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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The League scores a touchdown with the Complete Season Three

FX's The League now has its Complete Season Three out on Blu-ray and DVD.  If you have missed this fantasy football-based comedy, with the all-around amazing cast, up 'til now, it's time to start watching, as it has become one of the most original, funniest shows on television. Season three is a great entry point, and after watching every installment on this two disc set, you'll probably be motivated enough to go seek out the other seasons.

As season three begins, Ruxin (Nick Kroll) is still rubbing his victory from last year in everyone's face, being more insufferable than usual. The others plot to pick the draft order behind his back, giving them an unfair advantage, and hoping to allow them to knock Ruxin down a few pegs this year. This sort of back fires, as once that bond of trust is broken, even if Ruxin doesn't figure it out for a long time, the others begin not trusting each other, too, making for a trade-less, frustrating fantasy football league.

In The League, though, Shiva Bowl Champion is not the only title. There is still unfinished business to attend to concerning last year's loser, the Sacko prize winner, Andre (Paul Scheer). For that, the boys turn to former member Rafi (Jason Mantzoukas) and his friend Dirty Randy (Seth Rogen), who help them humiliate Andre with the ultimate prank.

All of this unfair backstabbing may sound mean, but it's not. The heart of The League is a group of friends who care about one another. Sure, they give each other a hard time, as friends do, and sometimes they go a little too far. But their shared love of football, and the good times they have picking their fantasy team and watching the games, are why they stick together. The characters do not have to express their emotions to feel the affection between them, as we see during a near-tragedy at the end of the season.

They do, however, have to be really, really funny, and The Complete Season Three showcases this in many fantastic ways. Whether Kevin (Stephen Rannazzisi) is "cheating" on his wife, Jenny (Katie Aselton), the sole female member of the group, with an ESPN analyst, or Ruxin is growing unhappy about his attractive au pair (Brie Larson, United States of Tara), whom Pete (Mark Duplass) has his eye on, there are lots of humorous moments. Toss in Taco (Jonathan Lajoie), who is basically a walking joke, especially when inventing an analog social network called "My-face," and you have the recipe for something pretty cool.

Among the best installments of this season are:
  • "The Lockout" In which Ruxin is screwed over figuratively, and Andre is screwed over literally (sort of).
  • "Bobbum Man" Kevin is afraid of Pete's made-up creature, the Bobbum Man.
  • "Carmenjello" Kevin and Jenny search for the perfect paint color, but a defective can means awkward explanations to daughter Ellie (Alina Foley).
  • "Thanksgiving" Ruxin's dad (Jeff Goldblum, Jurassic Park) and Andre's sister (Sarah Silverman, The Sarah Silverman Program) join the gang for a turkey with a very interesting and unique stuffing.
  • "The Light of Genesis" Ruxin joins a cult that could help him win in fantasy football, while Kevin is worried his Krav Maga teacher (Eliza Dushku, Dollhouse) is attracted to him.
  • "The Funeral" Every arc from this season comes to a head with the Shiva and the Sacko on the line.
The League The Complete Season Three is fully packed with bonus features. The best thing is that ten of the year's thirteen episodes are extended on the DVD, providing quite a few more laughs than as aired. There is also a gag reel, deleted scenes, and two featurettes, "Alt Nation" and "Taco Tones." For a thirteen episode comedy, this turns out to be quite a bit.

Check out The League The Complete Season Three, available now, and watch brand new season four episodes Thursday nights at 10:30 p.m. ET on FX.

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