One of many GLOW pilot’s funniest moments occurs early on, in a line that’s not an apparent punchline however has a transparent objective: “Getting pregnant and written off that present—finest choice I ever made.” It’s humorous as a result of it’s unhappy; it’s not even actually offered as a joke the identical means Ruth’s (Alison Brie) opening audition or the G.L.O.W. tryouts are. But it’s one of many earliest indicators of the kind of world wherein GLOW exists. We all know it’s the fluorescent, spandex-clad 1980s, however that unhappiness—that hen salad out of hen shit mentality with out even batting an eyelash on the precise which means—is what GLOW begins with. The unhappiness is extra instantly obvious with Ruth, particularly as she deliberately recites Steve Guttenberg’s traces in her audition or turns a easy “hair mare” wrestling maneuver into wrestling Les Mis or will get accosted by avenue youths. However the best way Debbie (Betty Gilpin) fools herself into calling such a foul scenario a blessing is the right showcase of the psychological gymnastics these characters have needed to undergo to be accepted, in the event that they’ve even reached a degree of acceptance in any type in any respect. It’s that lack of true acceptance and slightly little bit of betrayal which deliver all the women collectively on the “unconventional” GLOW.
Netflix’s GLOW is a closely fictionalized—“impressed by” the unique sequence, as a substitute of a biographical stroll down memory lane—tackle the true G.L.O.W. (Beautiful Women of Wrestling) skilled wrestling present from 1986 to 1992. The characters are all primarily based on the spirit of G.L.O.W., however there’s no Babe the Farmer’s Daughter (Ursula Hayden, GLOW Marketing consultant) or Matilda the Hun in sight. As an alternative, creators Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch have constructed their very own G.L.O.W. Women from the bottom up.
What higher approach to inform a narrative about jealousy, betrayal, and self-worth than in a setting the place backstabbing, politicking, and manipulation are the norm, regardless of the collaborative course of. For non-wrestling followers, there tends to be a common understanding that the very idea of professional wrestling boils all the way down to an adrenalized cleaning soap opera. If Soapdish taught us something, it’s cleaning soap opera (or any TV sequence) can have simply as a lot drama behind the scenes because it does in entrance the digital camera. So for GLOW to have Sam Sylvia (Marc Maron) e-book his present round Ruth and Debbie’s actual life battle—as the previous few moments of the pilot arrange—that’s simply good enterprise that may result in even higher wrestling storytelling.
Skilled wrestling’s a completely overwhelming world, and as area of interest as G.L.O.W. was, GLOW understands that it was no exception to that vastness. These girls weren’t in WWF, 1000’s of Hulkamaniacs screaming at them; they have been strangers in a wierd land, who by some means made it work. The unusual land half is presumably how loads of the viewers for this present will really feel, proper there with these characters. Nevertheless, from a wrestling fan perspective, what impressed me most about this pilot was simply how accessible it was to an viewers who is aware of completely nothing about skilled wrestling… with out insulting the viewers of hardcore wrestling followers. It’s principally “Wrestling 101,” with out additionally being an “Fool’s Information To Wrestling.” The characters right here (apart from Carmen, a part of a wrestling legacy) are on the skin trying in, and because the present invitations them in, it does the identical for its viewers, regardless of the information stage. The carny nature of professional wrestling has usually made that sort of accessibility troublesome, however GLOW begins off pretty shortly with a pleasant sense of stability.
Plus, GLOW reveals that it is aware of its personal world effectively by offering a real ‘80s model montage within the auditions for the G.L.O.W. Women, introducing a solid of characters you immediately need to spend extra time with. That really highlights one of many weaker factors of the pilot, as a result of if something, the episode feels prefer it could possibly be longer. That’s a rarity for a Netflix present, nevertheless it’s an excellent drawback for GLOW to have right here. With out spoiling a lot, episode two really feels just like the second half of this pilot (as a substitute of only a typical “pilot junior”); by itself, this episode isn’t as entire because it could possibly be. As a result of whereas this episode does comparatively effectively by each Ruth and Debbie—who, regardless of the ensemble, are clearly the centerpiece—within the case of the latter, she largely exists right here within the realm of what she means to Ruth. What she means to Ruth as a pal, as a profession objective and rival, because the spouse to the person she slept with. GLOW (and G.L.O.W. ) clicks when it formally pits these two in opposition to one another, inflicting artwork to mimic their awkwardly fought life, however it may’t maintain itself if Debbie doesn’t turn into something aside from an extension of Ruth. Her ambushing Ruth on the finish of the episode clearly opens the door to that, however proper now, there’s unevenness of their dynamic in Ruth’s favor. That might be an issue in the long term.
Ruth stands out as the viewers’s entryway into this world, however you see, for Ruth, her life’s a joke, she’s broke, and her love life’s D.O.A. It’s like she’s at all times caught in second gear; it hasn’t been her day, her week, her month, and even her yr. Would that Debbie could possibly be there for her (like she’s been there earlier than), however Ruth ruins that by sleeping with the lady’s husband. We shortly study from Mark (Wealthy Sommer), as he brings up the speech that made him pursue her (about deserving issues that the “shiny individuals” at all times get), that she feels entitled. She calls her dad and mom’ answering machine, telling them she wants cash as a substitute of asking, and solely remembers on the final minute to tell them of the comparatively excellent news about her profession. And her response to Debbie’s anger over the affair is, “It simply occurred,” an absolute lack of accountability within the official dissolution of her finest and presumably solely friendship. She’s struggling, and he or she doesn’t have all of it… however GLOW realizes that doesn’t immediately make her a sympathetic character. It could actually really feel disingenuous and considerably clichéd if GLOW went out of its approach to make Ruth come throughout because the definitive hero of this story regardless of all of this. It’s additionally an anticipated selection, given the outsider’s perspective about this whole story and idea, nevertheless it’s a extra attention-grabbing option to outright designate her in a villainous position. However due to mentioned position, Debbie must be extra than simply “somebody in Ruth’s life.”
Ruth sees herself as an “Artist,” and the place she finally sees G.L.O.W. as an outlet for her craft, Sam sees greenback indicators, like all wrestling promoter would. He sees a offered out crowd popping like loopy for his two marquee stars. The idealism and creativity and athleticism of wrestling is nice—and in Sam’s protection, his means to see so vividly includes that—however Sam’s clearly on the opposite facet of that world. Sam’s facet supplies a picture that may sells his present and even sells this present, because it’s precisely what you count on if you learn the phrases “Alison Brie wrestling sequence.” So give the viewers what they need. GLOW does that with this pilot; the arrange is there, as are all of the instruments to maneuver ahead. Does the episode reinvent the wheel relating to wrestling and even TV? No. But it surely reveals an understanding of storytelling—when it comes to each types of leisure—and glimmers of one thing particular. It additionally does so with a stunning quantity of earnestness, contemplating the supply materials and material. You may say the identical in regards to the authentic G.L.O.W. sequence.
- In case you’re studying this evaluation, I’m certain you already know I’m a giant skilled wrestling fan, so I’m actually comfortable to be protecting GLOW. I’m additionally working to make these opinions simply as accessible to non-wrestling followers because the present is, so if anybody has any questions or wants additional clarification a few professional wrestling facet of the present, be at liberty to ask me within the feedback. Professional wrestling is for everybody!
- Talking of, as nice of a film as The Wrestler is, I at all times discovered its presentation to be that of a completely international world to non-wrestling followers and one which didn’t care to ask them into it. It needed that viewers to be a fly on the wall, engaged however not in the best way typical of an precise, engaged wrestling viewers. GLOW, however, feels prefer it needs that sort of engagement.
- Hell’s Bells, Trudy! And that’s what I’ve to say in regards to the tainted Mad Men reunion between Alison Brie and Wealthy Sommer. Nicely, that and the truth that Ruth does the whole lot she will to close Mark up as he tries to make their intercourse a deeply intense, romantic factor (always calling her “actual”). Debbie’s not flawed when she says Ruth can’t love anybody, is she?
- I need to see Ruth’s “clowning workshops” so badly, although I don’t know in the event that they’d be extra embarrassing than her confrontation with the Los Angeles Dying Squad… “Pert Plus-looking bitch” is such an insult of the time.
- “Mouse, don’t go!” Sure, I do know with The A.V. Membership demographic I in all probability ought to’ve gone with “Knives, don’t go,” however I can’t assist my preliminary response to Ellen Wong’s Jenny as she considers bailing on G.L.O.W. With Ellen Wong on GLOW, Lindsey Gort popping up within the newest Lucifer season, and Katie Findlay rocking the ultimate season of Man Seeking Woman, this has been an excellent TV season to essentially miss The Carrie Diaries.
- The second Ruth activates WWF and begins creating her personal characters, that’s when she lastly will get it. She might not get it fully, however the divide between wrestling and being “too good” for it or seeing it as “a sport…with costumes” is gone. It’s the infantile enthusiasm lots of people have after they first see wrestling—as a result of they are typically kids—and should you’re in search of any sense of innocence within the Ruth character, there it’s.
- The music cues on this episode are fairly selection, as there’s in fact the right, fully ‘80s opening credit set to Scandal’s “The Warrior.” However Journey’s “Separate Methods (Worlds Aside)” for Sam’s GLOW imaginative and prescient is the cue that’s completely impressed.
- Nevertheless, I completely love the an early directorial selection within the type of the silhouettes of the ladies in aerobics class (throughout the locker room scene). By glass bricks, in fact. Glass bricks are some of the ‘80s issues nobody ever talks about relating to the ‘80s, regardless that they’re positively featured in a few of my earliest childhood reminiscences.
- Shout out to skilled wrestler John Hennigan (aka Johnny Mundo/John Morrison) as Salty “The Sack” Johnson, but additionally shout out to Chavo Guerrero (who served because the precise wrestling coach for this present), because the health club the place the women prepare is called after him. And naturally, Kia Stevens (aka Superior Kong/Kharma) is a part of the G.L.O.W. Women as Tamme.