This week’s episode of The A.V. Club focuses on women in Hollywood: a broad subject—pun wholehearted but shamefully intended—no doubt, and one worthy of a whole season’s examination, but unfortunately we also eventually want to talk about Game Of Thrones and summer food trends as well as try and figure out why the Dolan Twins are such a big deal. Representation in Hollywood is a constant dialogue, an ebb and flow of “things are getting better” to “but not really, though.” The Cannes Film Festival, for example, which kicked off this week, has been praised for including more female directors, a whopping 16%!––two whole percentage points up from last year! It’s frustrating to exist in this purgatory of progress, certainly, but we wanted to use this episode as best as possible to celebrate the contributions women have made to the industry over a wide span of time.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of Penny Marshall’s comedy A League Of Their Own, a fictionalized movie about the very real All-American Girls Professional Baseball League and the very real team the Rockford Peaches based out of Rockford, Illinois. Have you re-watched A League Of their Own recently? It holds up astonishingly well. It’s filled to the brim with incredible performances from Geena Davis and Lori Petty and Tom Hanks and Madonna and Rosie O’Donnell and hey, even a short and sweet one from Jon Lovitz.
And on top of the fact that it is just a good movie with a good script and good performances, the real life story of the Rockford Peaches and the AAGPBL is inspirational unto itself. These teams of women with skills equal if not greater than male players took up the mantle in a time in which the country’s national past time (that’s baseball, of course, for the nerds) was a capitalistic priority. That’s not to say the league’s history is spotless, especially if we’re focused on representation; the teams were segregated, and even the film fully acknowledges that but for a small moment. But it is still a legacy worth exploring, which is why we were lucky enough to visit the Midway Village Museum in Rockford, Illinois, home of the Peaches, to explore their exhibit full of memorabilia and mementos.
Thursday’s episode also includes an interview with comedian Margaret Cho as well as a conversation with John and his mom on Fleabag, which, say no more.
The A.V. Club airs every Thursday @ 9 PM on Fusion TV.