The following review contains minor spoilers for season one of A League of Their Own
In 1992, A League of Their Own, a movie about the All-American Girl’s Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL), aired in theaters. It took viewers on the journey of the women who played for the very first women’s baseball league in 1943, in the midst of WWII sending their men off to war. The movie was beloved by many, not least because of the acting of Geena Davis and Tom Hanks.
The reboot promised the same baseball, but pretty much everything else was different. While the original was focused on straight white players, the remake expanded the movie into an 8-episode series, and it used that space to focus nearly entirely on the characters that were excluded the first time around. The Rockford Peaches team has at least 5 queer players, including one queer latino player. While historical accounts state that nearly half of the league was queer, that was largely erased the first time around. Additionally, a second storyline is added in- that of Max (Chanté Adams). Max is a black queer woman baseball player with arguably the best pitching arm anyone has ever seen, but she’s denied a spot on the Peaches because she is black. Max’s storyline is extraordinarily well developed and provided a window into the other ways women were playing baseball in the 40s.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. What’s truly incredible about this show isn’t the diversity of the cast, but the care which the show took to develop each of them as unique and complex identities. Carson Shaw (Abbi Jacobson), the married woman just discovering her sexuality, is perhaps the easiest to flesh out, but even she has layers that need to be peeled back in order to easily understand her. Greta (D’Arcy Gill) and Jo (Melanie Field) have known each other for years and they’ve come to Chicago as yet another stop on their adventure. They each have their own individual stories, but the most powerful part is the friendship between the two of them.
It’s so rare to see true friendship onscreen, and there’s so many examples of it being done well in this show. Greta and Jo are basically siblings; they know each other’s complicated pasts and they’re there to support each other, but they’re also going to fight. Lupe (Roberta Colindrez) and Jess (Kelly McCormack) have a bond over their shared queerness, and refer to each other as brothers, supporting and protecting each other. Max and her best friend, Clance (Gbemisola Ikumelo) have been best friends since childhood and despite how different they are, they love each other unconditionally.
The shows of unconditional friendship among so many different people in the cast was so powerful, and as was the representation of family and chosen family in Max’s storyline. I cried multiple times over the course of this show purely because of how beautiful it was to see older lesbians supporting younger lesbians and making the world a better place for them.
If you want a show with women making out with other women, this is for you. If you want elements of queer history, this is also for you. If you just want to watch a show about the powers of platonic female friendships, this is one of the best shows I’ve ever seen at representing that.
I am absolutely in love with A League of Their Own, and I will be watching it again soon.