Way back in the formative years of my youth, I had a friend who loved to watch wrestling, if it wasn’t on, we’d end up playing the WWF licensed video games ad infinitum until the “real thing” started on TV. In all that time I never understood the appeal of the franchise, it wasn’t until I watched GLOW on Netflix that I began to understand why some people are so enamoured of this crazy world.
GLOW is the new masterpiece from Carly Mensch (Producer on Orange is the New Black,) and Liz Flahive (Producer for Nurse Jackie,) and it is glorious. The show is set in 1985 and revolves around Ruth (Alison Brie,) an aspiring actress who is struggling to make ends meet in Los Angeles until she receives an audition for a “unique” project that promises to be a brand new experience for all involved (and it’s definitely not porn!). The audition is for a chance to star in an all female TV series called GLOW (an acronym of the Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling.)
The show attempts to address the attitudes towards women in that period and manages to do so with a great degree of confidence. If there’s one aspect it falls down on, it is the representation of sexuality, whilst race and women’s liberation stand front and centre within the plot (although erring more on the side of embracing femininity) there is neither hide nor hair of a homosexual or transgendered character to be seen. Admittedly, the series is dealing with an era when neither aspect was seen as a topic of polite conversation, yet it feels (to the current generation) as if there is a missing piece to the overall puzzle. It’s not necessarily one which will prevent your overall enjoyment, but hopefully the show will address the issue come the next series.
It is the actors who truly make GLOW shine (no pun intended.) Much like the cast of characters in OITNB, GLOW embraces the diversity of women by featuring a variety of body shapes, sizes and skin tones. It’s an unfortunate side effect of the show’s setting that many of the women end up playing over–the–top stereotypes (The Welfare Queen and Fortune Cookie for example,) however, the intention of the show is to subvert the views that gave birth to these types of caricatures and show the nuanced characters underneath.
Supporting the overall tone of the series is an absolutely killer soundtrack that will almost certainly have you rocking out in your living room. A selection of songs from the 50s to the 80s sets the tone for the whole show as you watch the women go from being rank amateurs to semi-professional stars over the course of the series.
GLOW is a unique series to watch, to the untrained eye it may just look like a group of attractive women with big hair and squeezed into skintight leotards with mild sapphic overtones. But dig a little deeper and you will discover a treasure trove of female empowerment, nuanced characters and a wonderful mixture of comedy and drama. GLOW should be the show to watch for everyone.
GLOW is available on Netflix right now!