The recently released Season Three of the raunchy FX comedy about a group of fantasy football owners pushes the envelope even further than the first two seasons.
The unscrupulous attorney and all-around a-hole, Ruxin (Nick Kroll), is the reigning Shiva Bowl Champion. And to prove his obnoxiousness he starts off the new season by hiring several NFL players, including Sidney Rice and Maurice Jones-Drew to create a Shiva Bowl Shuffle video based on the 1986’s Chicago Bears’ "Super Bowl Shuffle." Not only does he constantly berate his league members as champion but he even buys a giant gold ring to shove in their faces and try to get them to bow down and kiss it.
So when he doesn’t show up on time to select the order for the new draft, the others decide to rebel and choose the order without him. Ruxin’s late, a jerk and they do have a quorum so they figure why not. But when they draw the names they are horrified to see that they picked Ruxin to draft first. But having him as champion two years in a row is such an unbearable prospect that they decide to do the unthinkable. They assign him fifth pick in the draft, an act that will ultimately come back to haunt them throughout the season.
While the fantasy football theme connects all of the episodes together and is the glue that holds this strange group of friends, it’s not just a show about football. It’s about a group of incredibly dysfunctional friends who all grew up together and enjoy giving one another a hard time. And the only way they can distinguish themselves from the rest of the group and out of their normal social ranking is by winning the championship.
Married couple Kevin (Stephen Rannazzisi) and Jenny (Katie Aselton) are the most adult of the group, which isn’t saying much. Maybe it’s because he’s a District Attorney, but the way he handles running into a man who he put in prison and is now the father of his daughter’s new best friend might prove otherwise. The whole situation comes to a climax involving guns, bongs, and his idiot brother stoned out of his mind wearing a costume that looks like the bastard child of purple dinosaur Barney and H.R. Pufnstuf.
Taco (Jonathan Lajoie) is the aforementioned idiot brother. While he wins football games by sheer luck as he has no real concept of the game or players, he is constantly the idea man. Some of his great ideas consist of the Pee Bib, a napkin sewn into the front of your pants to eliminate stains; NeckFlix which is basically NetFlix but using neck ties; and creating a jingle for Yobogoya, a food company that sells a bucket of beef that legally can’t even be called beef.
Andre (Paul Scheer) is the constant butt of every joke and isn’t near the bottom rung of the group. He is the bottom rung. Not only is he constantly making up jokes that are only funny to himself, but he always seems to get himself into the worst predicaments for example when he calls an African-American custodial worker Carmenjello because that’s the name on his uniform which turns out to be the name of the company he works for.
And finally there is Pete (Mark Duplass) who is an eternal man-child who is not only good at fantasy football, but in getting himself out of trouble and picking up chicks. No woman is out of his league as Ruxin will find out when Pete starts sleeping with his au pair.
The DVD contains several Special Features. Ten of the thirteen episodes include extended versions. It's difficult to spot the added scenes other than when they use profanity or brief amounts of nudity. Both discs contain deleted scenes. The ones on the first disc are entertaining and would easily have fit into the episodes, but those on the second disc were left out for good reason as they are jumbled and would have obviously caused major problems in the storyline. “Alt Nation” is a group of scenes repeated multiple times as they test out different lines of dialogue. “Taco Tones” is a group of music videos from the season that were performed during different episodes except for the one Beatnik-style song about the Bobbum Man. There’s even a gag reel that has a few good silly moments, but is mostly pretty standard.
Season three is the best season thus far and extremely entertaining. There are some great cameos from professional football players and celebrities. Seth Rogen stars as a director of pornographic films in the premiere episode, who is filming a porno in Andre’s house as a final prank because he had last year’s worst team and won the Sacko Trophy. And in the episode “Thanksgiving” Jeff Goldblum appears as Ruxin’s father while Sarah Silverman arrives as Andre’s sister for one of the more disturbingly funny episodes of the year. But ultimately the season is bookended by the two best episodes featuring Ruxin’s arrogance and Andre’s punishment in the first episode and the insane climax of the finale when the truth finally comes out. While you don’t have to be a fantasy-football fan to enjoy the show it does help. What you really need is a twisted sense of humor.