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Tuesday, June 22, 2021
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"""The League"" fumbles with its season opener "

Angry wives, threats to national security and inappropriate songs. That's right, it's once again fantasy football season.

The second season of FX's breakout comedy, "The League," premiered Thursday night and, while worthy of a few chuckles, the premier was a slight disappointment.

The episode, titled "Vegas Draft," centered on the gang's kickoff to another quirky and inappropriate joke-filled season of fantasy football. Only this year the gang would be drafting their teams in the famed city of Las Vegas.

From the looks of things, this year is going to have a few shake-ups, most notably, the potential of Jenny (Katie Aselton, The Freebie), Kevin's (Stephen Rannazzisi, The Locksmith) wife, joining the league.

This, however, does not come to fruition in the episode. Though the opportunity presents itself when one of the members drops out, the gang opts to fill the slot with Ruxin's (Nick Kroll, "Children's Hospital") cousin, Ralphie.

Ralphie is an eccentric character that considers the league a mere afterthought and puts girls and partying at the forefront of his mind. While this led to a few laughs, the overall character is more of a tool used for evoking frustration and awkward glances between the main characters rather than conveying his jokes.

Even though Ralphie was able to produce some awkward situations for the others, he is one character who could run his course quickly. So for this reason, it would be better to write him off sooner rather than later.

Though the introduction of a rather annoying new character was a bit of a letdown, the biggest downside to the episode was its writing.

The original season of "The League" captivated its viewers with the characters' quick wit and original jokes that were so random (and offensive) that it would leave anyone watching gasping for breath.

"Vegas Draft" did not posses the same caliber of dialogue. Most of the jokes were only good for a quick grin or two and failed to deliver the same punch as last season. Hopefully the show is just having a rough time getting back into their groove and can change this as the season progresses.

The episode wasn't a complete loss, however. The gang's refusal to acknowledge that the trip to Vegas was Andre's (Paul Scheer, Chlidren's Hospital) idea was a hilariously frustrating scene that was reminiscent of some of the better moments from last year.

One of the episode's highlights was the guest appearance of NFL superstar Chad Ochocinco. The Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver constantly insulted Andre, making for a few good laughs.

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The best part of the episode, however, came when the crew chose the league's draft order. This year the order was decided with a mad dash to be the first one through an airport security check. Of course, it wasn't as simple as that.

There was plenty of pulling, shoving and throwing involved, but this was nothing compared to Kevin's underhanded deceits. What was originally described as a late present for Ruxin's birthday, turned out to be a clock and wires wrapped neatly in a box. Needless to say, Ruxin didn't win.

It's scenes like these that made the show the success it was. It takes an ordinary decision that thousands, if not millions, of fantasy football players need to make every year and puts its own original spin on it.

All in all, the episode was a shaky start to the season. The potential to surpass last season is still there, but has yet to come to fruition. Hopefully the writers can get their act together and score another touchdown later in the season.


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