The League embarked on its fifth season with the start of this year’s NFL regular season, and it’s looking great.
The League follows a fictional eight-man fantasy football league through relatively insane antics, usually in the name of fantasy football — like making little kids race to decide draft order or approaching strangers in a bull costume as punishment for losing the league.
The dynamic between Nick Kroll, Mark Duplass, Paul Scheer, Jon LaJoie, Stephen Rannazzisi and Katie Asleton is near flawless — their characters’ utter obsession with fantasy football and constant trash talk never ceases to amuse. Whether criticizing Andre’s (Scheer) hat yet again or cracking another joke about Taco’s (LaJoie) terrible fantasy team, The League always manages to keep it funny.
Season five started as funny as the past ones, pushing limits and bringing jokes at Andre’s expense to a whole new level. The first three episodes were great — sticking to the boundary-pressing comedy The League does best and including cameos from Texans’ JJ Watt and Vikings’ Blair Walsh. In episode three, The League took a break from football (and from their usual dynamic) to air the episode Rafi and Dirty Randy — two minor characters played by Jason Mantzoukas and Seth Rogan who have appeared off and on since Rafi’s introduction in season two.
In the episode, Rafi and Dirty Randy were avenging the death of their murdered friend. Two incredibly funny supporting characters taking the stage for an episode should, technically, be a recipe for success, but for me, it felt a little ridiculous. In small doses, Rafi and Dirty Randy are hilarious — their general weirdness can make anyone laugh while still feeling slightly uncomfortable — in some ways, the comedy the show does best. But an entire episode devoted to the supporting characters was outlandish and tiresome instead of great.
Still, that was only one episode. Going back to the league, the show’s fourth and fifth episodes were some of the funniest. If Rafi and Dirty Randy was only a bump in the road, I’ll take it because the rest of season five may just be better than the rest.