Jackie Marcus Schaffer and Jeff Schaffer
Talk about special teams! Literally hours after the birth of their daughter this summer, The League's creators and executive producers Jeff Schaffer and Jackie Marcus Schaffer began filming the cult-fave fantasy football comedy's fourth season (premiering Thursday at 10:30/9:30c on FX). "You had to see our doctor's face," laughs Marcus Schaffer of the delivery-room race to keep the shoot on schedule. "We were trying to explain to him that we had [all] of these professional football players lined up for the next day!" Now that the proud parents can relax a little, they're ready to talk about their other (and far raunchier) labor of love.
TV Guide Magazine: First off, congrats on the baby!
Jackie: Thank you!
TV Guide Magazine: This is shades of Jenny and Kevin and their expectant baby, right?
Jeff: There is so much that ended up in Jenny and Kevin's story...you see that in the season premiere with the draft.
TV Guide Magazine: Who have your recruited for this season?
Jackie: We just turned in our third episode and it has FX's beloved Timothy Olyphant as a guest star. He plays a white sushi chef. They [network execs] loved the episode so much.
TV Guide Magazine: Nice!
Jeff: Tim was awesome. Super, super funny. We're bringing in a man you may know as JB Smoove. He's coming in to tangle with our guys. He's in a wheelchair...he's crazy funny. About midway through the season, you'll see him.
Jackie: And you may have seen through his Twitter war with Nick Kroll, we have Ken Marino who is monstrously funny as their enemy from high school. And Ike Barinholtz will be back as Frank "The Body" Gibiatti. He's back a few times actually. And we are so excited, Julia Duffy from Newhart is coming on as Kevin and Taco's mom. It is awesome.
Jeff: She just can't love Taco enough. She has two sons and in her mind, one of them is very successful. And that is Taco. [Laughs] She's in town to help with Kevin's new baby, but she really does not care for Jenny at all. She doesn't think that highly of Kevin, either. She also has some very interesting vices...she fits totally in with our crew.
Jackie: Oh, and I forgot...you're going to meet Pete's grandfather, played by Robert Wagner.
TV Guide Magazine: Wow, how was that?
Jackie: We're shooting it next week, but he's really excited. Pete needs a cool grandfather and we are so thrilled to work with him. We're kind of obsessed with Robert Wagner.
TV Guide Magazine: This is a great lineup!
Jeff: And just last Monday, we shot with Kristin Cavallari.
TV Guide Magazine: Mrs. Jay Cutler?
Jeff: We have a fun episode with Kristin and the little Cutler baby...
Jackie: The Cutlet. He was too little so we had to cast the Cutlet with a more set-friendly baby. And of course, we have Jason Mantzoukas as Rafi. He just said to me on set the other day "I didn't think I was going to be in my underwear this often." So that's your sneak peek at Rafi for this season. [Laughs]
TV Guide Magazine: There needs to be a Rafi web series so we can see what he does in the off-season.
Jackie: I want to do a Rafi animated show! He should have the powers of animation so he can do everything he's not able to do in his mortal body.
Jeff: This season, you'll also see Rafi in some very odd situations. Like taking Ruxin's kid to swim class. Rafi and a pool full of four-year-olds. Enjoy that image.
Jackie: Let me tell you, if Rafi with the nanny from last season was your worst nightmare as a parent, Uncle Rafi is a whole new level.
TV Guide Magazine: Oh, by the way, we are loving that FX is selling Mr. McGibblets costumes and stuffed animals online.
Jackie: Isn't that great? We had our laywer — he's a close friend of Jeff's from college...
TV Guide Magazine: He's your Ruxin?
Jeff: [Laughs] Almost!
Jackie: He's a brilliant, brilliant, fancy lawyer. And we said that he had to put in our contract that we wouldn't do a Season 4 unless they sold a Mr. McGibblets costume. He was like 'you are not making me do that." Our lawyer was so embarrassed. By the way, it sold like hot cakes!
TV Guide Magazine: And what is new with the league, itself?
Jackie: A lot of people talk about the questionable morality of our characters...and as you know, last year, they went so far as to cheat during their draft, so the whole season was, to quote the guys, "suspect." And what is really great in the season premiere is you're going to learn what Kevin will have to do to uphold his Shiva championship.
Jeff: It's gonna come at a price. You know how with the replacement refs in the NFL, people have been saying there should be asterisks next to some of those games? Three months earlier, when we started shooting, we'd already been calling Kevin "Kevin McAsterisk" because they all think his championship should have a qualifier.
TV Guide Magazine: Were you able to take on that ref situation?
Jackie: We're able to potentially write it in and we're deciding whether to or not, because we're already dealing with a lot of the big issues already affecting the NFL. We're dealing with concussions, the Wonderlic Test, stadium naming rights...doping and drug testing. We have a lot of stuff for the guys to get into. [Laughs]
TV Guide Magazine: Do you have NFL stars asking to be on the show now?
Jackie: Oh yeah. I have to say, as football fans, the greatest thing that has happened to us is having people we scramble to draft for our own fantasy games plead with us or have their reps call us and email us saying 'I am a huge fan of the show, I want to be on The League.' We've got nine NFL players in the season premiere from this year's draft. Nine! We have RG3, Trent Richardson, DeSean Jackson, Matt Kalil, Ryan Kalil, Jason Whitten, Felix Jones...
Jeff: I am so glad we didn't do a show about fantasy badminton. [Laughs]
Jackie: And one thing you should know is that USA Today and the Washington Post got it wrong. They reported that we filmed all of these guys at the actual NFL draft, and we didn't. There's footage floating around online and they thought we shot it during the event in New York. We haven't told anybody this yet, but we didn't shoot it there. We recreated it with the first-round picks [in L.A.]. You can correct the Washington Post and USA Today. [Laughs]
Jeff: The NFL got wind of it and were like 'how did they get in?!'
TV Guide Magazine: I ran into Nick Kroll this summer at a Fox/FX party and he said that the guys do "terrible, terrible things" to one another.
Jackie: We always say that Ruxin is the most unlikable person on TV and we wouldn't have it any other way.
TV Guide Magazine: Which probably makes either Andre or Rafi is probably the most perverse.
Jeff: You know, Rafi actually says some things this year that even we're ashamed of. [Laughs]
And we wouldn't have that any other way. Are you excited for the return of The League?