The League: The Complete Season Two (Blu-ray)
Directed by Jeff Schaffer, Jackie Marcus Schaffer
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 1080p AVC codec
Running Time: 544 minutes
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English
Subtitles: SDH, French, Spanish
Release Date: October 4, 2011
Review Date: October 5, 2011
We have to accept that these five very diverse guys would actually be friends with one another in any kind of actual real world scenario. Ruxin (Nick Kroll) and Kevin (Stephen Rannazzisi) are lawyers. Andre (Paul Scheer) is a doctor (plastic surgery a specialty). Taco (Jon Lajoie) is a stoner/songwriter who actually gets a job as a notary for one episode (in fact, one of the season’s strongest episodes). Pete (Mark Duplass), well, who knows or cares what he does? He is the least well defined of the five friends. Ruxin and Kevin both have happy if volatile marriages: Ruxin’s wife (Nadine Velazquez) is more of a trophy the average-looking lawyer likes to show off while Kevin’s wife (Katie Aselton) tends to horn in on the fantasy league play-by-play emasculating Kevin in the process. (She’s eventually successful in breaking into the league and establishing her own team this season.) Andre is the group’s patsy, the moronic innocent who’s always the butt of their jokes.
Since the series is an FX original, raunchiness and vulgarity are the show’s major calling cards. There are plenty of gay-baiting and gay panic jokes spread over the course of these thirteen episodes, and the director loves to set up situations where the guys are forced to interact with one another’s junk or where sex between consenting adults in often provocative places somehow gets interrupted for a crowd to witness. The season’s best episodes all revolve around the innocently vague Taco. In one show, he becomes addicted to a toilet seat (little does he know that it’s laced with cocaine which is why he’s so attracted to it). In the Halloween episode, he steals a monkey from a petting zoo but lives to regret the decision when the monkey is tossed from the car and Taco is convinced there is a monkey curse on him. Because he couldn’t care less about the fantasy football league, he is also in contention for the SACKO trophy given to the team member with the worst season record, recounted in the season finale.
It’s all very broad with lots of profanity (some of the language must be bleeped for broadcast) and nudity. This is not The Mary Tyler Moore Show, but for FX’s primarily male audience, it’s likely a popular if forgettable half hour. The actors certainly play with ease around one another, but like many shows that live or die on the talent of their improvisational actors, the episodes are wildly erratic in quality, and often one good idea in a show can be surrounded by lots of terrible or flat stabs at finding something amusing. None of these episodes measure up to the best that network comedy shows can offer, but its wildness and anything goes attitude will draw it a certain number of fans. Sports fans may enjoy the cameo spots by Chad Ochocinco, Terrell Suggs, and Josh Cribbs while others may enjoy fleeting guest appearances by Craig Bierko, Rob Huebel, Jamey Sheridan, and Leslie Bibb.
Here are the thirteen episodes which make up season two’s roster. They’re contained on two discs in the set. Shows with an asterisk (*) have an extended version which the user may choose to watch (usually only a minute or two longer in running time):
*1 – Vegas Draft
*2 – Bro-lo El Cunado
3 – The White Knuckler
*4 – The Kluneberg
5 – The Marathon
6 – The Anniversary Party
7 – Ghost Monkey
*8 – The Tie
*9 – The Expert Witness
10 – High School Reunion
*11 – Ramona Neopolitano
12 – Kegel the Elf
*13 – The Sacko Bowl
The series is shown with a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is presented here with 1080p resolution using the AVC codec. The shows are very strong with sharpness with only an occasional less-than-perfect focus on the actors. Color stability is excellently maintained, and flesh tones are very natural. Each episode has been divided into 5 chapters.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix is surround in name only. Dialogue, which is the centerpiece of each episode, is clearly and cleanly recorded and has been placed firmly in the center channel. The music and ambient effects are spread across the front channels with almost nothing in the rear channels ever. Similarly, the LFE channel is left alone in these sound mixes.
All of the bonus features are presented in 1080p.
There are seven episodes which the viewer may watch in broadcast length or extended length.
There are ten deleted scenes spread over the two discs. They are contained in a montage sequence on each disc running 8 minutes on disc one and 3 ¼ minutes on disc two.
“Kluneberg Paint by Numbers” finds actor Paul Scheer pretending to be an avant garde artist Kluneberg who paints a semi-pornographic picture (used in episode #4) as he improvs his way through a 6 ¾-minute piece.
“El Notarino” is an extension of the episode where Taco becomes a notary. In this 5 ¼-minute vignette, Jon Lajoie as Taco (with an assist by actor Nick Kroll as Ruxin) does a promo for his new business.
“Taco Tones Productions Presents” offers four music-based features where Jon Lajoie’s Taco sings or raps at various social functions. They may be watched individually or in one 10 ½-minute grouping.
“Alt Nation” show alternate takes on some speeches as the actors improvise their way through various scenes. This runs for 8 ¼ minutes.
The season two gag reel runs 8 ¾ minutes.
3/5 (not an average)
Certainly not a great comedy, The League has moments of greatness contained amid a surfeit of juvenile raunch and inane ramblings. Season Two offers more than twice the number of episodes as Season One which should be great news for the show’s fans. The bonus features also present the cast in various clips which will also be enjoyed by those who love the show.