‘A League of Their Own’ Knocks It Out The Park With Steamy Romance, Sexual Awakenings & An Epic Ballgame

Sparks are flying on (and off) the field with a new team of Rockford Peaches shaking up the States as they grapple with sexual identity, racism and misogyny in a world that cannot change soon enough.

A whole 30 years ago, yes, that’s how long it’s been since 1992, a near-hysterical Tom Hanks delivered one of the greatest lines of his career. “There’s no crying in baseball,” he calls out. It is a fantastic quote from a tremendous sporting drama about the highs and lows of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. A League of Their Own is a special kind of movie. How could the underdog charm of the Rockford Peaches ever be replicated? Well, by the power of Abbi Jacobson and Will Graham, the 2022 revival series is pitched fast and hard with a poignant exploration into stories unheard.

A League of Their Own hits the ball out of the park within its first hour. The tone is well and truly established. Introducing a new band of beloved characters, the series makes sure to set off with the right foot forward. Carson Shaw (played by Jacobson), a tired housewife longing for something more, makes quite the entrance to the series. Straight away, Carson radiates warmth. She is a woman repressed by the world around her, a feeling all too many understand. Never given the freedom she craves, Carson sets out to explore her identity without the overbearing scrutiny of her family.

Like rain in a drought, she stumbles onto the path of free-spirited Greta Gill (D’Arcy Carden) – there is a guarantee everyone will fall head over heels for this ballplayer. Greta encapsulates the classy Hollywood glamour of the 1940s, carrying herself with an elegant confidence. Carson is immediately drawn into Greta’s world as a light of optimism shines at the end of the tunnel. The pair are ignited by unbridled desire with a momentum that builds throughout the 8-episode run. From the second their eyes meet, nothing else matters. Carden and Jacobson share passionate, believable chemistry, further cementing their on-screen connection. This relationship runs deeper than attraction and their romance catches viewers hook, line and sinker.

Both Greta and Carson are battling an internalized conflict. They have walls to break down; there is layer upon layer to uncover. Empowerment courses through them, though the world is riddled with hurdles. Queer romance is a genre that rarely sees the light of the day, let alone of this era, but A League of Their Own brings forth justice with an authentic reflection of sexual identity, the challenges faced, and the euphoria of falling in love for the first time. Representation and validation are profound in the series. There is absolutely no hesitation in delving into sexuality, individuality, and the reality of identifying as LGBTQ+ during an era of fascist segregation.

While the series presents itself with light-hearted comedy and wholesome romance, it finds juxtaposition in heavier themes. The consequences hang heavy as it becomes second nature to get lost in the moment. A balance between intimacy and the rising tension that goes with protecting their truth and competing in the league is achieved. The camaraderie amongst the characters is a joy to watch, as are the baseball scenes. There is a genuine bond felt throughout the cast and their counterparts; rooting for the Rockford Peaches comes with ease. Although nostalgia for the original is still present with a reimagining of memorable scenes, the series keeps originality and easily breaks free of barriers, claiming an iconic status of its own.

Characters are quick to ramp up the charm and even those with minimal screen time could steal the show. In a series with a wide ensemble, viewers will not find it difficult to resonate with any of them. Nothing goes beyond belief in their experiences through love and war (literally, in this case); they are dealing with very real, life-altering revelations and milestones and it flows particularly well with the show’s tone. One standout performance comes directly from Carden, who maximizes expression and personality to the fullest. Whether in the background or the forefront of the shot, Carden is naturally compelling, grasping the audience’s attention.

A League of Their Own gives a long-awaited voice to stories untold. Incredibly uplifting, delightfully charming and at the same time poignant towards an unimaginable reality, the series knows exactly how to pluck at every emotion. A League of Their Own is grounded by a string of heartfelt performances and a love story you’re rooting for before the show has even begun. Ending each episode with a desperate need for more, this league has proved to be far from over.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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