Spoiler alert! The following discusses important plot points and the season finale of the Amazon series “A League of Their Own.”
Ever since the 1940s drama premiered on Amazon Prime Video last week, Twitter users have been pitching nicknames for the show’s central queer couple, Greta (D’Arcy Carden) and Carson (Abbi Jacobson), who strike up a secret romance after joining a professional women’s baseball team. The onscreen pair has even inspired videos, artwork and thirsty tweetsmany of which have caught Carden’s attention.
“What an honor. Honestly, you go to theater school to be ‘shipped,’ “ Carden jokes of the popular term, used by fans who want their favorite characters to get together. “It’s so sweet and touching that people would be invested.”
Carden, 42, is best known for portraying Janet on NBC’s “The Good Place” and Natalie on HBO’s “Barry,” and previously appeared with Jacobson, her longtime friend, on Comedy Central’s “Broad City.” The actress says she tends “to gravitate toward (playing) goofy weirdos,” which made a “confident and mysterious” woman like Greta so exciting.
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At the start of “League,” a TV adaptation of Penny Marshall’s 1992 film, Greta and Carson meet on the streets of Chicago as they prepare to try out for the Rockford Peachesone of the many real-life pro-baseball teams for women that sprung up during World War II as men fought overseas.
Sparks fly between the two, leading Greta to kiss Carson during a tipsy night out in the first episode. Carson, who’s closed and married to her childhood sweetheart (Patrick J. Adams), initially retreats from the potential romance, but soon falls back into bed with the vivacious Greta, who casually dates men to hide her relationships with women.
Tense stars and hurt feelings abound, as Greta and Carson attempt to keep their distance in public while giddily hooking up in private.
“There’s a back and forth,” Carden says. “Sometimes Carson is pulling away and sometimes Greta is pulling away, but their reasons make sense to me. It’s self-protection,” at a time when homosexuality was still criminalized in Illinois. “They’re both in this weird moment in their lives where they’re being vulnerable and trying not to be, so it’s an interesting place to catch them.”
In the Season 1 finale, the Peaches wrap their inaugural baseball season and prepare to go back to their normal lives. Greta, who has accepted a new job in New York, asks Carson to leave her husband and join her. But Carson tendly declines in the episode’s closing moments, telling Greta that while she’s not going home to her husband de ella, she’s taking time for herself.
“Carson’s whole arc this season is following her gut, maybe for the first time in her life,” Jacobson says. “What happens when she goes against everything she thought her life was going to be?” The combination of playing baseball and dating Greta “sort of cracks her open, identity-wise.”
Despite their relationship ups and downs, “the romantic in me would love for Carson and Greta to run away together, and who knows? Maybe they will,” Carden says. “But I do think Carson needs to be alone right now. She needs to be without her husband de ella, without Greta and just figure out who she is as Carson. It’s important.”
In the tearful final scene, Greta and Carson passionately kiss outside the Peaches’ boarding house, before saying their farewells and thanks for changing each others’ lives. Greta promises to see Carson next baseball season and walks away. Meanwhile, Carson turns around to discover her shocked husband de ella, who surprised her with flowers and seemingly witnessed her exchange de ella with Greta.
Although Amazon hasn’t officially ordered more episodes, “League” producers recently said at to Television Critics Association panel that they’ve already started plotting Season 2 and hope to begin shooting next spring.
If there is a next season, will Carson go back to her husband? And could she reignite her flame with Greta? Carden is crossing her fingers for the lovebirds’ future.
“Whatever that chemistry is that they have, it would be hard for them to stay away from each other,” Carden says. “I’m not in the writers’ room, but it would be interesting for them to go away and come back together.
“You know how all the best ones do it – you’ve gotta go away to come back, baby!”