Growing up, I loved wrestling. Hulk Hogan, Rowdy Roddy Piper, Junk Yard Dog, Andre the Giant… back when it was the WWF, before the pandas took that initialism over and it started down the road that is the WWE that we all know today. I remember GLOW. It came out of nowhere and quickly got my attention, but as I remember just getting into the show, it was gone as soon as it appeared. Sadly, I couldn’t tell you a single name of any of the wrestlers if you asked me.
Fast forward to present day and Netflix launched their next Original series, GLOW, on June 23rd 2017. The show is a scripted series set in the ’80’s that revolves around a crew of misfit actresses in LA that, through a series of events, transform themselves into the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, aka GLOW. How much of the show is based on actual accounts or people who were involved with the actual creation and production of GLOW, I do not know. I do know that I found the show a quick binge that was mostly entertaining… mostly.
So does GLOW shine bright in the pantheon of Netflix Originals, or is its light lost in the sea of other original content?
I feel like this might be hit or miss with a lot of people. Having a faded memory of GLOW, I wasn’t hampered by any historical inaccuracies, but given the characterizations of some of the characters I have a strong feeling lots of liberties were taken.
GLOW is less about the wrestling and more about the struggles of actresses in the ’80’s. It’s about this group of woman who were willing to take a chance in this oddball longshot idea just because it offered them a chance to be more than what their life and the entertainment industry was offering. A chance to be strong, independent characters in the forefront, and not just secretaries or love interests or background booty or any number of less than flattering or undesirable roles.
The tone of the show is hard to nail down. It’s a comedy that edges into goofy territory with dramatic elements that sometimes dip into Lifetime movie tropes. It can often times be pretty crude and vulgar then shift to being sweet and touching. As a whole, it actually meshed well into a cohesive work of entertainment. There is a groan worthy scene or three, and one in particular where the energy shift between the crowd and the girls just didn’t quite feel believable.
Personally, I hope this does well enough to get another season. By the end of my binge session I was into these gorgeous ladies’ journey into wrestling. I liked seeing what looked like genuine fun on the faces of the women as they evolved into a sisterhood. I appreciated the mix of the dark and slapstick styles of comedy. It also wasn’t lost on me the appeal of seeing beautiful women of all shapes and sizes bouncing around the ring.
Available only on Netflix
Created by: Liz Flahive, Carly Mensch
Starring: Alison Brie, Betty Gilpin, Marc Maron
If you are as interested as I am in delving deeper into the actual lore surrounding GLOW, I just discovered this documentary that is now added to my “need to watch” list: