Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The League: “The Von Nowzick Wedding”

Illustration for article titled The League: “The Von Nowzick Wedding”

There is often a ridiculous hierarchy on The League, one that places fantasy football at the very top, puts Andre at the bottom, and throws in friendships and relationships somewhere in the middle. It sounds awful, but it’s what works for these guys (and gal). This hierarchy runs throughout “The Von Nowzick Wedding,” and the results are just as funny as you’d expect.

“The Von Nowzick Wedding” is the conclusion to the two-part première centered on the league’s draft weekend (and, to a lesser extent, centered on Andre and Trixie’s nuptials). It picks up after the draft, which resulted in Ruxin getting four kickers, no quarterback, and a bad beating from the members of Rafi’s league. (Rafi, by the way, is completely absent from this episode, but I didn’t exactly miss him). The beating was all for naught because technically Ruxin bailed on the draft which means technically Ruxin isn’t part of the league. Instead, his team was picked by a handful of actual football players (though his team is better than Taco’s who somehow ended up with Serena Williams). Of course, this isn’t a question of whether or not they will let Ruxin back in the league but a question of why and when they will let him back in.

Ruxin’s not the only member of the league in a tough spot. Last week, Jenny offered to be Andre’s best man in order to attend the bachelor party draft. This week, she’s realizing just how awful that job is: She’s subjected to nicknames such as “Gander” and “J-Balls,” and she’s in charge of no less than six different hats, each one uglier than the last. But Jenny’s always able to outsmart the guys, so she convinces Ruxin to take over Andre’s best man duties in exchange for her voting for Ruxin to rejoin the league, though later we learn there was no such vote happening.

From there, the episode trots out everything we’ve come to expect from The League, which isn’t a bad thing considering most of these jokes land. There is the almost requisite gross-out scene (the AIDS cocktail Kevin took the night before causes him to shit himself in the ocean which, of course, prompts a “FOREVER UNCLEAN” wail from Ruxin). Also the importance of the fantasy league completely overtakes the wedding rehearsal dinner. The guys propose toasts to Andre that double as code speak for trading players which prompts confusion from the rest of the guests. It’s a clear reflection of the hierarchy in place: The league is more important than the wedding, and no one cares that they might out Andre who was forbidden to hold a draft during his wedding weekend.

There are also plenty of jokes about Ted’s AIDS, which, I know, is a terrible sentence to write. But for the most part, these jokes work especially because Ted’s illness is downplayed throughout. It’s also largely due to Adam Brody’s comedic delivery, which is much better (and more utilized) in this episode than in last week’s “The Bachelor Draft.” He’s not usually one to play over the top, but rather subtle and self-deprecating (and he’s also good at playing a prick, but a quiet prick like Ted; he doesn’t yell like the rest of the guys, but he has his moments of being a total asshole). But again, it is the delivery that works the best: After learning that Kevin stole his pills, Ted’s calmly dejected “That’s going to wreak havoc with my immune system,” response plays more like a sad kid who just got his toy stolen on the playground. Ted’s also keen to make the jokes himself, such as scaring everyone by smearing a volleyball with fake blood. For an episode that included the phrase “from MVPs to AIDS,” the writing is surprisingly adept at crafting jokes that don’t offend. It helps that the jokes aren’t on Ted but rather on how utterly stupid his friends can be—with particular attention on Kevin who seems to think he’ll get sick just from being in Ted’s room.

As for Andre and his wedding (I kept forgetting that’s why they were all there), was it at all shocking that it didn’t happen? Maybe it’s because sitcoms have conditioned me to expect last-minute wedding cancellations or maybe it’s because Trixie didn’t exactly fit in with the group (though I wouldn’t be completely surprised if she returns), but I was basically waiting for the shoe to drop all episode. It does, at the very end, in a spectacularly raunchy way. Trixie is blind, Andre is heartbroken, and Ruxin is back in the league. All is well.


Stray observations:

  • There is also a story involving Ruxin and J.J. Watt vs. everyone else as they all try to one-up each other on trashing hotel rooms and racking up the minibar bills. It is mostly inconsequential (except it’s how Trixie learns about the draft) but very funny, if only for the pure glee on their faces as they jump around on a bed singing that Shivakamini Somakandarkram song that’s going to be stuck in my head for days.
  • I do want Trixie to return at some point, because she may have been a little shrill, but Jayma Mays is such a good sport.
  • Biggest laugh of the night: Adam Brody opening a door to reveal a second door and yelling “SHIT!” Can he stay on this show forever?
  • I joked about how I only joined a fantasy football league this year so I would better understand the references on The League, but I have to say, I’m doing a good job. Understanding the references, that is. My team? Not so much.
  • To Taco’s credit, he didn’t mean to draft Serena Williams. He wanted her sister.
  • How soon before there’s a terrible band called “Widow Making Death Jizz”?