The new Prime Video series “A League of Their Own” acknowledges Penny Marshall’s 1992 hit film of the same name while deepening the story. While Marshall’s movie very much tackled misogynistic attitudes towards women playing baseball, it didn’t have the scope of diversity that the new series establishes, especially when it comes to exploring issues related to race and sexual orientation with the All American Girls Professional Baseball League players.
Like the 1992 film, the series explores the foundation of the All American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGGPBL), but it dives into more of the individual stories of players who come from minority backgrounds. Starring Abbi Jacobson as Carson Shaw and Chanté Adams as Max Chapman, the show weaves the two narratives of these characters together in a complex story that’s fun yet surprisingly intimate.
“All of us love and are obsessed with the movie,” actress D’Arcy Carden who plays Dottie-esque Greta Gill, told TheWrap. “There’s so many similarities, but we really wanted to kiss the movie and then do our own thing. From the characters to expanding the lens and really showing different stories and different characters, I feel really good about how we are honoring the movie by doing our own show.”
Carden’s character Greta appears early on in the show with her best friend Jo De Luca (Melanie Field), and while the pair echo May (Madonna) and Doris (Rosie O’Donnell) from the original film, they have a more layered dynamic of friendship.
“It feels uniquely its own and yet anyone who’s a fan of the movie I think is gonna see it and go, ‘Yes. Oh, yes. Yes, I see,’” Field said of the new series.
Both Field’s and Carden’s characters fall under the LGBTQIA+ umbrella of women baseball players, which didn’t make it into the movie.
“The movie told the story they were setting out to tell. They told the story of those women perfectly,” Carden continued. “Guess what, there are more women. There are a lot more women with a lot more stories, and now it’s our job in 2022 with eight hours of television to tell those stories.”
Roberta Colindrez, who plays the Mexican pitcher Lupe García, echoes Carden’s sentiments.
“I think that Penny Marshall did an incredible job in 1992 exploring these things that hadn’t been talked about for some reason, in 40 years or 50 years,” she said. “And now we got to kind of look at it from a new lens. We’re in 2022, we have a much more curious audience and people that need more truth and more diversity and a wider lens on history. And so here we are making a show that can fulfill those needs.”
Colindrez’s García breaks the mold of the ‘white American’ female ballplayer, both because she hails from Mexico and because she identifies as butch, a lot like her ‘hermano’ Jess McCready (Kelly McCormack), who joins the league from Canada, playing shortstop for the Rockford Peaches.
“A lot of the women who played for the AAGPBL were queer and were much more diverse than the first film was able to delve into, so a lot of us were more based on the actual women who play the game as opposed to the film,” McCormack said.
There is one character who stands out as unaccepting of queerness, but outfielder Maybelle (Molly Ephraim) puts her in her place toward the conclusion of Season 1.
“I really like that for Maybelle, she, in certain ways — I mean, she’s a blonde — but in certain ways, she seems like a little bit [gestures to there being nothing in her head] blonde,” Ephraim said. “She really has so much more wisdom than she seems to have at first glance, and acceptance. It was nice to be able to, in such a beautiful cast of queerness, to play an ally even before this person is called an ally.”
Saida Arrika Ekulona, who plays Max’s mother Toni Chapman, sums up what can be gleaned from the series after the season is over.
“Recognize the inclusion of everyone in the world in 1943,” she said. “People of color, queer people, everyone was existing during that time. Don’t be so myopic, and have fun with it. Laugh! We’re funny!”
Source: The Wrap