Netflix Originals are becoming the standard for TV shows, and with another gem in GLOW, cable television companies like HBO and AMC are falling further behind in terms of quality content on demand. Created by Liz Flahive & Carly Mensch, GLOW is based on a wrestling show, but dives deeper, and covers women’s rights, equality and the crazy time that was the 1980’s. If you’re a fan of wrestling, 80’s aerobics fashion and Marc Maron saying “my ex-wife” every ten minutes, GLOW is the show for you.
It’s very clear from the opening episode that there’s a focus on women’s stereotypes back in the 80’s. Alison Brie stars in the series playing Ruth Wilder, a tacky actress who can’t find good work in Hollywood. In the opening scene of the series, Ruth auditions for a role in a film. However, she reads the male lead’s lines in the script, as they get all the air-time and “good roles” in the films, while women simply played arm candy or the house wife. After getting shut down for the role, a producer guides her to an audition for “something different” that’s “not porn.” So, off Ruth goes, and winds up in a gym with Sam Syvia (Marc Maron) and auditions for GLOW; Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling.
Ruth’s stint originally does not pan out. That is, until Debbie Eagan (played by Betty Gilpin) storms into the ring after finding out Ruth was sleeping with her husband. The pure emotion between the two sparks a vision in Sam’s head, and the main event for GLOW is set. However, there are many barriers stopping Sam from his master plan. Like wrestling promotions in real life, egos and personal agendas put the show on the brink of even happening.
If you’re a wrestling fan like me, this series does leave something to be desired in terms of the actual wrestling portion of the show. It was odd seeing Brodus Clay randomly turn up in the show, and I didn’t even recognize Carlito without the huge puffy afro, it looks like he put on some serious pounds to do this show.
Indie performers like Joey Ryan, Kharma (who I didn’t recognize until I looked up the cast list that she was in the show,) Alex Riley, Brooke Hogan (not a wrestler but the daughter of the most famous wrestler of all-time) and Lucha Underground star and former WWE champion John Morrison. The show has the talent, but the show never really focuses solely on the wrestling. So if you’re tuning into GLOW to watch lots of wrestling, sorry.
I did think there was some hilarious parts in this series, the first rehearsal show in particular. There was a little bit left to be desired in the ending of the show, it felt like there was some unanswered questions, specifically with Arthie and Rhonda’s final showdown. It appeared there was going to be some conflict between the crowd and the wrestlers, and then it seemed the show just swept it to the side for the next match on the card. Even backstage, Arthie was devastated by what had just occurred, but forget that, onto the next match!
The ending of the first season leaves no doubt, there will be season two, and if I had to take a shot in the dark, it shouldn’t be too long before we see the second season on Netflix.
In closing, GLOW was a unique series that focused on women’s rights and stereotypes, and successfully depicted a group of misfit actresses who would do anything for work in Hollywood during the mid 1980’s. If you’re in it for the wrestling, it will feel underwhelming for you, but the storytelling and laughs will keep you interested. I don’t think it’s as good as the ratings it’s getting, but it’s good enough to get a second season.