The end of last season left The League in a weird place. Jenny was pregnant, Taco had crossed over from fun-loving lunacy to frightening, and, generally, the whole show had veered off course from a group of dudes trying to deal with adulthood to a group of dudes vying to get a criminal record. So it was a pleasure to see “Training Camp” return to the antics and absurdity that made the first two seasons of The League so funny and unexpected.
We open, as is the show's wont, on an elaborate scene that features some cameos by serious football players. Ruxin is inducting players onto his team, the cleverly named “Pete’s on top/Kevin’s on bottom.” Andre, next up, faces a jeering audience for his selection for the “terribly named Double Ent-andres.” Then he gets in a fight with Trent Richardson’s Mom. Then Ruxin wakes up, midway through having sex with his wife.
It’s a very The League way to start a season, and though the premiere touched on absurdity and wasn’t as unflinchingly filthy and unrepentantly funny as the show sometimes is, it was a solid episode all around. Jenny is now in the final weeks of her pregnancy, pregnant enough that Kevin fears having sex with her, lest the baby and his dick make contact. Taco, meanwhile, has hit upon another dada-ist/brilliant marketing scheme, a bad news delivery service that employs singing cowboys.
Of course, there is the matter of the league commissioner. After Kevin’s barely-eked out win last season, he’s the commissioner by default. But he trades away his rights to Ruxin, who predictably seizes upon them with glee. Meanwhile, Pete, forbidden from doling out Sacco punishments, takes it out on everyone by posting unflattering pictures under “factoids” on the league website. (Some examples include shots of Kevin when he used to “get drunk and run errands” in college and a list of all four sex partners Andre has had.)
Most of the plot of the episode stems from a Taco-based fluke. In the process of launching his service, Taco bought the briefly lapsed website for the Dallas Cowboys. In order to win it back, Jerry Jones flies him and his buddies out to training camp. Jenny, of course, is stuck at home with her belly. The training camp was a nice way to have the guys cram in some face time with some pros, and to engage in a little bit of football. Plus, we got to see Taco’s amazing negotiation skills, which mostly involved pushing nonsensical items back and forth.
But the best part of this episode was when the guys got back to find Jenny—yes, masturbating in her car—about to give birth. As she strains through a grueling 14-hour labor, the dudes bring in the draft materials to her and Kevin. “I love hospital bars!” Taco exclaims as he brings a six-pack and a wheeled wagon into the room. Brilliant. It turns out that Ruxin’s opening play was a trade. And that trade was Kevin’s naming rights to his first son to Taco. As Jenny screams and gives birth to her baby, Taco announces his choice for the little guy: Chalupa Batman McArthur. Welcome to the gang, Chalupa. Let’s hope you mark the beginning of a fabulous season.
- “I hate to use the ‘c’ word,” Pete says about Ruxin’s dealings, “But that’s collusion.”
- “I have Yelped one of the best sea urchin spots” was possibly the most yuppie sentence Andre has ever uttered.
- I love Felix Jones and Ruxin’s exchange over who had the lamer name, basically.
- “Is that cowboy sterile?” Definitely not.