Saturday, May 6, 2017

On The Air: Brockmire (2017)

It started as a product of the Funnyordie website. Executives at IFC thought they might have a hit series on their hands.

Brockmire launched shortly after the start of the baseball season last month, offering a different kind of comeback story. You've heard of major league ballplayers trying to rekindle their careers in the minors, as former Philadelphia slugger Ryan Howard is doing now in Triple A for Atlanta. But what about announcers?

Jim Brockmire (Hank Azaria, The Simpsons, ex-Mad About You) had a meltdown on the air 10 years ago, so the story goes, and shared with an unsuspecting audience how he found his wife in a group orgy at home. Brockmire drinks on the job, which is actually a no-no, but that's the point of this parody of baseball announcers. Brockmire dresses like, say for example, the late Lindsey Nelson, with the loud sport coats, but Azaria modeled Brockmire's voice after newly retired Vin Scully without doing a full-on impersonation of the legend.

To sell the show, Azaria has done the interview circuit----and conducted a few interviews himself---in character. You can argue that his Brockmire voice could also be recycled from one of his Simpsons characters. It wouldn't surprise me in the least bit. He also serves as an executive producer with Funnyordie co-founder Will Ferrell, among others. Wouldn't be too surprised to see Ferrell, after his stunt in preseason a ways back, turn up, if he hasn't already.

Here's a trailer.

While Fox's Joe Buck has guested on the show, I'd not be surprised if Azaria, as Brockmire, returns the favor on a Fox or FS1 broadcast this season, or tours the majors to help promote the show. A parental advisory should accompany the show when it's On Demand, due to language. Airing as it does at 10 (ET) on Wednesdays would attract the attention of the media nannies if it was on a broadcast network. I've seen one workplace comedy fail this year (Powerless), and after watching about 5 minutes of the opener, I couldn't get behind Brockmire. You want to root for the guy to succeed, but in order to do so, he has to put his vices down for the count. Can he do that? I'm not so sure.

Rating: C-.

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