Television’s Warm, Glowing, Warming GLOW


GLOW – Beth started watching this Netflix show after hearing about it at Kevin Geeks Out, and she later convinced me to do so as well. I’ve now watched all of the available episodes. It’s loosely based on an actual show from the 1980s, Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. I hadn’t heard of it prior to the KGO presentation, but I did later watch the documentary about it. It looks like about what you would expect from such a show: flashy, corny, and full of stereotypes. The Netflix show takes the premise and people involved and fictionalizes them. The wrestlers’ characters are based on ones from the original show, but often have details switched around or ignored entirely. For instance, Machu Picchu is based on Mount Fiji, but while the latter was an Olympic shot putter, the former is from a family of wrestlers. I’m sure someone better versed in the original show could identify many more similarities and differences. The main focus is on what’s going on behind the scenes, and the actresses address how offensive some of them are. From the little I’ve read, there was a lot of animosity between the women and director Matt Cimber. His equivalent in the show is Marc Maron’s Sam Sylvia, who like Cimber is a bad-tempered Italian-American director of exploitation films. The thing is, the show has him mellow out over time and at least start to examine his misogynistic attitudes and respect the actresses, while I’ve seen no indication that the real Cimber ever did. I think there’s a general theme of redemption, as the characters start out not getting along at all, but gradually learn to work together. The main character is Ruth Wilder, played by Allison Brie, whom I get confused with Brie Larson, although I don’t think they’re very similar. She’s an aspiring actress who’s only managed to find bit parts, and she has an affair with her best friend Debbie’s husband. When Ruth and Debbie get into a fight in the ring, they’re both hired for the show, making for some major awkwardness between them that comes to a head towards the end of the second season when Debbie accidentally breaks Ruth’s leg during a match. I think they’re both portrayed as flawed but sympathetic. Some of the characters haven’t been developed much yet, but the ones that have were treated interestingly, and you can root for them to succeed. There are also quite a few hook-ups, with Rhonda/Britannica briefly dating Sam, but later marrying producer Bash Howard for citizenship; and two of the women getting together.

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