I hate football. I’ve never been able to sit through an entire game, I have no understanding of the rules, and when anyone talks about it, I instantly fall asleep. I once watched half of the Super Bowl at a bar. Anybody I was with can confirm that I was only in it for the mozzarella sticks (and they were delicious!).
I hate football, but I love The League, FXX's mostly improvised ensemble comedy about a group of friends and their fantasy-football league. People are sometimes surprised when I lose it over the show, which wraps up its seven-season run tonight. There's a lot of football talk and it still won over my sports-shunning heart even though I can't pick Peyton Manning out of a lineup. If you haven't had time or inclination to take in the antics of Pete (Mark Duplass), Jenny (Katie Aselton), Kevin (Stephen Rannazzisi), Ruxin (Nick Kroll), Andre (Paul Scheer), and Taco (Jon Lajoie), it's too late to catch the finale. But here's why even someone who tends to give the Heisman to football-related programming should plan to binge the soon-to-be departed comedy gem at the first opportunity.
Watching The League is just like hanging out with my guy friends
The League is a show about bro-ing out: Guys rip on each other, prank each other, make inside jokes, get way too competitive, unleash bodily fluids, devise more metaphorical pissing contests, and, occasionally, talk smack about sports. It reminds me of nights spent hanging out with my male friends in college, encapsulating the testosterone-fueled, madcap energy (and moments of sheer idiocy) that can bubble over when a group of guys are left to their own devices. High T-levels aside, The League is also one of the best shows at capturing how groups of friends build an intimate world for themselves. The series boasts a complex web of callbacks and running gags that reward longtime watching. The gang's inside jokes (e.g. their League trophy, the Shiva, is named after the high-school classmate Kevin lost his virginity to) and coined neologisms (see: "fear-boner" and "vinegar strokes") are exactly what close friends do at their most inventive and inane.
The show is easy to tune in and out of
In today’s overloaded binge-watching environment, when you’re all but expected to mainline eight hours of a prestige drama every weekend and remember the names of every bearded old guy in Game of Thrones, it's a treat to watch a show that doesn’t hinge on commitment. While each season of The League has a narrative arc that follows the football season, the show is more about attitude and energy than it is about what happened last week. You can float in and out of the sports shop-talk as needed; like the science jargon inThe Martian, you're confident it makes sense by how the characters react. When the show veers hard into football cameo-time? Check your phone. Smoke something. (It’s a great show to watch while high, we’ve heard!) You didn't miss anything.