Synopsis: Netflix’s GLOW takes a comedic and heartwarming approach to gender and social commentary with a remake-behind-the-scenes-fictionalized version of the 1986 Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling (GLOW). 

GLOW was an absolutely surprising delight. With little certainty as to just what it could be like, I set out to watch an episode or two, and quickly fell in love with it, completing the entire season (10 episodes, each running about 30 minutes) in two days. Technically it was a day, with only a single episode spilling over into a second day, but we’ll call that two days.

What I think is most endearing about a show based on a niche wrestling show from the 80s is the characterizations. Utilizing stereotypes for the sake of commentary, the show weaves together a group of diverse actors-turned-wrestlers, and their journeys of self-discovery. 

Alison Brie leads the cast as Ruth Wilder, an aspiring actress who can’t seem to keep her life or career together. She and her now-estranged best friend Debbie Eagan, played by Bettie Gilpin, must come together as two diametrically opposed characters, if Ruth can figure out who she wants to be.

With the help of their director (played by Marc Maron), a group of women learn to embrace their diversity, becoming caricatures of those very identities, but drawing attention to the larger significance of women and minorities.

With characters like the “Welfare Queen” (Tamme Dawson played by Kia Stevens), “Machu Picchu” (Carmen Wade played by Britney Young), and “Fortune Cookie” (Jenny Chey played by Ellen Wong), the show somehow manages to showcase this diversity, embracing the differences to create a rag-tag wrestling family of sorts.

These women are willing to stand up for each other. They support each other. They sacrifice themselves on the alter of dignity to lift each other up. We’re especially in love with Kate Nash as Britannica.

One scene in particularly showcases this strength. With the women categorized into “good” and “bad” guys, two of the team ups decide to change the social commentary of their fight. Instead of the two black women serving as the “bad” guys against to white old ladies as the “good” guys, they flip the script.

The white women come out in white hoods, to be, appropriately destroyed by Tamme Dawson and Cherry Bang (played by Sydelle Noel). They will not allow themselves to be held solely within the social commentary of the time. They will elevate themselves. 

Within that commentary there is also a dynamic comedy interwoven with impressive, over-the-top wrestling matches. If you’ve never been a fan of wrestling, this just might change your mind, as you fall in love with the ridiculous spandex, big hair, and heart that each character presents. If you want to have a fun couple of days, give GLOW a watch. 

Leave a Reply