Screener Review On A League of Their Own
It’s a damn love letter to all of us queer baseball fans and worth every minute of the hour long episodes. Even if you don’t like sports, I think you’ll love this show. It also concludes with an actual ending, while still leaving itself open for more. Watch it on Friday August 12th
I’m a baseball girl.
I am the daughter of a baseball guy, who was the son of a baseball belle.
Three generations of kids from Cleveland who love baseball (and a previously problematically named baseball team).
My wife kind of tolerates this. She will watch games with me, but honestly it’s not her jam.
But there is exactly one baseball movie we will watch nearly every single time it’s on, and it’s not Major League. No, we love A League of Their Own. From the first scene to the last (which invariably makes us cry), from quoting how there’s no crying in baseball to calling Geena Davis “Tall Girl,” to my favourite memory of watching it in Spanish and hearing “Bob es muerto,” we love this movie.
So when I heard Abbi Jacobson was making a series about this? Oh I was sooo in. I was in before I knew anything more about it.
Then I saw the first teasers.
And then I saw the screeners.
Batter Up, Hear That Call
As much as I love the movie, it has some flaws. We all knew that the All American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) ran rampant with lesbians. How could it not? Shove that many women who love sports and are so many levels of butch into living environments where all they do is hang out with other women and talk sports… Anyway, the movie also misses out on the Negro League (which was the only co-ed league ever, even if only 3 women every played in it). Sure there’s one scene when a black woman fires a damn rocket past Dottie to Ellen Sue:
But really that’s it.
In the first 15 minutes, the series addresses the segregation issue. By 35 minutes in, we have lesbians. And then it gets even better.
The Time Has Come For One And All
I was smiling so damn hard about this show from the opening scene. The music, the filming, the call backs to the original movie with updates that make it fun for everyone, the hat tips to the real AAGPBL players… Everything is perfect. It’s ridiculous and silly and fun and baseball.
The people cast are basically a whose-who of quirky queers, too! Obviously we have Broad City genius, Abbi Jacobson, but we also have LezWatch Faves like Roberta Colindrez. She plays the pitcher and gets to speak Spanish too! D’Arcy Carden, Melanie Field, and more familiar faces are all over this show, and they hit it out of the park everyone single moment.
About the only character that was weird to me was seeing Nick Offerman without his moustache. His forkball makes up for it. He’s no Jimmy Dugan, and that’s actually to their benefit as his interest is just as self-serving as Dugan, but more helpful in a lot of ways. The biggest change would be the ‘matron’ chaperone figure who is 100% behind the girls and their success. She reminds us that the fight was never players vs coaches, it was always the teams against the world.
The girls aren’t female enough, they’re too butch, they don’t dress right… You get the idea. But this time, we get to see how invested everyone was in the success of everyone else. The mess up, they make successes, they get hurt, and then like women all over the world, they lift each other up.
I’m a crier, no lies, and the end of the movie always makes me cry seeing all those old ladies who were players get to play again. This show gets me nearly ever episode. They hat tip back to the movie in so many ways (swing dancing, behind the back catches, even Rosie) and with the extra time get to improve on it all. By improve I mean “more gay,” for the record.
There’s no Dottie or All the Way Mae in the show, and the way the Peaches end the series is such a dramatic improvement.
To Play Ball
The Advocate said the show was a gift to queers.
They’re not wrong. If you saw the trailer and thought that, well the series is better than I expected. Like, by episode 4, it’s hands down the queerest thing I’ve seen in 2022. Abbi Jacobson is a delight, and she just nails every single moment and chance she gets.
Also, since it feels like everything and its sister is getting canceled these days, the series does end with a complete story. But it does not end in a closed story. There are open doors and more to tell, but it balances ending properly with a promise that next season (if there is one) will be great.
I am a cryer, and I have to tell you that there was crying in baseball when I watched, because everything just was a time capsule of joy. Was everything perfect? No. But what we get is amazing, wonderful, and queer. Women in suits, transgender married couples, bar owners, beards, and friends of Dorothy. The simple joy of getting to win a baseball game and hold the hand of your girl.
Penny Marshall was consulted about this (before she died) and said:
Exploring these stories was life-changing for me and I hope it is for you, too. […] Well, go and do it! Go make it already!
Solid advice. And to steal from another famous baseball movie, they built it, you better come watch it.