“The Lockout”

Welcome to Season 3, Episode 1 of The League. This will be my first foray into recapping, but I’m hoping to make it a regular occurrence. My recaps of The League will be the full-length version of the ones that appear on my family’s fantasy football newsletter “The Crying Towel”. Without further ado:

Previously on The League: a bunch of friends in Chicago have a fantasy football, you guessed it, league. Aside from the few out of town, thereby off-screen, members, the league is made up of Ruxin, Taco, Jenny, Kevin, Pete, and Andre. Ruxin won last year’s season and is the current owner of the Shiva. Andre, however, had the worst season and is in possession of the Sacko.

We open on a video-forum that the league members share. In said video, Ruxin is exercising his bragging rights by making a not-so-terrible copy of the Bears’ “Super Bowl Shuffle” with his very own “Shiva Bowl Shuffle.” He even went so far as to recruit some of his fantasy league team members to provide backup: Maurice Jones-Drew, Brent Grimes, and Sidney Rice.

On the other hand, Andre, is being forced to serenade public transit users by playing flute and performing as a troubadour while his league-mates look on.

Later, at the bar, Ruxin, Kevin, and Pete mock Andre for his ridiculous hair, which he was forced to grow out as yet another Sacko punishment. This look favors neither his bone structure nor his severely receded hairline. According to his friends, he looks like a “magician who also rapes” (instead of a rapist who does magic) because, for Andre, magic always comes first.

As it turns out, Ruxin shows off the Shiva Bowl ring he had made. It is as gaudy as you would imagine (going so far as to say “Suck It” on the side). Andre makes a Lord of the Rings reference which no one gets or appreciates. Taco suddenly appears, home from his round-the-world trip, fresh out of the Taliban (“worst April of my life”) and a bona-fide television star. Well, at least in Algiers. Taco won a recurring role in an Arabic show, Sands of Passion as an “American rapper/cowboy/cautionary tale”, named Buck.  His catchphrase? “Bang, bang, what’s the hang?” The show included correct, if poorly pronounced Arabic, as well as an alternate ending to Taco’s story arc. Spoiler alert: he would either end up marrying his on-screen girlfriend or become a suicide bomber.

Meanwhile, Kevin’s wife Jenny is attempting to train their new puppy. While reading the training book, she realizes that it probably wouldn’t be that out of the question to train her husband using the same methods: lowering her voice and stomping a foot for emphasis. Because this is a TV show, it works. Normally, I would hate the trope of a wife “training” her husband, but in this case I’ll let it slide. He kind of deserves it for wanting to knock Jenny up just to prove his virility. It seems he’s feeling quite down because not only does he sucks as a team-owner, but his wife managed to make it to the Shiva Bowl. Anyway, Jenny’s training technique, while sound, clashes with Pete’s (a double-click on a pen). Adorably, both methods are reinforced by scratching Kevin’s ear. That right there is why you can’t blame Seth Rogen’s character for assuming them to be in a relationship. They’re just really cute together. Anyway, it turns out that Taco also has his brother trained. He “highnotized” him, or, hypnotized him whilst high.

Before we know it, the league, minus Ruxin, is assembled and ready to establish draft order. They have quorum, so they go ahead and start. Of course Ruxin’s name is picked first. Pete throws the paper back in and they re-pick. In a diabolical plan, Ruxin is made the penultimate pick so the draft doesn’t seem rigged and Andre gets the bottom slot as yet another Sacko punishment. When Ruxin appears, he calls bullshit and totes suspects their scheming. Before breezing out, he tells them the season will be suspect unless he wins. His parting line: “Pile into your clown car of lies, because you’re all going down.”

The next day (maybe? Who really knows?) everyone but Jenny and Andre are at the public library to meet with former league member Rafi who is day-drunk. I guess he really needed to distract himself from the fact that his Mexican child-bride was deported. Rafi’s there to help with the last Sacko punishment for Andre: banish him from his awesome apartment, despite the fact that it is draft headquarters, and film a Seth Rogen-directed porno before he returns.

Draft Day: Before the draft starts, everyone minus Andre, heads to the roof of Andre’s apartment where Ruxin has staged a Bachelor-esque celebration (complete with a single red rose and flutes of champagne) in honor of the new season. Taco goes inside to let the porn crew in, closing the patio door behind him. The rest of the group is, you guessed it, suffering a “Lockout.” While the actors are “acting” and the cameras are rolling, the auto-draft kicks in. Everyone gets stuck with terrible picks. (Poor Jenny gets two kickers and two defenses, both early in the draft). Andre, however, is furiously scanning Fantasy Football for Dummies, and is surprised by how quickly the draft is moving. He, too, drafts a terrible team.

After a brief reappearance of the Shiva ring, which we shall hopefully never see again, the episode ends and we’re left to wonder how bad the auto-drafted teams really are.

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