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Entries in The League (5)

Saturday
Oct122013

The League Showdown! Semifinals!

Here we are at the final four!  Kevin vs. Ruxin and Taco vs. Rafi.  Good vs. evil, the McArthur boys vs. the Axis of Ruxin.  Who will go to the Shiva Bowl?

 

Kevin vs. Ruxin

Even though the show opened with the buddy dynamic of Kevin and Pete firmly front and center by season two, the focus of the show had principally broken down into two camps:  Kevin/McArthur family episodes and Ruxin/Ruxin family episodes.  In one camp sat Taco, Jenny, and Ellie.  In the other Rafi, Sofia, and the too rarely used Father Ruxin (and baby Jeffery, although, he doesn't do very much).

Kevin is the emotional center of the show, the one that the audience is meant to and - usually - does root for.  He either has his own or is closely involved in someone elses storyline every episode.  Ruxin's single minded desire to rule the league with an iron fist is the perfect foil for Kevin's worrisome attack of concious.

Kevin tops Ruxin in both character importance and complexity, but Ruxin has very strong comedic metrics.  His character revels in villainy and it makes him all the more entertaining.  In the end, Kevin might be the more central and likable character, but much like his quests for the Shiva Bowl, he can't manage to beat Ruxin's scheming.

Winner: Rodney Ruxin.

 

Taco vs. Rafi

Alright, I have a confession to make:  I think Taco is overrated.  Not just overrated but way over loved.  Female fans of the show find his cluelessness and shaggy appearance adorable.  Men want to be him because of his inexplicable ability to casually pick up gorgeous women despite constantly either being unemployed or homeless (or both) and the fact that he probably has an IQ somewhere around 60.  I can't even name all the people I've met who claim that they're "The Taco" of their fantasy football league.  They say it as though they're bragging, but much like the character himself, they don't seem to realize they're calling themselves a clueless moron that would probably wind up dead or institutionalized within three months in the real world.

I'm not saying we should hold Taco to the standards of "reality" when we judge him as a character.  Rafi more than any other character needs the viewer to suspend their disbelief in order to accpet his actions.  Rafi is a psychotic sociopath that frequently advocated murder, rape, and various other forms of violent crime.  We accept this in Rafi because, first and foremost, no one actually ever gets hurt (at least not seriously) because of his actions and his recklessness is so absurd and unrealistic that you have laugh if just for the shock value.  The difference between Rafi and Taco is that the audience doesn't seem to even realize how much of an idiot Taco is.  He lives a charmed existence, no question, but nearly that everything that happens around him on the show is either beyond his control or understanding.

It's not that I have a grudge against Taco, he's alright, I just don't see what the appeal is other than that he's a good looking guy who gets laid a lot.  He constantly is dishonest, steals from, and tries to manipulate his friends and family to get what he wants, at least Rafi is honest (part of the genius of Rafi is how oblivious he is to how crazy and inappropriate his actions and opinions are).

When it comes down to it, neither character is especially integral to the story of the show usually occupying supporting roles in storylines.  Both characters are almost wholly one-dimensional used almost as plot devices rather than motivated characters.  The difference between the two is ultimately that Rafi is the single funniest character on the show and Taco, well, Taco is overrated.

Winner: Rafi

Don't believe me?  Here is a video of Rafi's greatest moments.  Even though they're out of context they're still hilarious.  Want to see Taco's best of video?  You can't, he doesn't have one.

 

Friday
Sep272013

The League Showdown! Matchup #4

Taco vs. The World!

 

Taco vs. Ellie/Sofia/Shiva

 

Taco


Taco is probably the most beloved character of The League.  Every fan of the show either wants to be him or wants their companion to be more like him.  He is the worry-free, luckstruck, ladies man that never has any idea what is going on and is all the better for it.  His greatest comedic strength comes in the form of his musical creations, with perhaps his greatest achievement coming in the very first episode.

 Taco does have some weaknesses.  He is a little bit of a one dimensional character and he is rarely a significant character in plot lines, favoring the color commentary role over the play by play.  Even so, His good looks and care free approach to life have never disappointed him yet (mostly because he's not paying attention, but superfluous!)

 

Ellie/Sofia/Shiva

Because of the lack of an even number of major characters on the show, I have been forced to pit Taco against the combined force of the three most common reoccuring characters of the series:  Kevin and Jenny's daughter, Ellie, Ruxin's hot wife, Sofia, and the woman who represents both sucess and a dream of youth lost, Shivakamini Somakandarkram!!!!

Just becuse these characters suffer from a lack of personal screen time or significance doesn't mean they don't have their value.  The comedic ingenuity is largely supplied by Ellie who is beautifully hilarious nearly every time she utters a line on camera with her "Ruxin/Kegel the Elf" scene going down as the strongest comedic moment for any of these characters.  Sofia brings in the relevance, playing a major role in many a Ruxin moment.

Shiva, well, Shiva may not provide a lot direct laughs or be a major on-screen presence, but would there be any league at all without Shiva?

I think not.

 

Conclusion

Many would probably think this matchup would end up being a blow out.  Many would be wrong.  The triforce of Ellie/Sofia/Shiva is responsible for many unforgettable moments on this show while Taco does have his weaknesses.  He comes up short in the one-liners department and he also the least interesting or relevant member of the league.  Still, his cluelessness wins out for him once again as it ends up being the very thing to propel him to the next round.

Winner: Taco McArthur

Thursday
Sep262013

The League Showdown! Matchup #3

Today a domestic brawl!

 

Kevin vs. Jenny

 

The most functional relationship (romantic or otherwise) doubles as one of the greatest rivalries of The League.  I just want to say before we go any further that I really like Kevin and Jenny as a couple.  They have great chemistry, a good dynamic, and they're both relatable.  But this is a Showdown not a five course dinner party and only one McArthur can come out of this alive!

Kevin

What's good about Kevin?  Well, right off, we have the same name.  Actually, I'm not sure if that works in his favor.  He is the closest thing the series has to a protagonist, coming oh-so-close to that victory he desires so badly only to get routinely thwarted by his various nemsises on the one yard line.  Kevin is the everyman like Pete, but he languishes in impotence (metophorical) and self doubt enough for us to empathize with him but not enough for us to hate him for being a weak whiney baby.  What fantasy footballer hasn't experienced THIS before?

Kevin is also one of the more complex characters of the show, in large part because he seems to be the only one with any semblance of a traditional moral center.  Thanks to his vast collection of ...For Dummies books he is in so shortage of comic supply for his compatriots.  Oh yeah, and he invented the Shiva Blast.

Jenny

Jenny could very easily be the most underrated character of The League.  Sure, she isn't flashy.  She's never going to have an entire episode dedicated to her personal shenannigans.  Her one-liner supply is more limited than the guys because she isn't in as many group scenes.  Though she does have her share of memorable quips:

Ruxin: Why are you dressed like a whore?

Jenny: I dressed like your wife to get in here.

Ruxin: (Raises hand) Fives.

Jenny is like a change of pace running back or Derelle Revis.  A lot of what she does won't show up on the scoreboard but she's invaluable to sucess of the team.  She is maybe the only character that we see on a consistent bases try to balance being a fantasy football godess with a good parent and wife.  A task complicated by the fact that she's better at fantasy than her husband.

Conclusion:

Jenny has made her mark on The League by being the dominant force in the McArthur household, both on and off the field.  Many a time has Kevin been relegated to holding her purse or lip gloss while Jenny sets off to defend the family honor from the invading hordes (Ruxin).  But does Jenny's empowering righteousness really make her a more enjoyable character than the lovably pathetic Kevin?  My heart wants to say yes, but the numbers don't lie and Kevin bests her in every category but complexity.  Congratulation, Kevin, your Shiva Bowl dream live on!

Winner: Kevin McArthur