CINEMA

A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN (2022)

Season One 

Aired On: Prime Video
Release Date: 08/12/22
Comedy/Drama/Family

"Comedy series about the WWII All-American professional women's baseball league."

OUR REVIEW:

My immediate answer to the often asked question: “What’s your favorite movie?” will never and has never changed. My entire life as long as I have been asked that question, the response is the same: the leading film in my list of favorites has undoubtedly always been Penny Marshall’s 1992 classic A League of Their Own starring Geena Davis and Tom Hanks. This film is my favorite for many reasons: the nostalgia of course, because I grew up watching it all throughout my formative years, elementary school through high school, I was an athlete (and still am!) so I saw myself in those characters, plus it is based off of the real life story of the All American Girls Baseball League (AAGBL). Arguably, the film is renowned as the greatest baseball movie of all time by many audiences. When Abbi Jacobson, known well for her role and creation of Broad City, first buzzed about creating a series based on and named the same, A League of Their Own, I was just as excited as I was extremely worried. I am a huge fan of Jacobson’s work, both comedic and not (check out 6 Balloons on Netflix) so I was reassured my favorite story would be in good hands. I was even more intrigued when I saw a tweet from Jacobson that hinted at the inclusion of Black women baseball players being part of the addition the show would bring. Overall the anticipated series was not a disappointment, but there is still a lot to unpack here. 

 

Jacobson plays the star catcher (and believe it or not, eventual head coach) Carson Shaw as she leads the famous Rockford Peaches (hint: she is the Dottie Hinson) and navigates uncharted waters far from her Idaho background. Shaw is timid and shy but still a leader on the field with a lot to hide; a failing marriage to a husband off at war and secrets about who she really is, although she doesn’t really know herself. She immediately meets Greta (D’Arcy Carden) and her sidekick Jo (Melanie Field)--yes, think Mae and Doris–at tryouts in Chicago; they become fast friends but there is clearly more than just friendship there. This is where A League of Their Own the series is unafraid to push the limits, navigating homosexual relationships amongst the players, normalizing the reality of what was really happening during this time. The sexual tension and reality of these women’s lives, having to hide their relationships from authorities and teammates who did not agree with thier lifestyle brought many issues society still faces today to the forefront of the themes in the show. If you are different, you are treated differently. 

 

This theme was plenty strong, highlighting Black women struggling to find work, although workers were in desperate need because of the war. Remember the scene in the film when a Black woman, obviously shunned from sitting in the stands with everyone else, throws a stray ball back to Dottie on the field? The show takes this and runs with it, creating two of my favorite new characters, Max Chapman (Chante Adams) and Clance Morgan (Gbemisola Ikumelo) who are joint-at-the-hip best friends. Max is a baseball obsessed independent lady stuck trying to please her salon-shop owning mother, and Clance is a spunky, loud, neurotic wife, who is obsessed with reading comic books, and then writing and illustrating her own better versions. Their bond is unlike any other in the story and I could watch a series based on their friendship alone. Max wants to be considered for the league, but is turned away because of the color of her skin, so she gets a job at the factory and attempts to join the men’s league there. Her complex relationship with many family members shapes most of her story, setting expectations for the life she should lead opposed to the life she wants to lead and secretly already has. Max and Shaw strike up a supportive friendship that weaves itself throughout the narrative in a mostly genuine way.

 

The most disappointing part was the lack of a Jimmy Dugan-like character. Nick Offerman plays a weak coach, named Dove, who honestly should have just been left completely out of the entire series in the first place. His character is cringeworthy and Offerman never really gets his footing behind the character enough before he is written off and Shaw takes over as the coach. 


A shocking open ended finale leaves hopes for a second season, with personal drama and not in relation to baseball. The show is not for all fans of the original A League of Their Own, who may have a traditional outlook, so I would tell people to cautiously watch with an open mind, and if you give it a chance you will be pleasantly surprised and fulfilled. If you are expecting a shot for shot remake you will be disappointed–although there are some fantastic moments that are so accurate to the film it will give you chills and a warm smile. If you are looking forward to that nostalgic feeling with passionate and unexpected fresh new storylines and characters in a more modern tone, you are definitely in the right place. This series uncovered a world full of women ball players who were previously sidelined and are now finally having their story told.

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OUR VERDICT: