"The Expert Witness" S2 / E9
- B Community Grade
"Ghost Monkey," the series' Halloween episode, pushed the boundaries of reality and social norms in the name of comedy. It largely worked because everyone was on board and because the idea of a ghost monkey was ridiculous enough to accept without question. I wanted to see what was going to happen. "The Expert Witness" was less successful. It attempted to spin chaos out of a courtroom setting, and it had its moments when the gang's actions were in direct conflict with what a trial should be. But then the show threw the trial conceit away, letting characters wander in and out of judges' private chambers and openly make a mockery of the proceedings, unencumbered by bailiffs and security.
As usual, there's some set-up that gets all the characters in the same room by episode's end. Ruxin is working on a case against a girl who had an accident, sued for money to have plastic surgery, and is asking for more money to cover additional damages. Ruxin's trying to make the point that the plastic surgery—transforming her from "The Thing" to a super-hottie—was more than enough compensation. He needs an expert witness, and Andre is more than happy to comply, so long as he can obsess over his outfit choice and wear his pedophile circular glasses. Ruxin and Kevin beat the impulse out of Andre, but he still clams up on the stand and resorts to his terribly awkward tendencies. At the same time, Andre's pushing his awkwardness even further with Taco, offering to draw him nude in exchange for a trade. Even though Andre is clearly the butt of the joke, he maintains a healthy sense of humor about the whole thing, lending a lightheartedness to the way his story progresses. ("I'll fondle the trade out of him, if that's what it takes.")
Meanwhile, Kevin and Jenny have begun colluding, trading sex and thank you note-writing for players. Ruxin suspects something is up, brings it up a few times, then drops it. Later, when Pete is on the witness stand (to show Andre up), Ruxin uses the fact that Pete is under oath to get the truth out about Kevin's dealings. This is the point in the episode where things delve too far into fantasy land. It's completely unprofessional of Ruxin to do this, and he should be held by the judge and thrown off the case—even though he and the judge have a work-flirt relationship. But the judge pulls Ruxin into her chamber and tells him she'll forget the whole thing if he takes their flirtation to the next level. He accepts, and the rest of the gang storms in to find Ruxin down on his knees with a big doggy bone in his mouth. When Andre was having trouble with his testimony, it was enjoyable to watch Ruxin try and steer him back on track while trying to maintain some professional credibility. But once the whole conceit of the courtroom was gone, there no longer were social norms for the characters to buck. The episode simply became implausible without the danger to churn out more comedy.
Then there's the case of Taco, who once again spent the episode doing his own thing. He shows up to Kevin's trial because his TV is out and he's bored, meets Alia Shawkat the court's sketcher, and starts a fling. The two do the court recorder's version of sexting, he finds out she's married, and her husband shows up to beat Taco up. It's fun to learn the specifics of this weird rubric by which Taco lives his life, but once again the lack of cohesiveness means Taco's storyline falls by the wayside.
Most of this is kind of nitpicky. The League is still consistently entertaining, and all the actors seem to be getting more comfortable in their characters' skin. Taco's casual declaration of "I don't use front anything" says a ton about the character, the show, and how The League continues to find its comedy niche.