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With it’s perfect positioning between two successful comedies, ABC’s Back in the Game premiered on Wednesday at 8:30/7:30c. The comedy follows Terry (Maggie Lawson), a former All-star softball player, as she moves her and her young son Danny back in with her father, The Cannon (James Caan). A comical half-hour about the ups and downs of life, the season premiere definitely brought the laughs.
The episode begins with each member of the Gannon family finding themselves in precarious situations. Terry is on the pitcher's mound doing something she swore she would never do, the Cannon is bashing in a car window, and Danny is kissing another boy. Cut to two days prior -- baseball tryouts. Terry is worried that her father talked Danny into trying out, but Danny admits he’s trying out to impress a girl. Before tryouts begin, The Cannon tells Danny to hit the first kid square in the face when he pitches in order to scare the rest of the kids. This happens to be the same advice he gave his daughter Terry when she was around the same age. Terry quickly swoops in and tells Danny not to listen to The Cannon as she reminds him of all of the ridiculous things he did at her games, like peeing on the home plate when he didn’t agree with a call. Tryouts begin and Danny is not quite up to par as he runs away from the ball or misses it most of the time. While Terry sits hoping Danny will do well, The Cannon makes offhand remarks about Danny stinking at baseball. While worriedly watching on, Terry meets fellow mom Lulu who proclaims her gay son is also trying out. Cut to her son dancing at the base. Lulu offers Terry some tequila for her nerves. A group of lead coaches rudely pick on Danny’s lack of skill. When Terry overhears Dick’s rude comments about Danny, she throws an ice cone at his head. Back at the Gannon house, The Cannon continues to pick on Danny’s inability to play baseball and has even told him he needs to throw the ball one thousand times in order to keep living there. Terry tells her father she’s not going to let him screw her son up like he did with her. The Cannon continuously calls his grandson Donny instead of Danny. As he walks away after tricking her and without apologizing to Danny, she takes a page from her father’s book and offers Danny twenty dollars if he hits The Cannon with the baseball. He tries and misses, hilariously proving The Cannon’s point.
At school, Danny introduces himself to Vanessa, the girl he likes. A boy comes over and knocks him down. Danny comments on how perhaps this bully is compensating for a small penis, further angering the boy. Out of nowhere, he kisses the boy and the boy punches Danny. Danny tells Vanessa he did it to scare him, which impresses Vanessa. When arriving home, The Cannon asked what happened. Danny tells him it’s because, “I kissed a boy.” At first confused, Danny explains to The Cannon it was a tactic to scare the bully. Surprisingly, The Cannon understands and tells him how he once “batted with his Johnson out” for the same reason. They learn that Danny hasn’t made the team, which makes him wonder how he’ll ever impress Vanessa. Terry tells him that Vanessa will have to love him for his boyish good looks and brilliant mind. Danny comically replies, “Well, I’m screwed.” Terry decides to attend a meeting about the baseball team to inquire as to why her son did not make the cut. Dick explains that there isn’t enough equipment to allow everyone to be on the team. Lulu offers to pay for everything, but they reject her offer and say the other kids still wouldn’t have a coach. Terry volunteers, which incites laughter from the men. She challenges Dick. If he can hit a ball she pitches then she’ll give up, if he misses then she gets to coach the kids who were cut. The day of the challenge, Terry stands up to pitch. She purposely hits Dick in the face with the baseball. The Cannon exuberantly yells, “That’s my boy,” as Terry walks away saying, “Didn’t hit it. See you on the field, Dick.”
Later that evening, Dick brings her uniforms. Terry tries to apologize, but Dick’s conceited behavior makes it impossible for her to remain sincere in her apology. He tells her that her team will be called The Angels. As he pulls away, she realizes the jerseys are misspelled. They will be The Angles. Next, we meet the hilarious misfit band of kids. Terry begins to give them a sentimental speech about fitting in. The Cannon pipes in with, “What a bunch of crap.” Terry then turns the speech into a breakdown of her less than stellar relationship with her father, baseball/softball, and her ex-husband. Finally, practice starts and it becomes quite clear that none of the children are equipped for playing sports as they fall over, run into each other, and do not know the proper usage for a baseball cup. The Cannon continues to harshly criticize their lack of skills. Later that evening, while looking for her college mitt, Terry realizes her father had taped all of her softball games that she thought he had missed. Feeling sentimental, she asks her dad for help with The Angles. She’s going to need all the help she can get. Oh, and that car window The Cannon was bashing in? He thinks it belongs to the father of the bully who hit Danny. It doesn’t. Whoops…
Be sure to tune in next week to root for The Angles at 8:30/7:30c on ABC. They’re going to need all the support they can get in the face of The Cannon’s sarcastic criticism.