Series / The League
A 2009 FX
sitcom about a group of friends
who all play in a fantasy football league. It's cut from a similar cloth as the show it airs after, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
—frequently Crossing the Line Twice
and taking Refuge in Audacity
—but a little better-adjusted (maybe you can think of it as Always Sunny on meds
. In Chicago
, With football
- A Death in the Limelight - The season 5 episode "Rafi and Dirty Randy".
- Alliterative Name - Rodney Ruxin.
- So is his father, Rupert Ruxin.
- And his sister, Rebecca Ruxin.
- Kevin and Taco's mother, Martha MacArthur.
- SHIVAKAMINI SOMAKANDARKRAM!
- Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Ruxin's dad.
- And Starring - And introducing Jon Lajoie. Only in season 1.
- Amoral Attorney - Both Ruxin and Kevin; a rare example where a criminal prosecutor isn't really any better than his defense attorney counterpart.
- Ruxin has become much more amoral since the first episode, while Kevin has been shown to be moral but incompetent.
- In addition, Ruxin rarely works as a defense attorney (claiming to do an average of 3 criminal cases a year), usually working as a corporate attorney. He's still amoral, and works for the most amoral of clients (serving as part of BP's legal team during the 2010 oil spill).
- Anything That Moves - Russell. Really the only thing he doesn't seem to be turned on by is Jenny.
- Or anything period, like pretzels and bread.
- Rafi also qualifies. For both the trope, and things Russell is turned on by.
- Played with by Dirty Randy. He does seem to fit the trope, but now can only get turned on by thinking about drag racing with Korean teenagers.
- "Awesome McCool" Name: Chalupa Batman
- Batman Gambit - Ruxin is very good at these. One particular incident involving knowing the size of Andre's little fatty by lying to Shiva by using his position as Commissioner to take her picture off of the trophy. However, it involves a full league vote to make a decision. Shiva found out after she told him, and Ruxin made no attempt to change their minds.
- Believing Their Own Lies - Andre genuinely thinks he has clear hair enough to "comb" it when he is alone rather than accept being bald.
- Bi the Way: Rafi, Russell and Dirty Randy.
- Blatant Lies - Andre isn't bald, he just has clear hair.
- Brief Accent Imitation - After spending three days in London at a conference, Andre puts on several different British accents and is appropriately mocked throughout the episode.
- Brilliant, but Lazy - Pete
- Brown Note - Taco achieves this with a vivulzela in the season 4 finale.
- Butt-Monkey - Andre, though when he isn't the victim, he gives as good as anyone else. Sometimes Ruxin, but he tends to bring it on himself.
- The Cameo Various NFL players and personalities appear as themselves. Including Terry Bradshaw, Matt Forte, and Matthew Berry.
- Camp Straight - Andre.
- Casanova Wannabe - Andre, particularly evident when he's discussing pickup artist tips with Pete.
- The Cast Showoff - Jon LaJoie has broken out into song on several occasions.
- Catch-Phrase - Andre tries to make "child please", "try the veal" and "homie don't play that" catch on.
- Buck, Taco's Algerian soap opera character, likes to say "Bang! Bang! What's the hang?".
- Circumcision Angst - Both Andre and poor, poor Chalupa Batman.
- Cloud Cuckoolander - Taco.
- The sanity of Rafi and Andre should be questioned as well.
- Cluster F-Bomb - Kevin in Kegel the Elf. After failing to get to the championship yet again, he goes completely berserk, kicking over a nativity scene and telling his five year old daughter that Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and God do not exist.
- Comedic Sociopathy - Rafi and Dirty Randy.
- Comically Missingthe Point: Taco, constantly, to the point where the rest of the gang don't even bother correcting him on his misconceptions but just roll with it.
- When the gang show off new versions of the Shiva trophy to Andre that openly mock him, Andre says "it's almost like you're making fun of me" and the group exchange stunned glances that Andre doesn't get that's the point of all this.
- Cool Old Guy - Gumpa Duke. Even Ruxin likes him.
- Coolvs Awesome: Taco dressed as Krumpus vs A Mall Santa.
- Consummate Liar - Ruxin lies so often that he considers it "familiar waters" and it almost pains him to actually tell the truth.
- A Date With Rosie Fingers - Jenny in "Training Camp".
- Deadpan Snarker - Pete and Ruxin. Andre gets in on it occasionally.
- Dirty Old Man - Gumpa Duke
- Does This Remind You of Anything? - Andre gets it more than usual in "The Hoodie".
- Embarrassing Middle Name: Chalupa-Batman.
- Everyone Went to School Together - Pete, Ruxin, Kevin, Andre, Taco, and Shiva all went to high school together, and at least the former three went to college together too.
- "Fawlty Towers" Plot - Most episodes.
- "Flowers for Algernon" Syndrome - Ruxin in "Judge MacArthur".
- The Friend Nobody Likes - As mentioned below, not one person in the league likes or cares about Andre even the slightest bit.
- Gainaxing - In episode two, "The Bounce Test", various circumstances force Ruxin to find a "porn loophole": an underwear website featuring video demonstrations of their products being used by well-endowed joggers.
- Genius Ditz: Taco is fairly talented musically, but too wasted to do anything else. Additionally, when you consider how much he gets around despite his shortcomings, he must be a masterful pick-up artist.
- Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Taco was in an Algerian soap opera.
- Gilligan Cut - Kevin promises that he, Jenny, Ruxin, and Sofia won't talk about Pete and Meegan's breakup at dinner. Cut to...
- Greedy Jew - Ruxin.
- Groin Attack - The "Scrote Squad" subplot from Curse of Shiva.
- Happily Married- Kevin and Jenny, who never have ANY serious marital issues, and the only minor ones are fantasy football related.
- Hate Sink- Andre is explicitly labeled one in universe and it is claimed that it keeps the league from destroying itself. As the show has progressed it has become increasingly clear that not one other member of the league likes or cares about him in the slightest and he kept around solely for this purpose.
- Henpecked Husband- Ruxin and Pete, at first. Pete got divorced in season 1. Ruxin just stopped caring about his wife, and doesn't listen to her anymore.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners - Pete and Kevin. Dirty Randy mistook them for actual life partners.
- Rafi and Dirty Randy are more bisexual life partners.
- Ruxin plays it up by naming his fantasy football team "Pete Top, Kevin Bottom"
- Hipster - Andre, though portrayed more as needy and desperate than smug.
- Hollywood Dateless - Andre, though possibly justified, as being a wealthy, successful plastic surgeon probably helps him get dates. He just has trouble hanging on to women.
- Impossibly Tacky Clothes - Andre's fashion sense is a regular source of mockery for both its hideousness and the large amount of money he spends on it.
- Intoxication Ensues - Ruxin on painkillers.
- Informed Judaism: Ruxin mentions being Jewish in the first episode, describing himself as looking like a Nazi cartoon of a Jew. However he is not practicing, and in fact is married to a Catholic and Baby Geoffrey was baptized (he told his mother it was a really progressive synagogue). In one episode he celebrates Sukkot in order to get his son into a prestigious Jewish preschool. In another episode, Ruxin and his wife get in an argument over what religion to raise Baby Geoffrey in. Averted with Ruxin's sister, who is mentioned to be Orthodox. This trope is even more true with Ted, who is only known to be Jewish because a rabbi was at his funeral.
- Jerk Ass - Everyone to some extent, though Ruxin and Rafi are probably the worst.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold - While they all do some pretty awful things, all of the main characters are basically good people (except for Ruxin).
- Karma Houdini - Though everyone gets away with things sometimes, like when Kevin lost his virginity to Shiva in Pete's mom's car, left the condom behind, and kept the incident a secret for years, only revealing the truth after Pete had returned the favor to the person he THOUGHT guilty of the offense, losing an amazing job offer in the process, Taco rarely receives any sort of comeuppance for his outrageous behavior. Possibly justified, as they are used to his antics and/or feel guilty over making him smoke pot when he was 8, turning him into the massive stoner he is today.
- Last-Name Basis - Rodney Ruxin. He thinks "Rodney" is an Embarrassing First Name. His dad, Rupert, has the same problem.
- Laser-Guided Karma - Ruxin's Dark Victory is immediately followed by him being the only guy left to deal with the broken windshield.
- Mistaken for Gay - Has happened to everyone except Taco.
- My Friends... and Zoidberg - A nonverbal example. After Ruxin wins the championship in the finale of season 2, he tussles with Andre for possession of the trophy. It ends up sailing off a fire escape and smashing through a car windshield. At that point, Pete arrives in the cop car he now drives, takes control of the situation, and whisks everyone away... except Ruxin, who they gleefully leave behind to deal with the furious owner of the car.
- Before the season 3 draft, Ruxin beckons the rest of the league to Andre's balcony.
Ruxin: Gentlemen. Taco.
- Noodle Incident - While never verbally mentioned, observant viewers can see that Taco has actually won the Shiva Bowl once. Due to his complete ineptitude at fantasy football, one can't help but wonder how this could have possibly happened.
- No Social Skills - Andre, and then some. It's heavily implied the reason he never leaves the league is because these are literally the only people who will talk to him.
- Obfuscating Stupidity - If Ruxin and Sofia's anniversary is any indication then Taco. He shot behind the scenes footage of their wedding and saved it for ten years so he could use it in what seems to be a very lengthy plan to incriminate and embarrass not only Ruxin, but Kevin, Andre, and Meegan as well, at an anniversary party he manipulated Ruxin into throwing in the first place. When his plan culminates in Ruxin having to eat a piece of wedding cake that had been thrown onto a bathroom floor, Ruxin calls him "an evil genius."
- In an interview the Producers confirm Taco is far smarter than given credit.
- Ever since the events between season 2 and 3, Taco has been shown to be far less clueless, much more deliberate in his actions and just flat out more intelligent.
- In the 5th season episode "Flowers for Taco", he gives up pot for the first time since he was eight, becomes arguably the smartest member of the group, and even suddenly regains the ability to speak French (which he apparently learned in high school). This is resolved by the group forcing him to get high again.
- Obnoxious In-Laws - Kevin and Taco's mother, who constantly judges Jenny and condescends to Kevin.
- Once an Episode - It's fairly inevitable that something shown or mentioned in the first scene of an episode will play into the punchline at the climax.
- One of the Boys - Jenny, though a somewhat unusual example—she's not really a tomboy and certainly is feminine. She's just really good at fantasy football and can engage with and challenge the guys on their own terms. She also seems more comfortable with the boys than with Sofia, who she finds irritating, though notably Sofia is the only female (other than her own daughter) that viewers see her interacting with on even a semi-regular basis.
- Really Gets Around - Taco has had sex with enough women to spend months successfully traveling around the world depending entirely on his international Eskimo brother network.
- Running Gag - Shivablasting, Eskimo brothers, Andre looking like Nosferatu, vinegar strokes and Mr. Mcgibletts.
- "I'm standing right here!"
- "A marathon." "A what?"
- Rafi calling Kevin "Brian".
- Ruxin yelling "Forever unclean!"
- Scary Librarian: Dirty Randy
- Self-Serving Memory: Numerous times to everyone from Taco's whacky mental issues to Ruxin under the impression he bullied everyone when he was the one bullied.
- Snuff Film - Rafi and Dirty Randy make these.
- The Sociopath: Rafi, full circle.
- Something Completely Different - The episode "Rafi and Dirty Randy". The League suddenly becomes a stoner crime comedy starring Rafi and Dirty Randy as they try to solve the murder of their friend. About three quarters of the way through, they kill their favorite porn producer, become the owners of his mansion, and Dirty Randy ends up shooting Rafi in an insane duel. The whole thing is treated comedically, and hardly features any of the main cast members.
- Episodes following Rafi and Dirty Randy became a once-a-season feature after that point, with their final adventure being so bizarre it's actually animated.
- Sports Widow - Sofia knows to leave Ruxin alone when he and the rest of the league show up to watch. Averted by Kevin and Jenny: she's a bigger football fan (and better team owner) than he is.
- Status Quo Is God - Andre doesn't leave the league for another, where he is adored.
- The Stoner - Taco. And his mom.
- The "The" Title
- Took a Level in Jerkass - Kevin and Taco in later seasons
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife - Ruxin purposely invokes this trope, and plays it up especially hard at his high school reunion. And in Las Vegas. Or anywhere really. He really loves rubbing it in.
- The reunion wasn't this as much as showing off that he's no longer dating fat girls like he did in high school.
- The Unfavorite - Kevin to Martha. A real shocker, considering his brother is Taco.
- Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist - Periodically, the characters execute borderline-sociopathic hijinks, generally because of some misunderstanding, and usually come off the worse for it. This is all, of course, very funny.
- Unusual Euphemism: The gang likes to use the word "frittata" in place of "retarded".
- Upper-Class Twit: Andre is essentially this in practice; while he does work for his money, it doesn't seem to interfere with his multiple hobbies.
- Viva Las Vegas!: The Season 2 draft pick takes place in Vegas, with Andrea trying to convince Ruxin that, 'What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas.'
- With Friends Like These... - Even without the constant volleys of insults and pranks, every single member of the League will manipulate and betray any other member for even the slightest of advantages in their fantasy football tournament. Except for Taco, who is too stoned to know what manipulate means.
- One episode has Pete tell his friends that they're the worst people he knows. They take this in stride