a beach “somewhere in Mexico,” which really just means he’s sipping beers on a beach “somewhere in Mexico” with the Seattle Seahawks’ Marshawn Lynch. Kevin (Stephen Rannazzisi) wants in on the fun, though, so he asks for a beer — which Taco eventually throws to him, causing his poor big brother to run into a grill and promptly catch on fire. And with that, The League is back, and just as ridiculous as ever.
Now in its seventh and final season, The League isn’t trying any new tricks — but that’s probably for the best: The sitcom’s formula of portraying kind-of-bad people doing kind-of-bad (and sometimes really bad) things works well, and is the reason why it still manages to churn out genuinely laugh-out-loud-funny scenarios and jokes even after dozens of episodes.
Example: The character of Taco hasn’t grown at all since the series’ beginning, and that’s his charm. He is clueless and emotionally stunted, and thinks saying things like, “Oh, no, I don’t want to talk to you anymore!” is a totally reasonable and respectable way to get out of a conversation. Essentially, he says all the things you’d be embarrassed to hear your friend say — but since he’s a fictional character on TV, his misguided perspectives inspire laughter instead of humiliation.
Because Taco is the way he is, the rest of his crew are having a hard time thinking of how to punish him for losing last season. At first, they tell him he can only use porta-potties for the next month, but he’s fine with that — so fine with it that he installs a porta-potty in Kevin and Jenny’s living room. Jenny (Katie Aselton) suggests they make him do something completely out of character like make him read a book or be monogamous, and that leads to their actual punishment: making Taco work a real, 9-to-5, typical job.
It’s genius. But you know what’s more genius? Taco himself. He shows up to his new bank gig in a suit, but it’s actually his Mr. McGibblets suit. His new boss somehow isn’t scared away by the giant purple fuzzy thing walking through his bank and sends him outside with a sign. Taco is officially, as his friends say, unsackable.
Although The League is full of ongoing gags and story lines, it’s still a show you can jump into without missing too much. Taco’s transformation into Mr. McGibblet is absurd no matter how much you know about Taco, and the reveal that Andre is actually dating Pete’s ex-wife — another big story line weaved through the season 7 debut — is surprising even if you didn’t witness Pete’s divorce happen in the show’s first season.
And the premiere’s final scene works especially well on its own: Jenny boards the stage with Jim MacMahon to announce the draft, but the suit-clad Taco runs onstage and interrupts her. The two get into a slapping fight that looks straight out of a Miley Cyrus video while Ruxin (Nick Kroll), Kevin, Andre (Paul Scheer), and Pete (Mark Duplass) stand back and laugh in satisfaction at how they finally sacked the unsackable. (It seems more like Jenny was the victim here, but this gang has never been one to make sense, so we’ll let it slide.)
Each year, these characters act like kids on Christmas morning when football season starts back up, but viewers don’t have to share their (completely over-the-top) level of obsession with the sport to appreciate or understand the show. Sure, you might get a bigger kick out of cameos from football stars like Tyrann Mathieu and Calais Campbell if you follow the game, but those guest spots manage to be accessibly funny even for those who only know Honey Badger as a meme about a, well, actual honey badger. Meaning? Forget football; The League‘s return is the event to really be excited about this fall.