The League is an American sitcom that premiered on FX on October 29, 2009. The series, set in Winnetka, Illinois, is a semi-improvised comedy about a fantasy football league, its members, and their everyday lives.
The series revolves around six friends who participate in a fantasy football league. The show follows the friends, who will do anything to win, while also dealing with a variety of situations that occur in their everyday lives.
- Mark Duplass as Peter "Pete" Eckhart: Three-time league champion who separates from his wife (played by Leslie Bibb) in the pilot episode. Several episodes revolve around his interaction with women. Pete is known for tricking his gullible friends (particularly Taco and Andre) into making poor fantasy football trades. He works in a cubicle, though avoids doing actual work as much as possible. He created and is commissioner of the "Sacko" award, a trophy created during the episode "The Reunion" that is given to the worst team in the league.
- Stephen Rannazzisi as Kevin MacArthur: An assistant district attorney, Kevin is also the league commissioner from Seasons 1–3 as well as Pete's best friend. Because he has difficulty competing in the league on his own, he often takes football knowledge from his wife, Jenny. As a result, the other guys take it for granted that Jenny really runs Kevin's team. Jenny eventually joins the league herself after Ruxin's brother-in-law, Rafi, leaves the league. He had never won the Shiva, the award given to the league winners (named after Shivakamini Somakandarkram: a high school classmate to whom Kevin lost his virginity). Kevin wins in the finale of Season 3, however it was declared null by Ruxin due to collusion and lies, until Kevin agreed to give Ruxin the role of commissioner and to let him have naming rights to his newborn. Kevin has been highnotized (hypnotized under the influence of marijuana) by his brother Taco. His best friend Pete and his wife Jenny have also similarly programmed him using dog training techniques. Kevin has a young daughter named Ellie, (age 8) whose foul mouth comes from her parents, and a son whom Taco names Chalupa Batman MacArthur, born on the first episode of Season 4; in the next episode, he is renamed Christopher Benjamin.
- Nick Kroll as Rodney Ruxin: A Jewish product-liability attorney, he is just as ruthless in the league as he is in the courtroom. He "out-kicked his coverage' with his wife, and therefore goes to great lengths to please her. He is constantly torn between needing to please his wife and his desire to crush his opponents in the league. In many episodes, and all of Season 3, Ruxin is extremely paranoid, often thinking that his opponents are "trying to get into his head," or that other members of the league are "in collusion" to cheat him, but his paranoid hunches have been correct on at least two occasions in ("Expert Witness") and ("The Lockout"). In the episode "The Bounce Test", the character himself describes his physical appearance as follows: "I look like a Nazi propaganda cartoon of a Jew." He and Sofia currently have one child named Geoffrey ("Baby Geoffrey") and own a dog named Cale (the name Kevin told Ruxin in confidence that he and Jenny wanted to name their next child if it was a boy). Despite it being his first name, he hates being referred to as "Rodney" and prefers it when people call him Ruxin. He won the league championship at the end of season 2. When he was in high school he had a reputation for dating large women, giving him the nickname "The Herdsman." He inherited his sarcastic nature from his father, Rupert (Jeff Goldblum), who also prefers his friends call him Ruxin. After catching Kevin in his "clown car of lies", he declares Season 3 to be null and void and claims himself as winner via default, after miraculously healing from the after-effects of a stress-induced stroke from discovering the collusion (due to the appearance of Shiva). He then agrees that Season 3 would count in exchange for becoming the new league commissioner and for the naming rights to Kevin and Jenny's newborn, the latter of which he trades to Taco for his #1 draft pick.
- Paul Scheer as Dr. Andre Nowzick: A bald, rich plastic surgeon whose naïveté makes him the brunt of many jokes. He wears what he believes to be trendy clothing, for which he is mercilessly mocked by his friends. He tries to be cool by using current slang, particularly the jargon of hip-hop culture, but he is constantly rebuked by his friends and others, such as professional football player Chad Ochocinco. Andre wins the Shiva at the end of Season 1 after entering a committed relationship with Shivakamini Somakandarkram (the person whose name graces the league trophy). He's hosted the last three drafts; at his house, then in Las Vegas, and then in the third season was locked out of his house during the draft as a part of the Sacko punishment, leaving time for Dirty Randy (Seth Rogen) to create a poor-budgeted porno based loosely on Andre's life. In the first episode of the second season he renamed the trophy "the Dre" which was then renamed by the rest of the crew as "the SheDre" (A hybrid of "Shiva" and "Dre"). The worship of a false god in "the Dre" results in bad luck, which is nicknamed "Draids". His Draids resulted in the worst record in the league and ultimately recipient of the Sacko. Andre's sister, (played by Sarah Silverman), has had sex with everyone in the league except Andre, Jenny, and Ruxin.
- Jon Lajoie as Taco MacArthur: Kevin's younger brother, a perpetually stoned and unemployed musician. He doesn't care or know much about football, evident by his attempts to draft Canadian football players during the draft and his tendency to draft and play kickers. He has won the league championship at least once in 2006, evident by his handwritten name on the trophy. He hooks up with women easily, and lives via handouts from his brother Kevin and "Eskimo family tree" (people who have slept with women he has slept with), making his own food (thousand year old eggs) and making his own personal hygiene products, such as deodorant. He also makes ringtones (Horse Orgasm). For one episode, Taco takes martial arts, specializing in use of a naginata (a long pole with a blade at the end) and studies of naginatajutsu. He usually means well but his acts of kindness usually have disastrous results. He is perhaps the most emotional member of the league, prone to crying when his feelings are hurt. In the unrated version of season 1, Ruxin claimed that the reason Taco is such a "frittata" is because they made him smoke marijuana when he was 8. Between seasons 2 and 3, Taco travels around the world and becomes a soap opera star in Algeria where he plays a stupid American. Taco enjoys keeping bongs (which he calls "guest bongs") in all of his friends' houses for him to use.
- Katie Aselton as Jenny MacArthur: Kevin's wife, who helps him run his team and has as much enthusiasm for the league as the actual members do during season 1. When Kevin loses a bet to Pete in Season 1, Jenny is forced to streak since she is clearly the manager for Kevin's team. For season 2, Jenny wanted her own team for the league, but the members voted to give the vacant spot to Ruxin's brother-in-law, Rafi. This makes Jenny angry at her husband and seeks revenge by helping Ruxin draft instead of her husband. She is introduced into the league during that same season to replace Rafi (Ruxin's brother-in-law) and would eventually lose to Ruxin's team in the Shiva Bowl. Her foul mouth equals that of husband Kevin's and is evident in their daughter Ellie's swearing. At the end of Season 3, she reveals to Kevin that she is pregnant. She gives birth to a baby boy in the first episode of Season 4.
- Nadine Velazquez as Sofia Ruxin, Ruxin's Latina wife. She is good friends with Taco, who is the only one of Ruxin's friends that she gets along with.
- Jason Mantzoukas as Rafi, Sofia's deranged brother, aka "Brolo el Cuñado." Friends with porn director "Dirty Randy" played by Seth Rogen. Often disgusting and outrageous. Down for anything no matter what, to an extreme.
- Alina Foley as Ellie MacArthur, Jenny and Kevin's young daughter. She has inherited her parents' profane language.
- Janina Gavankar as Shivakamini Somakandarkram, a doctor who was the valedictorian of most of the league members' graduating high-school class. She is a urologist, specializing in genital reconstruction. Usually appears on the penultimate or season finales of the season, given that she is the "patron deity" of their league's trophy. They each present an item to the trophy, which contains a high school photo of her. The only odd-episode-out is "The High-School Reunion" where she was present with the league, revealing that Pete's mother's windshield wasn't busted by a high school friend, but rather by Kevin when he lost his virginity to Shiva. Shiva cursed the 2012 season of the league because they would not take her picture off the trophy.
- Adam Karchmer as Geoffrey Ruxin, Ruxin and Sofia's son. Ruxin calls him "Baby Geoffrey" although he's a toddler.
- Rob Huebel as Dr. Russell Deramo, a doctor and friend of the gang's. He first appears in "The Draft", where he attends Andre's party. He returns in "The Kluneberg", where it is revealed that he moved to New York, but returned saying New York was too crowded and too full of "crazy people". He later reveals that he is a sex addict, and invites Jenny to join his league. He later replaces her with Rafi, allowing her to join the league.
- Leslie Bibb as Meegan Eckhart, Pete's abrasive ex-wife. They fought constantly. After she gave away his lucky draft shirt, Pete realized that they were not meant to be together and they separated. They finalized the divorce, and she was left with only the house. She had requested their Benjamin Button DVD, presumably knowing that it contained a disk with a sex video she had made with Pete, but Pete had already snuck into her house and stolen it, aided by Kevin; Pete never gives it back. She was later seen dating an older man named Ted.
- Brie Larson as Ashley, Baby Geoffrey's former au pair. She was hired partially due to her good looks. Pete quickly begins sleeping with her, which causes her to neglect her au pair duties. Ruxin wants to fire her, but she ends up extorting him, threatening to tell Sofia that he was masturbating to her photo (he was actually wiping pee off his pants) unless he continues to pay her for doing nothing. In order to get her to quit, Ruxin enlisted Rafi to hit on her, which ends up backfiring when she brings Rafi into bed with her and Pete to do the "Golden Gate Bridge". Rafi eventually talks her into quitting and moving in with him, which is in Ruxin's home.
Notable guest stars
Notable NFL players and analysts as guest stars
- NFL on Fox analyst and former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw in Season 1 Episode 3 "Sunday at Ruxin's"
- San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates in Season 1 Episode 4 'Mr. McGibblets"
- Free Agent wide receiver Chad Johnson in Season 2 Episode 1 "Vegas Draft"
- Cleveland Browns kick return specialist Josh Cribbs and Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs in Season 2 Episode 3 "The White Knuckler"
- Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew, Atlanta Falcons cornerback Brent Grimes and Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Sidney Rice in Season 3 Episode 1 "The Lockout"
- ESPN fantasy football analyst Matthew Berry in Season 3 Episode 3 "The Au Pair"
- Chicago Bears running back Matt Forté in Season 3 Episode 13 "The Funeral"
- Robert Griffin III, Trent Richardson, Matt Kalil, Ryan Kalil, Felix Jones, Brandon Carr, Jason Witten, Jay Ratliff, DeSean Jackson, Rich Eisen, Chris Brockman and Jerry Jones in Season 4 Episode 1 "Training Camp"
- Buffalo Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick in Season 4 Episode 5 "Judge MacArthur"
- Former Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon in Season 4 Episode 6 "The Tailgate"
- NFL Network analyst and Pro Football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders in Season 4 Episode 11 "12.12.12"
- Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson in Season 4 Episode 13 "The Curse of Shiva"
The League's fictional league
- Unknown 8th member (drops out in 2007)
- Andre – "The Double Ent-Andres" (formerly "The Ooh, Ruxin Got Serveds", "The I Had Allergies", "The Twilight Breaking D-Andres" and "The James B-Andres") (replaces unknown 8th member in 2007)
- Kevin – "The Fighting MacArthurs (formerly "The Ruxin Looks Like a Middle-Aged Lesbians")
- Pete – "3-Pete"
- Ruxin – "Pete Top/Kevin Bottom" (formerly "The Kevin's Micro Dongs", "The MacArthur's Crotch Nubbs", "The Andre Cried While Watching "Jumanjis"", and "The Fear Boners")
- Taco – "Password is Taco" (formerly The Encino Men)
- Vince (drops out in 2010)
- Rafi (replaces Vince in 2010)
- Jenny – "The Lady MacArthurs" (replaces Rafi midway through 2010)
- Ted – "The Balls Deeper"
|Show season||NFL season||League season||Shiva Bowl winner||Shiva Bowl loser||Sacko Bowl winner *||Sacko Bowl loser*||Draft location|
|(back story)||2006||2||Taco||(unknown)||N/A||N/A||Andre's residence|
|(back story)||2007||3||Pete||(unknown)||N/A||N/A||Andre's residence|
|(back story)||2008||4||Pete||(unknown)||N/A||N/A||Andre's residence|
|1||2009||5||Andre||Pete||N/A||N/A||Andre's new downtown Chicago loft|
|3||2011||7 **||Kevin||Taco||Pete||Ruxin||Andre's loft|
|4||2012||8||Ted||Pete||Kevin||Ruxin||Jenny's hospital room|
– * The Sacko Bowl was not introduced until the sixth season of league play.
– ** Due to Ruxin discovering the league colluded to keep him from getting the top draft pick, Kevin was stripped of his championship and the 2011 season of The League was declared null and void, to be sent off by a Norse funeral. However, before the 2012 season, Kevin got his championship reinstated by trading his role as commissioner to Ruxin along with naming rights to his and Jenny's son. Ruxin later traded the naming rights to Taco in exchange for Taco's first round draft pick. Jenny gives birth to their son, and Taco announces the name, "Chalupa Batman MacArthur".
-*** After winning the Shiva Bowl in "The Curse of Shiva", Ted posts on the message boards that the following year's draft would not take place in Chicago.
The League's real-life league
The stars of The League play in a real fantasy football league on ESPN Fantasy with the show's creators.
The League was given a pilot order on July 15, 2009, with the pilot written by Jeff Schaffer and Jackie Marcus Schaffer and Jeff Schaffer also directing. The series is executive produced by Jeff Schaffer, Jackie Marcus Schaffer and the production company, FX Productions.
When the series was given a pilot order several roles were cast, with Mark Duplass playing Pete Eckhart, Stephen Rannazzisi playing Kevin MacArthur, Nick Kroll playing Rodney Ruxin, Paul Scheer playing Andre Nowzick, Jon Lajoie playing Taco MacArthur and Katie Aselton playing Jenny MacArthur.
The League was given a series order on August 20, 2009 with six episodes. A second 13 episode season of The League premiered on September 16, 2010 on FX. On January 15, 2011, it was announced that the series had been picked up for a third season, which premiered on October 6, 2011.
On December 13, 2011, The League was renewed for a fourth season of 13 episodes which premiered on October 11, 2012.
On December 20, 2012, The League was renewed for a fifth season of 13 episodes.
Fox Home Entertainment released the first season on DVD and Blu-ray on September 14, 2010. On August 3, 2011, Fox Home Entertainment announced that the second season would be released on DVD and Blu-ray on October 4, 2011.
|DVD name||Region 1 release date||Region 2 release date||Region 4 release date||Ep #||Discs||Additional information|
|Season One||September 14, 2010||TBA||TBA||6||2||Extended Episodes, Deleted Scenes, Blooper Reel, "Andre: Dress with Style, Win with Style", "Legalize Kevin's Pubic Smoke", "Alt Nation", "Mr. McGibblets Fun House and Dojo", "Three Penis Wine Infomerical", "Vaginal Hubris Extended", "Birthday Song" and the pilot of Archer.|
|Season Two||October 4, 2011||TBA||TBA||13||2||Extended Episodes, Deleted Scenes, Gag Reel, "Taco Tones Productions Presents: Vinegar Strokes", "Taco Tones Productions Presents: I'm Inside Me, Notarize!", "El Notario", "Andre's Extended Fads" and "Ruxin's Wedding Video".|
|Season Three||October 9, 2012||TBA||TBA||13||2||Extended Episodes, Deleted Scenes, a Gag Reel, "Alt Nation" and "Taco Tones."|