Entertainment Talk

Is Brockmire ready for themes beyond the career ladder?

Brockmire Amanda Peet Hank Azaria
Jules James (Amanda Peet) and Jim Brockmire (Hank Azaria) are back in each other's lives at the end of Season 2. Does this mean Jules is ready to restore what Jim's ex-wife rescinded, establishing the show's premise to begin with? (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)

The family is back together at the planned halfway mark of the Brockmire saga.

Last week’s second-season finale brought the title character’s straight man back to relay another big-league job offer. His first employer on the climb back up and stop-and-start flame soon followed.

And so, Jim, Charles and Jules fittingly left off in a picture whose beauty they do not appreciate. At least maybe not right away. Rather than savor the sunset over the lake before their soundly sized bench, they are itching for Oakland.

But those who caught the AV Club interviews posted before the episode know that chapter is due up in 2020. Co-executive producer Joel Church-Cooper told the site, “Season 3 will be spring training in Florida.”

In the same clip, Church-Cooper explained that he intended to divide Brockmire into quarters. If all goes well, the bulk of each season will have been set in a distinct region.

First it was where the Northeast and the Rust Belt overlap. This year it was New Orleans plus an obligatory bada-bing, bada-boom buildup and breakdown in Atlanta.

Church-Cooper specified Central Florida as the location for 2019. That may still technically be the Southeast, but anyone who has been there knows it has its special distinctions.

Regardless, the troika of Jim Brockmire, Jules James and Charles have established that they cannot stay separate. The question now is whether they can stay together and gel. There are few more settings more suitable than spring training for that.

By implicitly delaying the Oakland arrival until Season 4, Brockmire hints at fresher twists going forward. As the sophomore campaign climaxed, Atlanta’s fraternal fiasco twin of the program’s Kansas City premise was only natural.

For the show’s planned junior and senior phases, though, the meltdowns in the booth have likely run their course. They certainly have in terms of entertainment value, and the show’s brains appear to understand that. There could always be a fresh means of triggering another, but the ends are too stale to make it worthwhile.

Career-wise, Jim should be at a point where his story is no longer defined by repeat slides from the summit. Assuming it is Florida for 2019, then Oakland for the 2020 swan song, retiring that gag is appropriate.

Instead of the job-squandering meltdown motif, the storyline looks primed to shift toward the void that precipitated Jim’s initial fall. When he returns to baseball via Morristown, Jules looks like his natural frontrunner to replace the unfaithful Lucy.

Brockmire Tyrel Jackson Williams Joel Church-Cooper Hank Azaria

Brockmire actors and producers offered whatever insights they saw fit in recent AV Club interviews. Tyrel Jackson Williams and Joel Church-Cooper offered the juiciest hints and hopes for the saga’s second half. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)

Her future role in the narrative comes into question after Jim leaves her behind for his New Orleans promotion. Ditto when he terminates their tryst in the Big Easy to accept his next elevation to Atlanta.

Naturally, that rise is bound to implode. When paired with a decidedly more disgusting white man of a certain age, Jim pays the price for an act of goodness badly timed and badly executed.

He loses his professional crutch in Charles along the way. Only a genuine plunge to rock bottom can and does refresh his relationship with Charles and Jules alike.

Now he surely cannot fall again. Instead, Tyrel Jackson Williams, who plays the surname-less Charles, had the most intriguing thoughts in the AV Club interview.

“I’d like to see Charles get his personal life together a little bit more,” Williams told the site. While he has an exemplary handle on the art of podcasting, Charles’ situation beyond that, Williams admits, is “a mess.”

And so, he concluded on the carpet, “I’d kind of like to see him learn more personal lessons.”

The three Brockmire stars — Hank Azaria, Amanda Peet and Williams — are now aligned for that. Their characters will, barring another major mishap, be consistently collaborating for the first time since the two men left Morristown.

With no known meaningful reproduction between Jim and Lucy, Charles is the unspoken Brockmire embodiment of the son-I-never-had cliché. Granted, he has yet to assume that role in earnest. But he has the potential to play it all to himself.

To date, the Morristown Frackers owner Jules has been everyone’s best bet for any kind of mother figure. She has certainly outclassed any and all of Jim’s potential as a surrogate father.

But maybe now these pieces of the dynamic are ready to straighten and blossom. By all means, Brockmire can still, on the whole, be Brockmire as we know him. As Church-Cooper teased to the AV audience, the character will have plenty to observe about Central Florida.

He should also have ample potential to settle down just enough to let Jules restore what Lucy rescinded. How he scales that sierra would pack plenty of uproariousness and occasional sympathy alone.

That potential development, in turn, could make Jim more instrumental in bettering his millennial buddy, just as Williams desires. And by more profound, though still amusing, means than cleverly criticizing his catching skills.

If that is in store for Season 3, then the prerequisite of Jim getting back to the bigs to stay is all but confirmed. The Brockmire chronicles were always sure to be more than that anyway.

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Al Daniel

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