McGee And Me Episode 8: Take Me Out of The Ballgame

There’s no source given, but I googled, and this is today’s bible verse:

Don’t look to men for help; their greatest leaders fail; for every man must die. His breathing stops, life ends, and in a moment all he planned for himself is ended. But happy is the man who has the God of Jacob as his helper, whose hope is in the Lord his God—

Actually I lied, they skipped verse 4 and went straight to 5, which is another reason I had such trouble finding the reference. Strike 1, movie. Everybody knows that if you don’t provide chapter and verse, your source doesn’t count.

We cut to a cartoon of McGee trying to be like these huge, ugly body builders on the beach. It is so ridiculously stupid I won’t go over it here. Spoiler alert, McGee somehow wins first place, even though he is too weak to lift either the beach ball or the tophy a woman in a purple dress hands him. Said woman is sticking a leg up behind her, the shameless hussy.

We cut to a shot of Nick and his baseball team, the Eastfield Braves. Like every other red blooded American, I understand at least the basics of this game. However, I don’t happen to know all the ins and outs of the rules. So you’ll forgive me if I get a little bogged down in the details.

Nick and Louis cheer on whatshisname, who bats a home run. At least, that’s what the movie said happened. It looked to me like he missed the ball entirely.

In any case, this one guy has apparently taken Nick’s baseball team from the bottom all the way to the top. They leave the field to go celebrate and Nick throws a baseball on McGee. Unfortunately, it doesn’t kill him, but it does leave him immobilized. Which, really, Nick?

Nick and his friends are at an ice cream parlor. Their parents are nearby, but mostly out of earshot. Derek comes by and takes Nicholas’ hat, teasing him–in front of his parents. Because that’s realistic. Before Nick’s parents can react, Whatshisname comes up and twists Derek’s ear:

“Hey, I bet it’d hurt real bad if you were to lose this earring, know what I mean?”

Oh…. wow….um….

First off, Whathisname isn’t grabbing anywhere near where an earring would be. Second off, is he trying to suggest Derek is gay?

I’m not sure whether or not the whole earring thing was a myth, but it was definitely believed, at least in the early 90s. The story goes that if a man pierces his left ear, it means he’s gay. Or was it the right ear…

I have no idea if Focus on the Family did that on purpose. It would’ve sailed right over the head of their target audience.

Nicholas’ dad, who is apparently his little league coach, gets a phone call from the coach of the opposing team they’ll be playing at regionals. He’s thrilled, absolutely THRILLED. He calls the other coach “a big old bag of wind.” This is what Christians who are not allowed to swear say. Only he probably should have hung up the phone first.

Nicholas’ dad waves a knife around, glaring, while ranting about getting even. If I were in this family right now, I would be running.

Honestly, do all parents get this upset about their kids’ little league teams?

But it’s all ok, because this year Nicholas’ team has Herman Miller. He smugly chews a piece of melon he’s just stabbed with that knife he was waving around.

Nick and McGee are lifting weights. Nicholas has actually put together a pretty cool weight lifting machine made of odd things he found around the house and junkyard. McGee is lifting a cartoon version, and having trouble. I don’t care. Nicholas is using books as weights, ha ha. He must’ve borrowed Sarah’s high school biology textbook.

Nick’s dad gives him a pep talk about doing his best so they can all beat the other team. Herman can’t be doing everything now, can he? And winning is really important.

The next day, Nicholas’ team practices. He and everyone else basically start copying whatever Herman does, right on down to the way he puts his gloves on. If I were Herman, I would be super annoyed with them.

The other team’s manager, Harvey, shows up, and he and Nicholas’ dad have a pissing contest.

Louis and Nick fanboy over Herman, and Nicholas daydreams about being able to play baseball like Herman. Except in the fantasy, he loses, but the pitcher of the opposing team comes up to him to offer some encouragement.

“It takes a whole team to win a game. No one player can do it all.”

There’s more, but that’s the part I wish someone would tell my boss because I AM ONLY ONE PERSON DAMMIT.

Nick is so busy fantasizing he misses catching a ball, and his dad yells at him to get his head out of the clouds, and that it takes a whole team to win a game.

There’s a sequence of McGee fantasizing about being an awesome baseball player, and it’s even worse than Nick’s. He and Nick argue about baseball cards. Oh baseball cards. I remember those.

McGee fantasizes about being famous enough to be in commercials. He then fantasizes about three different commercials. That’s 3 commercial sequences with McGee we have to sit through. Just one would’ve gotten the point across, two would’ve been ok, but three? Really? The products McGee’s deranged mind cooks up are:

  1. Old Lice cologne
  2. K9 Cola
  3. Shimmy Truck

Ew on the first one, blehc on the second, and he drives the truck off the cliff, pity he doesn’t die because he’s not only irrelevent to the plot and annoying, he’s downright boring in this episode.

In the next scene, Nick’s voiceover tells us

In the days before the big game, Herman and I started watching our diets. Meaning that he ate, and I watched.

Nick and Herman are at Nick’s house, where he is waiting on Herman hand and foot. It’s really kind of pathetic to watch, and before anyone asks, no, I never idolized anyone like Nick is idolizing and fanboying over Herman. Ok, maybe I fanboyed over meeting Jick, and I idolize Sophie Scholl. Sue me.

Anyway, Nick says he cleaned Herman’s cleats so well you could eat off of them.

“Don’t try it,” says Sarah, entering the kitchen. “You might chip a tooth.”

Herman leaves, calling Sarah “Karen,” even though she’s just told him her name.

“Boy, that was really something,” says Sarah after he leaves.

“Yeah,” said Nick. “That guy sure can eat.”

“No, Nick, it’s not about what he eats. It’s the way you faun (fawn?) all over him. It just doesn’t seem right.”

That’s because it isn’t right, Sarah Dear.

I really like her shirt in this scene. It’s a nice shade of purple.

“He’s a star ok? We’re lucky he came over for a bite.”

“A bite? Godzilla did less damage. Nick, is it possible you’re so caught up in him as a baseball player that you can’t see what he’s like as a person? It’s ok to admire someone but you worship him like he’s some kind of idol.”

This is not subtle, and it’s kind of cliche (the famous person looks great but has a terrible personality!) but it’s true. Nick is painful to watch in this episode.

I also have seen no real live person fawn (faun?) over a person like this in real life. Nick is practically functioning as Herman’s person slave, which I’ve only ever seen kids do on TV. This is heavy handed and over the top, and even as a kid I cringed during scenes like these. I am embarrassed for Nick.

In any case, Nicholas accuses Sarah of being jealous, which is the cue for Sarah to start sermonizing about how God is supposed to be the one we idolize and trust, not humans. It’s preachy, and I’m skipping it. Nick storms, off, saying,

“Just you wait. When he becomes famous, you’ll be glad he spoke to you. Karen.”

Because that’s mature.

The next day, we are at the State Regionals. The camera pans the row of bleachers, and I wonder where they got all these extras, if there really are that many, or if they just used camera angles and other techniques to make it look there’s a crowd.

The game begins, and by the 3rd inning, no one has scored any points. What a boring game for the audience to watch! I hope they all brought books.

We finally have a shot of Jamie and Grandma, frowning over a Dodger’s score. This is the only time we see them, and it’s so quick I honestly can’t tell if it’s really them. They are noticeably absent for this episode, and Focus on the Family has given up coming with reasons for this.

In any case, the audience finally wakes up when The Braves and Dodgers, in the 5th inning, finally start scoring some points, neck and neck with each other.

McGee starts waxing poetic about how the Braves are not doing well at all, and McGee writing poetry is terrible. Here are the highlights:

McGee (talking into a microphone and sweating)

It looked extremely rocky for the Eastfield 9 that day

the score stood 5 to 7, with an inning left to play

Then Nick let fly a single, to the wonderment of all

And the understated Louis tore the cover off the ball

And when the dust had lifted, I saw what had occurred

there was Louis saving second

and Nick taking third

There was ease in Herman’s manner as he stepped up to his place

Pride in Herman’s bearing, and a smile on his face

….

Then from the pitcher’s twisted arm, a fiery baseball sped

“That ain’t my style,” said Herman. “Strike 1, the Umpire said.”

Someone in the crowd shouts, “come on! Kill the Umpire!” And I wonder how the heck that got past the filters. Seems rather violent for a Christian film.

I’ll spare you the rest of the godawful poetry: Herman strikes out. The Braves loose. A bell rings a death toll. Nick looks like someone died, and I guess someone has: his imaginary mental image of Herman.

After the game, Nicholas and his Dad talk about how his dad was too focused on winning.

“I guess when you dream without the Lord, you’d better dream again.”

Sigh.

At least he tells Nicholas he’s proud of the way they all played. Nick’s mom and Sarah approach them and offer hugs, and I wonder why Jamie and grandma aren’t with them. They were in the audience, right?

Nick apologizes to Sarah, who says she may decide to play softball next year.

“Wait a minute,” says Dad, “let’s think about this, let’s talk this over.”

And I’m not sure if he says that because Sarah is a girl, or if he thinks she is asking him to coach softball for her.

They all put their arms around each other and exit stage right. It’s cheesy, but whatever.

McGee: You know what they say. It’s not over till the batboy –McGee dons hat with bat wings, which flap–sings the last few lines of “Take Me Out To The Ballgame,” a song we Americans sing before ball games, after the national anthem.

I plug my ears. My cat glares at me. I put down the computer and apologize, petting her until she starts to purr. She forgives me. Good. WARN ME NEXT TIME MOVIE! God that was awful.

This episode isn’t too bad, if you can get past the cringe inducing Herman Worship moments, the not so subtle preaching of Sarah, and McGee’s horrific poetry about the game.

In this episode are featured Mom, dad, Sarah, and Nick. Jamie and Grandma are noticeably absent except for one scene where I think I saw them briefly. I’ve theorized before that Focus on the Family decided they had too many characters and eventually stopped finding onscreen reasons to exclude them, hoping we wouldn’t notice.

But now I wonder if  Nick and Sarah’s parents weren’t just really pushy stage parents, who argued for more screen time for their kids. (Nick and Sarah are real life siblings) while Jamie’s parental unit wasn’t nearly as pushy, and grandma…. yeah I got nothing.

I can kind of see the problem; that is a family of 6, 7 if you count the dog. This show only lasted for one season, with an attempted reboot a few years later. It did not last long enough or have nearly enough episodes to really develop that many characters. I feel like the first season of any show is a learning experience; They are still trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t, so things are a little jumbled. Since McGee and Me never really got a second season, they never got beyond the learning curve.

Either that or they figured Grandma and Jamie weren’t that interesting because this show isn’t for girls. The male characters do seem to get more screen time, and definitely more plot.

Tune in next time for an episode that features more of Derek. The episode description sounds bad, and the execution is probably going to be even worse.

I hope you enjoyed the cringeworthy Nick moments in this episode, because the next one’s gonna be a doozy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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