This season of The League started out shaky, but the past couple of weeks the show has been on a definite roll. After the last episode’s Sarah Silverman/Jeff Goldblum Thanksgiving festival of awkwardness and sorbet cunnilingus, it seemed like this week’s episode would have to be tamer. It was, but not in a bad way. “The Out Of Towner” was more than solid. It had fewer guest star screen-grabbing moments, even with the estimable talents of Will Forte, and allowed the actors just enough room to riff off each other without falling into either aimlessness or a totally absurd plot structure. All in all, tonight gave me high hopes for next week’s finale.
Will Forte has a history of excellent guest appearances. There was Jenna’s drag lookalike on 30 Rock; Kelly Larson, the Twilight-obsessed citizen on Parks And Recreation, and Randy, Barney’s incredibly incompetent wingman on How I Met Your Mother. The League was a little bit out of Forte’s usual comic environs, but he played it well. As the titular out of towner, Forte played Chuck, Pete’s long-lost college wingman, whose signature move was to tell girls that he sat in gum and then whip out his ballsack to shock and alarm them. Pete apparently would sweep in and clean up. Of course, when Chuck rolls into town, he’s on a sobriety kick, which is rather inconvenient for Pete and his dry spell.
The gang’s attempts to lure Chuck back over to the drinking dark side in a “reverse intervention” had notes of the excellent It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia intervention episode, but rather than Chuck giving into the insanity of the gang, he more or less resists. Of course, it wouldn’t be The League if Chuck was allowed to go the whole time without whipping out his junk. This comes courtesy of Andre’s new mixology fascination and Jenny and Kevin’s hapless attempt to buy weed.
I’ve loved the continuation of Andre’s yuppie fixations this week. After his foraging bent, obviously Andre’s next move is elaborate cocktails that require him to wear a poker visor and muddle things in chilled glasses. When Pete speeds up the process by nabbing the crystal decanters full of liquor and pouring them into the gang’s waiting glasses, Andre hilariously protests “but you need to use a jigger!” (Ruxin’s description of Andre’s Prohibition-era bar-tending outfit as “a Deadwood character at a Justin Bieber concert” was also pretty much perfect.)
Ruxin also had an interesting turn this episode, switching from his sarcastic shark self (of course he hums the theme song to Jaws in his head in court cases) into a painkiller-addled frat dude. One of the funniest scenes of “The Out Of Towner” was when Ruxin arrives at Taco’s house ostensibly to prevent his friend from being evicted, wielding a corndog and making up a techno song about it. Taco’s reluctant backbeat left me in total hysterics, though his Taco-lent trip seemed like an odd and somewhat fruitless turn in an already overstuffed episode.
Kevin and Jenny, in an attempt to break out of their sweatpants rut, attempt to get some weed but, thanks to the complications of the drug-dealer code, end up with a ton of coke instead. Kevin of course brings this to the party, where Andre mistakes it for powdered sugar and coats the rums of his glasses with it. (Pete, clutching his head: “Why is my face on fire?” and Andre, wielding an ice pick: “I’m like the drummer from Def Leppard, only I have two arms!”) The resulting insanity was funny, but the clincher was the final shot of the episode: a blissed-out Ruxin who is clearly having Chuck’s balls balanced on his head, dreamily proclaiming “It feels like I’m wearing a tiny hat.” The League has managed to get its groove back, let’s hope it holds on to it.