It seemed fitting, at the end of "The Curse of Shiva," that this year's league winner was the mysterious, never-before-seen Ted.
Not only because The League Season 4 of The League had less to do with football itself than any previous season, but because it was, at heart, an in-depth examination of loserdom.
Before watching tonight's double header, "A Krampus Carol" and "The Curse of Shiva" - two of the season's funniest and most unhinged episodes - I was convinced that Shiva's curse (placed upon the group at the start of the season) was just another of the show's many plot threads that are dropped almost as soon as they are introduced.
But totaling up this year's parade of failures, embarrassments and bodily injuries for the gang, I started to wonder if it was actually just a plot thread too subtle for me to pick up on.
- Allow me give you a light serving of the season's damage: Kevin failed at being a judge, ate raw meat that caused him to projectile vomit and lay on the floor with a concussion while his wife swiped one of his players.
- Pete, who in the past has had something of a way with his female companions, was dissed royally by the heinous Gina Gibiatti, and didn't seem to have much luck elsewhere.
- Ruxin had a low sperm count, a feud with a sushi chef, became obsessed with the idea of his wife leaving him, nearly lost his mind after doing poorly on an IQ test, had several people offer to impregnate his wife and had the ultimate indignity of winning the Sacko due to the machinations of Baby Jeffrey.
- Jenny was arrested for a crime she didn't commit, and Frank Gibiatti watched her pee.
- Andre was humiliated in all the usual Andre ways, and finally, when happiness seemed to arrive (in the form of Jayma Mays' Trixie), found out that his fiancee was allergic to his sperm.
- And in the season finale's final moments, everyone except Taco shat their pants.
A potent metaphor, as this season's MVP was Taco, both in the universe of the show - Taco Corp has, confoundingly developed into an extremely successful business - and from a critical perspective.
While in the past, Taco was primarily a background character, a goofy cartoon of an aimless hippie/pussy magnet, this year, Taco came into his own deranged glory, becoming one of the show's most compelling characters -naming little Chalupa Batman, starting an unlicensed psychology practice, running amok in a mall's Christmas village while dressed as Mr.McGibblets, and all while scoping up the lion's share of this year's best The League quotes.
I look forward to his continued development into a non-evil version of Rafi.
Speaking of which: the only reason that I didn't give Rafi the MVP because he's not in each episode. I think watching Rafi is the number-one reason for a human being to own a TV right now; his performances are the future of button-pushing comedy.
But his scene-stealing bits this year, combined with Taco's madness, gave the show a thrilling, complete-break-from-reality quality, which I can only hope is developed further in The League Season 5. These final two episodes, with their Krampages and "brown notes," certainly suggest a further move in that direction.
We might be standing on the verge here, people, like the moment when Seinfeld morphed from a show about immature adults negotiating the world around them into a show about rageaholic soup chefs, murderer's mail bags and dentists with sinister religious conversion motives. Oh my god, I can hardly wait. I may need to go sit in Rafi's sex-cage until this show is back on.
Did you enjoy this season's shift into the bizarre? And isn't the "brown note" a thing from South Park?