Getting over myself: watching The League.
At first, it was an idea for a movie script back in the day when I naively wrote movie scripts. I got my friend Nick on board and suddenly realized it was more a TV show idea. A few months later, we’d put together something that while unpolished, was a funny and what we seemed to think was an original take on life in a fantasy football league in a “Kinko’s” office. I showed the script to my friend Katie who, at the time, had just started work as a writer’s assistant on Stephen Colbert’s new Daily Show spinoff and she showed it to Aaron, one of the Comedy Central’s development kids. Well he invited us out of for drinks.
Fast forward 6 months, the script and treatment had been to and passed on by several networks. Aaron was no longer answering my e-mails. I was still proudly telling anyone who would listen that I had a William Morris agent. Nevermind that that agent, Dan, looked fresh out of high school and I was learning more about the daily grind of being Dan’s assistant than I about the status of my script.
A couple of years later, when I heard that Mark Duplass and Paul Scheer were starring in a fantasy football show for FX, I was unplusssed. First I hated that they got a cast I liked. I had been rooting for Mark since my film festival days and Paul since Bobby Dukes. I also wasn’t naive enough to think that some FX exec had got a hold of my script and changed some names. Every joke you could make about fantasy sports was made by Bill Simmons about 5 years previous and a fantasy show was only a matter of time. It was really because The League became a validation for my own work. I had had a good idea and it made me think that if only was less than the nobody that I was, maybe I could have had something.
Of course the frustration of this experience led me to a better path and I wrote and directed two web series, created this blogcast, and have started filming two different features but it didn’t mean I could bear to watch The League.
I tried. Nick had given it his glorious upped thumb and I had started to watch the pilot on Hulu back when it first came out and never got to the first commercial break. The Duplass character was so close to our own and it only reminded me that I wasn’t getting older and ‘my chance” was somewhere, back there, half a decade ago and never coming back.
When it came on Netflix, I put it in the queue, thinking someday I would just get over myself. People I worked with or performed with mentioned episodes to me and would say things like, “You’ve never seen The League? You’d love it.”
So it went. Maybe it was the afterglow of drafting 3 fantasy teams or the excitement in leading up to the first weekend of the season. But finally I watched the pilot. And it was good.
Yes the beginning was a little too familiar and sure their league has like 6 guys and I’m sure my version was funnier, but it was good. It was cast well (that I knew), the tone was a good mix or comedy and social desperation, and yes Adrian Peterson at one point had smooth chestnut skin and hamstrings that could pull a truck. So I’m going to be the bigger man. I’ll watch it. If only as an act of getting over an opportunity that wasn’t really there to begin with and finishing the ones I’ve made myself.