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The League: The Complete Season Three(TV) (2011)
Unsportsmanlike conduct takes on a whole new meaning in the hilarious, smack-talking fantasy football comedy, The League. Season Three kicks off as Kevin and Jenny have a run-in with a local drug dealer, and Pete regrets learning a new sexual position. Ruxin hires a hot new au pair, but does Taco have his eyes on her end zone? It’s time to trade up to special never-before-seen extended episodes and outrageously unrated bonus features. The race to the playoffs is on…but who wins the Shiva, and who gets the dreaded Sacko?
For more about The League: The Complete Season Three and the The League: The Complete Season Three Blu-ray release, see the The League: The Complete Season Three Blu-ray Review published by Casey Broadwater on October 19, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Paul Scheer, Stephen Rannazzisi, Nick Kroll, Mark Duplass, Katie Aselton, Jonathan Lajoie
» See full cast & crew
The League: The Complete Season Three Blu-ray Review
Season three creepy up in da bobbum van filled with equipmonk...
Reviewed by Casey Broadwater, October 19, 2012
I know next to nothing about fantasy football. I don't follow the NFL. Players' names elicit a blank, I'm sorry, I don't know who you're talking about expression from me. I don't know a Raven from a Seahawk from a Falcon. And yet, The League—which follows a group of crass bros through the course of a fantasy football season each year—has somehow become one of my favorite TV comedies. It took a while to win me over completely. In my review of the first season, I said it was about "obtuse, sex-starved, homophobic 30-something troglodytes who still act like frat boys during pledge week." I called the second season "raunchy comic fun, consistently entertaining even if some episodes are definitely better than others." As for this year, I'm just going to start by saying that I laughed my ass off more times than I can remember. The characters really gelled for me. The improv is funnier and the writing smarter. The in-jokes and running gags even approach Arrested Development levels of self-referentiality. The series rewards longtime viewers, so if you're new to the show, check out our previous reviews—here and here—pick up the earlier season sets, and start from the beginning. For those of you already familiar with The Quest for Shiva, read on for an overview of the hilarious and deranged third season.
The Lockout (Extended Episode): The season gets off to a bit of a hokey start, with last year's champion, the sarcastic and ruthless Ruxin (Nick Kroll) gloating in victory with "The Shiva Bowl Shuffle," a music video he made featuring guest appearances by NFL players Maurice Jones-Drew, Brent Grimes, and Sidney Rice. Afterward, though? Filthy hilarity. To punish rich-but-tasteless plastic surgeon Andre (Paul Scheer) for his "Sacko Bowl" loss, the gang recruit Ruxin's terrifying brother-in-law, Rafi (Jason Mantzoukas), and his best friend, Dirty Larry (Seth Rogan), to shoot a porno inside Andre's posh apartment. In the process, they get literally locked out of the season draft and the computer picks players for them, resulting in everyone having awful teams.
The Sukkah (Extended Episode): In an attempt to get his son into Jewish pre-school, the non-practicing Ruxin throws a Sukkah party—a Jewish harvest festival—to impress the admissions counselor. Of course, it all goes comically wrong, with a spray-painted swastika in the driveway, stoner Taco (Jon Lajoie) bringing his bounty of pot, and "My Orgie at Andre's" accidentally getting projected onto the side of the house. Oh, and Andre contracts thrush from the porno residue on his couch, an event the gang refers to as "the immaculate infection."
The Au Pair (Extended Episode): Ruxin hires a hot au pair to take care of his kid, and this backfires over the course of the next few episodes in ways you wouldn't necessarily expect. (No, Rux doesn't get any of that action.) Meanwhile, Andre tries online dating and Kevin (Stephen Rannazzisi) —the league's winless commissioner—emotionally cheats on his wife, Jenny (Katie Aselton), with ESPN's fantasy football analyst, Matt Berry.
Ol' Smoke Crotch (Extended Episode): While testing Taco's pants-saving "pee bib," poor Kevin finds a white pube—an irrefutable sign that he's getting older—and tries in vain to keep it from the other guys, who call him "Rip Van Tinkle" and worse. Womanizing single-guy Pete (Mark Duplass) strikes up a relationship with the au pair, but his sexual adventurousness gets the best of him when she wants to try the "Golden Gate" position, which involves Rafi, who has dyed his pubes white and proudly proclaims, "My dick is terrifying!"
Bobbum Man (Extended Episode): In college, the gang would play a game of "phone chicken" where they'd each develop unnerving personalities and try to freak the others out into hanging up the receiver. Ruxin was "Korean Dick Vitale," Andre was "Crawdad Man"—a patently offensive Bubba Blue-style caricature—and Pete's alter-ego was "Bobbum Man," a murderous rapist known to "creepy up in da bobbum van filled with equipmonk for great grief to making at your underneath." Kevin was always morbidly terrified of Bobbum, who shows up unexpectedly here on his and Jenny's "sex-iversary." This might be the closest The League will ever get to a horror episode.
Yobogoya!: Taco competes in a jingle contest for a cheap restaurant that serves Grade-E beef, Andre becomes an "urban forager," and Pete grows to hate a white-glove-wearing traffic cop. The best subplot, though, has Ruxin catching the flu from Jenny and trying to avoid seeming sick in front of his germ-o-phobe boss, played by a cigar-chomping Ray Liotta.
Carmenjello (Extended Episode): Andre offends a black janitor by calling him "Camenjello"—it's actually the name of the company the guy works for—and Kevin exacerbates the racial tensions when he sneaks into a day-spa to take a picture of the man's skin, which is the perfect shade of cinnamon to paint his kid's room. Elsewhere, Taco decides to invest in Forever stamps, and Ruxin goes to the doghouse when his wife accuses him of "breast favoritism."
Thanksgiving (Extended Episode): My vote for the single best episode of the season goes to "Thanksgiving," which features two great guest spots. Sarah Silverman shows up as Andre's horny sister, who once taught the guys everything they sexually know, and Jeff Goldblum is pitch-perfect as Ruxin's dad, who's more Ruxin-esque than Ruxin himself. ("Do you remember me?" Andre asks him. "You once told me to stop wearing black because it made me look like Nosferatu.") Taco invests in a truffle, Ruxin uses a pedometer while jacking off to convince the guys he's getting a daily cardio workout, and we get to see Jeff Goldblum's "vinegar strokes."
The Out-of-Towner (Extended Episode): SNL's Will Forte guest-stars as Chuck, an out-of-town league member who was Pete's former wingman and is now a recovering alcoholic. The guys have a "reverse intervention" for him that ends with everyone deliriously high on coke. Meanwhile, the tries-too-hard clotheshorse Andre is dressed "like a Deadwood character at a Justin Beiber concert," and Taco goes on a diet of Slim Jims, gummi bears, and artificial sweetener packets.
The Light of Genesis: Ruxin joins the Light of Genesis cult to get trading tips—their "one clean vice" is fantasy football—and Kevin's Krav Maga class turns uncomfortably sexual when his trainer starts hitting on him in more ways than one. We also learn that Jenny has a tattoo that says "Pleasure Chest" on her hipbone, and she unwisely goes to Andre to get it removed.
The Guest Bong: An iPhone auto-correct error sends district attorney Kevin into hiding when a former felon he put away for two years comes back into his life. (The perpetually high Taco makes this much worse by showing up with a bong made from handgun.) Ruxin tests his firm's HR department with his grotesquely depraved e-mail video attachments, and Pete gets a new girlfriend who wants to fiddle with his fantasy league lineup. "This is like fifth base for us," he says as she has her way with his team.
St. Pete (Extended Episode): Consider this the first part of a two-part finale. "St. Pete" decides to drag Ruxin down with him into the "Sacko Bowl"—the tourney for losers—and when Rux discovers that the guys screwed him over at the beginning of the season, he flips out and quite literally has a stroke, sending him to the hospital with a paralyzed left side. Kevin also proposes a bet to Jenny; if he wins the Shiva Bowl—and he never has before—they're going to have a second kid. If this description doesn't strike you as particularly funny, it's because this episode, aside from some decent one-liners, is one of the weaker this season.
The Funeral (Extended Episode): Ruxin's stroke could potentially be seen as a "jump-the-shark" moment—when the show goes too far for its own good—and the season finale does tempt ridiculousness at times, with Rafi trying to murder Rux in the hospital, the gang prematurely viewing his will, and Shiva herself showing up to inspire a miraculous recovery. There is some really funny stuff here, though, like Pete accidentally getting branded with a "SACKO" tramp stamp and Taco throwing a viking funeral for the Shiva trophy.
The League: The Complete Season Three Blu-ray, Video Quality
The League: The Complete Third Season arrives on Blu-ray with a 1080p/AVC-encoded presentation that, for whatever reason, looks slightly more digital-ish—if that makes sense—than previous seasons. Yes, the show is show natively on high definition digital video, but this year I spotted some noticeable edge enhancement—giving a bit of a halo to certain outlines—and occasionally some artifacts that seem to suggest a combination of light noise reduction and compression. Is it distracting? No, not really, and certainly not from a normal viewing distance. But it is worth noting. While longer shots can look a little soft, mediums and close-ups tend to reveal a good deal of fine detail in the actors' faces and clothing. As usual, color is very realistically graded, but with a satisfying density. Black levels are sufficiently deep and contrast is right where it needs to be. It's clear that this is a fairly low-budget show—and I'm not sure why there's comparatively so much digital post-processing this year—but in general, The League performs fairly well on Blu-ray.
The League: The Complete Season Three Blu-ray, Audio Quality
As with the previous season, the show's lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround sound presentation here is strictly functional, with few sound design embellishments and little-to-no sense of immersion. And that's fine; this isn't a show that needs whiz-bang effects or constant environmental ambience. Instead, the mix focuses on the characters' spitfire dialogue, which is always delivered cleanly and well-balanced. The rear channels are only called to the field for occasional music and rare effects, but the sound from the front speakers is more than adequately dynamic and clear. And that's really all there is to say here. Note that the discs include optional English SDH, Spanish, and French subtitles, all in easy-to-read white lettering.
The League: The Complete Season Three Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The League: The Complete Season Three Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
The League occasionally has trouble balancing its base-level realism with its more ridiculous turns of events, but on the whole, the show has gotten funnier and better developed over its three production runs. If you're a fan, you'll definitely want to pick up this 2-disc season three set, which includes all thirteen episodes—ten in slightly extended, uncensored form—and some hilarious bonus material. (I could watch the "Alt Nation" alternate takes reel on repeat.) The high definition presentation looks a bit more digitalish than last year's set, oddly—I spotted more edge enhancement and artifacts—but thankfully not to the point of distraction. Recommended!
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