I watched the whole time playera new Paramount Plus show about competition League of LegendsI always had the feeling that something was wrong.
player is a mockumentary about Fugitive Gaming, a fictional team that is a member of the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS), the North American wing of the pros League of Legends Sports. Much of the show revolves around the relationship between Creamcheese (Misha Brooks), a brazen veteran who has been a star of the team since its inception, and Organizm (Da’Jour Jones), an inscrutable rookie who promises to become one of the greatest players of all time. (American vandal Creators Tony Yacenda and Dan Perrault are the brains behind it player.)
You may have seen many sports stories that explore this type of dynamic, and player faithfully meets many of the marks you might expect. I’ve been following the LCS for years and was thrilled to see a sports show in an esports setting. But the show has a few issues that make it hard to tell who it was made for, and the fictional events can feel less exciting than what’s already happening in the league.
player He uses a lot of crass humor, and I wish he hadn’t. Creamcheese often makes rude or insensitive jokes with a mischievous grin on their face, but they’re usually shallow. There is a longer part about a player peeing in bottles so he can play more League of Legends. I understand the show’s focus on socially awkward people, but the youthful humor seems antiquated in a show that also celebrates what’s really cool about sports. In contrast, a lot of the dramatic moments end up, especially later on – I’ve moved to Creamcheese during some tough times – and I wish the writers had leaned more towards that angle.
While Fugitive Gaming is a fictional team, they compete in a world that shares many of the hallmarks of the real LCS – and that has never stopped feeling odd to me. Actual LCS castors (basically sports announcers, but for esports) name games on the show and are interviewed for the “documentary” on Fugitive Gaming. Long time League of Legends Fans will recognize cameos from Scarra, LilyPichu, and a few other well-known figures in the broader LCS community, all pretending that Fugitive actually exists.
The weirdest thing was watching Fugitive compete against real LCS teams with made-up players. Without the real rosters, each with their own story and storylines not dissimilar to what Fugitive is going through on the show, most games just didn’t have the stakes I feel watching even the worst LCS teams play against each other.
I also think the show could have used a different format than a mockumentary. It is currently not difficult to find documentary shows by LCS teams on YouTube. Some of these shows are released weekly, meaning they offer an in-depth (albeit biased) look at a team’s triumphs and struggles in a way that feels more immediate than player written drama.
Frankly, the events in player Don’t get close to some of the really wild stuff that’s already happened in the LCS this year. At the most recent international tournament at mid-year, Europe’s representative enjoyed a stunning winning streak but lost in the semi-finals. In the US, one of the most respected LCS teams, TSM, has just announced the results of an investigation into its founder, owner and CEO. And because many LCS players, personalities, and fans are Extremely Online, drama can quickly take on a life of its own in the form of memes, discussion videos, and huge Reddit threads.
Nonetheless, I found myself enjoying it player in the end, and I became invested in the fate of Fugitive. Despite my criticism of the attempt to plunge the team into the real world, much of the show still felt lifelike. I particularly enjoyed the depiction of a larger-than-life streamer character, which was essentially an annoying clickbait YouTube thumbnail brought to life.
If you are interested in learning more about esports, player is a decent way to get a feel for it League of Legends community. But in its attempt to skewer the scene with uncomfortable humor, it becomes an uncomfortable hybrid itself, one that neither engages fully in drama nor in jokes.
player debuts today, June 16, on Paramount Plus. The first three episodes will be available at launch, and future episodes will premiere weekly. The season has 10 episodes.