Previously on Pitch, “Alfonso Guzman Chavez”
Week after week, Pitch continues to exceed and challenge my expectations about what type of show it’s going to be. Each predictable plotline comes along with an equally unpredictable unfolding of and resolution to it. Every time the show sets itself up to be clichéd or trope-y, it takes a hard left and gives us something far more layered and nuanced than anticipated. Aside from a few structural issues, “Wear It” kept this trend going. This episode could easily have been a repeat of past plots; Ginny dealing with massive amounts of pressure and expectations is nothing fresh. However, despite exploring similar themes, “Wear It” steered clear of monotonous patterns by offering new insight into how these themes affect Ginny’s identity and mental health.
It’s easy to understand why Pitch continues to focus on Ginny’s new status, and the stresses that go along with it. Not only does it create effective dramatic tension, it’s also an entirely accurate representation of what would happen in the real world. “Firsts” are big deals to us as a culture, and for good reason. Representation, whether in terms of race, gender, etc., matters a great deal. Despite the fact that so many accomplishments we’ve seen in recent history should have been celebrated several decades ago and then fallen into a state of normalcy, sadly, they haven’t. So, it makes sense that even in this fictional world, a woman of color playing for Major League Baseball would be met with an epic amount of fanfare. What I loved most about “Wear It” was how it illustrated the effect of that fanfare from the perspective of the person making history. Because as important as it is to celebrate these achievements, we often forget just how much weight this carries for the person we’ve put on the pedestal.
To the world at large, Ginny is an icon of hope and progress. She belongs in the ranks of people like Jackie Robinson, Barack Obama, and Sally Ride. In Ginny’s eyes, she’s just a woman dealing with the same issues everyone faces in their early adulthood. She’s still discovering who she truly is and grapples with thoughts like, was it the right choice to skip college? The person pictured in the massively sized ads on every wall at the Nike endorsement party is Ginny, but it’s also not. As her psychiatrist (Rita Wilson) later touches on, there are two sides of her now, which are going to be difficult to reconcile; it’s no wonder she’s started suffering from panic attacks. Meeting Cara, who, unlike everyone else, has a clear indifference to Ginny’s celebrity, was exactly what she needed at that moment.
Watching Ginny escape the Nike party to indulge in a few hours of spontaneous fun with people her age, was somewhat cathartic. Though I know it’s not how Amelia pictured it, Ginny did finally let loose. Compared to the wild nights we’ve seen some celebrities have in real life though, Ginny’s short rebellion was pretty tame. Sure, she deliberately wore New Balance shoes while being filmed, but her night out could have ended in a far more scandalous fashion. And it might have on another show. Here, the tearful bathtub confession coming to light was a far more engaging consequence, because it steered the focus onto Ginny’s state of emotional health. There goes Pitch, defying more expectations. In fact, several details in the latter half of this episode proved Pitch is happy taking the less predictable route on all fronts.
Perhaps it’s because I’ve been conditioned by too much bad TV, or the fact that we do share a world with plenty of garbage people, but I immediately assumed Cara was playing Ginny for a fool. Handing over the bathtub video was a display of empathy I’m not used to on TV, and was therefore the much more rewarding narrative path. I hope we see more of Cara; it would be nice for Ginny to have friends outside of the baseball world. This show of empathetic response was also surprising when it came from the Padres’ execs. Instead of getting angry or threatening Ginny with a suspension, or worse, they recognized what she was going through and offered help. I think this is partly what enabled Ginny to be honest about the fact that she was not coping so well. And while I loved her sincerity, her willingness to speak with the psychiatrist does cause a problem for the episode in retrospect. This is where the aforementioned structural problems become an issue.
If Ginny was so ready to speak with a psychiatrist, why did she spend the entire episode pushing back against her? It feels as though this reluctance was used to heighten tension, which worked, but then fell apart once it’s revealed Ginny was completely amenable to the idea. This may have been the episode where Pitch could have ditched its flashback structure. In addition to creating this false tension, it felt like a misstep to include any POV that wasn’t Ginny’s. Except for one glimpse at Amelia’s past, every flashback has centered on Ginny, but they’ve never been definitively in her POV. In this episode, we’re led to believe that the flashbacks are arising because Ginny is recalling the events of the last 48 hours in her life. Why, then, are there scenes without her? Although I didn’t mind bits and pieces from the other plotlines – seeing more of Elliot, Amelia breaking up with Mike and proving just how much Ginny means to her. Every scene without Ginny pulled me right out of the story because I was questioning their overall purpose. Had this episode taken an even deeper dive into Ginny’s POV, it could have been that much more affecting.
Still, “Wear It” ends on an interesting note. What if Ginny doesn’t want to play baseball? From an extra textual perspective, that question is a bit troublesome. What is a show about baseball if there’s no baseball? From a story perspective however, this question being posed could mean the show is finally going to explore how Ginny really feels about her career. As I’ve mentioned in previous reviews, it’s been hard to get a read on whether or not she’s 100% dedicated to baseball. It’s clear that part of her is fully on board, but I still wonder how much impact all of the external factors, like her father, have on her decisions. The fact that trading in the glove her father gave her – the last thing he ever gave to her – for a new glove from Nike, was essentially the tipping point for Ginny in this episode, means there’s still a lot to unpack in that relationship. Here’s hoping that while Ginny deals with her next hurdle – the photos of her and Trevor have been leaked – Pitch dedicates some time to Ginny’s true feelings about baseball.
- I’m so glad Pitch finally made mention of the other women who have played baseball at an elite professional level. I had hoped to see signs of Ginny being aware of a baseball history that didn’t just include men. A lesser show would have forced this upon her character from the start, and I’m glad Pitch is letting it come out slowly, in an organic way. More of this please!
- Evelyn and Blip having the same fake “whhaaaat?” reaction to Amelia and Mike was not only hilarious, it was a clever way to emphasize just how close the married couple is.
- If Amelia and Mike’s breakup is for real, I think it’s okay for the show to go ahead with a Ginny and Mike romance. It’s not my first priority for Pitch, but at least they’ve (mostly) eliminated the possibility of a silly love triangle.
Pitch S1E6 = 9.2/10