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'Pitch' recap: 'Wear It'

Posted on

Ray Mickshaw; FOX

Pitch

type:
TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
seasons:
1
run date:
09/22/16
broadcaster:
Fox
genre:
Drama, Sports

So far, Pitch has made a habit of delivering at just the right moment, not unlike the Cubs’ offense in Game 7. Last week, I begged for some darkness for Ginny, and this week, the drama came through.

You never know what’s going to break someone who’s functioning under enormous pressure. In Ginny’s case, it’s a glove — a Nike glove, to be specific. It’s a glove the behemoth athletic brand gives her right after she signs a major endorsement deal, and it would like her to start using it. Now, I’ve tried to stay away from nitpicking Pitch’s realness batting average, but I feel quite certain that if you’re a baseball player good enough to become a marquee Nike ambassador, nobody’s asking you to switch up your equipment. Unfortunately, nobody tells Ginny that. And as she stares at the big blue swoosh on the glove, guilt starts to take hold…

…because she doesn’t want to use it. Guilt because she doesn’t think she belongs in the same league as President Obama, who appears in Ginny’s Nike commercial. Guilt because she’s not sure this life of posing for pictures every two minutes is for her. (By the way, if Ginny really has to crouch down for as many fan selfies as this episode suggests, she can completely cut out squats at the gym.) Compounding her shaky mood is Ginny’s growing discomfort with Lawson and Amelia’s ongoing romps. Amelia lets slip to Lawson that Ginny gets panic attacks, and Lawson accidentally references this info in the middle of a bad start for Ginny. She’s not pleased, though I’d like to remind her she’s in good hands —Jessie Spano taught her catcher a thing or two about how to handle a friend’s breakdown.

After Lawson’s blunder, Ginny acts cool toward both him and Amelia. That’s when we learn the only thing nastier than her screwball is her icing-out game. She serves Amelia a serious “We’re not friends, friend” vibe. Mike is so rattled by Ginny snapping at him on the mound, he breaks up with Amelia altogether and is washing dishes in his ex-wife’s kitchen by nightfall. (Why are failed love interests always staying late after their ex’s dinner parties to wash dishes? Has this ever happened to anyone, anywhere? It’s as if Lawson is trying to convince Rachel she should dump her dishwasher instead of her new boyfriend.)

NEXT: Good girl goes bad…in New Balance

[pagebreak]

We know right from the get-go Ginny’s terrible mood is going to get her in trouble, because a therapist has shown up to try talking to Ginny about “the video.” It’s 2016, so we don’t need any more context than that; we get there’s a video, it’s bad for Ginny, and everyone’s seen it online. Also unsurprising: Like 90 percent of the TV characters you’ve seen enter therapy, Ginny spends most of the episode refusing to talk to the therapist. This is a cliché that’s been burnt to a crisp; fortunately, Pitch brings in the ultra-likable Rita Wilson to distract us from the tedium.

What’s in the video Rita Wilson wants to talk about? Just Ginny trashing her income potential in one fell swoop — or, rather, one fell dunk. The fateful night begins auspiciously enough: Ginny shows up to her Nike campaign’s launch party in a red couture gown Evelyn calls “the face of God.” (Good on Pitch for not shoehorning in a She’s All That homage with Lawson as a gaping Freddie Prinze Jr. and Ginny as the newly glammed-up Rachel Leigh Cook. Lawson’s almost-avuncular “You look very nice” is just enough here.) At the party, Ginny seems to feel her sanity slipping away with each passing minute; finally, she escapes with a cater-waitress who promises to show her a good time.

Is this weird and far-fetched and, at the very least, kind of inappropriate? Of course! But just go with it. The point is to demonstrate that Ginny, who tonight reminds us she never went to college, is totally untested when it comes to cutting loose. At the party the waitress takes her to, she dances, kills at beer pong, and marvels at video games as if she’s just crawled out of a bomb shelter. And then comes the dunk: As smartphone cameras roll, Ginny grabs a basketball and crushes it into a pool hoop. The fact she’s wearing a $10,000 gown isn’t even the worst part. It’s that she performs said move in borrowed New Balance sneakers, violating the terms of her new Nike contract. The video is viral for hours before anyone on Ginny’s team can even find her; she’s been at the beach with her new friends.

But there’s another video, one of Ginny sobbing in a stranger’s bathtub, confiding in the waitress that she doesn’t want to go back to the Padres. It’s this clip that gets Amelia, Al, Oscar, and E (Okay, I promise I’ll stop calling him E next week and use his new character name) circling the wagons to figure out what to do with Ginny. “You’re not fine,” Al tells her firmly. And when the dad from The Wonder Years says you’re not fine, you listen. Ginny breaks down and talks to the therapist. “What if I don’t want to play baseball?” she says, anxiously.

It is, far and away, the most interesting Ginny has been so far. (Note how this episode doesn’t rely on flashbacks to Ginny’s childhood to help shore up her stoic nature.) But there’s a big chunk missing from this conversation — I’ll call it the Hillary Clinton questions. Pitch throws so much Ginny-damage at us tonight. We’re led to believe everyone in the country is watching her do a drunken belly-flop on YouTube, that she’s weeping about having to play professional baseball, that she’s snapping at everyone in her personal and professional life. So where are the classic male-led media narratives about why she never smiles? About whether her meltdown coincides with her period? About whether the bathtub video violates a cardinal rule about there being no crying in baseball? (Presumably, therapist Rita Wilson may be able to talk to her husband about making an exception on that one.)

Because Pitch has made public reaction its own recurring character, this episode feels a little empty without some well-earned hubbub over Ginny’s unpredictable spree. Then again, maybe we’ll get a better sense of the complete fallout next week. “Wear It” closes on Amelia breaking the news to Ginny that her ex-boyfriend’s naked photos of her have leaked. The show already mined this for a cliffhanger once, so it better have some incredible payoff planned lest I borrow Ginny’s line: “What else you got?”

What did you think of Ginny’s going-rogue adventures? Should Amelia and Lawson get back together? And could Eliot have aimed a *bit* higher than “social media director” when he decided to demand a job title for himself?

Episode grade: B+

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