James Caan plays "The Cannon," an unapologetic terror who reaches for a bag of nickels for discipline without question. His advice to his daughter and his grandson is delivered with such sincere vitriol (usually along the lines of "You get a baseball bat..."), you can't help but laugh despite the uneasy realization that The Cannon is likely based on someone's own grandfather. He is dysfunctional comedy gold.
Cranky drunks are usually fun in sitcoms, but children are not (Modern Family being the one exception). Danny, however, the aspiring ball player who prompts our heroine's fateful return to the field, is hysterical. He is surprisingly the most stable character in the show, facing down his roaring grandfather with charming every-man logic. He also walks a fascinating line of being innocent and a typical kid while having a keen understanding of his generation's issues. The best example of this is his response to a bullying attempt by one of the jocks. Instead of fighting back or finding a teacher, Danny puckers up and lays one on the bully. The bully's response is predictable; he punches Danny in the face and warns him to stay away. When asked why he kissed the bully, Danny matter-of-factly replies, "Because now that kid's scared of me, and he doesn't know why."
Folks, this kid might be a genius.
So, yes, Back in the Game is a typical sitcom with typical gender comedy and a feisty protagonist and blah blah blah, but so far, these two characters have me excited for the next episode. And, really, when it comes right down to it, don't we watch sitcoms for the characters anyway?