Best of the Small Screen, Comedies No. 8

Over the next 18 weeks I'll be taking a look at some of my favorite TV series, broken down into three groups (Limited Run Series, Comedies, and Dramas). In my post on March 1 I laid out the ground rules for these categories and this exploration, the biggest of which is no series that are currently airing. To read the whole thing, check out the post "Best of the Small Screen" from March 1.

Today I continue with a very irreverent sports-related show.

The League (2009-2015)
Number of Seasons/Episodes: 7/84
Network: F/X
Starring: Mark Duplass, Nick Kroll, Katie Aselton, Stephen Rannazzisi, Paul Scheer, and Jonathan Lajoie
Creators: Jackie Marcus Schaffer and Jeff Schaffer
Favorite Season/Episodes: Season 3, 1.01 "The Draft," 3.03 "The Au Pair," 3.06 "Yobogoya," 3.01 "The Lockout"
About: This is probably the least traditional sitcom on this list. In fact, when it launched, I'm not sure anyone thought it would get the following that it did. That first season, as an obscure sitcom on F/X, ran just six episodes. But it struck a nerve for a couple reasons. First, people play fantasy football and could identify with the set up. Second, it developed some great characters. Third, and most importantly, it had really funny stories. This is a football show that was about friendship and crazy life moments more than anything else, and that's why it worked so well. It ended up running seven seasons and more than 80 episodes, which is a great track record for a show. I wish I could say I found this on TV and was an early adopter. Rather, when I joined my Fantasy Sports app, Fantasy Life, I saw people talking about the show and found it on Netflix. I binged through the first six seasons in two weeks, and I was glad I found it. I think the show really found its groove in season three, though the first three seasons are all solid. I thought some of the later seasons struggled a bit, but it was still a strong show. Among my favorite episodes, I have some moments that stick out. I included the pilot because, from the beginning, it had a hook that drew me in and made me want to see what else happened. The third season premier, "The Lockout," is funny because it was an extreme example of league punishments, which is always an interesting topic. I put "The Au Pair" on the list because of the guest appearance from Matthew Berry, ESPN's premier fantasy analyst. It leads to one of the funnies lines in the series, too. And, finally, "Yobogoya" is on the list because of one memorable scene involving Kevin (Rannazzisi) and the side of the highway. This is a show that probably isn't for everyone, but I love it.


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