The League: a television flop

The League is a sitcom about a group of 30-something adults who are in a fantasy football league. After seeing the promo (and being a fantasy football addict), I raced to the DVR to acquire some League action. I’ve since slogged my way through six episodes and am now at the point where I just cannot bear to punish myself anymore.

I thought I was going to get a comedy that satirizes both fantasy football and the people who are involved with this national obsession. Instead, The League is a poor attempt at TV-for-guys-who-like-TV, composed of painful caricatures, pointless vulgarity, the occasional NFL player cameo, “zany” scenarios that have nothing to do with fantasy football, and a few flat jokes about the game itself.

The premise is solid, the acting is fine, but the plot lines and writing are miserable. Every now and then the show gets a chuckle out of me, but that’s just kind of like how a stopped clock is right twice a day. At the moment when the characters were in a car, screaming and yelling as a monkey was jumping frenetically around the interior, I hit the stop button, deleted the episode, and decided I was done with The League.

If you really want to bring out the comedy in the fantasy football craze, you can’t just toss together a crappy sitcom, make a few fantasy football references, and expect to bask in rays of accolades. If I had the resources and the opportunities, here is how I would do it:

Ditch the sitcom paradigm and move to something closer to sketch comedy – a Daily Show or SNL model, if you will. The drama of the NFL and weekly fantasy impact hold so much material that you could put out a show every, say, Wednesday. If actual NFL footage could be incorporated into the show, then you could have something really huge. The point is that the comedy would be focused on fantasy football and it would be current – the show would be extremely relevant to the millions who are playing this game.

A number of blogs exist that combine humor, analysis, and fantasy football fallout, but for a medium like television, The League should be disbanded.


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