GLOW: Being strong has never been so gorgeous (and I’m not just talking about physical strength).
Wrestling – what does that bring to mind? If you’re anything like me, then men resembling Hulk Hogan spring to mind. They’re fighting – or sorry, “fighting” – and throwing each other into the ring’s ropes, before one gets pinned to the floor.
But this isn’t the case for Netflix’s GLOW. Replace the muscled men with a ragtag of women, and then you’ve got GLOW.
From the creators of Orange is the New Black, and based on the real-life Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling league from the Eighties, GLOW tells the story of Hollywood actresses desperate for a job. Ruth Wilder, our leading lady, is played by Alison Brie (Mad Men, Bojack Horseman) and one of LA’s out-of-work actresses. Her need for an acting gig, and a decent wage, brings her to the world of glitter and spandex, along with 12 other misfits. Their chance of fame is led by Sam Sylvia (Marc Maron), who specialises in crude “B” movies.
The humour presented in the series, of which there is currently two seasons, is familiar – similar, in fact, to Orange is the New Black. And the similarities don’t end there. Just like Piper Chapman, Ruth is incredibly flawed – she’s annoying, cares only for herself, and puts too much thought into what others think of her. These traits often land her in unfavourable roles.
But if you power through the first few episodes, you will see Ruth has redeemable qualities. Or, let me correct that, you will see her flaws prove to have their uses. By the end of the first season, you will definitely be rooting for Ruth to succeed.
Even if you do not warm up to Ruth, you’ll find another member of the team to cheer on. Whether it’s soap-star Debbie Eagan, the lethal Cherry Bang, or the loveable Carmen Wade, there will be a character for you.
GLOW is not just about the people, however. It’s also about the decade – the 80s. The quirkiness of the show is a character itself. Made up of hairspray, leotards, neon lights, and an odd acceptance of cocaine, it competes with the characters to win the viewers’ attention.
There is more to the Netflix show than colour and fun, though. Themes, such as homophobia, infidelity, racism, and so many more, are strong throughout the series. It might be almost 40 years since the 80s began, but these themes continue to affect the lives of many people around the world.
And if you love GLOW, be sure to watch the documentary on the real ladies of wrestling – GLOW: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling.
By Michaella Wheatley