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DVD review: 'The League: The Complete First Season'

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'The League: The First Season'

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Many people have laid claim that much of the original programming on FX skews male. A shining example of this and probably the most obvious example would be 'The League.'

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Let's talk about the first season.

Pete (Mark Duplass), Kevin (Steve Rannazzisi), Ruxin (Nick Kroll), Andre (Paul Scheer), and Taco (Jon Lajoie) are five friends who are united by their participation in a fantasy football league. They maintain their teams and are competitive with each other but also manage to have genuine friendships (to varying degrees) and live their lives looking forward to Sundays.

While it's not a requirement, having a passing knowledge of football and/or the concept of fantasy football would really give some much-needed context to the show. There is one cameo from an NFL player in this season, so that would be lost without said knowledge. Don't worry comedy fans, there are some huge cameos from some of the bigger comedians this year, as well. The true heart of this is the friendship/relationship between the guys, combative and unhealthy as it sometimes seems to be. In fact, that's where most of the conflict and comedy also comes from along with the power-struggle within the league.

The tone is also a little reminiscent of a younger-skewing 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' that is willing to get very low-brow. Sometimes it veers into punchlines that you can see coming from awhile away, but it's never Mr. McGibblets is both one of the funnier concepts and visuals from the season. The concept of Taco getting a 'real-person job' that he quickly abuses is also great.

Just like 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' and 'Portlandia', the dialog is largely improvised which is always an impressive feat, when it works. This is a testament to the cast and the distinct characters that they each play. Aside from the main gang, one of the other big participants is Kevin's wife, Jenny (Katie Aselton) because she is the brains behind Kevin's team and wants to be treated like one of the guys. Taco is the wild card of the group as he doesn't even know or care about football, but as the high slacker of the group, he keeps things silly. Throughout the season, Scheer's Andre is the butt of so many jokes.

Special features include: Deleted Scenes, Andre: Dress With Style, Win With Style, Legalize Kevin's Pubic Smoke, Archer Pilot Episode, Blooper Reel, Deleted Scenes, Alt Nation, Mr. McGibblets Fun House and Dojo, Birthday Son, Three Penis Wine, and Vaginal Hubris extended.

'The League: The Complete Season One' is a short, but sweet introduction to this show. It's best appreciated by those who enjoy football and who can relate to the dynamic that the characters establish.

Not Rated 148 minutes 2009

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