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Series / Back in the Game

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A 2013 ABC sitcom centering around Terry Gannon Jr. (Maggie Lawson), a recent divorcée who's forced to move with her son Danny (Griffin Gluck) back into her estranged father's house. Terry Sr. (James Caan), a retired minor-league baseball manager nicknamed "The Cannon", had pushed his daughter into the sport, where she peaked as a star player in college softball but now wants nothing to do with it. Hilarity Ensues when Danny tries out for Little League and doesn't make the team, prompting his grandfather to build a new team around Danny and the other misfit kids.

ABC pulled the plug on Back in the Game after just ten episodes. The series, including three remaining episodes that didn't air, is available for streaming via Amazon Prime.

This show contains examples of:

  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Danny pretends to be one to impress a girl. He is fairly successful attracting both the girl he wanted and another one, but decides to quit when the second girls previous boyfriend hits him. Terry apparently went for them too which is how she ended up with Danny in the first place.
  • Alpha Bitch: Keely Summers, who was Terry's rival from her old high school.
  • Always Someone Better: Keely Summers, Terry's rival from high school.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: The Cannon and Terry in a father-daughter way. In the pilot episode Terry finds the tapes that her father had of all her college games after being angry with him earlier in the episode for not going to see them like he said he would.
  • Backhanded Compliment: Dick delivers one, which eventually slides into just insulting.
    Dick: I like your look, a lot of girls have beauty but you're not concerned about that. You have character, it's like your clothes, you don't care what anybody thinks, and your hair, it's like you were angry when you cut it.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Terry spends "Sports Therapy" excessively doting on Danny because she says she walked in on him doing something in the bathroom that means he's getting older: applying deodorant.
  • Batter Up!: The Cannon's way of solving most problems, he advises his grandson to kneecap a boy who punched him and has threatened many others.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: The Gannon Family.
  • Boyfriend-Blocking Dad: Implied. Terry remarks she never went to the prom because the guy she liked was "mysteriously" hit by a car at the last moment. The Cannon is then seen smirking.
  • Camp Gay: Michael dances on the field and when everyone on the team is describing themselves he sings "Born this Way" by Lady Gaga.
  • Christmas Episode: "I'll Slide Home for Christmas"
  • Catchphrase: "And here ends the lesson."
    • Coined by the Cannon, repeated by Danny when he finds a way to profit from his grandfather's insane attempt to teach him one.
  • Exact Words: In the first episode, Terry boasts of her superior baseball prowess and proposes a bet with Dick: if he can hit her pitch, he'll never see her or Danny again; if he can't, the new team is formed. In the face of mockery, Dick agrees to these terms. On the field, Terry deliberately hits him in the face with the ball.
    Terry: Didn't hit it.
  • Facepalm: Danny does this with his glove hand in response to Terry's team pep talk derailing into a rant about the various problems of her life.
  • Friendless Background: Lulu mentions that at all of her son Michael's previous parties, no matter how many children were invited, he was the only one under 40 who ever attended.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Terry Sr. named his daughter Terry Jr.
  • Gentle Touch vs. Firm Hand: Terry and The Cannon's conflicting style over coaching the kids. For example, with the kids scared of getting hit by pitches, Terry offers a compassionate pep talk about facing one's fears, while The Cannon speaks bluntly about the pain and shows off the dents in his head from the times he got beamed.
  • Guns Akimbo: Danny during the climax of his birthday paintball game.
  • Halloween Episode: "Night Games" has three plots. Terry competes with Keeley at a costume party. The Cannon camps out at the cemetery to protect his wife's grave from possible defacing and ends up competing with a fellow widower over who maintains the nicest looking burial plot. Danny and the team go trick-or-treating, but they run afoul of bullies.
  • Hidden Depths: Dick is in therapy for an eating disorder.
  • Insistent Terminology: The Cannon insists on calling the butterfly painted on his face a Monarch.
  • Jerkass: League head, the aptly named Dick.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: The Cannon, definitely. He isn't the nicest person around, but get between him and his family and you WILL pay.
  • Meaningful Name: Dick's name means a guy being an asshole or jerk at all times.
  • Missing Mom: Terry's mom. It was said in the pilot that she lost her mom when she was young, referring to herself as "the little blonde girl that loses her mother".
  • My Beloved Smother: Terry normally isn't this, but it blows up in "Sports Therapy" when she realizes he's growing up. She repeatedly embarrasses him in front of his friends and Vanessa. After Danny points out during a therapy session how smothering she is (squeezing one of his hands with both of her hands), Terry ends up making things even worse and requiring another session. The therapist helps her realize she's been reacting to a fear of losing her son, which makes her extremely apologetic.
  • Never My Fault: According to Terry, her husband blamed cheating on her on her refusing to get a boob job.
  • The Nicknamer: The Cannon. He calls his daughter "Junior" and Dudley (one of the kids on Danny's team) "fat kid."
  • Oblivious Guilt Slinging: When Terry tries to be a car salesman she convinces a woman to buy a car and as she's signing the contract the woman thanks her for being so helpful and not taking advantage and talks about how she has saved up for the car for 14 years and how her daughters activities are really expensive. Terry ends up ripping up the contract and sending her across the street to get a better deal.
  • Papa Wolf: The Cannon big time. He almost took a swing at Dick for insulting his daughter and grandson for being so screwed-up.
  • Parent with New Paramour: In the last episode, Michael panics over being in this situation because his mother is the only one that gets him. Danny admits he's not bothered by Terry going on dates, but he agrees to help Michael out of solidarity and starts worrying about his own status quo changing. He naturally freaks when The Cannon starts going out with a strict teacher from school and when Terry starts to really hit it off with a guy.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: When The Cannon sees a kid of Mexican descent climbing a fence he tells him to come down since "you're in America already". He also tells the Asian kid on the team, "You can handle the video because your people love cameras".
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Played much more realistically than usual, the last game of the year ends with Danny bunting which gets them a single run - a personal best for the team.
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder: In response to a story of a player that died from getting hit in the head with the ball.
    The Cannon: That was a hundred years ago. So was the Titanic. You cryin' about that?
    Michael: I always cry over the Titanic.
    The Cannon: Why didn't she help him back into that raft?
  • Rouge Angles of Satin: The team was to be called the Angels after the major league California Angels, but due to a typo on the uniform order they're the Angles.
  • Sexy Whatever Outfit: Terry dressed up as a sexy Princess for Halloween, trying to outdo Keely.
  • Shadow Archetype: Terry considers herself this to Danny and the other kids, which is why she puts so much effort into coaching. She feels she had a very screwed up life because she didn't have someone in her corner and so actively fights for them.
  • Slobs Versus Snobs - Averted for the most part, Terry and Lulu get along great despite the difference in their status, however when they try and plan a combined party together it begins to show up with Lulu buying everything she can find and Terry feeling like she's rubbing her wealth in her face. They eventually reconcile when they explain their motivations.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: It turns out that Ragtag Bunch of Misfits that failed to make the cut aren't automatically good at the sport, requiring a lot of work from Terry and The Cannon just to get them remotely functional on the field.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Terry makes fun of Dick for seeing him walk out of a therapist's office, until she finds out he's there for an eating disorder.
  • "Take That!" Kiss: A bully hassles Danny for talking to Vanessa. Danny responds by doing this to the bully in the hopes of throwing him off his game. He got a blackeye instead, though The Cannon says he gets the attempted mind game.
  • Tomboy: Vanessa, being a quite able baseball player. And Terry, who is also very able at baseball, even if she was forced into it.
  • Waxing Lyrical: From Danny's teacher and then from the rest of the Gannon's when they see her yelling at him.
    Ms. Crosby: Every test you take, every move you make, I'll be failing you...I'll be failing you.
    The Cannon: Hey.
    Terry: Teacher, leave that kid alone.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: The Cannon made a tradition of spending Christmas hanging out with senior friends that are usually alone during the holidays. However, they find out he deliberately chose not to spend the holiday with Terry and Danny. They criticize him for taking family for granted.
  • You Go, Girl!: Terry, with being a former baseball player in college.