The League Season 4 Review “The Vapora Sport”

After a few off episodes, “The League” was firmly back in the zone with “The Vapora Sport,” which played all the world like a peak-era episode of “Seinfeld,” down to all the wacky catch-phrases and bizarre set-ups that paid off in decidedly unexpected ways throughout.

The title referred to a pair of shoes that Pete coveted but were snagged by a handicapped man (J.B. Smoove) at a shoe store, forcing him to go with a lesser pair of the brand, sans the cleat-style soles he preferred. The trade-off cost Pete when he tried to show off for a hot blonde (the delectable Meredith Giangrande) and couldn’t get the traction he needed to help push her car and he slipped and fell, busting open his chin.

Meanwhile, Kevin and Jenny decided to buy a second-hand piano for their daughter, only to find out it was a player piano that played old-school plantation-era tunes like “Pick a Bale of Cotton.” Kevin hilariously dubbed it a “racist piano,” and was horrified when he found his daughter playing said song in a white hooded robe, lamenting that they should have gone with ballet to keep her out of trouble. Jenny had nixed the idea earlier, complaining that “Everyone wants to have sex with ballerinas! Did you see “Black Swan”? Ballerinas want to have sex with ballerinas!”

Ruxin chimed in, not-so-helpfully: “Maybe you should get some chocolate pudding, wipe it all over her face, then she could perform “Blackface Swan.” Andre suggested that he and Kevin’s daughter go watch “The Grand Wizards of Waverly Place.” LOL. I also got a kick out Jenny’s pointing out that it could have been worse: they could have gotten her a woodwind instrument to play, miming the playing of the instrument in a decidedly off-color way. Hello!

In another subplot, Taco had trained a dog he was dog-sitting to bark at anyone who had just engaged in sexual activity. First, he busted Kevin after a tryst with Jenny: “Whoa! She started you off with an HJ, huh? Classic. Classic Jenny.” Not sure how he was able to pinpoint the degree of sexual activity at hand, but that description also fit the delivery guy who ducked into the bathroom after seeing Jenny in a sexy robe- the same aforementioned one that her daughter would wear later in the ep.

Piano mover: “You guys are insane! I don’t know who teaches a dog to bark at someone’s dick!”
Taco, pointing to himself: “This guy does!”
Kevin, after Jenny asked what all the commotion was about: “Michael Moore came in here and J’d off in our bathroom! Cracked his meat all over the place.”

Later, Ruxin asked Taco to bring the dog in to confirm his suspicions about a co-worker (sexy Ingrid Haas, a regular on “Chelsea Lately”) he suspected was sleeping her way to the top. (Taco: “Even if she towels off her gens post-intercourse, he’d still smell it.”/ Ruxin: “Wow. Even if she T’s those G’s?”) But the plan backfires when the dog escapes and has a little fun of its own, humping a blind man’s seeing-eye dog, leading to confrontation between Ruxin and the man, who was not amused. “Why are the blind so strong?” lamented Ruxin, over and over.

Finally, while Pete was visiting Andre to repair his jaw, the handicapped man who “stole” his shoes comes in and Pete seizes the opportunity to steal them back. The man is horrified, especially when he sees that Pete has switched his shoes out with the man’s own, leaving him with the aforementioned inferior treads. Then he is hit by Kevin who is returning the “racist piano” and Kevin offers to wheel him wherever he wants on a dolly after destroying his wheelchair. They run into Pete on a jog and a chase ensues, culminating in Kevin losing control of the dolly and the poor guy rolling down a hill- and right into the piano. To add insult to injury, it starts playing the “Cotton” song!

Funny stuff all around, and definitely a step back on the right track after a few lackluster episodes. This one was stuffed to the brim with catch-phrases/hilarious bits revolving around things like “leg titties,” “scuffed velour,” shoes “loaded with tread,” and “pro-boner work” (aka sex), in addition to all the stuff I’ve already mentioned. I thought it was easily one of the best episodes of the season- and maybe even the series as a whole.

What did you think of “The League” this week? Did you get a kick out of all the catch-phrases? Did you like the sex-sniffing dog? How about the amusing turn by Smoove? (Not to mention the piano guy.) Did it remind you of a quality episode of “Seinfeld,” too? Was it “one for the vault”? Let me know in the comments!

About The Author

Mark Trammell is the resident entertainment critic at UAB, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he is also a Graduate Student and does a vid-cast movie review show. His impossible dream is that "Twin Peaks" will one day be resurrected and pick up where it left off. Until then, he drowns his woes in anything remotely similar, from "Buffy" to "Lost" to "Pretty Little Liars." This has not always been a good thing-cough, "Ringer", cough- but now at least it can help pay the bills.

  • Tbag

    I would haw sworn that Larry David wrote that episode. Seemed like a bit of a ripoff, really. And add to the fact that JB Smoove was a central character and it could have easily been a Curb your Enthusiasm episode

    • Mark Trammell

      Totally agree! It was pretty deliberate to ape David’s writing so much that I felt it had to be a homage to “Seinfeld” & “Curb”, you know? Maybe rip-off is a bit strong, but it definitely seemed on purpose, and since most episodes of “The League” aren’t so dead-on like that, I like to think it was more of a tribute on the whole. On the whole, “It’s Always Sunny….” reminds much more of “Seinfeld”- if the characters were completely beyond redemption. I’d hang out with “The League” guys, but I’d watch my back around the “sunny” crew!

    • Andy B

      I wouldn’t consider it a ripoff, given that Jeff Schaffer worked on both Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm.