Wednesday, April 17, 2019

REVIEW: 'Brockmire' - Brockmire Cracks Under the Pressure and Searches for Answers From a Higher Power in 'The Yips'

IFC's Brockmire - Episode 3.03 "The Yips"

While dealing with a case of "the yips" - a broadcaster's anxiety that makes it hard to remember the count - Brockmire faces threats from his predecessor, Matt "The Bat" Hardesty.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of IFC's Brockmire.

"The Yips" was written by Jason Belleville and directed by Maurice Marable

Brockmire was completely selfish in his handling of Jules' recent trip to see him in Florida. She was in the right to reject him in no uncertain terms. He may be sober for over a year. But he still hasn't put in the work to ensure that he sticks with the program. He is still susceptible to a relapse. His sponsor tells him as such. He hasn't been working the program. Sure, he may have a point in saying that AA only works for people who are inherently religious. He doesn't feel a connection to the search for a higher power because he's an atheist. He doesn't believe that there is someone with a grand plan for the world who has somehow allowed for so many tragedies to take place. He immediately jumps to the Holocaust in any argument about religion. He can't even be in a church for a few minutes before interjecting that claim. He ruins this space for Gabby. He's not even trying to find the clarity necessary to stay clean. The lesson of this step is admitting that he is powerless over his own life and his addictions. That's difficult for him to do because he is such a selfish person. He enjoys the spotlight and being as crude as humanly possible. Here, he fears that his career will be over because he has developed a case of the yips. He can no longer remember the count. That is such a crucial skill for being in the booth calling baseball games. He needs this skill in order to return to the big leagues. He still has to impress people to keep moving up in his career. Right now, he is only on the radio broadcast with Gabby as his co-anchor. They have worked out a system in which she says the count while he just rambles from story to story as he struggles to get it right. Everyone notices and mocks him for it. He understands perfectly that this could quickly end his career because it has done so for many legends throughout the history of the sport. He is putting that insane amount of pressure on himself in order to get it exactly right. That only compounds the anxiety though. His sponsor understands that. She sees that Brockmire is too selfish and doesn't know how to reckon with the many problems and mistakes he has in his life. He screwed up so much. And yet, this story is never really about how ill-placed his feelings for Jules were and how he tried to mess up her life as a result. That's what broke him. But it's not up to her to fix these problems. He has to do the soul-searching himself. Even in that respect, he struggles because he doesn't find any kind of clarity whatsoever. Gabby can offer her own experience of a higher power reaching out to her. She was open to the universe and felt that guiding hand when she was playing in her first World Series game. She can explain faith better than anyone else Brockmire has ever encountered. That's a tremendous gift she gives to him even though he wants to selfishly exploit it for his own personal gain. That doesn't work. Instead, he's stuck in a bathroom being mean to a man with cancer as he is vomiting into the toilet. Brockmire believes this game is going to be the end of his career because Matt the Bat makes his influence known. He has no problem shaming Brockmire for having the yips. But Matt the Bat also appreciates how honest Brockmire is. He's not treating him any differently despite having cancer. That's the distraction Brockmire needed in order to get out of his own head. That's the true cause of his yips. He's still just as awful and irreverent as ever before. He is just channeling that into something new. That may not be progress at all. But now, he's faced with an agonizing choice. He could once again have a chance in the spotlight as a solo star. He would just have to fire Gabby to do so. She may not call him a friend but she's the closest acquaintance he has in his new life in Florida. She has helped him along the journey. Turning his back on her and her career when she won't get a second chance will only prove how little he has grown. And yet, the show still points out just how much his selfish desire to succeed is driving him forward.