This week’s unexpected double helping of The League yielded two episodes that neither scraped the worst of the season, nor really reached for any of the season’s highs. I guess last week’s “Bobbum Man” cliffhanger was just an abrupt ending—the first of the two episodes, “Yobogoya!,” had Andre in as annoying and cheerful shape as ever, rather than bludgeoned to death in an alley, as the ending of the last installment suggested. It also offered the most football-centric episode to date, though it didn’t yield quite the hilarity that I had hoped. (Pete’s amazing football lineup charades to Taco, however, were the highlight of my night.) On the whole, I liked “Yobogoya!” better than “Carmenjello,” but both had elements that were overreaching and stymied some otherwise decent jokes.
I admit, the part of “Yobogoya!” that I found most hilarious was Pete’s ongoing animosity with the white-gloved uppity traffic cop that he nicknamed “glovesy.” It was a minor plotline, but a good one—who hasn’t been completely irritated by the selectiveness of effusively gesturing official lollipop men at construction intersections? Pete’s confrontation with glovesy, which effectively amounted to a mime-off for the surrounding cars, was one of the more satisfying things I saw on TV this week.
Andre, in both “Yobogoya” and “Carmenjello,” was pretty much insufferable, which is perfectly in keeping with his character. His whole “urban foraging” stint was hilariously awful, though my favorite moment was in the opening, when he leapt into an office plaza in search of mustard greens. “Mushroom Caps! And…no, that’s a condom.” In cities, trash is sometimes just trash. No treasures involved. The other great part of “Yobogoya” was Ray Liotta’s turn as Ruxin’s germophobic boss, a role that he carried out with the exact right amount of red-eyed intensity. “If you can’t afford a porterhouse, you desrve heptatitis,” Liotta said, loosely summarizing Ruxin’s defense.
Jenny and Kevin, in keeping with their “shadow government” to make sure Taco’s lineup includes players that are uninjured and not in the NHL, end up giving the impression to little Ellie that Kevin never washes his hands. This, thanks to an overzealous elementary school teacher plus an overdose of Taco’s free-for-life unnamed Japanese ramen meatstuffs, obviously leads to Kevin again being humiliated in public in the worse possible way: In a rush to relieve himself, Kevin runs out of a traffic jam and behind a park bench, where aforementioned daughter’s teacher sees him taking a dump in public. I didn’t buy this plotline so much, and the continuation with Kevin as a barely-tolerable toddler wasn’t that funny. I did, however, like Taco’s seizure-inducing jingle for Yobogoya (“It’s the best in Illinois-ya!”).
“Carmenjello” was a worse episode than “Yobagoya,” both because it bit off more than it could chew and because the responses that the characters had to their situations weren’t ones that any rational human would make. Even Andre, in all his yuppie zealousness, wouldn’t invite a stranger to a spa just to make up for a name-related racial misunderstanding. The whole politics around that were just painful, as was Andre’s explanation that he assumed Carmenjello could be a name because “maybe your mom loves opera and desserts?” Kevin’s absurd attempt to take a picture of the poor janitor’s back in order to have the right color cinnamon for his daughter’s wall was also pretty inconceivable—though “It’s nothing to do with racism! It’s the color of your skin!” was a good retort.
My favorite jokes of the episode had to do with Taco’s forever stamp investment scheme. It’s about as doomed as any of his other wealth-multiplying methods, except this one had the added benefit of seeing Taco try to pay for things in stamps. When he presented a pair of Jenny’s underwear that Ellie had bedecked with precious forever stamps in exchange for stamps, the look on the hardware store employee’s face alone almost salvaged the episode. “I didn’t give your underwear to people,” Taco matter-of-factly informs a rightfully upset Jenny, “I exchanged them for good and services.” Oh, I see.
The other highlight of “Carmenjello” was the big reveal of Andre’s ongoing donations to his high school: an Abstinence Awareness Center, complete with some great photos of Paul Scheer punching the air over the slogan “Virginity! Yes!” Overall, “Carmenjello” and “Yobagoya” evened out to some less-than-memorable episodes with a few zingers. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a mid-season upswing.
- "Your daughter is just a petri dish with hands"
- "You didn't set your line-up. You just changed your profile picture to a horse having sex."
- "I'll take a separate but equal road!"