Back In the Game, Episode 9 Recap and Review

Guys, we did it! We have an episode of Back In the Game that is not actively entirely awful, which is kind of amazing for an episode whose title (Massive Election) is a dick joke. It’s still kind of awful, and it’s in no way even the smallest bit amusing, but I think we can all agree that an episode devoid of our usual fare of fat jokes, and casual racism and sexism masquerading as humor is a genuine step forward for this horrifying television program that has defied God and nature and remained on the air for almost three months already.

This week’s episode is about leadership, as Terry schemes to usurp Dick the misogynist league president as league president while Danny refuses to be the captain of the Angles. The Angles, you see, are having trouble getting everyone to practice, since their field times conflict with all the players’ other extra-curricular activities (including, as we learn in the episode’s one funny line, Dong’s job). Cannon thinks the kids need a leader to rally them and get them to attend, while Terry goes chasing after Dick’s golf cart to get their practice time changed.

Well, Dick can’t change the practice times without upsetting the other two teams on the schedule, and Terry’s follow-up attempt to get the schedule changed at the league meeting is also a bust until Dick tells her, if she were president, she could change the times herself. So Terry begins campaigning, quickly lining up four of the five votes she’ll need to take over the presidency by promising to end Dick’s various abuses of power. The final vote comes down to Stan, who abandons his high school buddy for use of the league’s golf cart, despite knowing that the league presidency is the only good thing Dick really has going in his life.

Danny, on the other hand, wants nothing to do with the responsibilities of leadership because he’s afraid everyone will hate him for being bad at it. It’s probably a symptom of living in a Survivor culture where anyone who declares themselves a leader is immediately ridiculed, hated, and voted off the island. Danny is afraid of regicide, and prefers the low stakes of just being an 11 year old. Honestly, it’s hard to blame him given the examples this show puts forward, and how terrible his followers would be. I mean, nobody would think Robin Hood was such hot shit if his Merry Men were Li’l John,, and Tucker and Dale instead of Little John, Will Scarlett, Friar Tuck, and Alan-A-Dale.

Eventually, despite turning down the larger leadership role, Danny does show some initiative, helping his grandfather win $1200 gambling on golf and getting Stan to flip. And Terry proves to be the Sarah Palin of Little League, abdicating her new job and the reneging on the promises she made to end Dick’s petty tyrancy as long as he gives her the practice time she wants. And thus do we learn that being a leader is a terrible idea, that the only people who want that responsibility are doing it solely out of their own self-interest, and that it’s better to let other people handle it if you can’t be an unbridled success and solve all of the world’s problems. Somehow, this is an improvement.

Enjoy hating this:

The Cannon’s Baseball Tip of the Week:  

I guess that every team should have a leader, which isn’t really a baseball tip, but it’s as close as we get.

References to Real Baseball:

Don’t be ridiculous. They haven’t done this since week 2. I will use this space to point out, however, that Dick uses this episode to explain that he has feelings for Terry twice. Once to Stan as he explains that he can’t drop his facade of being douchily awesome in front of her, because chicks dig that whole vibe, and once when he quickly tells her he likes her and wants to impress her, and she doesn’t acknowledge his feelings with anything like human compassion, not that he deserves it.

Age Inappropriate Things Kids Do Or Say:

“A few days ago at school, we learned about this thing called regicide.”

Life lessons learned through baseball:

None, unless you count the leader thing, which really, we don’t learn this lesson at all actually. Nobody steps up and we don’t see the consequences for stepping up or not stepping up.

Continuity Problems:

“Steve moved to Virginia.” Who’s Steve? I’m assuming this is a joke.

Despite what you might have learned in Caddyshack (which this episode blatantly steals from), it can’t be legal to get somebody to take your shot for you in golf after you get injured to win a $1200 bet. Especially if that person is your 11 year old grandson.

Quotes That Sum Up This Series:

“I’m afraid to fail, ok? In front of my friends, in front of Vanessa. I’ll look like a jerk. But right now I’m safe.”

“It’s just that I was raised to lead and win at all costs. And I do that without thinking about how it affects other people sometimes. And I’m sorry.”

Final Verdict:

Finally, this is an episode I could show to my kids. I wouldn’t show it to my kids, mind you, but I could. And then I’d have to explain about how important it is to follow through on your promises, and how being a leader can be a really important thing to do, especially if you use that position to help people, and that every single person on the show really is kind of horrible. But I don’t want to talk to my kids that much, so it’s easier not to task them with trying to squeeze a little fun out of this turd.

Four more episodes, my friends. Will Terry and Dick find love? God, I hope not. Will we ever see any baseball action again? I suppose it’s possible. Can this show be redeemed even a little bit? Check back next week.

Mike Bates co-founded The Platoon Advantage, and has written for many other baseball websites, including NotGraphs (rest in peace) and The Score. Currently, he writes for Baseball Prospectus and co-hosts the podcast This Week In Baseball History. His favorite word is paradigm. Follow him on Twitter @MikeBatesSBN.

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10 years ago

I’m so sorry you’ve had to do this… is that Dirty Jobs show still on? This qualifies.