A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that although this often-crass comedy about a group of longtime male friends pays a fair bit of attention to their fantasy football league, the show's real focus is their relationships -- both with each other and with their wives and girlfriends. The guys constantly talk about sex (the conversations get graphic, and there are a few racy scenes, though not too much in the way of nudity); there's also plenty of swearing (including unbleeped uses of "s--t" and the like) frequent drinking, and plenty of references to marijuana. It’s funny, but it’s not for kids.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Pete (Mark Duplass) and his longtime friends may have become adults -- with wives, kids, and careers -- but it’s still unclear whether they ever grew up. The guys are fixated on two things: their annual fantasy football league and sex. And as the season gets under way, Pete drops a bomb on the gang by leaving his wife after one fight too many about his obsession with THE LEAGUE. The separation has ripple effects on his friends, including Ruxin (Nick Kroll), whose wife is so upset by the breakup that she won’t sleep with him; Kevin (Stephen Rannazzisi), whose secret weapon in the league is his sports-obsessed wife, Jenny (Katie Aselton); and Pete’s little brother, Taco (Jonathan Lajoie), a devoted stoner who’s happy to have a newly single wingman.
Is it any good?
The League is crass, juvenile, and rife with stereotypes, but it also has a tender core thanks to the focus on friendship and relationships. Still, the characters swear constantly and obsess about sex, both the men and the women. The guys are all devoted sports nuts who find it hard to believe that their wives can appreciate football, or even understand it. And the man-children are more concerned with winning the league than just about anything else; Kevin, a district attorney, even agrees to give one of Ruxin’s clients a reduced sentence when his league rival sweetens a plea bargain negotiation with a prized player.
It’s over the top and crude, but it also has a few funny moments. Of course, that doesn’t mean the show is great; it’s one-dimensional, and many scenes ramp up the profanity and sex quotient for no reason other than ... to ramp up the profanity and sex. What makes the comedy work, when it does, is the friendships at the heart of the show. These men have been pals since childhood, and the way they interact comes off realistically. There’s plenty of trash-talking and good-natured teasing, but it’s clear that they care for each other. They know the league is just a game, but its real value is that it also keeps them together.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about gender roles. How does this series portray women’s attitudes toward sports? Do you think football is just for guys, or do women like it, too? Why do so many TV shows perpetuate the stereotype that men like sports and women don’t?
Do you think the friendships on this series seem realistic?
What about the male characters’ relationships with women? Do the marriages seem clichéd or relatable?