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The League: “Tefl-Andre”

Nick Kroll, Rob Riggle (FXX)
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Disappointed is too harsh of a word to describe my reaction to this episode. Maybe it’s more like an apathetic shrug. Last week’s fun premiere had me a little excited for this season but “Tefl-Andre” dulled that excitement a bit. It was pretty average, with a few laughs here and there, but nothing to really love. “Tefl-Andre” takes place during week one of football and Andre has enlisted Jay Glazer (who Wikipedia informs me is a write for FoxSports.com) to not only help him out with his lineup but also to help him insult the guys with some witty zingers.

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This Tefl-Andre version of Andre was a welcome change because as funny as it can be watching the guys pick on Andre, it can definitely get old to watch him repeatedly get shit on week after week after week with no hope of redemption. It was refreshing to see him get the upper hand last week and most of his time in “Tefl-Andre” is refreshing as well. In a nice touch, and a good reflection of their personalities, the guys are reluctant to give Andre any props for his uncharacteristically clever insults but they do so anyway because of how much they value the greatness of a sweet comeback. Everyone’s got to have a code, or something. Still, the guys are all suspicious of Andre’s sudden coolness—this goes doubly so for Pete who shows up at Andre’s work to creepily threaten him while holding a large scissor—because they knew there was no way he is doing this on his own.

Alas, they are right and it was too good to be true. Andre is found out as everyone watches the game and his earpiece pops out, leaving him with no one to cue him one-liners and resulting in him reverting back to an old standby: that terrible cockney accent. He’s found out and it’s quickly back to the bottom with him. It was good while it lasted, I suppose, though maybe he still has a chance to win their respect based on his performance in the year’s fantasy game.

As for the progress in the actual league, everyone discovers that one of the conditions of Ted giving away his beach house to the winner is that they have to find someone to replace him. Rafi’s quickly dismissed. They settle on Russell, our former sex addict who has now turned his addictive personality to wine because, you see, you can’t get addicted to that. He’s hesitant to join the league at first so they recruit Kevin to help sell him. Rob Huebel is someone that is basically guaranteed to elicit laughs from me (his descriptions of wine!) so I enjoyed most of the time he was on screen but the weird scene where he tells Kevin they have to have sex didn’t work for me. It was supposed to be uncomfortable-funny but mostly just came off as uncomfortable-uncomfortable and the payoff wasn’t really worth it. It was definitely something that would have worked better if it was Rafi. Still, I did kind of like Kevin’s exasperated realization that Russell is the new kid to league but it’s still Kevin who gets hazed and initiated in. Oh, Kevin.

Further adding to Kevin’s problems, he finds out in the cold open that he has low testosterone and is given some medicated gel to help him out with it. If you assumed this would seamlessly tie into Ruxin’s plot involving his son’s Little League team then congratulations, you have watched an episode of The League before! It wasn’t that bad of a plot, honestly, but it did fall a little flat. The elements for silly fun were all there but somehow they didn’t pull together as well as they would have in earlier seasons. Baby Geoffrey’s surprise entrance into puberty is a plot that demands great jokes because of how absurd and off-putting it is. It’s already full of potential comedic material but all we really get here are a deeper voice, increased baseball skills (lots of parallels to the baseball players on steroids), and jokes about his armpit hair—by the way, I think it’s way past time we retire that overdone “Don King in a headlock” joke. The entire storyline felt a bit rushed—and while I usually find Rob Riggle to be a bit overwhelming and welcome him in a more toned down, subdued role, even I thought he was under utilized here—and had a lame conclusion: Baby Geoffrey is disqualified. It was a tame ending to a tame episode.

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Stray observations:

  • I’m pretty embarrassed to admit this but I thought the funniest bit of the episode was Andre’s terrible “personal fowl!” joke.
  • Russell’s wine descriptions were wonderfully gross and explicit but I have to say, the episode really made me crave wine.
  • If I’m ever going to feel bad for Kevin, this might be the season that happens. I loved that Jenny is both supportive of his low testosterone problem while also taking cheap digs at him. Perfect couple, those two.
  • Oh, Taco Corp! How did I forget about that? Pete is now on the board. I loved the sexual harassment HR roundabout. This was a perfect amount of Taco.
  • Baby Geoffrey plays deep right field. As a former uncoordinated kid on a Little League team, I feel his pain.
  • I lost 141 to 160 in my fantasy league (but only partly because I refused to part with the Giants defense). I’ll get ‘em this week.
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