Behind all the secretly-filmed porno movies, accidental hate crimes, and glasses of Three Penis Wine, The League is really just about a group of emotionally fragile friends who cling to each other because they have no one else. I know that sounds like a really heavy theory for a show that just graphically depicted someone eating steamed horse penis, but I stand by it.
And during this week's double header of "Our Dinner With Andre" and "12.12.12", that vulnerability felt closer to the surface that usual. From Ruxin's sterility, to Kevin's black eye, to Jenny's arrest, to Andre's humiliation at the hands of Gina Gibiatti (Brooklyn Decker), to Pete's even greater humiliation at the hands of Gina Gibiatti, everybody hurt (well, except for Taco, but he's more bong than man).
All that vulnerability was just a lead-up, of course, to the highest stakes screw-up of all--Andre's ill-thought-out courtship with his terrible interior decorator, Trixie Von Stein (Glee's Jayma Mays). The gang can tell that Trixie is only with Andre because he financially underwrites her awful, "Etsy-on-bath-salts"-looking home decorating projects, and their attempts to bond with him and tell him the truth about Trixie were almost, dare I say, tender?
The mall shopping montage was hilarious, but also had more warmth to it than anything I can recall from the past several seasons of this show. The gang may be terrible at loving Andre, but they're still doing the best that they can. And the interaction with Deion Sanders drove home the real reason why the gang stays together, even though they often seem ready to murder one another--to the rest of the world, they're all Andres. Am I starting to sound like a wimp here? Sorry. I'll toughen up. Steamed horse penis! There!
I particularly appreciated the focus on Pete as a sad sack--due to his being the closest thing this show has to an "Everyman," it is easy to forget that Pete is just as much of an insecure dork as the rest of these guys. But Pete's doomed relationship with Gina Gibiatti was a great reminder that there is a real reason Pete can't find any cooler people to hang out with.
Not to imply that the show was any less hilarious than usual. Though the Jenny-Kevin domestic violence "joke" was a bit icky for my taste, it was more than balanced out by Rafi's monologue about life after the apocalypse (hint: it involves his "sister-wife" Sofia and keeping Andre as a "pet," and includes some of the most horrible-hysterical League quotes that I can recall ever hearing), Frank Gibiatti's creepy reverence for his sister's vagina, and the MacArthur family's disaster at the science fair.
My only real complaint is that there wasn't enough Rafi and Dirty Randy (Seth Rogen). You can't just show us two minutes of "12.12.12: The Mayan Acockalypse" (or "The Mayan Cockpocalypse," or "The Mayan Cock-in-Lips") and expect us to be satisfied! That would be as crazy as Dirty Randy himself.
And for those of you keeping track, the real Mayan Apocalypse (or, if you prefer, the real Mayan Cockpocalypse), isn't until 12.21.12--so you'll be able to read our review of The League's season finale right here next week, before the end times come and Rafi goes all "The Road" on you.
Was this a kinder, gentler version of the gang? Or have I just been spending too much time in Dirty Randy's van lately?
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