The glorious day we have all been anxiously awaiting has finally come. Rafi and Dirty Randy made their triumphant return to “The League” last night. When we last saw Rafi and Dirty Randy, it was during season five, and Rafi was heading to Los Angeles to avenge the death of his best friend, Spazz. All hell breaks loose in Los Angeles and Randy ends up shooting Rafi, presumably killing him in the process. That particular episode was a flash-forward one year into the future though, so Rafi continued to appear in the rest of that season. But now, we have caught up to the present day, and the episode begins with Randy killing Rafi. It then flashes back 11 years into the past, where we meet a clean-shaved Rafael walking along the streets of Chicago with a wife and two kids. Simultaneously, Dirty Randy, known as Randall back then, has just completed construction on a 125-story building in Chicago and is celebrating atop the building with his partner. Randall pops a bottle of champagne, which hits his partner in the face and knocks him off the building and down 125 stories. He lands on top of Rafael’s family, squashing and killing them.
This event sets up the rest of the episode, which can best be described as one bizarre origin story. But instead of finding out how Bruce Wayne became Batman, we find out how Rafael, loving father and husband, and Clean Randall, a germaphobe and successful building contractor, became Rafi, #buttstuff, and Dirty Randy, pornographic filmmaker. This was an atypical episode of “The League,” in that there was only one storyline. The rest of the show’s characters don’t even appear until a short dream sequence at the end. Therefore, rather than breaking down the various storylines, I’m simply going to discuss the episode as a whole.
Just as I start complaining about “The League” becoming predictable and following a formula, they throw everything we know about the show out the window and create an episode that doesn’t feature a single one of our main cast members or any fantasy football. (Since the show did the same thing last season though, does that mean they are still really following a formula? Is time flat? Is Tupac really dead? My heads hurts.) As far as I can remember, this is only the second time the show has done something like this, the first time being the aforementioned trip Rafi takes to Los Angeles. Did it work? Sort of. Was it weird? Definitely. The episode definitely had some hilarious moments, though I actually thought the supporting cast provided more laughs than Rafi and Randy did. This was probably because those characters were being hamstrung by the need to transition from normal guys to deranged psychopaths. The writers really tried to hammer home this transformation, and what we missed out on was the manic, fast-paced, deranged antics that we have come to expect from Rafi and Dirty Randy. Outside of a few funny Randy/Rafi scenes, the stars of the episode for me were Nurse Pam (played by June Diane Raphael), Orderly Spazzanelli (played by Jorma Taccone, and since I have no idea how to actually spell the character’s name, I’m just going to start calling him Spazz now, even though he hasn’t transformed yet), and the other patients of the Cook County Psychiatric Institute, specifically Neil and William.
Why are our characters in the Cook County Psychiatric Institute? Well, after the death of Rafi’s family, he went crazy and vowed to find and kill the man who pushed the other man off the building. Randy, on the other hand, has apparently tried to kill himself 75 times for unknown reasons (probably from killing his partner) though we later find out Randy checked himself into the hospital voluntarily. The first half of the episode is spent getting to know the other inmates and characters. We learn that Nurse Pam has a penchant for giving out electroshock therapies, and Rafael and Randall quickly learn that they enjoy these therapies. In fact, it is the shock therapies that kill their former selves, leading them to become Rafi and Dirty Randy.
The second half of the episode was when things got good. It begins when Greg, Rafi’s imaginary black friend, points out that Spazz is always going up to the attic. The group follows him up there and they discover a treasure trove of goods that Spazz has been collecting over the years. They discover a rope ladder, a grappling hook, an electric handsaw, and a video camera. Rafi also finds his signature coat and gold chain. We then watch a montage of the gang stealing orderly shirts from the laundry room, dressing up Joel as a woman, and greasing one of the nurses with cash. The assumption is that the group is planning an elaborate escape. All they need is the code to the front door. While reviewing blueprints on the toilet with the other patients seated around like it’s goddamn story time, Spazz overhears their conversation and says he wants in (not realizing they are planning an escape). He gladly gives over the door code, which Greg claims he remembers. The stage is set.
In what must be the most bizarre escape plan ever (especially since they had a man on the inside, Spazz, who didn’t realize he was part of an escape plan) the gang waits for Pam to take a cigarette break, and then they give Joel a bunch of pills that make his mouth foam. Spazz comes out to investigate, allowing Randy and Rafi to get behind the desk and plug in their video camera. What appears onscreen is a raunchy porno starring Spazz and a female who is supposed to play the part of Nurse Pam. (I think dressing up Joel in drag meant he was supposed to play this part, but it was definitely a woman in the video.) The stuff found in the attic was actually used for the porno, not the escape. The reaction from the crowd (the other patients) is overwhelmingly positive (they start violently masturbating) so Rafi and Randy decide they should make porn for a living. When a patient compliments Spazz on his role, he responds, “Call me Spazz.” And just like that, Rafi, Dirty Randy, and Spazz are born.
The ensuing escape attempt is spoiled when Rafi realizes that Greg isn’t real, and he never actually remembered the door code. Everyone is captured, and Nurse Pam informs them that they have exceeded the state limit for electroshock therapy and, therefore, they have been scheduled for lobotomies the next morning as punishment. Randy informs the group that he is there voluntarily and asks to check himself out of the facility to avoid the lobotomy. He also informs Rafi that he was the one who pushed the guy off the building, killing his entire family. Rafi is devastated, though he says he just wants to be best friends with Randy forever. The next morning, as Nurse Pam is mid-lobotomy, Randy jumps a motorcycle onto the second floor balcony of the facility to rescue Rafi. It appears as if Nurse Pam was able to do a little work, though, as Rafi has forgotten his family. The two jump off the building and the story flashes back to the present day.
Rafi is being resuscitated by Rebecca Ruxin, Ruxin’s sister (played by the adorable Lizzy Caplan) and the two are married the next day (the rest of the cast attends the wedding). We quickly learn this is a dream, and Rafi is really being resuscitated by Randy’s mouth-to-mouth, or as Rafi later calls it, true love’s kiss. The episode closes with Rafi pulling one of his famous pocket hot dogs out of nowhere. The ending was a bit bizarre and felt out of place after a strong second half of the episode. It also confirmed that the writers refuse to change. Of course Rafi wasn’t going to die. The only real change we’ve ever seen was the death of Ted at the beginning of the season, and we barely knew Ted even existed for six seasons.
Presumably, everything will go back to normal next week. We will return to our fantasy football-playing friends in Chicago, and Rafi will be integrated back into the show now that he is alive and well. Regardless, this episode provided a breath of fresh air for a show that, in its sixth season, has become a bit formulaic. I’d love to see the writers take more risks like this (it probably didn’t hurt that Seth Rogan helped write this episode). Why not do a flashback episode to when the gang was all in high school, or do another episode where the entire group leaves Chicago like they have done with Vegas and California? How about an episode flashing back to when the fantasy football league was actually formed? These sorts of episodes, when done right, mix things up and keep it interesting for the viewer. They are also an opportunity to provide backstory and depth to characters who have become a bit one-dimensional. It is clear that the characters aren’t going to change at this point (I’m still hoping they add someone new at least) so why not put them in some different settings?
Best One-Liners Of The Episode
• “So I called the suicide hotline, ‘cause I thought they might give me advice.” / “No, they just talk you out of it.” / “They just tried to talk me out of it, which I thought was rude.” / “Yeah, it was very rude.” – Rafael and Randall discussing committing suicide
• “Gentlemen, my name is Neil M. and this is my associate Mr. Joel Cock; welcome to the Cook County Psychiatric Institute, originally founded in 1812 for murderers, homosexuals, and people who didn’t know how to sail.” – Neil M.
• “What is the introductory APR? What poetry has been written to me by the coupon writers at Macy’s department store?” – Neil complaining that the psychiatric institute blacks out his mail
• “You can have sex with my magazine, just please tell me if they published my letter to the editor.” – Neil to Spazz, who has cut a dick-sized whole into a magazine about cats
• “I remain as perfectly sane as I was last week. For those of you don’t know my story, in the past, I received a message from the future, saying that I would wind up in an insane asylum. I wait patiently for my future self to arrive so I may secure his release. I faked my insanity by stealing neighborhood pets, stuffing them inside each other, and mailing them to professors.” – Neil in group therapy when asked how insane he is feeling this week
• “I’m Greg. I’m a black guy who has great ideas and I want to be part of the gang.” – Greg, Rafi’s imaginary friend
• “I’ve really started something here, I can’t come back from.” / “Oh yeah, we are finishing this.” / “We should lock eyes.” / “Try to look a little dead, though.” – Rafi and Randy after pretending to masturbate and then realizing they need to finish
• “I’ve done an anal lobotomy.” / “Okay, I’m listening.” – Rafi as the nurse lists types of lobotomies she can give
• “Hey Brian, take a hike, you dumb dildo.” – Rafi telling Kevin to get off the podium and let Dirty Randy be his best man
Power Rankings (Previous Week In Parentheses)
Given that none of the characters in the league appeared in this week’s episode, the power rankings remain unchanged. I am still predicting a Pete top, Kevin bottom finish to the season. (Shout-out to user chrisbru for pointing this out last week.)
1. (1) Pete
2. (2) Taco
3. (3) Andre
4. (4) Jenny
5. (5) Ruxin
6. (6) Kevin
Prediction to win the Shiva: Pete
Prediction to win the Sacko: Kevin.