Brockmire, the IFC comedy series that stars Hank Azaria as disgraced-and-redeemed veteran baseball announcer Jim Brockmire, is one of the great television gems of recent years.
The show, which recently launched its fourth and final season, not only features Azaria in a career-best role, in a fascinating and multi-faceted character study, but it’s one of the most consistently funny, and filthy, shows on TV. And while the show touches on sports, it isn’t really about sports. At times, it seems to downright hate them.
Brockmire, which debuted in 2017, grew out of a Funny or Die sketch. Created by Joel Church-Cooper, the first season introduced Brockmire, who speaks at all times in a “sportscaster voice,” as a famous announcer whose drunken on-air rant about his wife cheating on him had ended his career. The series picks up years later, as Brockmire is attempting a comeback in the booth for a low-level minor league baseball team.
…I’ve tweeted jokes from the show, and been the only person on all of Twitter to do so.
The first three seasons followed Brockmire through varying trials of alcoholism and recovery, an on-and-off romance with his first-season boss (Amanda Peet), and a different job and location each season, even if the broadcast booth, curiously, looks the same every single year. Brockmire himself may be an alcoholic, a jerk, and a misanthrope, but we can’t help but root for him, his personal growth, and success. Sure, it’s the anti-hero thing we’ve seen in so much other TV, but in this case it’s much funnier, and more absurd.
But none of that is any preparation for the bonkers premise of the final season: The season is set in the future, in the 2030s. Brockmire has a heretofore unmentioned daughter, fathered during his post-disgrace sojourn in Asia, who due to the time jump is now college-aged. As the series has depicted Brockmire’s fraught relationships with various loved ones all along, that’s now applied to the daughter, played by Reina Hardesty.
Also, Brockmire has become the commissioner of baseball, at a time when the game, along with America itself, is in steep decline. It’s mentioned repeatedly that young people absolutely despise the game. And hilariously, in a scene set in 2030, we learn that baseball star Bryce Harper has quit the game in order to take up cricket, even though his 13-year contract runs through 2031.
It’s hard not to admire the sheer audacity of what the show does.
Through two episodes, the new season is wonderful. It’s hard not to admire the sheer audacity of what the show does. The show has always been dark, but the new episodes take it to another level: it’s implied in dialogue that climate change has worsened and the country has regressed into savagery, with one part of America now described as “the disputed lands.”
It may be loved by critics, but I don’t think I know anyone who watches Brockmire. On a couple of occasions, I’ve tweeted jokes from the show, and been the only person on all of Twitter to do so. But I’ve got a feeling Brockmire’s going to have a strong legacy. The seasons are on Hulu, and with four seasons of eight half-hour episodes each, it’s not a long watch.