Back in the Game

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Back in the Game TV Poster Image
Coarse Little League sitcom boasts cute cast, tired jokes.

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 2 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

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 & Representations

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.


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.


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.


Lots of coarse language: "What the hell?", "He sucks," and "I'm screwed." Plus variations of "ass."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink onscreen; no one acts drunk, but a central character is clearly an alcoholic, though it's played for laughs.

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byBigchris September 8, 2013

Don't expect the middle

I got a free preview of this program though it was cute there are some content issues "a kid tells the couch he likes her boobs " two same sex kisses... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byitsmejustine123321 March 20, 2016

super cute and funny

maggie lawson is literally the best actress on this planet
Teen, 13 years old Written byEmma's Dawn September 27, 2013

Cute Show, good for cheap entertainment. Some questionable bits.

OK. Starting a review. Always the hardest part. Anyway, while I think this show does entertain for the quick 20 minutes it's on, and it has some cute jokes... Continue reading

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?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love sports

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

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate