The League is nothing more than a thinly-veiled extended metaphor for the UN Security Council
Five parties, each with unique ambitions and agendas, hold a delicate balance of tension, warring, and cooperation. Sound familiar? Yes, we’re talking about the United Nations Security Council, the quintet of world powers who sit perennially on an important international decision-making body. Or are we? Maybe we’re talking about the group of rowdy idiots in FX’s The League. But what if they’re the same thing?
For too long have we sat idly by, watching Jeff and Jackie Schaffer’s brilliant, semi-improvised comedy without realizing the truth hidden in plain sight: these six seasons are an extended allegorical commentary on the most powerful intergovernmental organ of the United Nations tasked with maintaining peace and security throughout the planet. So is it any wonder that the Security Council, much like The League, features a bunch of clueless assholes who mostly do a whole lot of posturing over trivial matters while ignoring much more fundamental problems in their respective lives?
Okay, so maybe they’re not the exact same thing. After all, at least The League has managed to actually accomplish something tangible over the past few years, such as landing a Matt Forte cameo appearance or somehow managing to make Nick Kroll appear funny, which is a lot more than we can say for the actual, non-metaphorical body of international powers in charge of authorizing military and peacekeeping efforts throughout the world. However, in our never-ending quest to prove that our life exists among a multitude of intersections between geopolitics and lowbrow humor, let’s entertain the theory anyway.
Note: Much like Germany was left off the Security Council, probably because of major humanitarian offenses committed in the last century, Jenny will be left off the main five members of The League, probably because she’s not quite as blatantly ridiculous as the rest of the cast, and therefore less entertaining and more deserving of punishment.
Taco as the United States
This one seemed like a no-brainer. For one thing, Taco is arguably the most capitalistic character in television history, with the possible exception of 30 Rock’s Jack Donaghy. As sad as it is to say, America really is a place where someone could make a million dollars off of a business venture called the “Eskimo Brother Database.” Taco displays a distinct brand of idiocy that is probably a little more in line with how Americans are viewed by the rest of the world than we’d be comfortable admitting. Hell, I guess we might as well even point out that in a few years, the majority of Americans will be native Spanish speakers, so the whole “taco” thing works out quite nicely.
Pete as the United Kingdom
The first season of The League opens with Pete gloating about winning the most recent Fantasy Football championship, and it seems that throughout the rest of the show, he always has the attitude of the champion, even when he stops winning. Thus, it’s pretty easy to compare him with a country known worldwide for haughtiness and arrogance deriving from a global empire whose decline began more than 150 years ago. Outwardly civil but inwardly conniving, Pete is the embodiment of the British stereotype.
Andre as France
For starters, Andre is the butt of almost every joke in the show. I mean, really, a lot of jokes. So in that respect, he’s already fitting nicely into the French personality. Like most of France’s male population, Andre dresses like a Britney Spears’ back-up dancer circa 2007 and frequently engenders uneasy racial tension thanks to the dumb shit he says. Also like France, you’re never sure who Andre will get himself romantically entangled with, but it’s probably best not to question the legality at hand.
Kevin as Russia
No matter how hard they try, neither Russia nor Kevin ever get anything quite right, from setting a fantasy lineup to a shock therapy conversion to capitalism without letting all of your wealth get tied up in the hands of a relatively small number of oligarchs. Meanwhile, both Kevin and Putin serve contentious reigns of leadership over their respective organizations while maintaining grand illusions of power and distinction that are untethered to reality. Not to mention that the repeated trope of Kevin’s taboo interpersonal/sexual relationship with Pete is a subtle, but powerful critique of Russian homophobia.
Ruxin as China
Even though Ruxin’s character does seem to display a lot of hatred towards his fellow Jews, it’s pretty obvious that the image crafted by The League’s show runners is a dead-on personification of post-Cultural Revolution China. Like the People’s Republic, Ruxin is pretty blatantly only looking out for numero uno, he’s manipulative, and he often erupts in destructive bursts of emotion whenever he feels slighted. Ruxin’s good education and conspicuous display of wealth often serves to mask more fundamental problems brewing beneath the surface, and furthermore transnational criminal/pain in the ass Rafi is a clear reference to Triad, the inscrutable Chinese underground mob.