TCA: Cullen Bros Create Homage To Their ‘Horrifing’ Coach/Dad in ‘Back In The Game’

Robb Cullen said this afternoon that he and his brother wrote the Dad/Grandpa role in their new ABC comedy Back in the Game specifically for James Caan, and modeled him after their own father, who was their baseball coach when they were kids, and “was a horrifying person.” By way of illustrating his point, Cullen mentioned that during one game, when he was hit on the leg by a wild pitch, his father told him if he did not hit the kid in the face with a pitch of his own, “You’re not getting in the car” to go home at the end of the game. “So I hit him in the head,” Robb confessed to TV critics at Summer TV Press Tour 2013.

“And we became comedy writers,” added Mark.

Caan, in turn, took the role, because of “bad movies,” he explained. “This was far more exciting and fun than anything I’d been doing… Nobody’s head has turned around and spit out pea soup yet,” he added, optimistically. Back in the Game is about a woman whose loutish father, played by Caan, raised her to be the son he always wanted/never got. She marries, has a son, divorces loser husband, moves back in with Dad. When Junior, who has no athletic ability, decides to play baseball, she coaches him and his team of athletic misfits with help from Dad.

“And we became comedy writers,” added Mark.

Since ABC never had a press tour Q&A for its short-lived cross-dressing sitcom Work It, TV critics seized the moment and asked Back in the Game star Ben Koldyke what was his “take away” from his role as one of the masquerading men on that other comedy. Koldyke acknowledged it was “challenging” but insisted he learned a lot “as an artist” about dealing with “that level of uncertainty and risk.”

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