In its own way, “The League” is the perfect companion show to “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” though Lord knows it took some time to find one, as long time fans of the latter will certainly attest. In many ways, “Training Camp” was the ultimate fan-pleasing episode of the show, what with a small army of cameos from sports figures, including Dallas Cowboys-owner Jerry Jones (who got off some great lines- to Taco: “This like talking to a mound of pudding.”). NFL announcer Rich Eisen and a whole host of players bigger sports fans than me can no doubt identify readily also cropped up, though I did get a kick out of a cameo from fellow Alabama-vet Trent Richardson and his mom.
Of course, “The League” is as much about ball-busting amongst friends as it is Fantasy Football, if not more so, which is what makes it so much fun. Add to that a cast superlative at ad-libbing, and the show is one of those rare ones that don’t feel scripted most of the time- because they largely aren’t. If you’re new to the show, think “Curb Your Enthusiasm” or one of Christopher Guest’s flicks with a sports-obsessed backdrop.
“Training Camp” got off to a fine start with a hilarious visualization of the gang’s draft picks, presented as if it were an actual big event, complete with some of the aforementioned cameos. It turned out to be one of two (!) sexual fantasies conjured up by one of the main gang, Ruxin (Nick Kroll), although if I was sleeping with the delectable Nadine Velazquez (late of “My Name is Earl”), I don’t know that’d I need to think about anything else. But that’s just me. Clearly, these guys have bigger issues.
The other fantasy came courtesy of the lone female member of “The League,” Jenny (the superlative and totally game Katie Aselton), who is also married to Kevin (Stephen Rannazzisi) and expecting his child. About to pop at any moment and hornier than she can stand, the poor girl can’t get her hubby to give it up, and so resorts to masturbating in the car, while she too thinks of draft picks. (Kevin: “I just feel right now that tunnel is for outbound traffic only.” Jenny: “My other outbound tunnel you have tried to go inbound on many times.”)
Also making an appearance in her fantasy is Shiva- she who inspired the name of the trophy the league is competing for- as played by the spectacularly beautiful Janina Gavankar, who I finally realized where I’d seen before with this episode: she’s better known for her recurring role on “True Blood.” She’s also known for “The L Word,” so I’m sure that came in handy for her make-out with Jenny.
Before she can finish, Jenny is rudely interrupted by her hubby- though to be fair, she was doing it outside her house in the car! Quoth the Andre (Paul Scheer): “She was flicking that bean like Mean Joe Greene.” The combination of the two sends her into labor- Jenny: “My water broke!” Ruxin: “Is that how a lady says she’s coming?” As if that humiliation wasn’t bad enough, because of an agreed-upon deal, Ruxin got to name their baby boy. The horrific moniker? Chalupa Batman McArthur. LOL!
On a side note, I so love how much one of the guys Jenny is, even when they’re not around. Typically, if a girl is a sports fan on a show or in a movie, it’s to bond with a guy, but Jenny is a bona fide fan- maybe even more so than the rest of “The League.” She may well be my fave comedic actress/character at the moment on television.
Best bits: The recurring singing cowboy jokes- he delivered bad news in song, as per Taco’s assignments, which included delivering the god-awful name poor Jenny’s baby was saddled with. (Nurse: “Is that cowboy sterile?” Ruxin: “I doubt it.”) Both fantasy sequences were hilarious: (“Andre’s on the clock! Suck it!” Drops mic, rapper style. Rich Eisen: “How does it feel to be the newest team member of an uninspired squad?”)
Also the bit about “talking to the hand”: Ruxin, to Andre’s hand: “I’m so sorry you have to pleasure that unbearable monster.” And the whole exchange with Jones was priceless: Jones: “What do you have on the website now?” Taco: “.Pictures of shoes I like, drawings of historical figures interacting with food in unusual ways.” and of course, to Taco: “Cover your taco bells!” Funny, funny stuff, all around.
What did you think of “Training Camp”? Did you appreciate the return to concentrating on football humor, or did you prefer when the show focused on the guys cracking wise on each other more? Were you glad they went ahead and got the whole baby thing out of the way early? Do you agree that Aselton is worth her weight in gold? Let me know in the comments section!