With the exception of one episode this season, FX's "The League" has been light on the fantasy football. This week's offering follows suit, delivering some solid comedy and a scene-stealing guest star.
Pete is in the market for some top of the line sneakers -- more specifically, the Vapora Sport ugly ass sneaker with neon laces and bright blue tread. Look, dude, if you want some awesome cross trainers, fine, but don't go obsessing over those ugly things. Alas, he is undercut by guest star J.B. Smoove, who has decided that it isn't enough to steal the show on "Curb Your Enthusiasm," he now must steal this show as well. Wheelchair-bound DeRon uses handicapped pity mixed with a little implied racism to grab the last pair, and Pete is stuck with what basically look like slippers with neon laces.
Meanwhile, Kevin and Jenny buy an antique 1930s piano so that their daughter can learn to play an instrument. Unfortunately, it's a racist piano complete with "Pick A Bale of Cotton" pre-programmed into it. It's like that old rule of drama, 'Chekhov's black guy': "if you introduce a black guy in a wheelchair and a racist piano in the first act, in the third act they have collide." And indeed they do, in one of the funnier moments of the episode.
Elsewhere, Taco Pavlov has conditioned his parents' dog Ditka to bark at the smell of sex (Taco has a lot of sex, so the dog picks it up pretty quickly). Ruxin attempts to use Ditka to determine whether his rival at work Michelle is screwing the boss to get awesome cases, but unfortunately winds up reliving a childhood nightmare where he loses a wrestling match to a blind man. Don't ask. This season's Ruxin has been kind of a disappointment, with fewer mean-spirited jabs at his friends and less of his delightful brand of misanthropy. Kind of a "Ruxin Lite," if you will.
Is "The League" having a weak season? Ruxin Lite, too much Kevin, and not enough shit-talking makes me think perhaps. Thankfully, Smoove's scene-stealing role is enough to make this episode a winner.
Final Grade: B