Foraging for fantasy football fanatics

This is what foragers do--collect wood sorrel and other edibles on the side of the highway, right?
This is what foragers do–collect wood sorrel and other edibles on the side of the highway, right?

I had to hear a lot about fantasy football in the newsroom where I worked for the last eight months, but I didn’t take the time to understand what it was all about until foraging figured into it. Go figure.

Explains Wikipedia: “Fantasy football is an interactive competition in which people manage professional football players versus one another as general managers of a pseudo-football team.” Hence my lack of interest. That was until a friend with a mutual interest in both miner’s lettuce and snowboarding turned me onto the FX show The League—specifically the 2011 Yobogoya episode (Season 3, Episode 6).

The League is a remarkably foul-mouthed sitcom that follows a group of friends in a fantasy football league. From whence the writers pulled out a foraging subplot is beyond me, but they at least picked some appropriate plant names to drop.

The forager is Andre, the awkward plastic surgeon with the gap tooth who the friends constantly make fun of. The episode opens with Kevin and Taco having a “brother’s lunch” that Andre interrupts, carrying his own “lunch” of greens and what look like Amanita buttons in a plastic container.

Poor, misunderstood Andre the forager.
Poor, misunderstood Andre the forager

“Oh, this is something I made from something I found,” he tells them knowingly. “I’m an urban forager. It’s no big deal. Actually it’s a huge deal. Urban foraging is the new way to eat. The best, most adventurous local eating can be found by just putting on your wellies and going foraging,” he tells Taco before gleefully jumping into the office building’s landscaping to gather “mustard greens.” He also sees a “mushroom cap” that turns out to be a condom.

Later, while stopped at a traffic cop with friend Pete, Andre goes apeshit over “a field of dandelion greens” and jumps out of the car to forage them, holding up traffic.

“I have to wait now because my moron friend is getting dandelion greens,” Pete tells the cop after he finally blows the whistle to go.

In another scene, Andre is foraging on the side of the highway on his cell phone. “Hey Kevin, this is Andre, just calling to make sure that you’ll be at my foraging dinner this Saturday. Everyone’s coming,” he effuses, twirling his digging stick, clad in ridiculous shorts and hat, before pouncing on some “wood sorrel” that clearly is not wood sorrel. Even an exuberant highway-side urban forager like Andre can’t help but shed a tear, however, when a passing car tosses garbage at him and calls him a freak.

Foraging porn as depicted on 'The League'--genius!
Foraging porn as depicted on The League.

Fast forward to the foraging dinner, where Andre serves up unwashed “wild turnips” (huh?) and “hen of the woods mushrooms” (clearly not) foraged from under the L train.

The best part comes after dinner, however, when Taco, while trying to set his lineup on Andre’s computer, accidentally calls up the website, “Forag-acation” (which he mispronounces “Forage Action”), a foraging porn site of which Andre is apparently a member. “Best organic porn since 2001,” it reads.

All I can say is this: please world, give us more foraging humor, because I’m rolling on the ground over here. It’s funny, though, at least one person (and probably more) was up in arms at the portrayal. Wrote commenter My Stady in response to a review of the episode:

These are clearly not 'hen of the woods' mushrooms, though it was a good wild edible to namedrop.
These are clearly not ‘hen of the woods’ mushrooms, though it was a good choice of wild edibles to namedrop.

“The League made it disgusting and added the ‘urban’ prefix. You don’t forage in the places Andre was going. You go to a healthy forest/park area. … He didn’t even prepare his food correctly. It looked like he plucked it out and just threw it in a bowl. You’re supposed to prepare the meal like anything else. They’re just ingredients. And there are ways to tell if it’s healthy or not. Properly foraged food is outrageously delicious [emphasis hers]. Andre’s food looked gross. Andre sucks at everything. …”

To that, commenter Leonard Lunatic replied: “First, he did mention washing it before eating it, and second, you took this shit way too seriously. Go forage for a sense of humor.”

And MyStady, not to be left without the last word, said this: “Nope, he said the food didn’t have to be washed at some point.”

Ha ha OMG this is getting as good as the show itself. Here guys, let me clear that up for you: Early in the show, when Andre jumps back in Pete’s car with a fistful of dandies, he tells Pete, “you have to clean them of course.” Later, at the dinner, when everyone reacts with revulsion at the whole, dirty turnips on their plates, Andre contradicts himself and protests, “It doesn’t need to be washed.” Also, “urban foraging” has been part of the foraging vernacular for a while.

So there you have it. We watched the show on Netflix but you probably don’t have to watch it now that I told you everything that happens already.


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