"There's no crying in baseball!" "Well, I cry after every game."
A League of Their Own takes a page out of Penny Marshall's beloved classic 1992 film while widening the lens to tell a different story about women who dreamed of playing professional baseball. The show follows Carson (Abbi Jacobson), Max (Chanté Adams), and a new ensemble of complex characters as they carve out their paths toward the field, finding themselves and discovering new obstacles.
Based on the true stories of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, this nostalgia grab from Prime Video is nothing like the 1992 movie starring Geena Davis and Tom Hanks. It strikes a balance between giving audiences what they know they enjoyed about the original film but slipping in nuances that take the initial story and give it needed depth.
Gone is the sibling relationship. It's been replaced by a diverse cast of characters highlighting the racial segregation and homophobia that prevailed in 1940s sports. Gone is Tom Hanks' Jimmy Dugan. He's been replaced by Nick Offerman in a blink-and-you'll-miss-him performance. Many characters have been changed to reflect these differences, notably D'Arcy Carden's character Greta. Greta could easily be seen as the Madonna "All the Way" Mae replacement, but Carden is smart enough to make the role more magnetic and exciting. Racial segregation, pay disparity, and homophobia takes center stage in this dramatic interpretation of real-life events. The personal lives of the female characters become the focus, especially their true-to-life counterparts and lesbian relationships.
The 1992 original did so well to connect the Geena Davis and Tom Hanks characters with subtle acknowledgments of each other's talents, despite their stubborn attitudes. This concept has morphed to focus on Carson and Max's dynamic, which grows stronger throughout later episodes. Max, in particular, is based on real female players of the Negro League in the era, Toni Stone, Mamie Johnson, and Connie Morgan. Her representation of an entire group of women provides levels of authenticity that didn't exist in the original film. Co-creator and star Abbi Jacobson (Broad City) does a splendid job at ensuring the stories of the Rockford Peaches and the AAGPBL are told with confidence and respect while maintaining a level of truthfulness to what some of these characters probably went through in 1943.
Don't expect Madonna's rendition of "This Used to Be My Playground" to play during the end credits, but do expect to be transported to a time of great difficulty and achievement for women in sports.
A League of Their Own now available on Prime Video!
Ticket Rating: 🎟🎟🎟