DVD Review: The League (The Complete Season 4)



The League has gone from being a cult comedy on FX to finding an audience as it continues to grow. In a way it mirrors It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, which has slowly expanded its audience as the series goes forward. With word of mouth and Netflix aiding the cause, The League has managed to find itself in the right spot at the right time: a good fall comedy that coincides with the NFL season without overstaying its welcome.

It’s a simple formula. Ruxin (Nick Kroll), Kevin (Stephen Rannazzisi), Kevin’s wife Jenny (Katie Aselton), Pete (Mark Duplass), Andre (Paul Scheer), and Taco (Jonathan Lajoie) are all a part of a fantasy football league that has been going on for some time. They’ve been friends since childhood, as well, and live in the greater urban area of Chicago, IL. During the season, starting with a wacky circumstance in which to draft players, the group battles one another for the right to become champion. All the while we see them in their regular lives, et al, and getting into all sorts of misadventures.

The show works because of a number of things, mainly starting with the chemistry of its cast. The group of actors that managed to land roles on the show was all chosen because of their ability to improvise and work off one another. This is a group of actors that thrive in that environment so it’s not surprising that they’d work together effectively. They have a great chemistry to begin with and it has improved since the show began; the one-liners are crisper and the cast has managed to find the nuance in roles that were broadly written to begin with.

This season picks up with Jenny and Kevin welcoming their second child into the world. Meanwhile shenanigans are afoot, including Pete’s high school crush coming back into his life as well as reality star Kristin Cavallari (wife of Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler) factoring in for an episode. It’s a series of zany adventures focusing on friendship and fantasy football.

Unfortunately this season was a substantial decline in quality, mainly based off the show’s lack of a great episode. The show always has a set quality level of “funny, but not amazingly funny” and about every three episodes they have a brilliant episode that is instantly quotable and rewatchable. Outside of “A Krampus Carol” there isn’t another episode that needs to be watched again.

Season four didn’t have that amazing episode and a lot of the show’s emerging fatal flaws, including the Flanderization of the cast, which are slowly creeping up and impacting the show’s quality. This is a show that feels like it has a season or two left before either becoming a self parody or being cancelled. It quite hasn’t had its “Shark Jump” yet but its close; there aren’t vast swathes of comedic territory to cover anymore. Season four is a good season, and quite funny, but it’s not “can’t miss” like the first three seasons were. It’s the first decline down the road to television history for The League.

There are Deleted and Extended Scenes included, a gag reel and some generic EPK stuff included as extras.

20th Century Fox presents The League (The Complete Season 4). Starring Mark Duplass, Stephen Rannazzisi, Nick Kroll, Paul Scheer, Jon Lajoie, Katie Aselton. Running time: 286 minutes. Not Rated. Released: September 3, 2013.

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