When I was a kid, I loved wrestling. It was one of the few things that could capture my attention enough, and I absolutely adored people like Hulk Hogan, Rowdy Roddy Piper, and Andre the Giant. When I say a kid, I mean 8, 9, and 10 years old, because it is something I grew out of…I swear. Around the same time, I had discovered GLOW, which for those who don’t know, it stands for Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. GLOW meant as much to me as the regular WWE, or WWF back in those days. Those ladies were just as important and just as amazing as their male counterparts. Wrestlers like Americana or Amy the Farmer’s Daughter, Mount Fiji, had just as much presence to me. GLOW was one of the first things that showed me that women can do the same thing men do, and be just as serious about it.
Netflix’s GLOW is a look at the personal and professional lives of a group of women who perform for a wrestling organization in Los Angeles during the ’80s. Ruth Wilder is a failed actress, unable to find work, and about to hit rock bottom. Her best friend, Debbie Eagan, actually left acting to raise a family, only to discover that her husband is a philanderer who doesn’t support her dreams. Together they join up with Sam Sylvia – a director who hasn’t had any hits for a while – and he’s using this as a way to fund his next movie. The GLOW family learn to wrestle and work together to keep their newfound purpose in life afloat, fighting through life experiences and financial woes.
Alison Brie as Ruth Wilder is just so much fun to watch, an absolute joy. Ruth Wilder as a character can be insufferable and hard to watch, but Alison Brie plays her in such a way that it disarms the viewer. She makes her relatable, and truly is the heart of the show. Betty Gilpin as Debbie isn’t hard to like in any way. Her presence on screen is just this bright, shining light of strength and power and she displays it any chance she gets, and you’re really on her side throughout her story.
Marc Maron as a person has never really connected with me. I haven’t really enjoyed his stand-up, I don’t enjoy his podcast, and I have never understood why people appreciate him so much. That said, he was perfectly cast as Sam Sylvia, there couldn’t be any better casting. Sure, he’s despicable, but he cares for his girls and he looks after them, even if he is a little bit of a sexist prick about it. I could really go on about the rest of the cast, but honestly everyone is so strong. Actresses like Sydelle Noel, Britney Young, Kimmy Gatewood. Everyone brings something to the table and it’s perfect for the show. Any member of this entire cast could suitably carry an episode dedicated to their story without a hitch.
Like Stranger Things, this show is set in the ’80s, but unlike that Netflix original, there’s a layer of grime and filth on everything here. This isn’t the idealized ’80s, this feels more like the real thing. With the exception of the crystal clear, ultra-high definition picture of today’s modern televisions, it would be easy to believe this show came straight out of the 80s. GLOW also boasts a soundtrack that will hit you right in your nostalgic heart, and the songs are perfectly picked for every situation. Seriously, the production value in this show is so great it’s no wonder Netflix started making room for it on the schedule.
The last few weekends at the theater have seen some low numbers. Movies like Transformers, The Mummy, and Cars 3 just aren’t bringing in the numbers they used to. But that’s the problem. “Used to” implies, as you know, that these are all things we have seen before. It’s the new that is grabbing our attention. What can be more new than a group of women finding their purpose through wrestling? What’s better, Netflix’s GLOW punches you in the face with a great soundtrack, suplexes you into a fully immersive world, and drop kicks you with a beautiful cast. Why go to the theater when we have quality like this at the touch of a finger?