The League: “Bobbum Man”
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The League: “Bobbum Man”

It’s a little bizarre that both of FX’s Thursday night comedies chose to tackle the weirdnesses of social networks on the same evening. First, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia had the semi-sinister side of Facebook through “The Anti-Social Network,” and then the league had Taco’s psycho-killer interpretation of an offline social networking site in “Bobbum Man.” This week’s episode was a solid installment for the series—it had good quips, some satisfying Andre-bashing, and a well-timed use of Raffi’s crazy-criminal side. But it was the least successful when it veered into abstract fear territory, as in Kevin’s not-quite-believable fear of the fictional ass-hungry Bobbum man with a poorly painted van. 

As with the rest of this season, the actual football talk was at a minimum this episode. I know I keep pointing that out, but it’s not just because, you know, the show is about a fantasy football league. I think some of the strongest episodes tie in to the rivalry that the competition produces, rather than just assuming that the guys would be at each others throats at all times. In “Bobbum Man,” the most that happens is that Ruxin achieves lineup nirvana while staring at a trampy lower back tattoo in the yoga class that Andre dragged him to. (Yoga, of course, being “bullshit rainbow unicorn calisthenics.”) 

The funniest plotline of the night was Taco’s crazy corkboard-founded offline social network, Myface. His physical facewall, littered with out-of-date, embarrassing pictures of his friends plus an actual linked jewelry chain standing for a “link” was a semi-brilliant interpretation of what Facebook would look like if constructed on a board for a seventh-grade science fair. Also, pretty great that his message delivery system is to break into a person’s house in the wee hours of the morning and deliver a handwritten letter/ransom note. Plus, the sequence where Taco quizzes Jenny on her “security question” left me laughing pretty helplessly, particularly when Jenny cracked Taco’s less-than-effective captcha code: “There are no letters in that box. That’s a spider with penises for legs.” 

I wasn’t bowled over by Kevin and Jenny’s sexaversary quandary,  but it did provide opportunity for Kevin to look completely hapless again, which apparently is a requirement of every episode. The most abstract element of the episode was Kevin’s all-consuming horror of the fictional Bobbum man, a telephone persona that the group developed in college, basically to terrify him. All of them have goofy-voiced numbers, like Kevin’s mundane ejaculation man, but my favorite was Andre’s odd Emeril impersonating crawdad man. (“What’s a crawdad?” Ruxin asked. “Evil shrimp.” Andre answers, wisely.) 

Taco, in his infinite wisdom, creates an “offline avatar” for Bobbum man to terrorize Kevin, which is, of course, the admirably sociopathic Raffi. Taco takes the incredibly literal approach of Werner Herzog directing Fitzcarraldo: “When casting a sexual psychopath with a van, you don’t have to choose an actual sexual psychopath with a van!” The glimpse into Raffi’s absurdly awful apartment was one of my favorite moments of the episode. The teetering chair structure was of the kind that peyote-d out freshman make out of all the common room furniture,  but of course Raffi also had the combination toilet-kitchen. Plus a cardboard facewall containing only pictures of knives and butts. Spot on.

At this point, Kevin is out of his mind with Bobbum-fear, and so when Andre appears in an alley—dressed in true cartoonish disguise style with fake beard, sunglasses, and hoodie—Raffi, Kevin and Pete stomp the bejesus out of him. Andre luckily achieves some sort of lineup nirvana through this, but the end of the episode was exceptionally jarring. Does Raffi actually have a bonesaw on hand? Is the Bobbum man a more than one episode arc? Or did they just not think they could top Raffi’s odd familiarity with the tools of a murder and disembowelment?

Stray observations:

  • “I’m going to stab you. Offline. With a knife.”
  • “Couple of questions: Why was that on your vanity? Second, why do you have a vanity at all? Third, why do you have to call it a ‘vanity?’”
  • “When you’re sodomized by a vagrant, you’re also being sodomized by all the people that vagrant has been with.”

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