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"The Funeral" grim ending of The League

The League poster

Written by : published Friday 23rd December 2011

     The third season of FX's The League comes to an end, not uncoincidentally, just as the fantasy football season closes out. "The Funeral" is actually the second of two new episodes from last night. While Ruxin (Nick Kroll) recovers from his stroke, Andre (Paul Scheer) manages Ruxin's team, though Rafi (Jason Mantzoukas) wants a say, too, and is willing to use a knife to get one. Pete (Mark Duplass) refuses to throw the Sacko Bowl, even though Ruxin vows to toss out the entire season if he loses. Which means that Kevin (Stephen Rannazzisi), who finally wins the Shiva, doesn't get his victory.

     The League is one of the most realistic portrayals of a group of male friends in entertainment. They give each other large amounts of guff, and don't wear their emotions on their sleeves, but they still care. Sure, they all still debate fantasy football and go about their days while Ruxin lies in a hospital bed. But an earlier scene, as they all await news of Ruxin's condition in the waiting room, reveals that they have real concern. It's only after they are assured Ruxin will be fine that they go back to treating him the same way they always have.

     The only weakness is the characters that become chariactures. All of the principal cast members are complex and well defined, even Taco (Jonathan Lajoie), to a certain degree. But Rafi and Ruxin's wife, Sofia (Nadine Velazquez), are not, which hurts the show a little, especially in an episode like "The Funeral" where these supporting players are called upon to give it their all.

     As far as endings go, one might think The League reaches its darkest point at the end of season two when Ruxin laughs fiendishly, having won the title. Yet, it almost seems worse as he declares his continued reign in season three. Perhaps it's the burning pyre, or Pete getting a Sacko brand accidentally burned into his back (this looks like a job for Andre!), but whatever the reason, The League gets into some pretty twisted humor. Which is not necessarily a bad thing.

     Happy news does temper the end of the episode as Kevin learns of Jenny's (Katie Aselton) pregnancy. Only after he is assured that he will soon be a father again does he turn his true focus onto the Shiva, swimming into the frigid water after the burning boat. This says something real and serious about Kevin's character. While not new information that Kevin has a joyous, solid relationship, any example of it is welcome. It turns the end of "The Funeral" from depressing into hopeful. And hopefully the baby will provide some pretty funny stuff for Jenny in season four, especially if she gives birth during the football season, which she likely may, early in the season.

     All in all, "The Funeral" is far from the funniest episode of The League, but it sets up a couple of interesting things, and ties up a decent story.

     The League has been renewed and will return for a fourth season on FX.

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About the author JeromeWetzelTV

JeromeWetzelTV

Jerome Wetzel is a huge fan of stories, in both books and television. He writes TV reviews and fiction. He currently posts articles for TheTVKing, Seat42F, and BlogCritics, as well as his own personal blog, as well as writing fiction. His website is www.jeromewetzel.com Follow him on twitter @JeromeWetzelTV

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