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Friday, February 23, 2024
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"A League of Their Own" promotional poster, courtesy of Amazon Prime Video

Finally, a brilliant queer TV Comedy: ‘A League of Their Own’

The new show based on the 1992 movie and the true story of the All-American Girls Baseball League is a rare depiction of diversity within queerness.

“A League of Their Own” is a period sports comedy-drama television series co-created by Will Graham and Abbi Jacobson. This rendition of the 1992 movie “A League of Their Own,” which featured Madonna, Rosie O'Donnell, Tom Hanks and other stars, is wonderfully done and has a new explicit feature: queerness. The 2022 series stars Abbi Jacobson, D’Arcy Carden and Chanté Adams from “Broad City,” “A Good Place” and “Roxanne Roxanne,” respectively. 

“A League of Their Own” portrays friendship, sports, family, love and triumph, alongside issues such as racism, sexism and homophobia. The show possesses multitudes, and that is what makes it so delightful. 

It is also hilarious and relatable. 

Whether you identity with queerness, love sports or are just looking for a good laugh, this show is for you. 

Queer representation

“A League of Their Own” does much more than provide entertainment. 

There is a constant battle for queer representation on the TV screen. There is increasing representation of gay characters on TV shows like “Schitt's Creek,” “Modern Family” and “Will and Grace,” but this tends to be white and male — ignorant of the wide array of queerness and the reality of intersectional identity. 

This is not an accurate portrayal. Gay men are predominantly represented on TV screens, while in reality, the LGB community is reportedly 33% gay men, 52% bisexual and 17% lesbian. 

Unfortunately, depictions of queerness for women often follow common stereotypes of same-sex love and sex such as it being the ultimate straight-male fantasy.

In TV shows and movies, female queerness is often catered towards the male gaze. Queer women characters are often restrained to idealized feminine markers designed to keep heterosexual male audiences comfortable. Reagan in “New Girl” and cheerleaders Brittany and Santana in “Glee” fit into this stringent box the industry has drawn the lines of. 

There has been a gap in the realm of female queer representation that “A League of Their Own” beautifully begins to fill. There are superbly presented portrayals of Black, bisexual and butch identity. 

Sexuality is a spectrum; no person is the exact same or has the same experience. While some comfortably fit into stringent definitions of gay, straight and bisexual, this is not always the case. There are nuances that are crucial to highlight. This is exactly why shows like “A League of Their Own” are so important. 

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Representation is important. 

However, this show is not without caveats. The Jewish representation is disappointing and outdated for a show that seeks to rid stereotypes and break binaries — and does so in every other way. The only identifiably Jewish character, Shirley Cohen, is the only openly homophobic character on the show. 

Cohen’s entire personality is neurotic, anxious, annoying and homophobic. I hoped we were done with stereotypes in this newer rendition of the show. “A League of Their Own” accurately and beautifully depicts queer love, which has often been mocked and considered taboo. Why can't it do the same with its Jewish representation?

As a queer woman, I find solace in this show. As a Jewish woman, it is disappointing.

Beyond this caveat, “A League of Their Own” tells a beautiful story of laughter, baseball, love, queerness and friendship.

I recommend you watch this brilliant queer TV comedy, “A League of Their Own.” You can find it on Amazon Prime.

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