GLOW: What the genesis of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling was probably like.
June 28, 2017 3:00 PM - Season 1 (Full Season) - Subscribe

The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling (also known as GLOW) was a women's professional wrestling "league" formed in 1985. This new Netflix fictionalized version of its inception is fun, thoughtful, and religious in its 80s authenticity. Jenji Kohan is one of the producers.

Found here: https://www.netflix.com/watch/80115864

Alison Brie, Marc Maron, and a great ensemble cast create an intriguing look at a strange time, place, and sport.
posted by Stanczyk (47 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
 
My friend Rachel is a writer on this. Looking forward to watching it!
posted by maxsparber at 3:58 PM on June 28 [7 favorites]


Tell Rachel "great job!" because I LOVED this show. So funny, and I believed the characters right from the start. I can't remember the last time I watched a show that started so strong so quickly.

I can't wait to talk about the rest of the reason with all you.
posted by Tevin at 4:18 PM on June 28 [22 favorites]


I looked it up to see if the woman who played Carmen, Britney Young, was related to the rest of the actors who played the Jackson clan and she's not. None of them are related.

I'm kind of racist, aren't I? They really sold the family thing to me. I loved them.
posted by Stanczyk at 4:37 PM on June 28


Also, I'm not convinced that Maron wasn't the first person cast. Or they started brainstorming the character and quickly landed on Maron and then that choice influenced the rest of the development of the character. He was too fucking perfect.
posted by Stanczyk at 4:40 PM on June 28 [4 favorites]


Harley, my wife, just pointed out that the documentary that inspired the creators to make this series is also available on Netflix: www.netflix.com/watch/70296765
posted by Stanczyk at 4:44 PM on June 28 [8 favorites]


Alison Brie and Betty Gilpin are both great on the show, especially Brie as a crappy actor. I'm told it's difficult to be a good actor and play a crappy actor.

Marc Maron is great on this show as well, but, like, a real prick in the show's promotional interviews. Is that his schtick or something? He should re-consider that when he's not on set. It costs little to be kind. I have a friend who has an unrelated beef with him as well. Not a fan.

Every regular on this show is great, really. Favorite subplots: Cherry and Tammé going for face turns; Justine and Billy Offal's punk romance set to Tears for Fears.
posted by infinitewindow at 5:53 PM on June 28 [3 favorites]


Maron is as Maron does. I think listening to hundreds of hours of his podcast have inured me to his causticity but I get why it rub someone wrong. I wouldn't hold out on him changing anything aby his public perception though.

He was really great as Sam. I actually think he and Brie might have been the starting point. Something in the back of my mind makes me think that they are actual friends or at least someone heard her interview on WTF and decided they need to be in something together. They are both so perfect in those roles I kept forgetting they were ever anyone else.

Also all of the Lumberjacksons are the actual best and

[SPOILER] I teared up at the end when Daddy Jackson showed up and Carmen was just BEAMING [/SPOILER]

I' assumed they all were related, she just seemed to be part of the family.
posted by Tevin at 7:28 PM on June 28 [7 favorites]


You know what totally made me tear up in the finale, was that scene where Bash is looking in the mirror before the match and then impulsively, quickly, silently puts on glittery eyeshadow. Everything about that was so completely perfect.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:50 PM on June 28 [22 favorites]


Oh man I just watched the documentary and there better be a season 2
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:36 PM on June 28 [1 favorite]


Having lived through the 80s once, I find I have a really thin skin about the small details that productions set in the period miss. But I thought they totally nailed it here. I think the show bogs down a bit every time Marc Maron's character is a jerk, which is pretty much every time he's on screen.
posted by Catblack at 6:01 AM on June 29


But I thought they totally nailed it here

I hate to give my friend Rachel grief, as we are both veteran's of Omaha's Blue Barn theater, which she named in the show, but the Blue Barn started in 1989. GLOW started four years earlier.

That being said, the first episode is like slash fiction for fans of Mad Men, and I am going to give her credit for that.
posted by maxsparber at 7:43 AM on June 29 [8 favorites]


There were some fairly anachronistic wrestling moves, too, but they were all in service to the story, so I don't mind.
posted by Etrigan at 7:50 AM on June 29 [3 favorites]


This is such a great show and a complete surprise for me. I hadn't heard anything about this until it popped up in my Netflix news queue.

Marc Maron has some WTF podcast episodes with the cast and crew. Contains strong language.

Episode 821: Alison Brie and Betty Gilpin.
Episode 823: producer Jenji Kohan.

Upcoming episodes will feature the creators Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch, wrestling coach Chavo Guerrero, professional wrestler and actress Kia Stevens.
posted by Pendragon at 8:15 AM on June 29 [1 favorite]


Another surprise for me was Kate Nash! I didn't know she acted.
posted by Pendragon at 8:17 AM on June 29 [5 favorites]


Also re: podcasts, pro wrestling podcast Tights and Fights interviewed Rebekka Johnson and Kimmy Gatewood (The Beatdown Biddies).

Among other things, this episode totally vindicated my briefly thinking that Steel Horse's opponent was played by Paul F Tompkins (until he started actually wrestling, that is).

And seriously though, you guys gotta watch the documentary. It's really kinda moving, in addition to hinting at all kinds of potentially awesome future storylines.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:02 AM on June 29 [1 favorite]


This show is so good. I loved how skillfully they told you everything you needed to know about Ruth within the first minute and Marc Maron is perfectly cast as the bitter and cranky director. I also loved how they accurately portray the 80s as politically incorrect unlike so many other shows and movies which seem to gloss over how unfriendly that era was for women and people of color.
posted by cazoo at 9:21 AM on June 29 [2 favorites]


Among other things, this episode totally vindicated my briefly thinking that Steel Horse's opponent was played by Paul F Tompkins (until he started actually wrestling, that is).

"Who's that Paul F. Tompkins-looking indie guy?" is such a common question among wrestling/comedy nerds that it mostly just goes like this nowadays:
"Who's that Paul--"
"Joey Ryan."
"Thanks."
posted by Etrigan at 9:27 AM on June 29 [7 favorites]


I just binged watched this from my sickbed and immediately came to see if there was a fanfare thread. Throughly enjoy it and have now queued up the documentary.
posted by halcyonday at 10:54 AM on June 29




Original G.L.O.W. pilot presentation

"I think every all-American girl should eat a banana split once a week. Preferably in red, white, and blue."
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:57 PM on June 29 [1 favorite]


"WILL LITTLE JOHNNY WALK AGAIN??"

omfg this pilot is a masterpiece of kitsch
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:22 PM on June 29


Omg. Skip to 29:50. I can't believe they actually put that on TV! The 80s were buck-wild!
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:54 PM on June 29 [1 favorite]


I loved the documentary (in fact, you should also watch The Rock-afire Explosion and County Fair, Texas by the same filmmakers because they're also great. I have not seen A Life in Waves but I am so there) so I went into this with some trepidation -- the previews didn't make it look great.

But it was much more nuanced and complicated than I was expecting. It has its flaws, but it also gives these women a lot of internal lives. I enjoyed watching it and I was sad when it was over (when you work from home, you can binge a lot of TV!). I've been watching it again, actually.

I can't help thinking the original women of GLOW would be really happy to see versions of themselves (even if highly fictionalized) in such a manner. I think that's what made me happy more than anything. The show is delightful and its own thing, but I'm glad that people are discovering the weirdness and the wonder that was GLOW through this show.
posted by darksong at 7:48 PM on June 29 [3 favorites]


Another surprise for me was Kate Nash! I didn't know she acted.

Holy shit that was Kate Nash. I didn't even realize.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:48 AM on June 30


Absolutely loved this! Alison Brie is spectacular. I loved seeing a sincere, conflicted friendship between women. I'm really interested to see if their relationship can be repaired.
This show also made me interested in wrestling, which is not something I thought I would ever say!
How crazy was the retro pregnancy test?
posted by areaperson at 12:20 PM on June 30 [8 favorites]


This show also made me interested in wrestling, which is not something I thought I would ever say!

I don't know whether they realized it at the time, but this show is partially riding the biggest wave in the history of women's wrestling.

Try SHIMMER and SHINE, all-women's promotions based out of Chicago and Florida. They run Internet PPVs and release events on DVD.

Lucha Underground (on El Rey network, if your cable package is big enough) and Chikara (their streaming service is ridiculously good) are intergender promotions that have no women's divisions, so women are eligible for (and have held within recent memory) any of their championships.

And the biggest dog on the block by far, WWE has gotten better about women's wrestling in the last couple of years (until a huuuge fuckup a couple of weeks ago, but the less said about that the better), to the point that all three of its flagship shows (Raw, SmackDown, and NXT) were main-evented by women's matches this week.
posted by Etrigan at 1:01 PM on June 30 [11 favorites]


I just finished the last one. Tying the end of the match thematically to the state of their friendship and end of the season was pretty great.

I have never really enjoyed wrestling since I was a kid, but I loved the hell out of that match. So obvious and predictable if you know anything at all about wrestling or soaps, yet so utterly goddamn delightful.
posted by middleclasstool at 9:09 PM on June 30 [2 favorites]


After binge-watching it last weekend, my only disappointment was that there weren't more episodes ready to watch.
posted by drezdn at 5:28 AM on July 1 [2 favorites]


I honestly just loved everything about this. It was harsh in some parts, esp. w Maron. and it didn't shy away from how rough it was for minorities. But the show wan't mean by any stretch. There was some truly touching moments, and that made me really happy. There were a lot of other ways the show could have been v predictable, but it wasn't. (Also I just need to chime in with Bash's eyeshadow scene. It was so, so perfect. )
posted by FirstMateKate at 12:23 PM on July 1 [2 favorites]


Just finished this and I loved it. Some favorite moments: The bonding between Carmen and Bash. The crazy intricacy of that pregnancy test! (It's also the second Netflix show in which an Alison Brie character got a very realistically portrayed abortion.) The aforementioned bit where Bash puts on the glitter. You just know he's been secretly dreaming of that very moment since he started the project. The Mothers and Lovers/Back to the Future gag had me laughing for at least a full minute. Maron really sold that shattered bewilderment.
posted by lovecrafty at 12:49 PM on July 1 [9 favorites]


There were so many times that I wished there were FanFare posts for each episode, because each episode had me all pumped up for some particular scene, and now there are too many to remember. Like, in ... episode six? when they really started trying to feel out everyone's roles I was convinced the twist was that Debbie would make a better heel and that Ruth would end up the face. Or my sheer unbridled joy when all the women joined in to a group wolf howl at the skating rink oh my god that was wonderful. Or ... you know, every single moment of every other episode besides. All of it. I loved this show so much.

As I said on Twitter: "Every single episode of GLOW that I have watched (7 so far) has each been more entertaining than the entirety of Fargo season 3."

I don't think there's been any show since True Detective (season one of course) where I was so hooked from the first few minutes.
posted by komara at 10:41 PM on July 1 [10 favorites]


Speaking of great small moments, props to Captain Holt's husband on Brooklyn 99 for his brief but delightful turn as Bash's mom's doorman.

"Choose life."
"I did."
posted by showbiz_liz at 3:49 AM on July 2 [8 favorites]


Yeah, this was great. I binged it all in one day last week. I was expecting to like it, but I loved it. It's very light, mostly, and that was good. It was just the thing.

Is it just me, or does anyone else think that the accent Marc Maron uses as Sam Sylvia sounds exactly like the one Matthew Rhys uses in The Americans?

"Another surprise for me was Kate Nash! I didn't know she acted."

I was surprised, too, when I figured that out. But she's pretty good. Apparently, she had originally aspired to be an actor, but didn't get accepted to the drama schools she applied to.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 2:10 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


That's Alison Brie!?! Community's Alison Brie!? Wow.

I was vaguely aware of G.L.O.W. through the Saturday morning cartoons (and the WWF smc with Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant &al.) but don't think I've seen an actual episode (I wasn't into WWF either).

The 1985 pilot was pretty really painful to watch skim.

Interesting that the 2017 series included an actor of S. Asian and another of Chinese descent. Where any of the wrestlers in the original G.L.O.W. non White/Black?
posted by porpoise at 3:57 PM on July 3


"Were any of the wrestlers in the original G.L.O.W. non White/Black?"

I just watched the documentary tonight and I noticed at least two women of Asian descent, and one of the main wrestlers (Emily Dole/Mountain Fiji, upon whom Carmen/Machu Picchu appears to have been loosely based) is from American Samoa.
posted by komara at 9:11 PM on July 3 [2 favorites]


Did not mean to watch it through all in one day, but couldn't help myself, and it certainly wasn't because of the use of stupid cliffhangers (which was generally eschewed here).

HAHAH! I LOVE the 80's pregnancy testing kit scene. As I've left academia I've been increasingly involved in molecular testing and end-user testing kit design, and yeah I'm both optimistic *and* pessimistic about end-user diagnostics.

It's complicated.

--

Alison Brie - I'm incredibly impressed. The range of acting - from good actor doing a poor actress role to complicated character(s) - warrants respect, as well as her physical transformation. Jesus. It's not as extreme as many male actors have gone through (and there are few who have changed that magnitude in the time she's spent doing it), but her fitness level is suitable for the role (her character isn't A-list, and definitely before women's wrestling got "professional").

Unlike many others, I like training montages/training scenes - and GLOW has done a great job of that; making it interesting as well as working in character development and dripping a bunch of real-life stuff into it. The GLOW members being tutored by really well intentioned WWF people was really great.

--

Love the early Wrestling kayfabe = Soap Opera revelation, and especially love the "have to deal with these people every single fucking day" social interaction thing and how (actual) people deal with it (as opposed to "reality TV" scripted artificial situations). Era-specific racism/sexism is fairly representative/believable/era-correct.

The fictional retelling of how GLOW started is pretty compelling, entertaining, and thoughtful.

The juxtaposition of D.A.R.E./G.L.O.W. is... juicy? Having been exposed to both through cheap bottom-tier comic books. Also, corp/charities vs actual working class.

--

"When there's no more money, it's over."
posted by porpoise at 9:42 PM on July 3 [3 favorites]


Oh wow, I was not expecting to like this show because I have always found pro wrestling boring, but I saw some raves, and said "eh, Alison Brie is always delightful, and it's an almost all female cast, might as well give it a try!" ... and now I'm done with the whole season. Random thoughts:

- Marc Maron's character really walks that line between gruff-but-lovable grizzled dude and "holy shit, what a fucking asshole," doesn't he? I felt really uncomfortable with his character sometimes, but it felt very real.

- I'm pretty astounded at how Alison Brie was able to make herself ... not ugly, exactly, but homely. She didn't exactly play against type here (she was still playing a Type A perfectionist) but her character was a lot more layered than I've seen her play before. And it was interesting seeing her play someone who is pretty fundamentally unhappy and frustrated, but who will also never give up. She apparently had to fight for the role - the producers couldn't see her in this role either, they thought she was too pretty. But she was amazing.

- I just loved how funny but really real the dynamics between all the women were. They didn't feel so much like a sisterhood as much as they felt like a group of teammates, which is just right.
posted by lunasol at 12:21 AM on July 4 [7 favorites]


The 1985 pilot was really painful to skim.

Interesting that the 2017 series included an actor of S. Asian and another of Chinese descent. Where any of the wrestlers in the original G.L.O.W. non White/Black?


The pilot episode has 11 white wrestlers and 3 POC wrestlers - Spanish Red, Royal Hawaiian, and Pepper. From watching the documentary I'm also aware of several others.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:39 AM on July 4 [2 favorites]


I loved GLOW so much more than I expected, and finished them all within a 24hr period. I desperately want to see more seasons and stories. I loved all the touching parts when people connected and I wept when Allison Brie and Betty Gilpin first got their top rope move down after the long training montage.

The biggest surprise to me was Marc Maron. I've been a fan of his standup for the past 20 years and he's always done a "loser asshole" persona. But when he had an IFC show about his life called Maron, it was kind of terrible. It had its moments, but like Seinfeld early episodes, you could tell Marc was the only non-actor surrounded by great actors and he stuck out to me.

When I saw him show up in GLOW, I hoped it'd be a minor role, because he never had the chops for his last show, but then he kind of took his old standup persona and ran with it, and kept going, and dare I say it, but he was fucking brilliant throughout the run. I'm shocked he rose to the occasion, but he hung with the rest of the amazing cast. I'm just really surprised, he totally blew my expectations.
posted by mathowie at 10:13 AM on July 6 [14 favorites]


I had a similar reaction to Maron as mathowie. I was also surprised to see him smoking/drinking/doing drugs - having followed him via his podcast, I'd have figured that would all be very difficult for him, particularly without a real acting background. I'm curious if he's talked about that stuff much in interviews about the role.
posted by soplerfo at 1:35 PM on July 6 [1 favorite]


I can't stop thinking about this show and how much I loved watching it as a woman. And I keep having friends start watching it, and then watch it through to the end in a crazy short period of time, like I did, mostly women. I was trying to put my finger on what made this show feel so good to watch, and I finally realized that it's really free and unapologetic about letting its main female characters have strong, somewhat difficult personalities in a real way.

I mean, Alison Brie's character is pretty unlikeable a lot of the time. She's in the same breed of female "try-hard" characters as Leslie Knope and Santiago from Brooklyn 99, but without a lot of the cuteness of those characters.
She's pretentious and prickly and not as talented as she thinks she is and she does mean well but she's pretty self-centered and self-pitying. Hell, she slept with her close friend's husband. And that's all ok - we're still rooting for her because of her almost desperate drive to prove herself. The character she reminds me the most of is Paris from Gilmore Girls, but she's a supporting character, not a lead. And for much of the series, she's the foil to the protagonist. In Glow, Ruth gets to be super-intense in a real, complicated way, and she's still the protagonist.

Similarly, Betty Gilpin's character - she's a lot more traditionally sympathetic (she's beautiful, she's been wronged), but the way the show allows her to really lean into her rage/anger is pretty amazing. She's angry and she's going to stay angry for a while and the writers and Gilpin don't feel the need to soften this or qualify it in any way. She's allowed to be a bitch, she's allowed to just be really fucking pissed.

I'm hoping we'll get to go in deeper with some of the other characters next season.
posted by lunasol at 9:44 AM on July 7 [12 favorites]


I liked this show, and binged the whole thing in a couple of days.

I almost gave up in the first episode where they made a whole big deal about Ruth-the-character not doing porn, but then followed that up almost immediately with Allison-the-actress doing nude love scenes.

Overall, I'm not sure the show always knows precisely whether it is commenting on exploitation of women or actually exploiting them. That sometimes makes it interesting, sometimes makes it a little hard to watch.
posted by jacquilynne at 1:10 PM on July 14 [2 favorites]


Just finished it and was slow to warm to it but then totally got hooked. And I was on the edge of my seat in the final episode so, yeah, that's how these matches are supposed to go, right?! I hope there is more.

Holy shit to the original G.L.O.W. pilot above.
posted by amanda at 9:20 PM on July 14


People kept saying this was good, but no one said it was training montage to Stan Bush's "Dare" good.
posted by Gary at 1:29 PM on July 20 [8 favorites]


I haven't quite finished the season yet, but so far I love, love, love the way that it looks like Ruth is going to be this feminist icon Peggy-Olson-as-an-actress character but then you gradually realise that she's actually completely insufferable as a human being in addition to the sexist shit that all the other actresses she's competing against also have to put up with.

At least at the point of the series I've made it to, I see a really strong parallel between her and Sam. Both of them are completely up their own asses while also being full of self-loathing, and that comes out in the way they interact with other people. Sam is operating at maximum abrasiveness at all times while Ruth sleeps with her more successful friend's husband and treats everybody in the world like material for her acting. Which is why Ruth ends up being such a perfect heel, because losing constantly while being the center of attention is, like, exactly what she craves.

Also, I loved the way that Cherry and Tamme's plan to flip around Sam's weak sauce "shock the masses" tag team match into a genuine act of rebellion was revealed with Stacey and Dawn backstage. "It's not racist if it was the black girls' idea, right?" and then they put the hoods on. Amazing.
posted by tobascodagama at 7:47 AM on July 24 [5 favorites]




This is my favorite new show in ages!! The ensemble cast is highly likable, espeically Carmen, the physical work is riveting to watch, and they always have the perfect soundtrack.
(One song by Roxette is from 1989, but I won't quibble...)
posted by of strange foe at 12:23 PM on August 18 [2 favorites]


« Older Pretty Little Liars: Till Deat...   |  Movie: Baby Driver... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments

poster