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Long-running sitcoms can be hard to judge accurately. On one hand, any show that can survive six or seven seasons is worthy of some sort of praise for doing so. Most shows, especially sitcoms, tend to fizzle out after just three or four years unless they manage to capture a vast audience. On the other, most shows (again, especially sitcoms) tend to enter their decline after 4 or 5 seasons.

“The League”, now entering its seventh and final season, has certainly shown its age at times over the past season or two. However, with any aging show given the chance to end things on its own terms, there is the hope that the creative team behind it will rally around the show’s impending exit, leading to a sudden resurgence in quality. The recently ended Parks and Recreation, for example, made up for dull points in its last few seasons by delivering a creative, powerful final installment. This begs the question of whether the talented folks behind “The League” will be able to do the same.

For its seventh season, the show begins by switching things up a bit: rather than opening with the league’s fantasy draft, they open with the actual NFL Draft (which occurred this year in their hometown of Chicago) as the center of the story. Jenny wins a trip to the draft to announce Chicago’s pick, while the league determines how to go about hazing Taco for winning the Sacko/Ruxin.

The good

As mentioned earlier, long running shows can often drop in quality. For sitcoms this usually means weak and/or recycled jokes. Last season was rather hit or miss for The League, but at least through one episode the jokes seem to be working.

Taco as the Sacko was a brilliant move for the show, as it creates a unique problem for the gang: how do you humiliate and punish someone who has no shame and kind of likes being punished? Taco’s backwards ways lead him to eagerly attempt to humiliate himself in anticipation, and the others bristle at the realization that this whole Sacko punishment thing really means nothing to Taco.

Of course, this ultimately leads to the return of Mr. McGibblets, Taco’s oversized costume of a popular in-universe kids’ toy. It was a welcomed callback from a show that struggled last season at times to make callbacks seem organic rather than forced.

And let’s not forget the new plot point of Andre becoming an item with Pete’s generally-awful ex-wife Meegan. That promises to be entertaining.

The bad

I didn’t quite gather why Kevin (and the rest of the guys) felt that Jenny owed it to Kevin to give him the whole “announce a draft pick” experience. She won it, and wanted to do it, so why expect her to give it up?

Similarly, the guys seem satisfied with the end result of Taco and Jenny skirmishing on stage and we close on that, even though it resolves neither issue at hand.

The otherwise notable

Marshawn Lynch appears briefly in a scene mocking the Seahawks’ decision to pass on the final play of last season’s Super Bowl rather than to just run it in, a decision which quite literally cost them the game. I wonder how pleased his coach and teammates were to see that…

Conclusion

Overall this felt like an average episode of The League, which is really what was needed after last season’s premiere attempted to take on a bit too much. Here’s to hoping the season goes well and leaves us with fond memories of the show once it’s gone.

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