Don’t Call It a Comeback
So, as luck would have it, Brockmire (Hank Azaria) and Charles (Tyrel Jackson Williams) are in a meeting with the marketing representative for the Crawdaddy’s, Whitney (Dreama Walker). Of course, they are discussing Jim’s terrible fan scores.
In her words, Raj (Utkarsh Ambudkar) scores higher with everyone because he is perceived as being someone that you would want to have a beer with. On the other hand, Brockmire is like a loaded gun.
While Jim tries to defend himself, he keeps on digging a deeper hole. Finally, Whitney decides that she should just deal with Charles alone. The takeaway that she gives Brockmire is that he has to be more like Jimmy Fallon.
This bit of bad news drives Brockmire to do what else? Drink. He grabs Pedro (Hemky Madera) and the two start pounding the alcohol pretty hard at this dive bar.
Jim is upset because Pedro is making plans to go to Cornell with his newest love, a professor from Tulane. Then he brings up the fact that they never got to finish a four way that they started in Morristown. Brockmire, forever using poor judgment, hits Twitter to see if anyone is down for sex.
The next scene finds Pedro and Jim in the living room discussing how they are feeling really old because they can’t keep up with the young girls that they picked up. Desperate for Uribe to stay with him, Brockmire suggests that he consider a comeback.
Pedro balks because he is at peace with not being in the game so he starts waxing philosophical about knuckleballs. Jim gets the bright idea to see what Uribe can do on the mound. They decide to go to the park but unfortunately, they have to get rid of their massive erections. They acquired them because they took Viagra to keep up with the young chicks that they were screwing.
Once they are in the stadium, Uribe pitches several terrific knuckleballs right over the plate. Impressed, Jim tells him that he should try out for the Crawdaddy’s. Pedro is still hesitating but finally Brockmire talks him into it. Before they can do anything about the decision, they still have massive hard-ons to take care of, so Uribe suggests that they jerk it out on the mound together.
Let’s just say for Pedro, it is a happy ending. For Jim, it is like calling a game and he is struggling a bit. The next day after their little escapade, Brockmire goes to see Leland, the manager of the team.
He has a plan to get Uribe on the roster that involves blackmail. See, Leland banged Brockmire’s crazy ex-wife and well, Jim is using that as leverage to get Pedro a try out. It works so Uribe gets his second chance.
After he whiffs out the batter with his impressive knuckleballs, it is decided that he could join the team while one of their pitchers is on maternity leave. While Jim is happy for his friend’s good fortune, he is trying to figure out how to get his “groove” back.
While he is working out his dilemma in the batting cage, Charles is pouring over the fan stats on his lap top. Interestingly enough, there is a loophole that Charles notices right away. Apparently, Jim is more likeable during the 8th and 9th innings.
Brockmire thinks it is because he is getting to show his baseball knowledge but Charles informs him that the higher scores are occurring because he is drunk. Oddly enough, Jim becomes more likeable when he is smashed.
So, Charles devises really inventive ways to keep Brockmire lubed up in the announcer’s booth. The plan works well because his scores with the fans improve drastically.
This turnaround does not go unnoticed by the powers that be in the front office. Whitney decides that Jim is ready to be taken seriously as a contender so she tells him that he and Raj will call a game together.
Now, this has both Brockmire and Charles mortified because they won’t be able to hide Jim’s drinking. However, this sudden change of events brings about a novel idea for Jim. He douses a tampon in whiskey and inserts it into his butt to get a faster response.
When Raj comes on the scene, tensions immediately arise. They go over ground rules and then he basically tells Brockmire that he is going to be a media god and he isn’t just stopping at sports, he will be everywhere.
The Second “Second” Chance
Disgusted Brockmire likens him to his rival, Joe Buck to which Raj responds that Joe is the “white version of me.” It just so happens that they are calling Pedro’s debut game.
When Jim sees his friend struggling and not being able to find the plate, Raj starts getting pretty cruel in his commentary. Brockmire tells him that Uribe is his friend and the two decide to work together instead of taking turns calling the game.
Finally, Pedro finds the strike zone and Jim gets his groove back oddly enough with Raj. It appears to be a win for everyone. Uribe gets a standing ovation from the fans even though the Crawdaddy’s lost.
After the end of the game, Brockmire is talking with Pedro. Uribe informs him that he is done with baseball because now he has something more important, love. With that, he hugs Jim and takes off to New York with his professor from Tulane.
This inspires Brockmire to jump on a plane and try to reconnect with Jules (Amanda Peet). She opens her door and he goes into this spiel about how he never stopped loving her and she is important to him. After listening, Jules asks him to back up.
Jim thinks she wants to hear his declarations again but no, she wants him to back away from the door so she can slam it in his face.
“Knuckleball,” while being an extremely raunchy episode delivered some great moments. The chemistry between Azaria and Ambudkar is quite believable. They work well off one another so you get the sense that they could be rivals.
In between the laughter, there was also some depth. Brockmire might seem like a surface character but Azaria adds layers to him to make him more like a 3-dimensional person. He is complicated and that is what makes him humorous.
Jim wants to be on track. He wants to do the right things but he ends up thwarting himself. It is almost like he has a self-destruct switch.
Deep down, Brockmire does want someone he can share his life with because he is lonely. When he tells Jules that he wasn’t lying. When Azaria delivers his speech to her at the door, outwardly it is funny but you can sense that there is some real feeling behind it.
Let’s face it. We all know our Jim Brockmires. Maybe we have even been him at one time or another. That is why this show works. He is a human character who isn’t a super hero or even a super person. Brockmire has flaws and he learns to embrace them.
Catch Hank Azaria in Brockmire every Wednesday night at 10 p.m. on IFC.