James Caan is “Back in the Game” with New ComedyBy: Lacy Langley - September 27, 2013
James Caan’s new role as Terry “The Cannon” Gannon involves him playing an overbearing dad and former baseball player who has way too much to say about how the local Little League ought to be run, according to UPI.
Terry Gannon Jr., played by Maggie Lawson, who we all know and love from “Psych”, is a lovely and newly single mother who has just moved back in with her father. He did make his daughter into an all-star college ballplayer but, the Cannon, also apparently a single parent, was less than perfect. This funnification of, well, child abandonment is, oddly enough, “Back in the Game’s” biggest strength, reports the LA Times. Take this scene for example, Her: “You moved me to Mexico and left me with the team mascot.” Him: “I told you, I was in jail.”
Caan owns the screen in this show with beer guzzling charm like nobody’s business.
The show opens with Terry Jr. escorting her son Danny, played by Griffin Gluck, who won this season’s Most Appealing Child Actor award, to try out for the local baseball league, which is hovered over by a bunch of Dads led by Dick (Ben Koldyke), whose name is used often as a cheap joke. They are unfortunately living vicariously through their sons. Despite his athletic heritage, Danny is a terrible ballplayer. He doesn’t care about baseball, he just wants to impress a girl.
Terry, Jr. is befriended by Lulu Lovette, played by “Being Human”‘s Lenora Crichlow, who turns out to be the show’s second biggest strength. Lulu is a flask-swigging, wealthy widow. When neither of their sons makes the league, Lulu offers to finance a new team and Terry. Jr. soon finds herself coaching an assortment of misfit players. It’s really better than it sounds.
Interestingly enought, this role isn’t too far of a stretch from everyday life for James Caan. Caan’s real-life son, Scott, who was somewhat like his on-screen daughter Terry Jr., played All-American softball in college. “My son Scott, he was really good. I coached kids for six years, and I thought I had front-row seats at Yankee Stadium because he had scholarships. But he decided to become a … thespian.”
Caan shared some “Cannon”-like moments in an interview. “I was not quite The Cannon, but I was enthusiastic,” he said. “I got thrown out three times. I chased two of the umpires over a fence with a baseball bat!” But Caan swears the reason he got tossed was completely unfair. “They told me I said, ‘Well, why was he out?’” he recalled. “He said, ‘I don’t like your attitude.’ ‘Tell me why he was out.’ He says, ‘Hey, I don’t like your attitude.’ That was it.”
Caan says that baseball is really just the facade for the show. “Back in the Game” is really about family, fun, and hilarity. “No. 1, it’s funny,” Caan said. “The writers and creators are all guys that belong in a home. They’re that ridiculously funny.”
“Baseball literally is the background, but it’s about this family that was brought together by baseball and separated by baseball, and then trying to be brought together again through baseball through the daughter, the father and the grandson,” he said. “I play this horrifying coach, and she plays my beautiful daughter who still has a little of my blood in her, and I’m teaching the kid how to be me so eventually she’ll have two of us to deal with.”
“Back in the Game” airs Wednesdays at 8:30 on ABC.
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