Thursday, June 21, 2018

GLOW — I’m late to the party, but what a party!

I’m a little late to the GLOW party, but trust me I had good reason. That being said, I didn’t think there could be too many articles on this new NETFLIX television show. The more viewers we can get watching it, the more it guarantees that this show will be around for awhile.

I’ll be honest with that when I first heard about the remake of this show, I really thought it was going to be a cheesy remake of actual ladies’ wrestling matches from the 1980s. With all of the progress that women wrestlers had made in the WWE recently, I thought that would have been a tremendous step backwards.

If you haven’t heard of it yet, GLOW is a fictional comedy-drama that was created by Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch. The show starts with Ruth Wilder, who is a struggling actress looking for her big break. That didn’t come along, so she goes to an audition for a professional wrestling program, the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling (GLOW). Ruth is looking for a real acting opportunity and she’s overacting like crazy. She overacts herself right out of the ring and the gig, but realizes that she’s in a serious bind and needs to go back and get this gig.

What she gets is a confrontation with former soap opera actress and her best friend, Debbie Eagan, who realized that Ruth had an affair with Debbie’s husband. They go at it in the ring and all the producer sees is a ratings hit. Ruth and Debbie get a job and it’s time for the ‘show’ to begin rehearsals.

The show is filled with great acting, great writing and great comedy (and a few surprise appearances from professional wrestlers, John Morrison, Brodus Clay, and Carlito.) Chavo Guerrero trained the wrestlers for the show too. It stars Alison Brie as Ruth “Zoya the Destroya” Wilder; Betty Gilpin as Debbie “Liberty Belle” Eagan; Sydelle Noel as Cherry “Junkchain” Bang; Britney Young as Carmen “Machu Picchu” Wade; and Marc Maron as Sam Sylvia. Is it me or does Marc Maron (who portrays director Sam Sylvia) look a lot like Terry Kiser, who starred in Weekend at Bernie’s? (Marc’s on the right.):

This is what Maron said about his character: “Since it is a fictionalization and I was told that my character doesn’t really know anything about wrestling, I did little-to-no research. I wanted it to be mine and from what I understood, that was how they wanted to do it. I know a little bit about wrestling and had talked to some people about GLOW, but I stayed away from the documentary and away from who they based it on so I could build it from the inside out for myself. I got the script and I wasn’t doing any acting, I really don’t go on many auditions. But I loved the guy, I really connected with him.”

Women and wrestling

Back to the show, which is based in 1985 Los Angeles: in an article with the Hollywood ReporterCarly Mensch said, “We knew from the beginning GLOW was a show about bodies and women using their bodies in different ways than they had used them before, and also using bodies in ways that we as an audience haven’t seen before,” says Mensch. “It felt pretty important that to honestly tell that story, we should show you the women’s real bodies going through this experience.”

The show is not just about wrestling. It’s also about friendship, an important part of the story arc. “You see how rich this show is, just full of different characters, and you can mine those characters for years,” says Alison Brie. “The real GLOW was a slight revolving door in terms of some women being on the show for years and years, and other new characters coming in. There’s a lot of possibilities for longevity.”

As of this publication date, GLOW has not been renewed after it’s 10-episode run for season one, but it needs to be. You won’t just learn about Ruth, you’ll learn the back stories of many of the wrestlers as the episodes go on. It’s not just a show for wrestling fans, or women’s wrestling fans, but it’s a show for fans of good shows. It’s a show for fans of good writing and good acting. It’s a show for fans of good character development. Check it out.







About Lisa Iannucci

Lisa Iannucci has been interviewing professional athletes and Olympians, sports writers and film/tv personalities for more than a decade. Her book, A Film & TV Lover's Travel Guide is now available:

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