This week Pete introduces Jef and I to FX's long-running comedy, The League, just in time for the Fantasy Football explosion that is taking place around the country. If you are unfamiliar with the show, it is a comedy about a group of bros who participate in a fantasy football league. Additionally, the show finds the guys in various wild and wacky adventures, while building their various friendships.
In the episode we watched, episode four of the first season "Mr. McGibblets," Pete (Mark Duplass), perhaps the main character of the show, has recently gone through a separation from his wife. Prior to, the couple had booked a spa weekend away and as to not lose out on what's already spent money, Pete invites Andre (Paul Scheer), who can be described as the "guy everyone dumps on in the group." Meanwhile, Kevin (Stephen Rannazzisi), Pete's best bud and the league's commissioner, must stay home and watch his daughter who is obsessed with a "Tickle Me Elmo" type of doll called Mr. McGibblets, an odd name if there ever was one. Because he is a good dad, Kevin persuades his brother Taco (Jon Lajoie) to dress up like a giant Mr. McG. to scare his daughter, but that just doesn't work.
ABBY: I've had this show on my list of things to watch for some time now. It's a good cast (I love Nick Kroll more than I can express) and it's smart. I really enjoyed it. Some good one-liners. I had no idea that it's been running for five years. Why do you think it's under the radar? Other FX comedies are huge (It's Always Sunny...), is it because it's targeted to a pretty niche audience?
JEF: Speaking for myself, you say the words "Fantasy Football" and I shut off like I tried running the microwave and a hairdryer on the same circuit. Bwoomf. Off. It's exactly the same problem you have trying to get non-gamers to watch The Guild.
PETE: As I've already confessed to my esteemed co-authors, I've never seen The League before this week. I'd heard good things, and I like Duplass, so I thought we should give it a shot. But yeah, profitability aside, fantasy football is still often considered the domain of beetle-browed sports nerds. *cough*
ABBY: Let's talk about the idea of bringing your buddy to a romantic spa weekend that you were supposed to have with your wife. Yay or nay? I'm gonna go with very weird. I think you could probably get a refund.
JEF: All of my best friends are female so it would probably be less awkward, and honestly I make it a point to just go with situations like this in hopes it will turn into another whimsical tale.
PETE: You know how precious one night of uninterrupted sleep is? I'd go by myself.
ABBY: Nick Kroll's Ruxin was the best part of this episode to me. What a perfect asshole. How about you guys?
JEF: I dug how Claire Coffee just could not turn off her hotel-speak. It was kind of hot, honestly.
PETE: I like how Pete's sex tape was in a Curious Case of Benjamin Button DVD case. The only better option would be Schindler's List.
ABBY: OK Mr. McGibblets is this scary purple pseudo-Elmo character but way creepier and incredibly annoying -- although I have to say I was singing its "rub my tummy" song for a few hours. What's the most annoying toy your kids have/had? My little sister, who is significantly younger than me, didn't necessarily have annoying toys but she did insist on watching the same movie over and over and over again, no breaks in between. Just rewind and start it over. These movies changed over time but for a very long while this movie was Mannequin.
JEF: My daughter has a toy stethoscope that plays a heartbeat when you push the button. One night after everyone had gone to bed I took a shower and when I came out I heard this constant repetitive pulsing. It was everywhere, and I literally turned into that guy from "The Tale-Tell Heart" trying to find the damn thing. It was under her big stuffed Rainbow Dash, weighing down the button so it went off constantly. Hate that bloody thing.
PETE: The list is endless. My oldest had a driving toy that played the same honking sequence over and over ... my twins gravitate toward the loudest percussive toy available, and are currently obsessing with a show called Sky Dancers that makes me want to put a bullet in my TV, Elvis style.
ABBY: Kevin asks his brother to creep into his daughter's bedroom late at night dressed as a giant Mr. MbGibblets to freak her out so that she never wants to play with the doll again. Jef, would you suggest doing this in one of your "parenting posts" as an example of what a good father does?
JEF: I threaten to tell Doctor Who she's being a bad girl. I'm not sure I have any sort of moral leg to stand on here. But no, from a practical standpoint the way it went down in the episode is the only way it could possibly go down in real life. I probably would have taken the batteries out, positioned him at the foot of the stairs, and told my daughter he fell and died. We could have a funeral and everything!
PETE: I just hide whatever the offending toy is while the child in question is asleep and use misdirection the following morning to hide my crime. Children are surprisingly easy to deceive. ABBY: So, my husband plays fantasy football and I don't really understand it except that he won 50 bucks two years ago and we blew it at Olive Garden. You guys play? If there was a fantasy League of Extraordinary Gentlemen I might be into that.
JEF: There is a fantasy League of Extraordinary Gentlemen... it's called cosplay amateur pornography, and no, I'm not interested. Sports nerds are weird. It's like really angry math. I'll stick to Final Fantasy XIV.
PETE: Sigh. I've been playing fantasy football since you had to look up the box scores in the newspaper on Monday to award points. And also baseball and basketball, because in spite of what I said earlier, I'm not really a sports nerd, just a hopelessly degenerate gambler.
ABBY: NPR has had a boner over fantasy football for the past few weeks, as I have heard at least eight stories being reported on the "phenomenon." Just this week, they reported that fantasy football garners more than 1.2 billion in revenue and that there are 24 million people currently playing. Why is this so huge? To me, it's kind of like "The Sims," another game I never understood. You just made a house, but it's fake? You know you can't live there, right?
JEF: Remember your ex-boyfriend that played Madden endlessly because he was a Broncos fan and he had some sort of pathological need to make them the greatest team on Earth? It's that plus neeerrrdddssss.
PETE: On my old - currently offline - blog I wrote about the similarities between nerd nerds and sports nerds. For example, the latter are prone to dress like their favorite character, er, player and even follow their team across the country to attend games, which sounds a lot like people who go to cons.
I tend to go down the rabbit hole with anything that interests me, so I'm not really bothered by the distinction.
ABBY: Even I knew Plaxico Burress was a trade rape between Kevin and Andre. C'mon!
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JEF: I know... he's a terrible goalie. Now Viktor Krum, there's a worthy trade.
PETE: Jef reminds me of Lucy in Peanuts: "Throw me the hockey ball!" That said, I'm pretty sure Burress wasn't available to draft, much less trade, while he was incarcerated.
ABBY: And what we've really learned this week is that Jef hates sports nerds and maybe Pete is a secret one. The plot thickens!
Join us next week as we watch the heartbreakingly sad, yet ridiculously good-looking Don Draper be sad and good-looking in Mad Men, Season One's "The Wheel." It's on Netflix, just like 38 percent of the country, as it has been recently reported.