Screw stealing bases! Pitch is here to steal our hearts!
With the trailblazing appeal of movies like 42 and A League of Their Own and the charm of the late, great Friday Night Lights, Pitch is the perfect blend of family drama, sports action, girl power, and wit.
It's balanced enough to appeal to various demographics and well written enough to avoid being typecast.
If the quality of Pitch Season 1 Episode 1 is any indicator of what the rest of the season has in store for us then Fox may have itself a new hit!
Ginny Baker can officially join the rank of fascinating, complex, multi-layered primetime female protagonists.
She's talented, confident, driven, and witty. On the surface she appears as if she has it completely together. She damn near eats, sleeps, and breathes baseball, and has since the first time she picked one up and hurled it at her father.
Ginny: But none of that matters, you know why?
Frank: No, but color me intrigued.
Ginny: Because today I'm the starting pitcher for the San Diego Padres.
But Ginny is also soft, sweet, and vulnerable. And all of that is beneath a steely, faux-confident exterior. One of the highlights of the premiere was watching Ginny's layers slowly peel away.
We're quickly drawn into the chaos and frenzy of her breaking ground as the first female to play in the leagues. It's like white noise in the background. A low, constant buzz surrounding a woman who just wants to do what she does best with not much fanfare.
Everyone has an opinion about Ginny Baker and her capabilities.
The girl is Hillary Clinton with sex appeal. She's a Kardashian with a skill-set. She's the most important woman on the planet right now, Oscar. And from now on, everything goes through me. Am I clear?Amelia
As expected with anyone catapulted into instant fame and unfamiliar waters, she quickly stumbles under the weight of having to be great. At first, the mounting pressure and ridiculously high expectations placed upon her from all sides proves to be too much. The sports executives, the media, her team, young girls around the world, and her father all had her flaming out.
Those were the moments when Ginny was most endearing; when she was navigating the industry as best as she could, occupying spaces that weren't carved out for her. It was interesting to watch her dodge sexism, subtle and overt, while trying to live up to Jackie Robinson comparisons, and combating the inevitable bout of Imposter Syndrome.
I'm most familiar with Kylie Bunbury, through her portrayal of Lacey Porter on Twisted. It was a solid enough role, but leading a show, especially one with such a dynamic and strong cast, is no small feat. She easily could have been outshone on her own show, but she holds her own here!
Ginny:I was just a little girl! I never asked for any of it. You chose it for me. You did! I have no friends. No interests. I'm a robot in cleats and I'm malfunctioning! It wasn't right what you did. What you did to me.
Bill: You done? Where's your glove?
I'm a sucker for interesting bonds. Family, friendship, romance, it doesn't matter what the nature of the relationship is, as long as it's messy, layered, fleshed out, and fascinating to watch. Ginny and Bill's father/daughter bond is precisely that.
There's no crying in baseball, but there will be a few tears shed in Pitch. There's just no getting around that. And most of them will be because of Bill Baker and his daughter. Did anyone see that twist at the end coming?!
To be perfectly honest, it's a common enough theme that my suspicions were raised mere minutes before the actual reveal. It was no less emotional though! It left me teary eyed.
Ginny: We did it Pop.
Bill: We ain't done nothing yet.
Ginny's father was her everything, and with him no longer physically present I'd love to know more about her relationship with the family that remains. Her mother and her brother. Especially her brother.
Ginny being a baseball prodigy occupied a lot of Bill's time, and after scenes like the one where Bill slapped his own son to motivate Ginny, I'm sure his relationship with his son was strained. And Ginny's brother probably harbors some resentment towards her right?
It seems like Ginny is closer to Blip and his wife then she is her own family. Speaking of, I really like Blip! Coming into unfamiliar territory with a majority of people who don't want you there has to be difficult. It's great that Ginny has Blip as an ally.
Blip: So how you doing?
Ginny: You know, first time in the Majors and all...
Blip: Hey, I got you.
But the most interesting relationship that Ginny has going on, outside of the one with her father, is her relationship with Mike Lawson. It's the most important one on the field, for sure, and might be one of the best ones to watch off the field too.
The chemistry between Ginny and Mike is a homerun! Seriously, instant intrigue and I can't wait to see more of that dynamic.There's mutual respect (reluctant on his part), witty banter, and playful jabs. I'm relieved that the idol worship that Ginny initially had, will become something more grounded.
Mike is politically incorrect, snarky, blunt, arrogant, crass, and a bit of a jerk. In some ways, Mark-Paul Gosselaar hasn't strayed too far from Zach Morris traits here. But he traded in the bleach blond pretty boy for rugged lumberjack. I'm not complaining one bit!
I am an ass slapper, Rookie. I'm also the Captain of this team, so from here on out every time I slap your ass you say thank you sir, may I have another? And take the mound.Mike
He's locked in as the show's lovable jackass. I love that Blip talked him into taking Ginny under his wing. Although, despite the locker room junk talking, I have no doubts that he would have done it on his own anyway.
Ginny will constantly find herself trying to distinguish malicious sexism that shouldn't be tolerated (I'm looking at you Tommy) from harmless hazing.
Mike being the one character who doesn't get his knickers in a bunch about playing with a girl, but doesn't coddle her or give her special treatment either is refreshing. I feel like that was important to show, if only to assuage the fears of naysayers who were afraid they'd be hit over the head with "feminist agendas."
It seems like you have a lot of people telling you who you're doing this for, and I wonder if it's about time you start doing this for yourself. Just for you. Screw all the attention and you know what? Screw all those adorable little girls in the crowd with Ginny Baker signs, because you're not a girl scout leader, Rookie! You're a ball player! You do this for you. You do this for your team or you don't do this at all, because you're not aiming your pitches if you're aiming to please everyone.Mike
I love that Mike is living and breathing tough love and reality checks. Given the type of relationship she had with her father, she needs that type of honesty. No sugarcoating or kid gloves.
I loved the delivery of Mike's pep-talk. It was heartfelt and inspiring without being sappy and too sentimental. He even took a moment to congratulate himself on a line that easily could have been cheesy.
I absolutely adore the way they cut through emotional moments with humor. It has the potential to be a heavy show, but it doesn't take itself too seriously, and that is where it will succeed. It's the perfect balance of drama and humor.
We get lines about ass slapping, but also traditional sports movie, intense, triumphant moments like Ginny's redemption. How could you not get hyped watching Ginny finally kick ass on that mound to the tune of "Sympathy for the Devil?" Great song choice, by the way!
- Ali Larter as Amelia Slater is comedic gold! She's a cocky, no nonsense, go-getter with razor sharp wit. She kept me laughing the entire episode, and I can't wait to learn more about her.
- I wasn't as interested in the bureaucratic shenanigans and power plays going on with Oscar, Frank, and Al.
- We haven't seen much of the team outside of Mike, Blip, and Tommy. Tommy seems like a loose cannon though. He's definitely someone Ginny needs to keep an eye on.
- I really want to know what happened to Ginny's brother.
Pitch managed to lay down the groundwork for the series without suffering from pilotitis, which can be a near impossible feat. They knocked it out of the park!
Sorry, I'll try to keep the baseball puns to a minimum.
So what did you guys think of the premiere? Do you still have reservations about the series or the subject matter? Did it live up to expectations? Hit up the comments and let us know what you think.
Jasmine Blu is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.