The League: “The Freeze Out”
B+

The League: “The Freeze Out”

I’ve told a lot of incredulous people to watch The League over its run, with mixed reactions, mainly because the concept can be an immediate deal breaker. Clearly, what I need to do in the future to allow people to ably judge whether they will join The League is show them the scene in which Andre discusses eating dirty cobs. Because this show is, obviously, rarely about fantasy football but is always about Andre euphemistically eating dicks. (Never by the base; he always starts at the tip.)

Building on last week’s success, “The Freeze Out” juggled three equally worthy storylines without forcing all of them to directly coalesce at the end. Beginning with Taco’s assertion that he’s gotten so much action recently the only way he can get an erection is by not thinking about sex, the episode kicks off with the revelation that the most sex Jenny has had in a day was not with Kevin. All the better that it was with Party Down’s Ryan Hansen (although, he's capable of so much more than blank, former sexual conquest of Jenny's). Kevin and Jenny go for the sex gold, allowing us to see Stephen Rannazzisi get his ass wiped, legs above his head and all. Jenny seems to have healed quickly for a woman who recently gave birth, but it feels strange to fault The League over obstetric accuracy.

Kevin and Ruxin uncover the episode’s central question: “Can you be racist against your race?” White-on-white bias is a benign way for the show to discuss race, but it also allowed the episode to be ridiculous without skirting the line on offensive. Kevin and Ruxin are wary of Timothy Olyphant’s white sushi chef (based on his use of sea urchins, it’s safe to assume Andre would be a fan).  Olyphant always feels more natural as the quietly simmering badass, but it was nice to see him switch it up. I kept waiting for The Office to write to Olyphant's strengths during his short-lived arc as traveling salesman Danny Cordray, but that never really paid off. Rather than let Olyphant be funny, they just harped on his (very) good looks. But Olyphant was capable, pronouncing everything in a Japanese accent (o-MA-ha) with the same intensity as Raylan Given takes down colorful backwoods villains. What’s funny about Olyphant, is that even though he was playing a ponytail-wearing, brother-saying sushi chef, I still thought he would put Ruxin down if Ruxin made him pull. It’s his eyes, I think. They light up in a way that gives him an aggressive gravity while playing the likes of Raylan Givens or Seth Bullock. But most characters are not imbued with that much cool, simmering crazy. (The ponytail was perfect, though).

While Kevin, Ruxin, Jenny and Andre are preoccupied (having sex, doing solo bathroom magic or feeling the effects of appendicitis), Taco and Pete go paintballing. Meanwhile, Kevin (Rannazzisi was a real champ this episode) reminds us all that the episode should have the least bit to do with fantasy football and freezes Pete out of all football-related information. And, I know we’re all excited about this, Rafi, makes his first appearance of season four (“MURDER! MURDER! YEAH!”). When I saw the hair poking out of his helmet as he snuck up on Pete and Taco, I got excited. While Rafi had his moments this episode (“I’ve been living out here, just to get the lay of the land”), it was Taco who came through with an episode highlight: the paint knife. Because, y’know, he’s got a guy.

Stray observations:

  • I am pro Timothy Olyphant, but I would have loved to see Ryan Hansen play Wesley-san. Hanson just slips into those dudism so seamlessly.

More TV Club