Signs fall is finally upon us: the return of the pumpkin spice latte, back-to-school shopping, and the premiere of “The League,” television’s funniest (and only) fantasy football-related comedy. The sitcom moves from FX to the brand-new FXX channel (check which channel number it is in your area at getfxx.com) with its fifth-season premiere on Wednesday, Sept. 4 at 10:30/9:30c.
Married couple Kevin and Jenny (Steve Rannazzisi and Katie Aselton), single guy Pete (Mark Duplass), despicable Ruxin (Nick Kroll), clueless Taco (Jon Lajoie), and scapegoat/punching bag Andre (Paul Scheer) once again compete for the Shiva, the coveted trophy awarded to the winner of their ultra-competitive, trash talk-filled fantasy football league.
Here’s what to expect in the new season:
1. More of the same. The network may be new, but the show certainly isn’t (and that’s a good thing). Much like its brother comedy, “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” “The League” draws its humor from people behaving in ridiculous, reprehensible ways. (Though “The League” gang seem to be fully functioning adults who don’t filter their darkest impulses, rather than completely socially incompetent morons.)
Star Mark Duplass told Rolling Stone that the characters will not mature in any way during Season 5. “The higher the season count, the more regression you have. It’s purely infantile behavior,” Duplass said. “All signs point towards all these characters in their ’50s still behaving this way. Some of them had kids, and that didn’t change them. Some got divorced, that didn’t change them. There’s something kind of fun about that.”
2. More cameos. The show has always featured appearances from actual NFL players, only now producers don’t have to beg to get them on the show. “It’s an amazing thing,” co-creator Jackie Schaffer told reporters at the Television Critics Association summer press tour. “The very first season, we had good relationships with a couple players and agents who were willing to take a chance on the show. … Now, they reach out to us and tell us that they’ve been watching the episodes and that they’re big fans.”
Who will turn up this year? “There’s a ton of really good [cameos],” Duplass promised in his Rolling Stone chat, but wouldn’t get into specifics. And football players aren’t the only famous folks popping up: Snoop Lion (nee Dogg) guest stars in the third episode and Adam Brody of “The O.C.” appears in the Season 5 premiere.
3. New characters. We’ve already met Ruxin’s dad (the impeccably cast Jeff Goldblum) and Andre’s sister (Sarah Silverman). Ruxin’s sister will be introduced soon, and since Season 5 opens with Andre and Trixie’s (Jayma Mays) “Top Gun”-themed Los Angeles wedding — the dress code is “upscale business casual Hollywood chic,” Trixie says in a promo — it’s only natural that we’ll meet Andre’s parents too, played by Glenne Headly (“ER”) and Griffin Dunne (“House of Lies”).
The wedding episodes will be “Game of Thrones”-esque, co-creator Jeff Schaffer teased reporters, but not in a bloody way. “No major characters will be killed at this wedding,” Scheer promised.
4. Returning favorites. The fourth episode of the new season was written by Jason Mantzoukas and Seth Rogen, whose recurring characters Rafi and Dirty Randy embark on a mission to penetrate the mainstream porn industry in Los Angeles after their friend is murdered.
5. A little heart. The league might be comprised of kinda-terrible people, but they’re not all bad. Duplass told Rolling Stone that Kevin and Jenny’s stable, relatable marriage wasn’t always in the grand plan. “The sweetness of Kevin and Jenny — we weren’t sure that was going to be a part of it,” he said. “We thought that was going to be much more of a contentious relationship, but they’re buffoons, and there’s a sweetness there.”
Season 5 of “The League” premieres Wednesday, Sept. 4 at 10:30/9:30c on FXX.