Best Eps: The League – “The Kluneberg”

In this feature I take a look at one episode that marks a high point in a television series. It’s not necessarily the absolute best a series has to offer (that’s always debatable), but it’s an episode that remains lodged in memory long after I first watched it.

An improvised comedy about a fantasy football league might not sound too enticing on paper, but the first couple seasons of The League are very entertaining. And when used sparingly, Rafi (Jason Mantzoukas) is absurdly hilarious and the show’s funniest character. Combine a coked up Rafi with Andre’s terrible taste in overpriced art and you have a recipe for disaster in “The Kluneberg.”

Rafi is convinced he’s best friends with the guys of the league, despite the fact he is clearly despised by them. The guys think the best way to get rid of Rafi is to break up the league itself by way of a fake fight between Pete and Andre. The fake fight turns too real for Andre (and Rafi tries to turn the fight more real by tossing a butter knife into the mix), and the only way for Pete to bring Andre back into the fold is by saying he loves Andre’s shitty Kluneberg painting. It’s always fun to see a delusional Andre think he’s bonding with one of his buddies.

“The Kluneberg” features surprising character moments that are as funny as they are unexpected. Ruxin reveals he’s not allowed to defecate at home due to strict house rules. Andre pushes his homemade hummus on his guests during an intervention and almost gets into another fight because of it. Jenny is unable to seduce sex addict Russell, who would rather fantasize about artichoke alien breasts. Andre struggles to blow out a candle while attempting to appear sinister. Well, that last one isn’t unexpected given Andre’s innumerable failures.

But this episode is all about the twist ending with all storylines converging in an unholy union. Drunk Rafi scratch and sniffs coke off of Taco’s toilet seat (yeah), which leads to him destroying the $25,000 Kluneberg in an excitable rage. The guys follow Rafi downstairs only to find Russell the sex addict’s car shaking. Thinking his wife is getting serviced by Russell, Kevin throws open the door, and the guys are witness to Rafi getting rammed from behind by the sex addict. It’s not a pleasant sight for the guys, but it’s funny as hell for the viewer. Rafi isn’t lying when he says, “Some things you can’t unsee, bro.”

Other Best Eps candidates: “Ghost Monkey,” “Kegel the Elf,” “Thanksgiving”

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