“A step in the right direction, elevating the gender discussion but unfortunately while relying on racial stereotypes.”
Title: Pitch Season 1 (S01E01 - 07 reviewed)
Creators: Dan Fogelman 👨🏼 🇺🇸 and Rick Singer 👨🏼 🇺🇸
Writers: Various (diverse, with women and POC)
Reviewed by Li 👩🏻 🇺🇸
High production values and extremely polished. Other than Kylie Bunbury (Ginny Baker) though, who is awesome and ultra-believable in her role, acting is spotty. And as per network television, storylines and writing are simplistic with contrived flashbacks and boring romances. Feels targeted towards young adults and wasn’t super compelling beyond surface entertainment.
Does it pass the Bechdel Test? YES
The entire premise of this show is about breaking the gender barrier in pro sports, and they nail it. Ginny Baker is nuanced, strong, and vulnerable, while other female characters each bring different aspects of womanhood for a very round picture. Bonus points for Amelia telling Oscar he’s “mansplaining” in episode 6.
Strangely, considering the lead is a black woman and there are strong black characters on the show, Pitch actually falls a little short here. Despite being set in San Diego, where Hispanics made up 29% of the populace in 2015,* there is only one recurring Hispanic character and is played by an actor who is only half-Mexican.
Meanwhile, there is only one recurring Asian character and he is the weakest link in this category. Eliot is the ultimate Asian male stereotype: awkward, deferential, and consistently emasculated as the butt of several jokes. Female characters either ignore him or roll their eyes in nearly every scene he gets on-screen.
In short, Pitch is outstanding for black representation but their Hispanic and Asian characterizations are minimal, flat, and stereotyped.
No LGBTQ representation in seven episodes. Granted, this is a show about the MLB and LGBTQ issues are charged in pro sports, so I gave it an extra point for context.
Mediaversity Grade: B- (3.63/5)
A step in the right direction, but unfortunately relies on other stereotypes to elevate the gender angle. Look, it isn’t a zero-sum game–Pitch needs to learn how to be both groundbreaking for women in sports without being lazy when writing non-white and non-black characters. Or, you know, just lazy in writing overall (God, the flashbacks…so many flashbacks.)
* Statistical Atlas, http://statisticalatlas.com/place/California/San-Diego/Race-and-Ethnicity