The acting's been consistently good--it's still early to tell, but Dan Lauria's Al is fascinatingly played, Mark-Paul Gosselaar makes a possibly cheesy character relatable, Ali Larter steals the show this week and--well--Kylie Bunbury is Kylie Bunbury.
Ginny/Al scenes. Quietly sad; quietly real. Just like the silent but very real and very prominent, still, sexism today. Al's rewording of his apology showed a bit of that.
I think we need this show. It's diverse, it's fun, and it's trying to tackle important issues. Bunbury's a revelation. But there are a lot of characters people can identify with...and I think nearly everyone can identify with Ginny in one way or another. And that's important.
The use of flashbacks.
Rushed episode; I understand the need for deeper characterisation but it was far too crammed for one episode. Maybe if Amelia had one and Mike had one it would've worked.
I feel like Al should probably be fired, but he won't...
Gosselaar was on-point as always, and I really like Mike Lawson. But in no way am I convinced by his 'oh I don't want to be a baseball superstar' story when the entire pilot was all 'my legacy this, my legacy that'. A character--especially as prominent as Mike--shouldn't be yo-yoing like that already in episode two.
The second episode slump is single-handedly the worst thing on television…and PITCH just stomped all over it and stuck a middle finger up.
Have you recovered from your bout of Ginsanity?
Pitch’s excellent pilot was always going to be difficult to top—but ‘The Interim’ knocked it out of the park. This episode was about struggle (as is the theme with ‘PITCH’ it seems). Ginny (Kylie Bunbury) in particular struggles with the many demands of her, including a tricky and frankly obnoxious reporter Rachel Patrick (JoAnna Garcia Swisher). Furthermore, old-fashioned Al (Dan Lauria) makes a horrendous mistake that gets broadcasted on ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’ with this:
Al: Yeah well I hope she makes it to the show one day. I mean have you seen her? Easy on the eyes… I’m sure that a lot of the guys would love to have her in the locker room.
The media dig up sexist comments from years ago and practically rip him for it, whilst Ginny tries to support him. Other developments included Mike (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) who thankfully grew from the ‘cocky but has a golden heart’ catcher to someone with a story. It was admittedly a little nonsensical but somehow made sense too. The fact that Amelia (Ali Larter) was suggested to hook up with him towards the end wasn’t surprising.
Amelia’s backstory was rather enchanting. With her life empty and alone, it’s obvious why everything goes to Ginny. Whilst the first episode spent a lot of time emphasising that the Padres were Mike’s legacy (and randomly back-tracked his passion for that…), this episode showed that Ginny was Amelia’s.
One thing that came left-field (heh)—Rachel was Mike’s ex?!
Ginny Baker continues to shine. Forget Clinton or Trump—it’s Ms. Ginny Baker for POTUS. And Kylie Bunbury is a star.
Ginny will find hurdles every single episode—quite simply because she is a woman and one of colour too. We wonder if FOX will truly tackle the latter. But Ginny’s shown to be strong and fearless—and frankly shuts Rachel the reporter down.
Rachel: Woman to woman…This girl was in your exact shoes.
Ginny: No one’s in my shoes. And woman to woman, screw you for putting that on me.
It’s her storyline with Al that is the focus this episode. Her backing Al and the fictionalised rape scenario wasn’t exactly done too well, but the message was loud and clear. We’ll discuss it later, but what Ginny also struggles with is the fact that she is the example, the role-model, for a lot of women. And it’s not a choice. It was clear last episode, with Mike’s quote.
Yet Ginny doesn’t want to talk. She doesn’t want to make the media appearance. So we’re getting a very clear line Ginny has to walk—a tightrope, almost. Ginny’s struggle isn’t one she wins. It’s realistic, but it’s sad. Why? Because Ginny has to play this game—just like she has to play baseball. Ginny will not give up the Padres, but Ginny can’t be Ginny. She makes that statement and it’s not her.
Also, it’s not just sexist crap from her coach. It’s from everyone. And whilst Ginny shuts them down she lets the coach’s comments go. It’s actually a nice touch. Again: Ginny cannot be. MLB is her dream; it is also not her soul.
Ginny: Seems like I’m making a statement just by existing lately–right? So what the hell. Why not make a few more?
‘PITCH’ shoved away its main problem in the pilot—and offered some much-needed development for the side characters too.
Thank heavens we got some backstory for Mike Lawson. Gosselaar impressed but Mike’s character was very much the tropey ‘arrogant but gold-hearted star’—until this episode. Mike’s always been about his legacy and the growing pressure of his age—something we’re all helpless against—and being captain finally erupts His team’s crumbling. A brawl in the changing rooms causes Mike to explode with a rant. But as his team crumbles, so do his knees—and his relationship with his newly engaged ex-wife.
Meanwhile, we learn more of Amelia. Her history is easily the best and most-appreciated of the episode. We needed to know the origins of Amelia and Ginny’s relationship. And this episode explored it wonderfully. Amelia’s ex-husband was a horrible, selfish idiot—after her IVF treatment didn’t work, he breaks off their marriage. It’s disgusting; thus Amelia completely dedicates herself to Ginny after watching her on television.
Amelia: [Of Ginny’s life] When I met you, [you] became my life too.
If her life will not piece together she will make sure Ginny’s will. Amelia’s lift fell apart yet she’s picking up Ginny’s. Will it help pick up her own?
There’s Al too. Still frustratingly stuck in his old ways of casual sexism, it’s annoying yet very real. Frustratingly whilst there are obvious negative repercussions to Al’s actions, it does seem like the show sympathises with him a little too. Yes, Al may be stuck in his old ways—but there’s no excuse for sexism as per his.
The attempt at commentary on sexism and That Awesome Scene.
To be frank, it didn’t quite work. The commentary was well-intended and well-written, but like quite a few plotlines this episode, it felt inconclusive. It didn’t feel wrapped up at all. Perhaps that was the point but we just never got enough elements about the case—very representative of the Stanford rape case—at all. Yet it’s a topic that does need to be openly discussed, and the attempt ‘PITCH’ makes is a miss but it’s a good miss. Sadly, incidents like this happen all the time. Everywhere. There’s no way to make utter fiction of it. This happens in real life.
If it cannot be addressed on mainstream television then it becomes ridiculous, and we have to praise ‘PITCH’ for braving it. It addresses the point, and yes it’s called out on, but it’s also seen as something that’s simply culturally accepted. And it shouldn’t be. For example:
Ginny: I really ought to take the player’s bus. I’ve gotta be one of the guys right now, Amelia.
Amelia: Look in the mirror…You’ll never be one of the guys.
And then Ginny Baker bossed it. Reluctantly appearing on a talk-show Amelia set up for her, Ginny’s somehow incredibly articulate, and there’s a stupid, stupid section about redecorating that simply needs to be cut from the episode. It’s ridiculous. But from ‘The Interim’ we got this line:
Ginny: We don’t need to make sure every girl goes in the right room. We need to make sure every boy knows it is wrong to rape.
Putting that out there on television, spoken assertively by a skilled woman of colour—yeah, ‘PITCH’ deserves a standing ovation for that one. It shouldn’t have to. It’s 2016. But let’s do so anyway.
Final Verdict: ‘PITCH’ provided everything yet sometimes everything is too much. A lot of threads were left hanging—but we hope that means we’ll get more answers.
Here’s the thing: Paris Barclay and Dan Fogelman’s ‘PITCH’ handled some important and necessary issues this episode. It was in fact very brave to offer such commentary on sexism especially in sport. The fact that Ginny had to let her coach’s comments go was sad, angering but so, so real. And that worked.
What didn’t work quite as well was the mish-mash of storylines. Ginny and Al’s story was handled well—and Mike, Al and Amelia’s backstories were both compelling and important. We need to know everyone—not just Ginny. But the episode did feel crammed; the attempt at deeper characterisation, while necessary, felt very rapid. Moreover, Ginny’s episodic arc of ‘this bad thing happens but I’ll solve it by the end’ will quickly get tiring. Hopefully, there’s a more serialised storyline for her.
So far, ‘PITCH’ has been entertaining, important and actually very inspirational. Paul Maibaum’s cinematography is wonderful–lovely close-ups and every time there’s a match, it’s exceptionally done. But I still ponder its shelf-life (and Mike’s—his knees are giving way; Al—he’s got to get fired at some point). And I just don’t want it to end, because, well…Kylie Bunbury.
Questions and comments to ponder:
- ‘PITCH’ is cheesier than an entire box of cash-and-carry Cheetos…but I really enjoy it.
- What matters to me is if I care at all about the characters and their plot, growth, history, etc. ‘PITCH’ encapsulated us with Ginny first; now we’re glued to everyone else. It’s so subjective and it’s irresistible.
- The many storylines and developments this episode, while excellent, was very crammed. It could’ve been spread over two episodes, as I felt some threads were left a little inconclusive.
- A “League of Their Own” reference! We’ve been waiting!
- Like, Rachel Patrick—stop it. Be nice. Stop. Just stop.
- I LOVE MICHAEL BEACH but his absence this episode was what made it work. We needed less of Ginny’s past (in the second episode) and more of the others.
- Everybody chant: Evelyn! Evelyn! Evelyn!
Catch PITCH on Thursdays on Fox at 9pm EST!
PITCH Review [1×02]: “The Interim”