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'The League' recap: Putting the 'fun' in funeral

Season 6 | Episode 1 | “Sitting Shiva” | Aired Sept 3, 2014

When a close friend dies in front of you via Skype, the only logical thing to do is hold your fantasy football draft at his funeral. If you’re new to The League, welcome. You probably should’ve started with season 1, but here we are.

The League returns for its sixth season on FXX, even though FXX has only been a channel for two years. Do the math! For those unfamiliar with the show, I’m not going to give a full history lesson, but let’s say it’s about a group of morally corrupt friends who play fantasy football. What’s fantasy football? Ask Jeeves.

The episode kicks off in the middle of a dream sequence for Kevin, who is dreaming that’s he at the NFL Combine for incoming rookies. NFL Network analyst Rich Eisen is doing the play-by-play while several real NFL rookies guest-star in the scene. Their names? Who cares? They’re rookies. No one tell those giant men I typed that.

After Kevin pees his pants from his lackluster performance, he wakes up in bed with his wife, Jenny. After a brief exchange, Jenny finds that Kevin has wet the bed. Look, we’ve all wet the bed after an intense football-related dream. Let’s not dwell on this.

The big moment in this episode is the death of Ted, played by Adam Brody. While skyping with the group, Ted walks into the street without looking and is promptly struck by a car. The gang of friends (Ruxin, Taco, Andre, Pete, Kevin, and Jenny) travel to California for Ted’s funeral. After talking with Ted’s parents and their rabbi, they discover Ted has bequeathed his Malibu beach house to whomever wins the fantasy football league this season. I’ve always wanted to use the word “bequeathed” correctly. Cross that off my depressing bucket list.

Ted on League

Image courtesy of seat42f.com.

Since “Ted would’ve wanted it that way,” a running theme for the episode, the gang holds its fantasy draft with Ted’s open casket. Apparently it’s Jewish tradition that someone watch the body overnight. I’m not Jewish, so I can neither confirm nor deny the reality of this tradition. Jeeves was unavailable to ask.

After an alcohol-and-weed-fueled fantasy draft, the gang is almost caught by Ted’s parents and the rabbi. During their mischievous escape, Taco, played by YouTube sensation Jon Lajoie, leaves the draft board in the casket with Ted. The gang must now figure out a way to retrieve the draft board, or all of their “hard work” will be lost. Doesn’t make sense to me why they can’t redraft, but I guess it wouldn’t have made for a very interesting episode if they went that route.

Quick side note: “Teflon-dre,” played by Paul Scheer, is incredible. Throughout the episode, Andre, who is usually a verbal punching bag, has a new air of confidence about him. The gang’s usual one-liners appear to bounce off of him, and he actually has some comical retorts. Even when the gang tries to trick him into performing a one-man flash mob at the funeral, it backfires. The rabbi gets knocked out thanks to an errant urban golf ball (thanks Taco!), and Andre, who is a plastic surgeon, comes to the rescue. I hope this new “Teflon-dre” is a season-long character change because it added a nice new wrinkle into the standard dynamic of the group.

Back to the story: As they’re leaving the funeral, Pete, Ruxin, and Taco decide to steal the casket to recover the draft board. Houston Texan J.J. Watt and two other NFL players, who are also friends with Ted, pretty much stand by and let it happen. After the three think they’ve eluded the NFL stars, they run into Kevin and Jenny having a little funeral sex. The married couple snuck away during the service after a little draft dirty talk reawakened Kevin’s manhood. The whole gang is then discovered by J.J. Watt, who gives them a stern talking to about their antics, and then leaves carrying the casket with one hand. Hilarious!

JJ Watt League

Photo courtesy of “The League’s” official Twitter.

The gang then notices Ted’s body is no longer in the casket, and they ponder who J.J. carried away. Cut to the graveyard. As the casket is about to go into the ground, Taco pops out of it and exclaims, “Don’t worry. It’s just a draft. Ted is still dead.” Perfect ending to a ridiculous yet amazing season opener.

For a show with a distinct premise, six seasons is hard to pull off and still remain fresh and edgy. The League pulls it off nicely and sets the stage for what looks to be another fun-filled season. Some people might think, “Oh, I don’t like football. I’m not sure I’d like that show.” Trust me: Give this show a chance. The first five seasons are up on Netflix, and they are absolutely worth a binge. Enjoy.

The League airs Wednesdays at 10pm EST on FXX.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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