Thursday, March 30, 2023

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A League of Their Own: Season 1 Episode 2 Recap

Refresh yourself on the previous episode here, if need be. If you’re already warmed up and ready to run the field then batter up! Let’s swing into episode two. 

Max advocates for herself in an attempt to join the men’s team

Max Chapman can’t stop daydreaming about baseball. Rightfully so — the woman has an incredible arm. She’s stuck watching mediocre men play and she’s going to do something about that. Ms. Assertive approaches the men’s coach after watching practice and tells him like it is: he needs her on the team. It sounds like if she gets a job at the factory who sponsors the team, she might have a spot. 

The “you want us to play in f’ing skirts” look

If you saw the original movie, you know that the All American Girls Professional Baseball League was required to play in skirts. Being an actual adult human female doesn’t cut it enough to be “ladylike,” so here ya have it — freaking skirts. None of the women on the Peaches are impressed. Their grievances are interrupted by the arrival of their new coach, famed baseball player Dove Porter (Nick Offerman.)

The two finger salute 😉

The women of the Peaches are fighting for spots on the starting line up. Lupe Garcia (Roberta Colindrez) is pitching so impressively that Dove asserts he’s going to teach her his famous pitch. Upon hearing she will have to take an oath of secrecy, Lupe holds up her hand. Do I like the nod to lesbianism suggested by her two finger salute? Yes, yes I do. 

Attempting to get a job at the factory doesn’t go as smoothly as hoped for Max, because we can’t anticipate this series not to dig into racism as a dominant theme. 

Team practice, including a bickering Carson and Greta

The tension between Greta and Carson is at an all time high after the last episode’s shenanigans. The bickering between these two is next level at their first team practice. So much for training as a team, because practice is an absolute joke that seems to last less than half an hour with no real drills or skill development. Oh, that’s right — these women are supposed to be props not actual baseball players. Lessons on femininity clearly overwhelm the athleticism being taken seriously. Gotta make the gay gender non-conforming and tomboy gals look straight and narrow, right? 

Clearly, Carson loves talking to her rude, insensitive sister

On a phone call with her sister, we found out that Carson has been married for seven years and is still childless. Her husband’s return is delayed. Her sister is also rude af but, ya know, she’s stuck in the cycle of shaming other women who don’t follow the prescribed route that she has. Greta takes the opportunity to play more mind games with Carson.

The feminist thematics push on as Max sits in her mother’s salon and is told the story of her mother’s bank loan being granted to her for said salon because of her male sounding name: Toni. 

It’s game time! Or, um, it’s… time to get done up and act like a lady because that’s the appropriate way to get ready for the first game. Obviously. 

Max isn’t taking no for an answer

In an aha moment, Max cleverly suggests that her friend get her a job on the factory floor under her nickname, Max, instead of her full name Maxine. The factory won’t hire black women, and her previous attempt failed, but tenacious as ever — Max will do anything to play baseball. “Just pretend you didn’t know! Come on, Gary. Live a little! I thought you had my back,” quips Max.

The league’s idea of getting ready for their baseball game: learning how to be “womanly”

This might be the first time I have heard the term queer used in an appropriate historical context, in which case I approve. The All American Professional Girls Professional Baseball League did indeed want these women players to look less queer. Never forget that this term is an insult. And weaponized as such. Queer isn’t some cute personality to put on to fit in with the cool crowd. Queer hads repurcussions. It preceded violence. It’s not terminology to celebrate.

The Peaches

The Peaches are playing their first game. Marketed as desirable women by the announcer throughout the game, the women take it all with a grain of salt — even the sexual heckling. It does affect their ballplaying, though, but they want to keep their spots on this team and keep living this professional athlete gig they’ve always dreamed of. So they shut their mouths and deal with it. They’re advised to just keep playing as the league needs the patrons to continue — shitty comments and all.

Coach Dove being what we expect: a mysogynistic man

Carson overhears their coach talking smack, after the game, about how the league is just one big joke. The sponsoring company is suggesting that he put more effort into, ya know, actually coaching the team. Coach Dove goes so far as to say the only exciting part about women’s baseball is the skirts and to make the game more exciting, they should shorten them even more.

Greta’s stone cold facade drops

The locker room is empty except for a teary Greta and Carson. Imploringly, Carson tells Greta that she needs this women’s pro baseball thing to “be real,” not the temporary farce their coach and even some of her teammates have claimed it to be. Greta brings the pep talk with, “They don’t get to tell us whether or not this is real, that’s us.” And, in this moment, I’m not sure if she’s referring solely to the baseball league or if she’s also sending a serious passive love note to Carson.

Max and Leah’s late night tryst

Wait a minute — I didn’t see this one coming! Episode two closes with Max welcoming a secret nighttime visitor into her mother’s salon, and this visitor is a woman: Leah (Marinda Anderson.) Max knows her from church and get this: she’s the pastor’s wife! I am here for this! She’s there to make out, obviously.

This episode gave a little more than episode one, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s exciting. The series is still predictable and quite humdrum, thus far. I do see some hope sparking as the ending scene actually got a rise out of me. Are the players warmed up enough now to hit a home run on the next episode? Meet me back here to find out.

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