Ever since its pilot, Pitch has been one of our favourite shows here at Fangirlish. For some of us – namely, the sports fans – it’s been a dream come true, combining female empowerment with a critical and accurate look at sports culture. For others, it’s been a wonderful surprise, charming us with its healthy, believable relationships and straight up feminism in every episode. Either way, we’ve all loved it.
But the problem is, Pitch isn’t getting the ratings we think it deserves. And with only two episodes left, it has yet to be renewed for a second season. Which is why we decided to put together a roundtable about everything we love about this amazing show.
Now, if you read this blog regularly, you know the drill with our roundtables: usually about three or four writers, maybe with a special guest or two. But this one is different. This time, I wanted to hear from lots of different fans, to illustrate just how big this show’s reach is. I sent out a few tweets asking for participants, and the response was immediate and almost overwhelming. That’s how much people care about this wonderful show.
So joining me for this roundtable are an incredible nine people: fellow Fangirlish writers Lizzie, Erin and Charles, as well as Meredith (@FanMomWatches) from Just About Write and fans Kate (@KateW6677), Ann (@GeekTalk51), Jen (@darlinginmyway), Cor (@xoxoCorinne) and Souris (@Cat_Gray14)!
Let’s start with the obvious: we’re all here because we love Pitch and want it to be renewed. What do you like about Pitch, and why do you think it’s an important show?
Beata: I don’t even know where to start with how much I love Pitch. I’m not a baseball fan, at all, and I was actually kind of nervous about writing about the show because of my lack baseball knowledge, but I had absolutely no problem following and enjoying the action. That said, as a huge hockey fan I was immediately struck by its incredibly realistic portrayal of sports culture. And then before I knew it I was already attached to every single one of the characters and invested in their relationships with each other.
Somehow, Pitch has managed to take everything I love about sports, and make it appealing to people who don’t usually enjoy that kind of entertainment. It has the emotion, the intensity and the compelling characters, on top of everything else I look for in a TV show.
Lizzie: I have a hard time articulating what I like about Pitch, because, thing is – I like just about everything about this show, and that’s about as rare as ….sorry, can’t find a metaphor. It’s like everything can happen these days. Which is why I’m clinging to the hope that FOX is going to listen to the outcry and renew this wonderful show.
But, to get back on track – Pitch, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways: The strong, and REAL female characters, the gentle rebukes at sexism, the message of empowerment that it sends, not just to young girls, but to anyone who’s ever had a dream and thought they could never get there, the relatable and complex male/female relationships that no, don’t all have to lead to romance, the actual sports. It’s like – if I made a list of things I wanted on a show, Pitch would check every column. In fact, the only thing I don’t like about Pitch Season 1 is that it’s so short. So, tell me …who do I have to sell my soul to for a Season 2?
Erin: I hate sports. Like hate them. I don’t understand them at all, which is why at first I didn’t want to watch Pitch. I legit told everyone on this site, you can do it – cause I can’t. The truth is – from the very first episode I watched I knew that this show was special. It wasn’t about just about sports. It was about so much more. The way that we live our lives, the pain that we keep, the limits that we put on ourselves and the ones that we must overcome, the insecurities we all suffer from. I am not Ginny Baker, but I can see the woman in me that is aching to break through that glass ceiling, to show that there is nothing I can’t do with my life. It’s not a show that’s just for sports lovers – it’s a show that is for anyone who is living life and needs to find their way. Hands down, my favorite show of the season.
Charles: There is a lot I like about Pitch but one of the main things is that no character on here is perfect. Everyone in the show feels like a real person, one with flaws and pain. I would much rather root for people like that than perfect, flawless characters. I think Pitch is important because tv needs more strong women of color in well-written leading roles and Ginny Baker is too good a character to only spend one short season with.
Meredith: I love Pitch because it’s different. It’s unlike anything else on TV right now. Everyone is talking about the strong female lead, and other strong female characters, which is of course true and important and huge. But to me that’s part of what makes it so unique. The sad reality is that diversity on TV is lacking – that includes shows led by strong female characters, and most notably women of color. Pitch delivers on that in spades, with more than one character that viewers from different backgrounds can relate to. On top of that, the writing, directing, casting, and of course acting is superb. The cast has so much chemistry, you can tell they’re having fun with each other. There isn’t a single character I don’t enjoy. Not one. And that says a lot!
Finally, Zack Morris with a beard. Yep, we’ve got Lumberzack. Need I say more?
Kate: Pitch is a show that does almost everything well. But for me, the most important thing a new show can do to hook me is to give me great characters, and Pitch excels at this. It has an ensemble of vivid, diverse characters who are flawed and relatable and funny and brave and who form realistic relationships with each other. It also tells an inspiring story of breaking down prejudices and barriers in a time where we need positive role models and a lot of hope. The most emotional and important moments on this show have been the times when other characters supported and stood up for Ginny when she needed it, e.g. when her teammates had her back in “Beanball;” Mike’s heartfelt “She’s a total gamer” speech during his otherwise-awkward stint as an All Star Game analyst; and the Padres’ management’s support for her after they saw her emotional breakdown on her friend’s phone. In a time when we have all been witness to some pretty lousy human on human behavior, it is so inspiring to see a TV show provide example after example of people treating each other, and especially a woman of color, with love, kindness and respect. I love the show for this most of all.
Ann: I first had an interest in the show because of 2 early factors in the promotion: baseball and a female playing baseball at the Major League level. When I was a kid, girls didn’t play little league. I still learned how to play, how the game worked and how being female was NOT a flaw or deficiency. So when Pitch first started getting buzz, I was already on board to watch it, record it and enjoy it. In fact, I was inclined to like it strongly. The pilot, though, blew me away. Whatever expectations I had were shattered and surpassed. There was so much to enjoy, and each episode has only built on the aspects that keep me tuned in AND wanting a 2nd season and more.
I think Ginny as the main lead is one of the biggest appeals to me, and Kylie Bunbury does a fantastic job. The show is more about Ginny’s role as a baseball pitcher, too. The show is successfully balancing a fairly large ensemble cast while keeping her sharply in focus. The baseball action scenes are also finely done, and I’m glad that MLB has thrown its full support and resources into making the show realistic on that front. The show struck gold with the rest of the cast. There are so many characters to keep track of yet it’s a pleasure to watch them all.
Jen: I think it’s important because it’s so rare, almost unseen, for a black woman lead in a show to be surrounded by people who genuinely love and care for her. That we can see a black married couple who deeply care about one another, and their two care-free black boys. That there’s a Latino man in charge, and he’s given a voice and depth. That there’s a Cuban refugee who’s not at all frazzled by the fact that his pitcher is a woman. There are platonic male/female relationships. There are real female relationships. There are so many developments that happen every week, and every week I fall more in love with this show. It’s just got to stay around.
Cor: There are so many reasons I love Pitch. The diversity on the show is the real deal. The cast is diverse, the writers room is diverse, and even the directors are diverse (4 out of 10 directors were female, and 2 of them were WoC). Pitch also allows their female characters and their characters of color (and any intersection thereof) to have the same amount of character development and story time that TV usually only affords to straight, white men. That said, the characters are real. Pitch is not afraid to explore the flaws in each character. Pitch has no fear. Also, Mark-Paul’s beard alone deserves its own Emmy.
Souris: I love Pitch because it’s so current and explores a lot of themes that are particularly relevant today – the challenges of women breaking into traditionally male-dominated fields, the role of sports in American culture, life in the glare of the media and social-media spotlight. So many people in the U.S. idolize their sports heroes. Kids and adults look up to athletes. They’re our royalty and rock stars all rolled into one. But they’re people too and the show treats them as such – albeit people with huge houses and fancy cars! The diversity of the cast is also something that really needs to be celebrated and supported. Plus it has a lot of heart. There aren’t always easy answers to problems and the show acknowledges that. These are characters I just really want to hang out with, and the appeal of that simple fact can never be understated.