Wednesday, May 30, 2018

REVIEW: 'Brockmire' - Brockmire Achieves His Dream Only to Risk Losing It Again in 'Broadcasters Jinx'

IFC's Brockmire - Episode 2.06 "Broadcasters Jinx"

Jim takes a new gig as an Atlanta major league announcer. Charles focuses on the new direction his career might take. Confronted with the truth about a legendary announcer, Jim attempts to do the right thing in the most Brockmire-way possible.

Jim Brockmire has finally achieved his dream. After more than a decade away, he is back announcing a major league baseball game. He beat out Raj for the job as the announcer for Atlanta after their current announcer retires at the end of the season. Sure, the game he is calling just happens to be the last of the season. He is once again just a co-host. But he is back in professional baseball. He's in the major leagues once more. This is what he has been trying to achieve for the entire series so far. He was gone from the country for a decade of his life following his epic and viral meltdown. He only resurfaced in Morristown because it was the only team that would hire him in that position. But he was able to use it as a stepping stone to once again climb the ladder of this sport. It only took him a year once he made his grand return. But he was able to go from small town baseball to the minor leagues and back to the majors. This is a huge deal and celebration for him. He was already more successful this season because of his podcast. That's where he earned most of his money from - even though he was unfairly splitting the profits with Charles because Charles does all of the work behind the scenes. But Brockmire wanted to be a major league baseball announcer more than anything else. This season has proven why it would be so much better if he just gave up that dream for good. It has cost him so much in his life. Everything was ruined because of the last time he was calling a major league game. But he doesn't really care about any of that. He had this dream and would stop at nothing until it became his reality once more. And now, it has all worked out for him. He has been given this opportunity again. He is back working alongside his peers. As such, he is willing to celebrate by flipping off everyone who resented and challenged him on this journey. He succeeded anyway and is willing to rub it in their faces.

Of course, "Broadcasters Jinx" also shows just how much Brockmire has relied on others in order to get back to the major leagues. He could not have done this by himself. He needed the support from Jules and Charles. He turned on Jules once a new and better opportunity arose. He ruined that relationship for good. He simply wasn't ready or willing to give her the commitment she needed right now. That blew up in his face and he believed he had hit his rock bottom. He was warned that he wasn't anywhere close to that feeling that nothing he does in life will have any personal consequences for him. He still had further to go. And that has been proven to be true in this story. He still has a successful career. He still has the support and technical expertise of Charles to help him along the way. But now, he's faced with the daunting task of having to call this game with Art, the retiring legend of baseball announcing, completely sober. Whitney learns that he has not been doing the job like she wanted him to. She banned all alcohol and drugs from the booth. She thought he was succeeding because of his own skills. She asked him to step up and he did. She wanted Raj to get this job because the numbers supported him better than they did Brockmire. She was overruled by her bosses in the organization. But now, she is working hard to sell Brockmire as the announcer that this team needs right now to replace Art. She understands the importance and the symbolism of having Brockmire and Art call this game together. It can be seen as a passing of the torch. One legend is leaving while another is making his grand return to the booth. But Brockmire can't mess it up in any way. He is once again on the national stage. Any screw up will be cause for termination in this job. He can't be drunk. That's just a problem waiting to happen.

And yet, Brockmire needs alcohol in order to get through the day as the lovable personality that he is. Okay, he's not exactly lovable. He's barely even tolerable to the people closest in his life. But he also suggests that he would be much worse to them if he didn't have alcohol in his system. He is so completely dependent on it. That's simply his personality now. As a character on an ongoing comedy, he is funny because he has to keep finding new ways to get alcohol and drugs into the booth so that he could be more entertaining to the fans expecting to hear great commentary about the game from him. He believes he can only perform if there is something in his system. If he has to do the game sober, then he will be shaking and not able to focus. That sounds like him going through withdrawal because of his dependency on these substances. It's an issue that can be treated. He just needs to seek the proper help for that. But that's not something that the show is interested in exploring right now. At the moment, it's just important that Charles finds a solution for Brockmire to do this game while still getting in the drugs to help him do it. It then presents quite a choice for him when Art actually wants to share a bottle of bourbon with him throughout the game. He offers a glass before it even starts. Whitney is literally smelling Brockmire's breath whenever she sees him. This could jeopardize his chance of being the permanent announcer for this team. And yet, he still partakes in it because Art insists and Brockmire needs the alcohol to thrive in this environment. As such, he performs very well throughout the game and impresses everyone that matters. He is the right fit for this team after Art is gone.

However, it's clear that Art is the only one in the organization who actually wanted Brockmire instead of Raj. It's entirely because he is another straight white man. He sees this profession as being only for the people who truly know baseball. That's his form of racism. He believes that white people simply believe and understand this sport better than anyone else. That's absolutely despicable. It's easy to be horrified by this man and his actions. Sure, Brockmire can complain about Charles too. But he does so because he knows him not because he is lumping him into any kind of broad demographic. When Art sees Brockmire's assistant, he sees Charles as a black man who doesn't belong in the booth. He's happy that Charles isn't there to work with the team for his final game. Charles said that he had a meeting with a new podcast sponsor in New Orleans. He couldn't stay to help Brockmire through this. As such, he never experiences the racism from Art. Brockmire is the one who feels the need to stand up for his friend after Art accuses him of stealing his wallet. That moment proves that Art is just a forgetful old man who refuses to change to new ways of thinking. But Brockmire sees it as an opportunity to stand up for his friend in the face of such evil. He needs to tell Art that what he believes is wrong. He just chooses to do so in the final inning of the game. Art is coming so close to having a no-hitter for his final game announcing. That would be a story for the ages. It would be the perfect way to end this season and his career with the team. Both Art and Brockmire are very superstitious about it as well. They don't want to bring it up too much or risk jinxing it. And yet, it's in not talking about the issue that needs to be talked about that eventually ruins this game. It's a moment not about baseball but about the two announcers bickering with one another. The entire organization knows that Art is a racist and that's why Brockmire got this job. But after all of this is over, Whitney is the one who loses her job as the scapegoat to this scandal on national television. Sure, it still throws Brockmire's life into shambles too. He may never be able to call another game in the major leagues if Art has anything to say about it. But he still feels confident that he has a life to return home to as well.

That just leads to the painful and surprising reveal that Charles has outgrown his relationship with Brockmire. The two of them have always been seen as very codependent of one another. They could only thrive and succeed by being together. Brockmire needed Charles' help in the booth in order to mount this comeback of his. Charles needed Brockmire in his life in order to discover what he was actually passionate about. For Brockmire, it was a relationship that would last for the rest of his career. He believes in Charles and trusts him as both a producing partner and roommate. He thinks Charles will eagerly follow him wherever he goes because Brockmire is also the reason for his success. He would not be making so much from podcasting if it weren't for Brockmire. For Charles though, this relationship was always going to be temporary. That became more and more clear over the course of this season. Charles was using his knowledge and awareness of the tech world in order to make Brockmire into a successful brand. He came up with the podcast. That's what led to this new career for Brockmire. But Charles has been looking for his next great talent and proving to his family that this has turned out to be a successful career for him. He is building a life that extends far beyond Brockmire. He is the one who has always taken responsibility in their lives. He has ensured that Brockmire showed up on time for his various engagements. He cleaned up Brockmire on multiple occasions. Of course, he benefitted from it too. Now, he has the money and experience to build his own podcasting company. He's eager to finance podcasts from people of color marketed towards people of color. It's a cause he believes in. It just happens to be a corner of his life that Brockmire knows nothing about. Brockmire thought he was doing the right thing in standing up to a racist bully. But Charles just sees it as another example of the white savior complex. A white man feels the need to stand up against racism because they deem the people most personally inflected as not being able to do it themselves. Charles understands racism better than Brockmire does. He knows how to live with it in his life. He didn't want Brockmire to ruin his career for him because he wasn't there in the room. Brockmire made it into a big deal. And that's why it is so devastating when Charles decides to end this partnership and go their separate ways. Brockmire doesn't even have a place to live. He has now truly hit his rock bottom.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Broadcasters Jinx" was written by Rene Gube and directed by Maurice Marable.
  • The list of people who Brockmire feels the need to flip off in the opening montage include Raj, someone who left a one-star review on his podcast, the minor league team mascot and the woman who wouldn't let him eat her ass. The latter one even builds into more of a debate between them about what's acceptable. Plus, the podcast moment shows that Brockmire really doesn't understand that it only plays to the room and not the people listening at home.
  • It's also amusing that Charles thinks the best way to get Brockmire drunk for this major league game is to once again stick a tampon up his ass. And yet, that's something the show has already done this season. As such, they needed to find a different solution that was just as silly but important. Plus, Charles even discusses that moment with Whitney after she learns the truth.
  • It's very amusing that Whitney only discovers what's been happening in the booth because she's admiring the view and wants to use the binoculars to look at something. That leads to such a painful burning sensation in her eyes with the guys struggling to find the one container in the room that does not have alcohol in it. Adding more would only increase the pain. Though they do eventually find some water for her to wash her eyes out.
  • The show tricks the audience before Art's racism is revealed. Before that moment, the only thing actually known about this guy is that he's retiring and he likes to give handshakes to everyone who works at the stadium before the game. That doesn't seem like something a racist would do because a wide variety of people work for this organization. And yet, that's what makes it such a horrifying reveal. He does that but he's still so despicable to people he deems inferior.
  • So what will happen next for Brockmire? He seems to be at his lowest point in his life. He has lost more now than when he found Lucy cheating on him with an orgy at his house. He has lost Charles and Jules. He may not be able to win them back. He may no longer have a career in this sport. But he may also have a solution in calling the Carrie Preston character. She told him that there was even more darkness to embrace in this world. That's an ominous tease for what may happen too.