IFC has a new comedy up their sleeves — and by the looks of things “Brockmire” is going to bring some heavy-hitters (pun intended) to the network. Premiering on Wednesday (April 5) — the first full episode is available on YouTube, right now — the Hank Azaria-starring series follows troubled sports announcer Jim Brockmire as he attempts to pick up the pieces of his troubled life after having an obscene breakdown live on air.
It’s an intriguingly simple premise and one that feels completely in Azaria’s wheelhouse. And it should: After all, Azaria created the character from the ground up — originally starring in a Funny or Die sketch, introducing the fictional personality to the world.
From these humble beginnings, Azaria developed the idea into a feature film. Due to a lack of funding, the movie never happened — but with a little reformatting, Azaria and writer Joel Church-Cooper turned the idea into a series for IFC.
After watching the pilot episode, we were immediately hooked. Here are three components that make “Brockmire” a surefire hit:
It’s a baseball story — a very dark baseball story
At its core, “Brockmire” is a love letter to baseball. You can see bits of iconic sports announcers Harry Caray and Vin Scully in Brockmire’s vocal stylings and quirky bravado. And while the tale is ultimately about our hero’s suicidal trip to rock bottom — there’s something very nostalgic about the sports subject matter being explored. After all, this is America’s favorite pastime.
There’s a romance in here somewhere
Amanda Peet is a proven comedy resource, and a huge draw for the series. Here, she plays Jules, the owner of the Morristown Frackers. She’s the one who brings Brockmire back from the brink — giving him a chance to get back on that sportscaster horse. Their shared love for baseball could easily build on the chemistry we already see between them — and that would mean all kinds of havoc, private and professional, once Brockmire’s ex-wife comes back into the picture.
Deep down, we just want Jim Brockmire to succeed
A trainwreck is a trainwreck is a trainwreck… And Jim Brockmire’s drunken meltdown is a horrifically beautiful thing to behold… But like “Eastbound & Down” before it, we’re drawn in by a need to see the guy succeed.
And Jim Brockmire has a long way to go: His wife’s infidelity has obviously rocked him to his core — leading to full-blown alcoholism, thoughts of suicide and a tainted legacy. But with the support of Jules and the Morristown Frackers giving him purpose once again, Jim Brockmire may end up finding happiness down the line. And we’ll be there with him every step of the way.
“Brockmire” premieres Wednesday, April 5, at 10 p.m. ET/PT on IFC.