Back in the Game
By Joyce Slaton,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Coarse Little League sitcom boasts cute cast, tired jokes.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
One senses this show is going for a celebration of the misfit, but it ceaselessly mocks its square pegs, with characters saying things like "That kid is fat!" and "He sucks." There's also some respect for family unity and support, but that's balanced by jokey alcoholism and poor parenting.
Positive Role Models
Terry is the show's moral center and she is a loving and caring mother. But she also does things like throwing ice and baseballs at her rival's face. Terry's dad drinks and makes crude comments, but he's supposed to be a loveable old coot.
Violence & Scariness
Schoolboy scuffling during which one child threatens "I'll beat your ass." Windows are bashed in with a bat; a man is hit in the face with a baseball as punishment for "being a jackass," lots of baseball diamond injuries.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Characters are single; expect dating and flirting. Many body-humor jokes, such as when characters are told they're violent to "compensate for a small penis." One character is sneeringly called "Dick," a character refers to playing ball with his "johnson" hanging out to unnerve a rival.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Lots of coarse language: "What the hell?", "He sucks," and "I'm screwed." Plus variations of "ass."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters drink onscreen; no one acts drunk, but a central character is clearly an alcoholic, though it's played for laughs.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Back in the Game is a Little League-themed sitcom with lots of coarse language and body humor, including references to public nudity played for laughs. A central character is depicted as a loveable alcoholic, and viewers will see drinking onscreen, including imbibing from a flask at a children's baseball game, though no one acts drunk. Kids and adults are mocked for being physically large, awkward at sports, and for the size of their genitals. A mother says of her Lady Gaga-loving son, "He's so gay!" and there's a healthy dose of sexual innuendo and poor role modeling, in the name of humor. Beneath the veneer of coarseness, characters are mostly loving to each other, but parents may not appreciate the dirty jokes and may consider it inappropriate, especially for younger kids.
Where to Watch
Based on 1 parent review
Don't expect the middle
Report this review
What's the Story?
In her youth, BACK IN THE GAME's Terry Gannon Jr. (Maggie Lawson) was a promising softball player. That was before she hooked up with a loser who gave her a son but destroyed her chances at playing college ball. Now, determined to give son Danny a better life, she's moved back in with her father, washed-out ball player and alcoholic Terry "The Cannon" Gannon Sr. (James Caan) and agreed to coach a Little League team made up of kids awkward enough on the ball field that they couldn't make any of the "good" teams. With her rich, flighty pal Lulu (Lenora Crichlow) bankrolling the team, and rival David Slingbaugh just waiting for her to fail, Terry wonders what she's doing Back in the Game.
Is It Any Good?
Haven't we seen this story before? Like, several times? The Bad News Bears was made into two separate movies, and even a TV series in the late 1970s. It even seems like James Caan's character is a retreat on the washed-up boozy coach played by Walter Matthau and Billy Bob Thornton. Of course, in Back in the Game, things are changed up by throwing a female coach into the mix, a sassy single mom who actually cares if her own son succeeds both on the baseball diamond and in his life. But the endless weiner jokes and pratfalls still seem like they'd fit in perfectly with the 1970s Bad News Bears. Could we have some fresh jokes, please?
Still, James Caan can land a joke and it's great to see him. And the actors playing his grandson, daughter, and her dizzy best friend are telegenic and charming. Perhaps if this family comedy injects a bit more heart into the proceedings and loses a few penis jokes, it'd be a decent whole-family viewing bet.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about whether the action in Back in the Game is realistic or heightened for comic effect. Is the effect comical? Do people act like television characters or like real people?
Which of the characters in Back in the Game are we supposed to like? Which are we supposed to dislike? How are these characters presented differently: dialogue, costumes, camera angles, music, etc?
What type of person envisioned and wrote Back in the Game? An older person or a younger person? A man or a woman? Someone who is well-educated or less so? What about the show brings you to these conclusions?
- Premiere date: September 25, 2013
- Cast: Ben Koldyke, James Caan, Lenora Crichlow, Maggie Lawson
- Network: ABC
- Genre: Comedy
- TV rating: NR
- Last updated: October 14, 2022
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Where to Watch
Our Editors Recommend
Movies for Girls Who Love Sports
Great Sports Movies
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate