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

The League tackles bullying at any age

Stephen Rannazzisi, Katie Aselton
Stephen Rannazzisi, Katie Aselton
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Immediately this week, the eponymous Deflategate from yester-week is casually tossed aside by Andre, who informs Pete that Giabotti’s girlfriend got pregnant, so he dumped her, so case dropped! It’d be frustrating, if not such a relief to not have to worry about it as a plot line. Instead of legal drama, The League instead tackles the issue of bullying.

At lunch, Taco announces the “Little Eskimo Brother Program,” sparking wary cautioning from the group. The topic of sex spurs Kevin’s admittance that Ellie has not only begun Sex Ed in school, but gets bullied as well—to which Andre asserts that he’s never been bullied, gifting us one more piece in the puzzle that is Andre’s twisted world view. Later on, he asks his friends to try and not say anything negative about him (before launching into a wonderful tantric hot yoga tale). When Taco asks him if he’d like to draw porn together, Andre is insulted at another burn—of course, Taco isn’t kidding and Andre jumps on board.

But the real MVP of last night’s episode is the oft-heard of, rarely-seen daughter in the MacArthur Clan. When Elly informs Kevin and Jenny that her bully, the unseen “Cooper,” calls her a “chode juggler,” it’s all they can do to stifle their laughter. In turn, Kevin uses the insult against his league-mates in the forums—which goes over swimmingly. But when that well runs dry, he pumps his daughter—and, eventually, Cooper himself—for new insults; accidentally becoming Cooper’s mentor/Big Brother, trading insults over a game of catch. The two do bond, as Kevin constructively criticizes Cooper’s insults, making me feel that Taco’s Little Eskimo Brother isn’t the worst idea.

Ellie shines in this episode, getting a chance to interact with the adults more than late. As a newly petulant teen, she nails the “angsty whine” known to echo about the walls of a middle school classroom, or local Pinkberry. It might be annoying normally, but when dealing with her immature family members, she acts as the angsty whine of reason. When Kevin tries to squeeze more insults out of her, once “chode-juggler” loses its sheen, she lets him know he’s begun calling her “buttley,” growing more and more frustrated at his insistence. It’s pitch perfect in escalation, one she repeats a few scenes later when Andre attempts to connect with her over his own poor treatment among friends (“you still chugging it?” Ellie asks.) Ellie passively unloads on him, informing him that whatever “Andre’s” is, her parents really hate it there and the owner has terrible taste. Cutting her off, Andre tells her she should use “chode juggler” on her bullies, not knowing its origin story. Overwhelmed, Ellie punches Andre in the mouth, laying him out, “like Geno Smith.”

Meanwhile, Ellie’s desperate to finish her class project for Sex Ed, and uncle Taco is happy to step in—having plenty of hand-drawn, graphic images of Kevin. When Ellie sees her father and bully bonding through the window of Taco’s work studio, she runs outside, screaming that her dad “will pay.” This comes to fruition at the parent-teacher meeting, where we’re treated to a delightful cameo by June Diane Raphael as Ellie’s displeased teacher showing off the book Ellie turns in for her project. Each page displays a hand-drawn sexual act, culminating in a pop-up-book style wheel of juggled chodes. Even as Ellie’s parents try to play it off due to Ellie’s “imagination,” they’re informed that their daughter “is a dullard.” We go out on Kevin and Jenny doing what they do best: Arguing over chodes with someone more informed than them out of loyalty to their family.

Stray observations

  • New drinking game suggestion: Take a shot every time you don’t care about Draft Kings.
  • Jenny and Kevin realizing he looks like the textbook’s drawing of a man: “You’re standing just like the picture!”
  • Kevin hating the thought of kids seeing “him” in the textbook: “I don’t see how sex offenders enjoy this at all!”
  • Taco’s three pillars of genital drawing: scale, perspective, and dick shading.
  • A light Ruxin week, but a satisfyingly dismissal of Kevin: “What? Do you have a lamer group of friends you open mic with?”
  • Taco’s plan to stick up for bullies: “…but who is looking after the over dog?”
  • Kevin does damage control as he walks through the Little Eskimo Brothers: “You’re not a loser…you are a baby don’t go up that ladder!”
  • Andre tries to reach out to Ellie while helping her with her project: “We’re not gonna sit here and chat about sex like a bunch of Samanthas.” “I dont get it.” “Of course you don’t, you’re not on this planet right now, you’re being bullied!”
  • Kevin giving Cooper #burn tips: “I laughed, but did I laugh the right laugh?”
  • Kevin’s reaction to chid juggling: “What you’re showing me here is science fiction!”
  • June Diane Raphael as Ellie’s bullying teacher: “I’ve seen her in class, and she is underwhelming.” “Your child does not have the mental capacity to make things up. She is a dullard.”