If you’re a fan of an “anything you can do” approach to the gender war, then you’re in luck — the female protagonist of ABC’s new father-daughter baseball comedy Back in the Game (which premiered Wednesday at 8:30/7:30c) shouts “Yes, I can!” in response to all of the challenges her sexist surroundings hurl her way. But was the show a grand slam or a strike-out for you?
A brief recap: After a messy divorce, Terry (Maggie Lawson, Psych) is forced to take her son, Danny (Griffin Gluck, Private Practice), and move back in with her beer-guzzling, racoon-feeding, ex-athlete father, “The Cannon” (James Caan, Las Vegas).
Terry was a star softball player in college, and her father’s obsession with the game ruined her childhood. So when Danny expresses an interest in America’s pastime, his mom is concerned; she doesn’t want stolen bases to turn into a stolen childhood for him, too. After Danny flubs his try-outs and doesn’t make the team, however, Terry realizes how badly he wants to play. So she and boozy Brit Lulu (Lenora Crichlow, Being Human) convince misogynist coach Dick (Ben Koldyke, Work It) — via a baseball to the face — to let her coach a B-team.
Thus begins the Bad New Bears portion of our program. Terry and her father bond over coaching this island of misfit boys, allowing Danny and Lulu’s effete son Michael (J.J. Totah, Jessie) to play ball.
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Although Lawson is charmingly wry, Caan reliably gruff and Crichlow amusingly bawdy, Game‘s outdated humor earns it more errors than hits. Michael’s Gaga-loving persona is presented as something worthy of mockery and derision; Terry warns the boys that people are going to call them “weird, and creepy, and foreign, and ga– feminine” — but it’s the show itself that is cruelest to its misfits, telling them that being different is tantamount to being wrong.
The episode’s funniest joke is an extended riff on how long it takes Dick to… recover between at-bats; we hope that, like him, a bit of time is all that’s needed for this show hit one into the bleachers.
But enough about what we thought: What was your take on Back in the Game? Grade the episode via the poll below, then hit the comments to back up your choice!Follow @mishasolomontv