Wednesday, March 18, 2020

REVIEW: 'Brockmire' - Brockmire Is Approached with a Job Offer at the Top of Baseball in 'Favorable Matchup'

IFC's Brockmire - Episode 4.01 "Favorable Matchup"

Jim learns baseball is worse off than he thinks and his daughter is moving to New York for college.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the season premiere of IFC's Brockmire.

"Favorable Matchup" was written by Joel Church-Cooper and directed by Maurice Marable

The fourth and final season of Brockmire depicts a bleak prospect for the future. It presents a hellscape damaged by climate change and the near certainty of the looming apocalypse. Moreover, Brockmire is approached to become the new commissioner of Major League Baseball. That's an insane prospect considering all that Brockmire has done over the course of the series. He was kicked out as a professional sports announcer because of his colorful language. He fought his way back into the organization. He overcame his various addictions. And now, he is actually seen as a success story. He may have alienated more people along the way. However, he has built a stable life for himself. He can now be seen as a father as well. That is an unexpected development at the start of the premiere. It's not something that was previously established. But it also makes sense that he would have a child out there in the world. In fact, Beth's only initial understanding of her father is by seeing him in the Filipino remake of Hart to Hart. She looks up at him as this cool action star. She can idolize him even when her mother refuses to see him as anything more than a lousy actor whose plots don't make any sense whatsoever. That isn't Brockmire in real life though. In actuality, he is a complicated man who doesn't always know how to behave with other people. That may not be an appropriate dynamic for a child. And yet, he is committed to raising Beth after the rest of her family dies. She lands on his doorstep and he takes her in. Ten years later, it's clear that she has a bright future ahead of her. He has grown so attached to her as well. He may be repeating the same mistakes as the selfish parents who came before him in his bloodline. He has that clarity the first night that he is a father to Beth. He will break the cycle. Ten years later though, he has become the selfish parent who wants to keep her close by no matter what. He needs her now more than she potentially needs him. That startles him because he wasn't expecting it all. At this point in his life, he is essentially ready to retire after achieving all that he wanted in his professional career. He succeeded in getting what he always wanted. He doesn't want to become the commissioner. That was never his dream. He doesn't see it as a good job either. It's a public face with no real power. He would have to cater to the needs of billionaires he can't stand. And yet, his presence may be the only thing that can potentially revitalize love for the sport. People are no longer attending games. Players are no longer excited to join the league. It's a loss because of the changing dynamics of the world. Brockmire can bring an old school mentality back to the love of the game. But he also has to prepare for the scary prospects of the future knowing that some things may not be able to reverse their fortunes. Beth wants to go to film school in New York City. She doesn't want to conform to the life her father wants for her. She wants to explore her own identity. She doesn't want to remain close to home. Brockmire simply makes changes to his life to ensure that he can stay with her even though she is moving to the big city. He sees the danger happening throughout the world. He is more skeptical of the outside world than ever before. That has made him even more blunt with his language and expressing those personal opinions to his colleagues. He makes a whole bit out of a co-worker's body odor. That's insane. Becoming a father hasn't exactly softened him at all even though he is more likely to break into tears over a hair brush. He is sentimental in that way. But he also holds on too tightly as well to what he expects from the world around him. He is still fundamentally Jim Brockmire after all these years. That is comforting as the show prepares for its end by depicting a bleak and horrifying world. But it also wants to be uplifting by centering the story around a new family that Brockmire has made for himself as he tries to maintain it for as long as possible. And of course, baseball will always be at the center of that story too.