Saturday, October 31, 2009

Television Review-The League

Television isn't typically what this blog is about, but in this case, a show about fantasy football is appropriate to talk about. The League premiered this week, and while pilots are often not as good as the show turns out to be, this one has some glaring problems that seen like they will continue. As with most sitcoms, this one will live or die on its actors and writers. The league is effectively mediocre in both categories. It will never be a 30 Rock, but it is a bit snappier than a CBS sitcom. I'll continue to watch, but mostly for the subject matter.
However, it is the subject matter that is the biggest problem with this show. Most of the jokes fall into two categories: the guys take fantasy football way too serious, and the guys don't know anything about fantasy football. This strains my suspension of disbelief too far. We're supposed to believe these guys are willing to make career decisions and kidnap kids to do well in FF but are not willing to sit down and spend 2 hours preparing for their draft, or god forbid, buy a magazine.
When The Office referenced fantasy football with an illogical reference a few years back(noone would have ever traded a top rb for defense) it was acceptable. You don't expect them to know what they are talking about. But when your show is about fantasy football, you should probably know a little about it. It as if the writers of The Office knew so little about offices they had everyone sitting on futons and using typewriters.
Some of these jokes would have worked say 6-7 years ago, when it was much harder to get information about fantasy football. Without 24 coverage on major networks and free draft kits on every sports website, I would buy jokes like the kid being the Oracle. Not now. It is just too easy to obtain reliable fantasy tips. It reminds me of something Bill Simmons was saying the other day. On his podcast, he was complaining that fantasy football is all luck now. He couldn't be more wrong about this. What has happened, is that his advantage has disappeared. 7 years ago, he had a distinct advantage over his friends that did not have sports related jobs. He had a lot more information at his disposal. Now all of his competitors can catch up in a few hours the week before the draft by Reading Berry, Karabell or whoever. The extremely lazy can just use ESPN's projections and really be just as well off as a sports columnist. It's not luck, just an even playing field. Getting back to The League, the landscape has changed, and some of these jokes don't work, if they ever would have.
Now if, I were to make a show about fantasy football, and I did have this idea a while back(it was going to be titled Keepers) I would make some of the characters way to into it. I would have a character or two that was not well informed,(you do want the jokes that are thus provided) but that character would definitely not be that into it.(yes, I have put substantially more thought into Keepers than is probably good for anyone.)
While decidedly mediocre in most elements, the show fails miserably in a few key areas. But in the end, I'm going to keep watching for a while, which is really what they were going for in the first place.

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