Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Case Study No. 1401: Dirty Randy

The League 5x04 Promo 'Rafi and Dirty Randy' (HD)
The League 5x04 Promo 'Rafi and Dirty Randy' (HD). On the next episode of The League, When their friend is murdered, Rafi and Dirty Randy (Seth Rogen) head to L.A. to avenge his death and break into the mainstream porn business.

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The League 5×04 Promo/Preview -- Season 5 Episode 4 (HD)
The League S05E04 Promo/Preview -- Season 5 Episode 4 (HD)
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The League
"Rafi And Dirty Randy"
Season 5, Episode 4

Well, after all of that talk about how recently The League seems to be going in circles and repeating the same patterns, tonight's episode sure did shut me the hell up. What was even happening? What a strange half-hour of television, even for The League. Or, actually, it was especially strange because it was The League. There wasn't any talk of fantasy football (the very activity this show is built around), almost all of the main cast were missing (they seem to be dropping like flies; Ruxin is still away from last week and the other three only show up for a minute or two at the very beginning), and the entire episode is a weird mix of murder and porn and drugs with an ending slightly reminiscent of Spring Breakers. That said, I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of it.

"Rafi And Dirty Randy," written by Jason Mantzoukas and Seth Rogen and focused on their respective, titular characters, didn't feel like an episode that fits within the world of The League - even though we've already established how fucked up that world is. Of course I expected things to get a little weird in an episode about Rafi and Randy but I was not prepared for a cold open that featured Jorma Taccone getting shot in the head. (The immediate cut to the catchy theme just made it that much more, though.) Upon hearing the news of his friend's death, Rafi meets up with Randy in the library where they plan a little "vigilante justice" (within earshot of all the library's employees and patrons). Randy quits the job that he was actually fired from four months ago and the two guys head out on a road trip - in a car they stole from Kevin.

What follows is a montage of pure beauty as the two friends drive to Los Angeles. An indie flick soundtrack plays as they blow lines (but then fall asleep) and discuss their plans while laying on the hood of the car (but the car is still moving) and comment on the beauty of the world (and how dead animals turn Randy on). It's one of the funniest sequences The League has done in recent history and though I've never seen The Guilt Trip, I can only hope there was a little mocking of that road trip movie included here.

When they do arrive in Los Angeles - after they've stopped to jerk off at the Grand Canyon, of course - the episode just keeps testing the limits of ridiculousness. Rafi blows up Kevin's car. Will Sasso shows up to accidentally hail Hitler. David Krumholtz and Andy Daly (as Joel and Ethan Cocque) shoot porn in the unclean room where Spazz died. A little-person porn star pretends to be an 11-year-old and pole dances in front of her "peers" at a birthday party. Randy shoots Kevin Nealon.

Nothing makes any sense, really, but that is what's so great about these characters. You just sort of accept whatever dumb, shitty thing they do. Everything Rafi says and does is screwed up but Rafi believes that it's actually normal. He's so sure that getting revenge on Spazz's murderer is the only course of action that you just go along for the ride. I've never been a huge Rafi fan but I get it - and Mantzoukas' delivery is especially on point throughout this episode. His "OF COURSE" response to setting a cat on fire is so matter-of-fact and hilarious.

"Rafi And Dirty Randy" is full of manic pacing. It's an episode devoid of focus and encouraged by short attention spans - even the two characters get stuck in overlapping rapid-fire side conversations that occur in the middle of scenes, distracting both them (and the viewer) from what is happening. There's also such incredible escalation happening throughout that it only seems natural when it fast-forwards a year to Rafi and Randy working in porn and shooting guns in the air. There are shades of Rogen all over the script and I really do hope he and Mantzoukas collaborate more often because it's the hardest I've laughed during this show in a while. It's very alienating and incredibly weird - I can definitely understand why fans might dislike it - but I think it's also clever. It's an atypical episode of The League as a whole but everything that happens feels very typical in this strange little world.



In Praise of "The League's' "Rafi and Dirty Randy," the Year's Funniest Sitcom Episode
by Stephen Silver on October 7, 2013 at 9:55 am

The best sitcom episode of 2013 didn't air on NBC, CBS, Fox, or HBO, left out most of its series' regular cast, and departed radically from both the tone and subject matter of its series.

I'm speaking of "Rafi and Dirty Randy," an episode of FXX's The League that debuted two weeks ago, a 23-minute short film of depraved brilliance. Built around the character of Rafi (Jason Mantzoukas) and his librarian/pornographer pal Dirty Randy (guest star Seth Rogen)- and written by the two actors- the episode is an anarchic, 10-jokes-per-second rampage across America, resembling the trailer for a "Hangover" sequel that's both funnier and more audacious than any of the actual films:

The plot begins with the two characters hearing about the murder of an associate of theirs, and striking out to Los Angeles in a stolen car in quest for revenge against the porn kingpin (Kevin Nealon!) responsible. We're also introduced to very unnatural uses of baby pacifiers, car mirrors and grand canyon, as well as "the Cock Brothers, Joel and Ethan Cock," a gag that's hilarious on about three different levels. That's only scratching the surface- and the episode even concludes with a shocking death.

"Rafi and Dirty Randy" not only leaves out the show's regular cast nearly entirely, but also abandons its usual tone, working in such themes as arson, porn industry turf wars and multiple murders. But don't think "Rafi and Dirty Randy" is a breach from The League's continuity- the adventures of Kevin, Ruxin and the gang back in Chicago are repeatedly referenced, both in this episode and the following week's, which is set concurrently.

One of the best parts is the participation of Rogen, a decent-sized movie star who's shown that he's not above slumming as a sitcom guest star- he also appeared in probably the only memorable episode of the first season of The Mindy Project. It's certainly the funniest project Rogen has been involved with, probably since "Superbad," and I would absolutely watch a "Rafi and Dirty Randy" movie. However, it would probably need to be rated NC-17.

So please, I implore you, check out the episode. It's the hardest I've ever laughed at a League episode that didn't involve Mr. McGibblets:



Dirty Randy is played by Seth Rogen. He is Rafi's friend, who works as a librarian and a pornographer.

The reason he works at the library is for the infrastructure and says "it's a place where you can find desperate people and you can pay them in drugs and alcohol to work as part of the porn production team."

Before he was a porn director, he was homeless, kicked out of the military, crack dealer, and porn location scout. He met Rafi in an asylum, an experience he describes as "very romantic". He believes that puns "are as vital to the porn business as they are to the pet shop and children's barbershop industries."

He directed such movies as the controversial "Shitler's List" (the controversy was that it was shot in black and white), "Toe-Bangers 3" (The SEAL Team-Six member who shot Bin Laden found a copy of it in the compound, but the Government will not release the footage), "Dr. Andre Nodick," and "12.12.12: The Mayan Cockandlips" (filmed in the loft Deion Sanders bought from Andre).

In Season 5, he is also a member of Rafi's "Domination League." He threatens Ruxin with a trident made out of dildos.

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