Friday, March 31, 2023

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A League of Their Own: Season 1 Episode 1 Recap

In a rousing opening scene Carson Shaw (Abbi Jacobson) is on a mad dash to catch the departing train. Union Station in Chicago is the destination. Carson sets off into the city, and immediately bumps into Greta Gill (D’Arcy Carden) and Jo De Luca (Melanie Field,) also outfitted in baseball gear. The trio heads to try outs together. 

Jo’s got that butch lesbian vibe, and the representation and diversity is supposed to be obvious in this modern spin on A League of Their Own. The creators made it clear that their intentions were not intended to be, well, subtle. Greta has the tall brash femme and bombshell personality down — reminiscent of Madonna’s character in the original movie.

Jo (Melanie Field,) Carson (Abbi Jacobson,) and Greta (D’Arcy Carden)

The moment the three of them step onto the ball field full of women warming up for try-outs feels just as iconic as it did in the movie. Cue the heart eyes from me. “I never knew this many girls played ball,” says Carson. “How could ya? There’s never been anything like this before,” replies Greta. I knew exactly what to expect in this scene and yet it’s still got me on the verge of teary eyes because women are just so amazing and I love them so much. Nothing spectacular here — it just doesn’t take much for a doe eyed response from me because WOMEN.

I’m sold on the nostalgia as the try-outs start and the women take the field. Bonus points for the vintage music soundtrack. True to the original here, the women are all badasses and need to be “taught how to be women.” Laugh out loud, am I right? 

Max (Chanté Adams) and her friend Clance (Ghemisola Ikumelo)

Clance Morgan (Ghemisola Ikumelo) and Max Chapman (Chanté Adams) show up and are met with admonition: “Look, we’re not gonna have colored girls playing with our girls. Go on home,” one of the coaches warns. Max isn’t going to walk without showing them her skills, and throws a pitch that makes all the other players turn their heads in awe. They get kicked off the field anyway.

Carson’s letter to her husband

Greta realizes Carson was writing a letter to her husband explaining that, “something is wrong with her.” She pushes the subject and Carson admits to leaving town after finding out her guy was coming home from the war. Yowza. I like where this is going.

Carson and Greta talk about Carson’s life she left behind

A drunk Greta and Carson write a letter to her husband to break the news that she ran away and doesn’t intend to come back. They pass it off to a hotel clerk who loudly exclaims, “Yep, definitely not interested in women at all.” I mean, its funny, but it’s obnoxiously purposeful because GAY is the theme of the series. 

The Jo, Greta, and Carson trio all make the cut and are on the same team: the Rockford Peaches. Again, the need to shove GAY down our throats comes in hot with Greta’s comment, “We’re all f*cking fruit!” We get it — this is the gay version of A League of Their Own. I have a feeling this is what it’s gonna be from here on out though. 

Maybelle and Jo

The roommate pair up of Maybelle Fox (Molly Ephraim) and Jo offers my favorite scenic bits of this entire episode. The comedy here strikes just right and the writers managed some nuance.

Greta testing the waters with Carson

More character backstories come out as episode one rolls on. Unfortunately nothing is too interesting until Greta flirts with Carson while all the ladies are out at a night club and the sexual tension between these two grows. 

Oops they’re kissing

Max, who wasn’t given a chance to play at tryouts, sneaks into the club to eye “the competition” and seethe. Greta eventually takes Carson into the back room and kisses her, and then Carson kisses back. “I thought so,” Greta claims before leaving the room. Max happens to be in this back room and sees the smooching and is noticed by Carson. And this is only episode one? Okay.

In a real b*tch move, Greta takes off with a dude leaving Carson confused. Max takes the opportunity to come out of the shadows. She plays it cool around Carson, who recognizes her and brings up her amazing throw. 

First game as Peaches locker room joy

We’re in the locker room as the Peaches celebrate their new team and then we cut to Max throwing a wicked fast ball in her usual practice spot; her face marked by an expression of determination. 

Max practicing her beloved sport

My takeaway: nothing happens in this episode that isn’t entirely predictable. And that’s boring. I’m really hoping the rest of the series has some more depth, complexity and unexpected elements. 

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