"The Anniversary Party" was a pretty fluid half hour of television, impressive given how much it tried to take on and how well things came together in the end. Every major character had something to do. Taco, in an attempt to shake Ruxin prior to their match-up (though it's never overtly said), has decided to meddle in his and Sofia's upcoming anniversary. He wants Ruxin to throw a luxurious, overpriced, overblown soiree, so he "ruins the surprise" for Sofia and now Ruxin has to meet Taco's fake expectations. The gang meets up in a private red velvet-draped room with a few additions: Meagan is there with new beau Ted, and Andre has brought his social media-savvy girlfriend. Plus, it's Jenny's birthday and nobody, especially not Sofia, is acknowledging that.
My one complaint about "The Anniversary Party" is that some dynamics were given too much weight while others felt prematurely abandoned. The League has started to mirror How I Met Your Mother in the way that it distills behavior into layman's social psychology. The show demonstrated this ability at its finest when it delved into Kevin's theory about sportscaster's thinly veiled racism ("Class act"), and did so again tonight pointing to Andre's "boyfriend chameleon" nature. Basically, Andre has no backbone of his own and he becomes whatever his new girlfriends want him to be. This new girl loves gadgets, thus Andre starts carrying around an iPad and wearing bedazzled Bluetooth headsets. Plus it was great to watch Taco's disturbing anniversary video and catch a glimpse of Andre wearing that African-inspired suit. I think we all got the gist of the techy stuff, but the episode brought it back a few times with talks of tweets and vlogs.
At the same time, it also set up a one-upsmanship between Pete and Ted; Pete sets out to prove to Meagan that she downgraded, which means multiple chances to expose Ted for the old man he clearly is. He encourages Ted to order a steak and dance, then we see Ted desperately chowing down on the meat as Pete and Meagan make out in the wedding video. It's a moment with Ted at his weakest, and his decision to play along with Pete comes quick and doesn't manifest itself too much. It felt like there was so much more of that dynamic to abuse.
But there's not too much to complain about. "The Anniversary Party" saw Pete's creation of the "bathroom cubby," jabs at gastropubs serving "edamame foam," Kevin's indispensable advice on how to fake out Jenny, and the simultaneous demonstration of Taco's great reflexes and his inability to know what the "I've got my eyes on you" hand signal means. There were plenty of preposterous things introduced in the episode, and once again it's a testament to The League that they fit them all in. The show doesn't leave time to ask questions. Pete establishes early in an episode that it's disgusting to bring food into the bathroom, then later Andre brings in Ruxin's wedding cake as punishment for using Andre's iPad. There's not a big explanation for why the bathroom is gross (not that there really has to be); it just is. And it's not some random character who knocks the cake onto the ground, it's Ted, sick from all the life he's been living that night. Pieces fall snugly into their places at the end of The League, and we're left with Ruxin grimacing, hoisted on a chair as "Hava Nagila" plays in the background, bathroom frosting all over his face. Good.
- This episode was written by Nick Kroll and Paul Scheer, which tells me the show is keen on leveraging the talent they've cast as actors to their maximum potential.
- When the choice is Sofia or some Jewish girl, it's Sofia every time. Sorry, grandma.