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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The League: “The Height Supremacist”

Illustration for article titled The League: “The Height Supremacist”
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The League has never really claimed to be about anything, not even fantasy football, which is why it was so intriguing and refreshing in the earlier seasons. It’s why I tend to like the show more when there’s basically nothing happening—I’ve heard a lot of people compare it to Seinfeld because it’s often characterized by a shitty group of friends doing nothing big but simply making people laugh. At the risk of being ostracized by the entire AV Club community, I’m not a big fan of Seinfeld but I understand the appeal of the show. I also really like The League‘s version of it.

There is certainly a plot in “The Height Supremacist”—in fact, there are several—but it’s not what makes the episode. This episode actually reminded me more of the series’ early beginnings with low-key jokes (as opposed to say, funeral parties and early puberty gags) and solid running gags. Jenny, as I’ve mentioned plenty of times before, is my favorite character on the show so it’s great that so much of “The Height Supremacist” revolves around her. She’s the titular supremacist, referred to as such when the guys find out that she sets her lineup based on players’ heights.

The League takes this quick joke and runs with it throughout the whole episode by expanding it to outside of just Jenny’s lineup, including it in everything from her meeting Kevin’s new short boss to height-challenged Darren Sproles improbably taking Ellie (Ellie! I forgot about you!) to her school dance. “The Height Supremacist” is certainly not subtle about the parallels to racism because The League knows that it’s not a relatively new idea to include some elongated, humorous metaphor in a sitcom so it’s going to be very blatant about it, right down to the the mock Nazi salute. Honestly, none of the actual jokes aren’t that clever or original but Katie Aselton effortlessly sells them and sells Jenny’s stumbling cluelessness. She confuses Kevin’s new boss with a taller person—someone who is D.A. tall—and then subconsciously crouches down to talk the actual very short boss. She defends herself with the classic excuse: some of her close friends are short! The only short friend she can name? Ellie. (“That’s not a friend. That’s your child.”)

Meanwhile, there are other odd developments happening in “The Height Supremacist.” After last week’s incident, Ruxin’s job has banished him to work in Korea and he spends most of the episode communicating only by video via laptops and iPads. There is Taco’s continued TacoCorp ventures that fail at sucking Pete in only to have Pete become the idiot when Taco makes a crazy amount of money (though honestly, I wasn’t invested in this plot at all). There is also a funny Andre subplot as he awaits his league punishment for last week’s antics. Everyone decides to give him a ghost punishment because, as we all know, the anticipation for a terrible thing happening can often be so much worse than the actual event. It drives Andre crazy and he punishes himself. And finally, there is Ellie getting a date with Darren Sproles to the school dance, a plot point that only happens so Jenny can, once again, embarrass herself in front of someone short. It’s easy and clumsy but I don’t mind.

At the dance, we get some classic League stuff as most of the little things come together in an absurd but funny way as everyone—including cyber Ruxin—show up at the dance to meet Sproles. Ruxin spills the beans to Sproles that Jenny is a height supremacist and Kevin’s boss, who is there too, confirms as much. Andre’s yeast infection (yep) results in him pissing in a school fountain and when everyone tries to prevent Sproles from drinking from said fountain, Jenny points him in the direction of another, shorter fountain. I wouldn’t be surprised if this entire episode was built around that one sole water fountain metaphor joke. I’m not really complaining; it was enough to make me laugh and, as I’m trying to once again fall into step with a show that has gone from great to inconsistent, I’m reminding myself that’s basically all I want from The League.

Stray observations:

  • By default, Sproles wins MVP for athlete trying to act but he really wasn’t that bad!
  • When are we getting more of this evil Ellie that we once got glimpses of every now and then? She was pretty normal in this episode.
  • There were a lot of fun one-liners tonight but I unfortunately don’t have the notebook I wrote them down in so help me out!
  • So what’s what Ruxin’s whole thing? Is this another one of those “Nick Kroll is busy so we need him off the show for a bit” ploys? How much longer do you think he’s going to stick around if the show continues for another year or two?
  • I won in my fantasy league last week! I also won most points which means I got a snazzy ECW belt that I had to wear to my office.