By Sumayah Medlin
Netflix’s latest original series, “GLOW,” an acronym for Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, is a scripted behind–the-scenes of a preexisting ’80s show, of the same title, that was the first to feature all female wrestlers.
The original series was different from regular wrestling in more ways than one.
The choice to have female wrestlers is the obvious difference, but it also involved music, and very overdramatized characters — even for wrestling standards. Debbie, played by Betty Gilpin of “Nurse Jackie,” notes that wrestling is like a soap opera.
“GLOW” exclusively features unconventional women, from women who lactate in their aerobics classes to women who are considered to be “too real” for directors, according to one casting agent in the show.
The gorgeous ladies are aspiring actresses that haven’t gotten their big break yet because they’re too opinionated, big, black or just generally different from what society deems acceptable.
Lucky for them, so is the director Sam Sylvia (Marc Maron). All of his movies are simply ripoffs of other big budget films such as his movie, “Mothers and Lovers,” which is very similar to “Back to the Future,” with some added incest.
It’s not that hard to assume why he’s working so hard to get “GLOW” on the air.
The show opens up with Ruth (Alison Brie) in the middle of an audition. She deliberately reads the male part’s lines, because, “it’s the better part,” which the casting agent agrees on.
She frequently pulls stints of the sort so that she can get a character that has more substance than the male character’s wife.
She never gets the role, until she gets “GLOW.” She and all the other women have no idea what they’re in for.
The women on screen understandably feel underappreciated. They’re real, which is cool on paper, but not actually what the directors want when they see them in person.
They usually don’t get cast, and if they do, they’re relegated to doing porn or being stuck in a coma for an entire season.
I applaud “GLOW”’s very real portrayal of sexism against women, since one of the best ways to combat sexism is to acknowledge its existence.
The show itself was pretty difficult for me to get into. When I first saw the trailer, I wasn’t that inclined to watch because wrestling is not really my thing, and the promise of ’80s neon and acid wash jeans didn’t help that case.
Another downside was the main character, Ruth, who reminds me of a season one Rachel Berry from “Glee” — both are very entitled and seem to think that they have way more talent and professionalism than the rest, even though Ruth repeatedly ignores the director’s stage directions.
She’s one of my least favorite characters, which makes watching the show almost like a chore — and she has so much screentime!
To my surprise, the show actually grew on me. I was holding back tears by the last episode and looking forward to the next season.
I even found myself sympathizing with Ruth in a few of the scenes.
Overall, it has all of the crucial elements from most decent TV genres. It’s not good enough that I would watch season two the instant it premieres on Netflix, but I will eventually get around to it.
Considering only the first episode of the fictional “GLOW” has been filmed in the show, there’s still so much we haven’t seen yet, such as the process of getting the show on the air.
Audiences aren’t naïve enough to think that there will be smooth sailing so soon.
Of course, there will be more trials and tribulations that the cast and crew will experience.
“GLOW” has more plot than it does wrestling, so I would recommend this show to a binger of Netflix originals, rather than a pure wrestling fan.
Wrestling fans could always watch the ’80s original, and Netflix’s “GLOW” is putting it back on the map for a new generation.