Back in the Game TV Poster Image

Back in the Game



Coarse Little League sitcom boasts cute cast, tired jokes.
  • Network: ABC
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2013

What parents need to know

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

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."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

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

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.

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.

Families can talk 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

Premiere date:September 25, 2013
Cast:Ben Koldyke, James Caan, Lenora Crichlow, Maggie Lawson
TV rating:NR

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What parents and kids say

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Educator 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 agin by kids talk of periods and some language i personaly don't think it should be on right after the middle due to this content but if u feel your kid is mature enough to handle it I say try it it's well worth it
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 (though mildly overused) and good actors, I think it does have a few things that make it not appropriate for littler kids. The kid, Danny, cusses quite a bit around his mom, and his mom is fine with it. Also the Cannon drinks all the time and has a serious attitude. There is a gay kid who is seen singing Lady Gaga's Born This Way, Danny kisses another boy to 'scare him'. Though in a positive way they all try their best. The Cannon truly wanted his daughter to succeed in softball. Terry wants to help her son. Danny wants to do good in baseball to show off to a girl. Well, I'm rattling on. I do that. Back to the point. Good: Cute, funny actors. Funny jokes, quick witted. 20 minutes to entertain. Bad: Kids cussing. Drinking.
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 13 years old Written byitsmejustine123321 March 20, 2016

super cute and funny

maggie lawson is literally the best actress on this planet