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The League: “Chalupa Vs. The Cutlet”

Illustration for article titled The League: “Chalupa Vs. The Cutlet”
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After the last two weeks of The League Takes California, I was expecting a shift in momentum to occur in “Chalupa Vs. The Cutlet.” This isn’t to say I was expecting it to be a bad episode—I am never really expecting a bad episode of The League—but just a slight change in pace. After all, everyone did spend the last two episodes out of their usual element (they were in a different place, hung out with a league member they usually never see, and had to juggle a draft and a non-wedding), and everything was a bit more ramped up. Change is good for a show with a premise as simple as this or else it could start to feel stale. Tonight, the gang returns back home where they are free to continue to do dumb things in their own comfort zone but it seems off.

First things first, they still have to deal with the biggest fallout from the draft weekend: A heartbroken Andre has been inconsolable since he accidentally blinded Trixie and she called off the wedding. I’ve been apprehensive about how the show would handle this. Andre is a punching bag—and often for very good reason—and his friends are all dicks to him so it wouldn’t be far off for them to make him feel worse. Plus, The League has been showing heightened levels of meanness this season, especially toward Andre, and I don’t want it to become one of those shows where the nastiness of the characters overtakes the humor in the situations.

This isn’t the case in tonight’s episode, which is less mean-spirited than the previous two. Surely it helps that Rafi (who is straight sadistic) takes another week off of the show and that Ruxin doesn’t make a single appearance (they explain he’s off on a business trip in the cold open, but somehow I didn’t realize he was missing until way later in the episode). There is still Kevin, who often gives Ruxin and his terrible behavior a run for his money (and is it just me or does he seem much worse lately?), but at least his awfulness is generally chalked up to the fact that he’s definitely the most obsessed with the game. It works here because it takes him away from the Andre storyline and puts him into his own little story with Jenny.

This leaves Pete and Taco left to deal with Andre. It’s a good duo because Pete is surprisingly sympathetic this episode (maybe because of his own failed marriage or maybe because there’s only so much dumping you can do on a single person), and he even tries to institute a safety rule into the league. Taco is just too stoned and oblivious to be truly mean to anyone. Andre is in a deep depression, the kind of depression that causes a person to downgrade their “magic man cave” to just a paltry “man cave.” Pete thinks Andre needs a win and wants Taco to lose on purpose, but Taco recently gave control of his fantasy team to a homeless veteran he found outside of the library. Their new plan? Take Andre out to the club to pick up girls. Snoop Dogg guest stars because, why not? What else is Snoop Dogg doing? They proceed to get fucked up on vaporized alcohol—Andre’s is laced with ketamine—and not much else happens but that’s fine, because there are enough laughs in the club scene.

Kevin and Jenny take baby Chalupa (I refuse to refer to him as Christopher) to school and realize it’s the same school that Jay and Kristin Cutler’s child goes to. Kevin immediately freaks out at the idea of befriending the Cutler’s. It’s a childlike desire to become best friends with one of your favorite athletes, but Kevin, of course, perverts it by also fantasizing about him and Cutler switching wives for the night. (He also apologizes to Cutler—“I’m sorry you gotta take one for the team”—while referring to Jenny which, ouch, not cool.) The friendship is short-lived when Kristin finds out that Jenny was the one who stole her breast milk, back in “The Breastalyzer.” It’s not the best story The League could have done, and I imagine it probably works better for people who are super familiar with the Cutlers, but I did laugh at the reaction shots after Chalupa sacks “baby Cutlet.”

I kept going back and forth on how much I enjoyed “Chalupa Vs. The Cutlet.” There are plenty of great one-liners and physical humor throughout the episode that made me laugh out loud, but there are also a lot of dead-ends and a very abrupt ending. At best, it was just above average. Maybe The League is starting to show some slight signs of wear, but here’s hoping it was only an off night.


Stray observations:

  • Other callbacks tonight besides the breast milk storyline (which is such a weird thing to return to): Taco’s gun bong, the idea of “eskimo brothers.”
  • I’m also getting burnt out on the constant man cake double-entendre. I enjoyed it a bit when Pete and Taco looked like they were in physical pain while trying not to make jokes, but it was overkill during the club scene.
  • Favorite exchange of the night: “So you stole my breast milk so you could get wasted?” “I’m sensing a little judgment here.”
  • In case you were curious: I do have Jay Cutler on my fantasy team. I also lost. Again.
  • I love that Taco doesn’t know that Snoop Dogg is famous.