GLOW: Say Yes
August 10, 2019 11:15 AM - Season 3 (Full Season) - Subscribe

The third season of Netflix's GLOW was released on August 9, 2019.

(Spoiler warning for all these links) CNN says it's a 'less flattering' portrayal of life in the '80s, and The Atlantic says it's 'post-plot.' Vulture says it's 'deeper and even better, and Indiewire calls it an 'incredible triumph.'
posted by box (69 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I love this show so much. I watched eps 1-8 yesterday and finished it just now. I don't want to jump into details just yet in case anyone comes into this thread having only watched part of the season and maybe they don't want the very first comment to be spoilery. This had so much and I'm happy to see them continue to develop the characters even further. I'm already craving more.
posted by acidnova at 2:09 PM on August 10, 2019 [5 favorites]

Episode 6. OH MY GOD.

today I was like "eh, got nothing much to do, I'll just have it on the background, probably won't even be able to get into it."

So much to talk about.
posted by bunderful at 2:12 PM on August 11, 2019 [3 favorites]

I very much loved Sheila's arc this season.

I very much meh'd whatever it is they are trying to do with Ruth and Sam. Enough. I really don't care about anything related to Sam anyway, so I was happy to see so many Sam-free (Samless?) episodes.

I very much loved everything about the Christmas episode. That bit with Ruth and Carmen at Scrooge's tombstone was beyond genius. And Cherry made me cry!

And I'm always happy to see Geena Davis!
posted by mochapickle at 2:18 PM on August 11, 2019 [10 favorites]

I'm always happy to see Toby Huss!

(and Geena Davis, always, but I guess I'm not that far yet)
posted by porpoise at 7:38 PM on August 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

Not completely congruent, but Geena Davis' character is very analogous to my work situation right now.

Our Sandy Devereaux St. Clair looks more like a younger Mitch McConnell and less an older Geena Davis, though.
posted by porpoise at 10:00 PM on August 11, 2019 [2 favorites]

Ooof. Don't you make me picture McConnell in a fabulous Bob Mackie original, now.

(Too late!)
posted by mochapickle at 9:58 AM on August 12, 2019 [3 favorites]

I love this show very much. My favorite thing is how little actual wrestling is in it because watching people do wrestling is one of my least favorite sensory experiences.

I was wondering when that wig was on fire if they were going to mention the terrible smell (not really).

I like Sam and Justine. I think Sam is an interesting character (I dunno maybe he just reminds me of my dad a little, they both smoke Marlboros) and I like Marc Maron as an actor but he makes a lot of sense to me as a grizzled 80s guy and I'm not sure his whole thing would make as much sense to me in a nowadays thing.

I still have 2 episodes to go maybe I will remember the other thing I was going to say.
posted by bleep at 10:02 AM on August 12, 2019 [1 favorite]


I don't get Ruth at the end. Didn't she want to direct from the beginning? Why does she suddenly not want to? Is there something I missed? I'm totally confused.

And the Rhonda and Bash thing.. that was also oddly unresolved. I mean, I thought it was going to end up with them doing an open marriage arrangement so he could stay in the closet while they stayed married -- but that didn't come up at all. And we didn't get Rhonda's reaction to him wanting to stay married -- is she relieved and resigned? or is she about to tell him there's no way it will work?

I don't know, it just doesn't feel like the typical wrap up a bunch of loose strings and then present a new conundrum as cliffhanger for the next season sort of thing. It's like the strings didn't actually get tied. Except for Debbie. That was satisfying af.

I totally loved it, though. Binged it over 3 nights. I actually like the wrestling because I like the athleticism it shows off, so I could have done with more of that, but there were some great moments of choreography nonetheless.
posted by antinomia at 10:46 AM on August 12, 2019 [3 favorites]

I really don't care about anything related to Sam anyway

Ha the best moment was before their first big match, when Sam tries to give his awkward motivational speech over the intercom in the girls dressing room and Debbie walks over and just cuts it off mid-sentence so she can give her own...they share your sentiment.
posted by windbox at 10:57 AM on August 12, 2019 [6 favorites]

Man, I hope Netflix doesn’t do the Netflix thing and cancel this so we don’t get a fourth season. I want more time with these women.
posted by rewil at 12:26 PM on August 12, 2019 [6 favorites]

I don't get Ruth at the end. Didn't she want to direct from the beginning? Why does she suddenly not want to?

The way Debbie set up the proposal (specifically the “if X was going to happen, it would have already” part) felt really dismissive.

If someone tried to sell me on a new gig but positioned it as a consolation prize, I can see myself reacting like Ruth did.
posted by FallibleHuman at 1:27 PM on August 12, 2019 [14 favorites]

Success means something different for each of them. For the entire show so far they both fight but for different things: Ruth for artistic integrity; Debbie for a seat at the table.

There's a bit in the horse-riding episode where Ruth wants to go back to LA and "find a little theater and do a play." Debbie's not into it - to her that would be going backward. She says "I want my life to get bigger, not smaller" - she doesn't care about playing great roles and she'd be okay if Liberty Belle was her last role. Ruth challenges her - points out Debbie says she wants to be a real producer but she's not actually doing anything about it. Later that episode Debbie offers to produce Bobby's charity event and Ruth gets a call about an audition for Justine's movie.

Debbie keeps growing from there while Ruth keeps floundering. She loves acting but she's watching Sheila's talent emerge and realizing how much better Sheila is. Ruth fails an audition that seems like a sure thing. She flakes on an opportunity to act with Sheila.

My thought/hope when she got Debbie's offer was that it made her realize what she *does* want and she's going to move in that direction. Maybe directing, but serious theater?
posted by bunderful at 7:38 PM on August 12, 2019 [2 favorites]

I've always been a fan of Alison Brie, but she really evolves to another level in G.L.O.W.

The makeup taking off scene in e08 and her utter fatigue really re-grounds the show that this is a gruelling performance and a precarious opportunity after the 'vacation' episode a couple back.

I really feel that her "outward face" is similar to her Annie Edison role in 'Community,' but her Ruth Wilder role is obviously so much deeper than that she's just wearing the Annie-face. Her "inner face" comes out slowly, as is natural for someone who feels vulnerable and needs to put on armour to protect themselves from the world.

Such a great snapshot of the 80's - big-assed shoulder pads, heavy makeup, the greed-is-good/ ostentatious displays of wealth, big hair, boxy suits, wrestling/ kayfabe. All of it armour against the real world.

Gayle Rankin/ Sheila's storyline has been super so far; I loved her treadmill bit that ended with her eyeballing the trainer - then turning it up another magnitude of a notch. Interesting counterplay with her getting a bit of heat stroke (in her furs/ wig) on a hike culminating in "it was holding me back."

Sunita Mani/ Arthie feels authentic from an immigrant (from a very conservative origin) and non-straight experience. Elen Wong/ Jenny less so, but I wasn't around during the Vietnam War, and I'm of a similar but very different ethnicity/ experience/ background. But that was kind of the point (mishmash of stereotypes because they are based on many different cultures - but are/were just lumped together as "yellow people"). I've developed a huge crush on Jackie Tohn/ Melanie this season; the empathy and muddling around trying to take off her armour and opening up vulnerability. Model of how to learn and change - but also confronting likely responses/ pushback to trying to figure out what to change into. This was a nice bit by the writers (although the setup was pretty argy/ annoying).

Marianna Palka/ Reggie is just fucking awesome. As is Britney Young/ Carmen. Kate Nash/ Rhonda has been great, too - wondering how/ where they go with her and Bash. Her dealing with Birdie was a little too pat/ Rhonda more savvy than is expected. Kind of expecting Birdie to completely trash Rhonda in an underhanded way by the end of the season.
posted by porpoise at 8:01 PM on August 12, 2019 [5 favorites]

Omg that article is wonderful, thanks for posting it!
posted by antinomia at 1:54 AM on August 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

Mr. Freedom is an acting professor, and we had this conversation during the Sheila-Ruth scene read in episode 8:

Him: Did Sheila bring a pencil to that rehearsal? God, what I wouldn’t give for my students to show up to rehearsals with a fucking pencil.
Me: They both have pencils.
Him: Gaaaaaaaaaaaah.
posted by chainsofreedom at 5:25 PM on August 13, 2019 [7 favorites]

I really appreciate the reduced focus on Marc Maron, we can continue to reduce that focus. I also am interested in a further reduced focus on Ruth and Debbie.

That said I find this show so fun -- Freaky Tuesday was great, I loved Geena Davis -- I just want there to be a lot more of it, in particular more of the other characters (Carmen, Cherry, Tamme -- and to a lesser extent Sheila and Arthie). I think they've never figured Melrose out.

I'm interested in Rhonda's secret competence, and unsurprised by Debbie's -- I like her arc overall, though the baby seemed to be mostly about plot convenience as he disappeared.

For a while I thought the Arthie thing was going to be her coming out as bi, feels like a bit of a missed opportunity.

Here's hoping for another renewal.
posted by jeather at 6:16 PM on August 13, 2019 [3 favorites]

The Cherry and Keith reunion surprise Santa thing sounds by-the-numbers hacky when described without context but it was the beeest

Bashir Salahuddin played Keith breaking down into tears in the fight with Cherry so well, not enough media lets men cry like that and he went full vulnerable ugly cry hurt and it was a perfect choice and execution. And Sydelle Noel nailed Cherry being adrift after things blew up. I didn't realize I was so invested in those two until the Santa thing and then oh man, I am in the tank for their marriage.

Also I always assumed Cherry Bang was a professional name and didn't think about it but I guess Keith's name is Keith Bang? And that's just excellent.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:08 PM on August 13, 2019 [9 favorites]

Ruth at the end

Debbie's deal with Bash behind it; Ruth maybe felt like she was an afterthought - she had nothing to do with the deal nor had any say as to her role in the new gig (and likely no new real authority once employed in the new gig, despite a new role). Ruth knows Deb well enough that all the bs that she's had to put up with - Deb will just pick up the bullshit and employ it like those who did to her.

I don't know, I got a real "I'm tired, I need some away time" vibe from Ruth - but maybe a good vacation can turn that around. Or not. Can't say, don't know what way the writers are going to go, or if they're going to be even given a chance.

Not convinced that Ruth is actually in love with Sam, though. She might be able to convince herself that she is, but deep down? Dunno.

As a series ending, I'm ok with the this and the previous episode. Nothing mindblowing, but reasonably satisfied. There are enough loose ends that another season could make sense - the Bash-owned station for one. This is right before the big 80's financial crash, right? Could even play into that.
posted by porpoise at 10:11 PM on August 13, 2019

Cherry Bang

Interesting. Bang is a rare-ish surname used in Scotland and the Scandanavian region.

It's also a very common surname anglicized from Hangul/ Korean.

Where Keith got 'Bang' as a surname is another story, maybe a legacy from the slave trade?
posted by porpoise at 10:19 PM on August 13, 2019

I suppose from Ruth's perspective, Debbie had gotten further than her as an actor and has the talent and connections and profile to still progress as an actor, and to casually throw away something that Ruth would do anything to have while encouraging her to do the same like it's nothing has to cut deep. Especially since Debbie is oblivious to how it would make Ruth feel!

Also, I would watch the boring comfy sweatpants of a relationship that is Ruth/camera guy over Ruth/angry man-child Sam any day.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:31 PM on August 13, 2019 [2 favorites]

Maybe Cherry and Keith both go by professional names and Bang isn't their real last name but it's still great. Bang! So exciting! But also - Keith! So Keith.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:33 PM on August 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

I don't get Ruth's behavior at the end the same way I don't think I would ever understand anyone in their early 30s choosing to continue to "pursue their artistic dream" and turning down an actual job opportunity that will make them actual money, but also I'm a soulless ghoul. But especially when it's getting a right fucking sweet-ass directing gig! Where you're buddy-buddy with the network president! It all felt forced, it's not like she was being offered a job as an accountant or something and being asked to sell out entirely.

Don't know, man! Love the show but I would have taken that gig, that said the 80s were a different time maybe and people weren't as concerned as losing everything and going homeless and dying destitute - like maybe there was less anxiety about stability?
posted by windbox at 9:22 AM on August 14, 2019 [3 favorites]

Windbox I suspect so - that stability was less of a concern in the 80s. I don't know about LA but I know that in NYC it used to be possible to survive waiting tables, temping and whatnot while pursuing one's passion - at least that's what some of the old-timers told me. I never asked about specific decades but I assumed 70s and 80s.

But personally I agree - I think you can give passion a shot when you're young but really you need money to survive.

Finally figured out the song playing in the Christmas Carol show - Erasure's She Won't Be Home.
posted by bunderful at 8:43 PM on August 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

I don't get Ruth's behavior at the end

Seconded, mostly. I felt like the way she was offered the role was a bit insulting. "If it was going to happen, it would have happened by now" is harsh. As a follow-on to losing the movie role, she wasn't ready to hear that.

But it also felt like "tune in next season..." Which I hope we can, and I hope Netflix doesn't kill this show that is still firing on all cylinders as far as I'm concerned.

TBH I don't want Ruth to wind up with camera guy or Sam. I really hope they put the Ruth/Sam thing to rest and give her a better match. Or just not have to focus on a romantic relationship at all! That could happen, right?

Huge love for Geena Davis and I hope she's back if they get another season. Really enjoyed this season, ready for more.
posted by jzb at 6:42 AM on August 15, 2019

TBH I don't want Ruth to wind up with camera guy or Sam. I really hope they put the Ruth/Sam thing to rest and give her a better match. Or just not have to focus on a romantic relationship at all! That could happen, right?

The more I think about it, the more I believe that they don't intend for Ruth to wind up with Sam, or with the cameraman for that matter. This season has Ruth flailing in absolutely everything she does -- the show is on autopilot, she has nothing more to explore with her character, she writes up a whole notebook of production notes that no one ever reads or reacts to, she sees Sheila giving acting -- Ruth's longtime dream -- a try and connecting to it in a way Ruth hasn't been able to in some time...

She's drawn to Sam in part because Sam gives her the freedom to who she is, and he respects her for it, and she's not finding that respect anywhere else, even though she's starving for it.

And I think a big theme of this season is wanting to be/wanting respect for who you truly are:

- Debbie realizing that for all of her natural head for business, when it comes down to it, she's just arm candy and knowing she can do more.
- Jenny seeing Melrose in the Fortune Cookie role and finally being able to articulate her internally developing conflict with how she and Asians in general are regarded in 1980s America, and how her role perpetuates and deepens it.
- Cherry wanting to please Keith with a family, but wanting him to fully understand that carrying a child would be a hardship for her.
- Rhonda as a new wife wanting to feel like she's desired as a newlywed and in a legitimate, caring partnership with a future.
- Tammé risking her health beyond repair so she can continue the regular acting work she's finally been able to find after decades of wanting to be an actress.
- Arthie wanting to be accepted on her own terms as she figures out who she is, while Yolanda feels Arthie doesn't fully grasp the danger of being a lesbian and respect how she's tried to protect them both.
- Carmen knowing she could do things bigger and better, but feeling limited with GLOW so ends up seeking that out with her brother's show.

Anyway, when it boils down to it, I think Sam is a learning experience for Ruth. He's that awful ex who leaves you spinning in anger and confusion but from the safety of hindsight helps you figure out what you really want.
posted by mochapickle at 12:09 PM on August 15, 2019 [9 favorites]

What is the source of the "my mother and the bricklayer" monologue that Sheila delivers at the fundraiser?
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 3:12 AM on August 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

It’s Miss Julie by Strindberg.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:15 AM on August 17, 2019 [3 favorites]

I have never dyed my hair so I don't understand, is there a reason that wolf girl would spend all that time dyeing her black hair blond and then cover it with a black wig? I understand the wig but why go to the store and buy the kit and put on the gloves and spend the time?
posted by bleep at 12:00 PM on August 17, 2019 [2 favorites]

OK I have watched the whole thing now and I'm back with my non-flip opinions.

She's drawn to Sam in part because Sam gives her the freedom to who she is, and he respects her for it, and she's not finding that respect anywhere else, even though she's starving for it.

Yeah, I think Sam & Ruth would actually be a good match for each other, and maybe if Justine had not had called Ruth in to read things would have worked out for them. But that's the way life is sometimes. I for one think Sam is a decent guy just out here doing his best like everyone else, I don't know why everyone else gives him such a hard time.

(I think the rest of your comment is on point as well mochapickle!)

I think Carmen will be back for Debbie's new thing, but I think it was good for her to make the decision to move on also.

I understand what Ruth did at the airport too. Ruth in the pilot was ready to do anything to be an actress, diving in head first to this crazy wrestling show. Seeing everyone around you get what they want and live their dreams while then being told point-blank that no, for you, that's not possible, sorry. It's a real punch to the gut. She's been working her ass off for validation and recognition this whole time and getting nothing, and then, right at the end, to hear from her best friend who had this big "chase you down at the airport" moment just to say she's not going to be making her dream come true, because she doesn't deserve it, I could really picture myself in that situation saying no, enough is enough, my ego can't really take this much punishment, I must do something that I want to do soon or I will die.

It would have been just as easy for Debbie to say sure, you want to be in it, of course you can, Zoya really saved all our asses and we need you to do it again! That's probably all Ruth needed to hear.
posted by bleep at 2:43 PM on August 17, 2019 [3 favorites]

Although the fact that Ruth was apparently so upset by what happened with Sam that she couldn't show up for Sheila kind of suggests that maybe Ruth doesn't have what it takes to be an actor after all and Debbie is right.
posted by bleep at 5:34 PM on August 17, 2019 [6 favorites]

I think you're right. Ruth's real skill is directing, if anything, and not acting, and she is probably beginning to realize that deep down, and it's probably killing her.

Ruth must be continually astonished by how easy things seem for Debbie, and how Debbie can take or leave work that Ruth would've loved to have, would have dedicated herself to. Debbie cuts her losses before they become losses.

So to have Debbie accept that a serious and successful acting career isn't likely Ruth's future before Ruth does... double ouch.
posted by mochapickle at 6:10 PM on August 17, 2019 [5 favorites]

At the same time, letting her be in the silly wrestling show if she wanted would probably have been a better move on Debbie's part, the whole Liberty Belle/Zoya dynamic was Ruth's idea.
posted by bleep at 6:47 PM on August 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

I loved where they went with Bash this season and I'm actually really glad that it non-resolved the way it did. Having one sexual experience with a guy and drunkenly opening up to one friend was never going to be enough to cut through Bash's absolute bone-deep TERROR at the idea of being gay. It's possible that nothing ever will.

I actually just finished rewatching season 2 with my roommate, and she asked me if I thought Bash and Florien had ever been intimate. I always figured they hadn't, and the last two episodes of this season seem to confirm that. And I think I was so sure about the fact that they hadn't because I was closeted (including from myself) for many years, and the way Bash navigates being closeted is HEARTBREAKINGLY familiar.

I love Bash so much u guys
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:01 PM on August 25, 2019 [14 favorites]

I loved how much Bash and Britannica loved the magic.

I enjoyed the incredibly half-assed apathetic rehearsal.

I appreciated the music - here's a list of the songs that popped up.

My feelings on the finale - the next season premiere can start with a "getting the band back together" montage.
posted by Pronoiac at 3:04 PM on August 25, 2019 [3 favorites]

I still love this show! When Arthie and Yolanda first had their fight and make up sequence, I was irritated because it seemed way too easy. And it was! That was one of the storylines I am glad we saw more of this season.

The Bangs are such a great couple. I felt I could relate to both really well - Cherry getting panicky and having an outburst of some weird, bad scenario and Keith being blindsided by the stuff she was anticipating.

I appreciate Debbie being all about power - figuring out who has it and how she needs to use it, and then sometimes being just giddy when her machinations work (like getting that tray of chips from Geena Davis). I definitely think she will abuse her own power given half a chance.

Bash is in such a painful place right now - he goes from dictator to "just tell me what to do" and back so quickly! When Rhonda was talking up his virtues of being kind and caring I was just like "Who? Bash?" I don't get their relationship. It seems like Rhonda is in a relationship with her fantasy of who Bash is and Bash is in a relationship with Rhonda as Generic Wife Who Handles Stuff and Doesn't Make Demands. I'm not into that dynamic.

I'm also not into the Ruth and Sam show. I don't see Ruth & Russell as long term material because Russell is just a straightforward guy. It seems like Ruth needs a co-conspirator to be always up to something with her. But Sam is too old, too cranky, too dark. On the other hand she does need balance for her naivete but I don't see Sam as the right person for that.

That Betty Gilpin piece was great! I was very surprised when I first saw an interview with her because her personality was so different from Debbie. Not that I thought they were the same, but the confidence, the way she dressed and carried herself is wildly different.

The episode where they all swapped parts was one of my favorites.

I want to us to follow Carmen as she goes out on the road with her brothers, but she brings one or a few of the GLOW ladies along for the ride. And Carmen definitely should be bringing dudes back to her room. C'mon, writers. Let Carmen find love, or at least lust, real soon.

In conclusion: go Sheila!
posted by Emmy Rae at 11:35 AM on August 26, 2019 [2 favorites]

I'm curious about other peoples' reactions to Jenny's monologue about the Cambodian genocide. I wound up full-on weeping at it, but someone else told me they found it totally hamfisted.
posted by showbiz_liz at 5:51 PM on August 26, 2019 [3 favorites]

I forgot to say - this season needed more wrestling!!
posted by Emmy Rae at 5:54 PM on August 26, 2019 [2 favorites]

Overall, I thought this season was very good but felt disjointed. In some ways, that was clearly by design. The first two seasons were all about becoming a team and trying to pull off this crazy project together, while season 3 was about what happens after that initial "we got this!!" spirit fades. But some of the disjointedness didn't feel like it was meant to play into that message. It just felt weird. Like how Cherry's gambling problems were addressed and dispatched in a single episode, or how we didn't see any wrestling at all for the first two or three episodes.
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:03 PM on August 26, 2019 [1 favorite]

Oh hey also, Keith? I love you dude but I thought "what about adoption" immediately during that argument scene, how did it take you multiple months to get there?
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:04 PM on August 26, 2019 [3 favorites]

I don't see Ruth & Russell as long term material because Russell is just a straightforward guy. It seems like Ruth needs a co-conspirator to be always up to something with her.

My roommate hadn't seen season 2 yet, so I watched it with her after finishing season 3, and honestly I'm not sure Ruth was ever that into Russell. She blows him off repeatedly, then goes to his apartment only after Sam tries to kiss her, at which point she tells him "you're a nice guy, and you've been really consistent," which she even admits doesn't sound like much. I think she's with him because she doesn't want to be single, not because she loves him, and I think that if they weren't long-distance they'd have broken up long before the end of season 3.
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:11 PM on August 26, 2019 [5 favorites]

Also, Bobby Barnes is so beautiful and sad and talented. I'm not sure how to describe it but his interacting with the audience but not smiling just to smile, or trying to force a laugh while Sheila was serious was really powerful to me. I thought his show was going to be just to add some atmosphere to an episode and was really happy when he stuck around for awhile. I hope he gets a job making incredible shows at the new network.
posted by Emmy Rae at 6:49 PM on August 26, 2019 [8 favorites]

Rewatched some episodes and I have a more comprehensive theory of Debbie. I think she wants to use her power to help others but she is contemptuous toward people who she sees as pathetic or emotional. So when Jenny asks for a raise, that is the perfect way to seek Debbie's help: asserting her own value and demanding that it be recognized. When Ruth is not ready to give up her acting dream, that is the wrong way to reach out to Debbie: she isn't going to give you emotional help because she sees a way forward and dwelling in your feelings is weakness. Act. Realize the opportunity you DO have and jump on it.

I think in the future if she sees the GLOW ladies seizing opportunities, she will support them. If she sees them complaining about hardships, no matter how real, they lose her respect somewhat. (This doesn't seem to apply with Tammé though.)

Quotable quote: "I wish more men would go on vocal rest."
posted by Emmy Rae at 6:27 PM on August 27, 2019 [8 favorites]

it didn't seem like she was actively seeking out people to help

Totally true. Just that Debbie is in a position to decide to support or not support others in very meaningful ways.
posted by Emmy Rae at 7:05 PM on August 27, 2019

Emmy Rae I think you're almost totally on point, but I'd say Debbie has Tamme's back becausr she respects her. She has ever since that dinner they had in season one. She definitely doesn't respect Ruth that way.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:34 PM on August 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

Coming in way late, but I just finished the season, having parceled out the episodes slowly. I agree with others who said this felt disjointed--there were a lot of threads that got picked up, then completely dropped (like, the kid--I buy some of the other ladies babysitting for Debbie, but he just seems to disappear and if they're always being expected to sit for him on their time off, that's a dick move, but we never see how it's addressed), but I'm willing to give it to them because I love the show so much.

I loathe Sam, and Bash, and I wish their time could be taken up by the ladies, because I don't care about them and don't want them wasting my time with their man-baby bullshit. I started watching it with a friend who's big into wrestling, and we both looked at each other after the first few episodes and said we hoped the men went away.

It's all about the women, not these asshole men, for me, and if we have to have men on the screen, I'd rather spend time with guys like Keith or Bobby, who are interesting and act like real human beings. I don't mind Russell, but I kinda hated that whole "women always choose the bad boy/dick instead of the nice guy" tropey crap of having Ruth be hung up on Sam. Yes, it's the '80s, but it feels so worn out, although maybe I wouldn't have hated it so much if I actually gave a shit about Sam. It's sad that we only seem to get Justine with him as a package deal.

So great to see Geena Davis, and man she looked great in that costume! I spent all the time waiting for Tex to turn out to be just another guy--it was disappointing that my expectations were met in that regard, because he was one of the few men I didn't dislike, till of course we were told to dislike him by his downplaying Debbie's advice.

Did anyone else feel like the whole thing with Ruth not getting the part because Justine didn't think she could do it and Sam saying "she's my kid" as his justification felt off? It seemed really scripted to create drama there, and unrealistic.

Since Netflix loves to cancel series after a third season, I don't feel super hopeful about some of the loose threads being tied up, but I want Carmen back. I just want more Carmen, I adore her, and she's never really had the chance to shine this year that she should have. It seemed as though the whole storyline about her and Bash (ptui!) never got resolved, but I'm glad they didn't go down the road of her pining for his tasteless, classless, selfish ass. I will really miss these women, especially Carmen, if the show does get cancelled.
posted by emcat8 at 1:25 PM on September 1, 2019 [2 favorites]

Did anyone else feel like the whole thing with Ruth not getting the part because Justine didn't think she could do it and Sam saying "she's my kid" as his justification felt off? It seemed really scripted to create drama there, and unrealistic.

I thought the scripting of it was a little awkward but when I thought about it (I do a lot of driving haha) from Justine's point of view, her dad overriding her vision on day 1 just to get laid, Sam knows that's not the kind of dad he wants to be. I think they shoved all of that into just 3 words doing a lot of heavy lifting.
posted by bleep at 1:52 PM on September 1, 2019 [4 favorites]

emcat8, I love your whole comment.

Relating to this: I loathe Sam, and Bash, and I wish their time could be taken up by the ladies, because I don't care about them and don't want them wasting my time with their man-baby bullshit.

This comes up out of character as well. Youtube's algorithms have deduced that I am interested in GLOW, so it has suggested I watch a LOT of Marc Maron interviews (no thank u), at least one with the guy who plays Bash (ok, but why), a LOT of Alison Brie interviews (fine but she isn't anywhere near the most interesting person to me either!) and a few Betty Gilpin interviews. And Geena Davis, so they got that right at least. I like hearing from Betty, too.

It just seems like they want to give all of their characters of color their moment or episode, but we must never forget that the REAL stars are these four self-centered white people. The result being 4 white people go on talk shows hosted by other white people and talk about what an amazing diverse cast they have. Congrats? And, half of those people are men, and all of the hosts are men.
posted by Emmy Rae at 11:19 AM on September 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

bleep and Emmy Rae, those are good points, thank you. Yes, especially, on the point about self-centered white people and self-congratulatory diversity preening.

I think it just has a lot to do with my antipathy toward stories about men, right now. I'm just so sick of them, especially tales of man-children. I honestly don't know that the show would not work as well if they were removed, but I feel like their stories and their issues are disproportionately featured in a show about women discovering themselves. So maybe that'd give Maron a big grin, who knows, he just has never been a person I was cared for before, and Sam as a character has not improved that impression.

The main reason I even started watching this was because of my wrestling fan friend, since she didn't have Netflix, and that I'd seen Betty Gilpin was in it, and I'd really loved her in a couple other things. I've known a lot of people like Debbie, and so in a way I shrug off some of her worst characteristics. Ruth frustrates me because I can see some of my worse failings in her.

But I don't know that we would have started it, or gotten so hooked, if we'd known how much emphasis would continue on assfacey men. Yes, I guess they have to be there...but a little goes a loooong way. When Rhonda married Bash, I flat out moaned "noooo" so loud I scared my cat, because I knew we'd get more of him.
posted by emcat8 at 5:12 PM on September 3, 2019 [1 favorite]

posted by rewil at 9:20 AM on September 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

Yay for fourth season and planned ending, but boo for ending too soon.
posted by jeather at 10:43 AM on September 20, 2019 [2 favorites]

"Four and out" is the new hotness, especially on streaming services. Getting past two is a triumph.
posted by Etrigan at 10:48 AM on September 20, 2019 [2 favorites]

I saw that there were four new comments and my heart sank -- oh, this must be the day they announced GLOW's cancellation -- but it got renewed instead! Hooray!

(Though of course four seasons is not enough.)
posted by Spathe Cadet at 12:56 PM on September 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

I just finally caught up, in a two day sick binge, and wow, this show. But is Carmen leaving? She is by far one of the most interesting characters and I worry how it will play out without her. Seeing her as welfare queen was amazing and real proof that she's underutilized as Machu Picchu

I actually strongly ship Sam and Ruth (I'm a sucker for a two alpha dynamic) and I loved it when they finally kissed, but no one understands how important acting really is to her and I hated seeing both Sam and Debbie dismiss that. They want her to be on the path they think is right for her. But honestly? I think she's not a dramatic actor--I think her strengths are in comedy. It's why she's so captivating as Zoya and I'm shocked that no one has realized that yet.

Also yeah this show like many other shows refuses to engage with notions of bisexuality and it's depressing.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:38 AM on September 24, 2019 [4 favorites]

I was half convinced that Arthie was come out as bi, based on "why do we have to have labels" being a basically traditional subset of bi identity.

I hope we see Bobby again, but if next season isn't in Las Vegas I don't know why we would.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 11:51 PM on October 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

If Ruthie is meant to direct, it might make sense that Sam would be unable to work on his daughter's film for health reasons*, and Ruthie gets brought in.
posted by drezdn at 2:05 PM on November 25, 2019

Only just finished the season – watching the Christmas special as an actual Christmas special.

I really appreciate how Debbie, who has a background in soaps, gets such a soapy story here at the end. She has two partners who won’t treat her as an equal, and to get ahead she leverages secrets against one (kinda) to use his family money to in a ruthless business play against the other, and installs herself as president of a TV network. If there is another season, she will have an enemy who’s both a rancher/businessman and her ex. It’s all very Dynasty! (Other Dynasty nods, I think: the names Devereaux and “Dex” / “Tex.”)

Also loved: When Ruth asks Sheila if her parents will recognize her at the airport, she says, “It’ll be all right, I made a sign with both of their names on it.” A throwaway lighthearted line that felt heartbreaking and true to me; I would not be surprised if someone writing for the show had that exact experience.
posted by miles per flower at 1:44 PM on December 16, 2019 [2 favorites]

What a good, tough, risky-ass season. LaToya Ferguson at the A.V. Club pointed out that this season was Ruth's heel-turn, but that it was harder to watch than S2's Debbie heel-turn because Debbie was being vindictive to Ruth until she finally crossed an uncrossable line. Here, Ruth is basically just sabotaging herself the whole time (up until the very end) and not really hurting anybody else by it (Russell goes onto Spain to shoot a Cannon Films movie, Sam improves his lifestyle and will be directing his daughter's movie, and Shiela made a bigger splash at the Libertine Ball in Ruth's absence than she would have if they'd done True West together.) Basically, while they're wheelspinning in Vegas, Ruth is counting on certain constants in her life to always be at her same level while they're in fact moving forward, and she's all but ignoring the people (like Cherry, or Althie) who could really use her friendship. (Or the version of her friendship that isn't entirely self-centered, anyway)

And I say all this as someone who really loves Ruth and wants good things for her. But Debbie's arc this season really showed how, when there's nobody else for her to be in conflict with, Ruth will quickly become her own worst enemy.

All that said, Bash was the real "heel" of the show this season, though Rhonda did a great job in showing someone who truly loved him (even as she was also a victim of his self-denial and childishness.)

And the Rhonda and Bash thing.. that was also oddly unresolved. I mean, I thought it was going to end up with them doing an open marriage arrangement so he could stay in the closet while they stayed married -- but that didn't come up at all. And we didn't get Rhonda's reaction to him wanting to stay married -- is she relieved and resigned? or is she about to tell him there's no way it will work?

Rhonda is absolutely terrified at the end there, not of staying married to Bash - she can make that work one way or another (as a side note, I recently saw a meme about how High INT/Low WIS characters are common in D&D, generally as reckless but know-it-all mages, and how rare it is to see an example of Low INT/High WIS in fiction anywhere. The meme proposed Jason Mendoza, but Rhonda also absolutely fits.) The Threesome threw her for a loop but in the end I felt like she was more upset about having been deceitful in creating that situation than in what she saw transpire there (a particularly emotionally-intelligent response given that she's basically asking for honesty from Bash by showing him the same.) But I think she also knows that Bash is excited by shiny things, loves new ideas, is always wildly, heedlessly optimistic about the next rock to jump to, and that if they have a baby, that's going to end up being all left in her lap.

I'm glad Althie was able to come out (and that the scene had it being her coming out mostly to herself, but publicly) and while this show isn't doing much for bi-visibility so far, it's also the 80s. That feels period-accurate. I remember NY in the late 90s, early 00's, and even then "bi" was a distrusted or at best curious concept. In the mid-eighties? Forget about it. Which is to say that the 1986 setting allows for Yolanda's anger over Althie not putting a label on herself to be righteous, calling her chickenshit because that was the truth of the time. Now, of course, it'd be shitty for Yolanda to demand Althie claim any specific identity, but that's largely because of the trails blazed by people like Yolanda. Still, some of Althie's inherent innocent sweetness was lost in the fire, and that's a tragedy, even if she does actually, finally, come out of it as a pheonix.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:26 PM on July 5, 2020 [1 favorite]

Oh, and if I were writing the show, first, it wouldn't be nearly as good, but second, I'd start Season 4 in Omaha over the holidays. It'd be a torturously passive-aggressive midwestern thing, with Ruth being needled about her life and Russell and what's next for her career and everything, and the news would really drop that Bash & Debbie's actions killed the Vegas show (and probably the Fan-Tan as a whole, if we're being honest - Jenny will shed zero tears) and the truth will out about Debbie's extremely generous once-in-a-lifetime lifeboat to Ruth, and familial pressure will force her to take it.

And then we'll have Ruth back where she's best - fighting for creative integrity against philistines and asshole execs, rather than fighting ennui and succumbing to her own worst impulses.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:30 PM on July 5, 2020

Oh, final thought: I read Ruth's turning Debbie down at the end as being about Ruth needing validation more than anything else - a hedonic treadmill that she's barely set foot on and which Debbie has outgrown. She's stubborn and narcissistic as hell on her worst days and can't find that validation in Debbie giving her an awesome opportunity, especially when it's packaged in the tough-talk of "if it was going to happen it would have happened by now." (BTW, I love that we saw Debbie discussing the trouble in broaching this topic to Ruth earlier, so that didn't come across as petty or mean-spirited at the end.)

Like Justine towards the end of S2, Ruth is willing to throw her future away to make a point, and right now Sam's not there to talk her out of it (yet.)
posted by Navelgazer at 9:41 PM on July 5, 2020

She's stubborn and narcissistic as hell on her worst days and can't find that validation in Debbie giving her an awesome opportunity, especially when it's packaged in the tough-talk of "if it was going to happen it would have happened by now."

To be fair, Debbie did make the offer in the most insulting way possible, even if she didn't realize it. If I hear "Take this job as a consolation prize because your dream is dead and you are a failure," I'm not exactly gonna jump to agree with that person, you know?
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:53 PM on July 5, 2020 [2 favorites]

To be fair, Debbie did make the offer in the most insulting way possible, even if she didn't realize it. If I hear "Take this job as a consolation prize because your dream is dead and you are a failure," I'm not exactly gonna jump to agree with that person, you know?

Oh I get that, and it gets to my point that Ruth is after validation more than anything else. And Debbie, who's gotten enough validation for acting that she's over it and wants to be on the other side of things, can't really see that, but she can see how self-destructive and quixotic Ruth's continued pursuit of an acting career is, and one would kind of hope that between Sam and Debbie (Debbie at this point in the series, I mean, where she's moved on from the Mark resentment and is clearly back to being Ruth's oldest, dearest friend) she'd recognize that these talks are coming from people who love her, but she's in a headspace where she can only receive them as more rejection.

(I loved how, even seeing that her audition was good, Justine - who adores Ruth - isn't wrong about her assessment. I've been the person chasing down a casting director for notes before. It's a pathetic low-point and Ruth seems to be insisting on building a house there.)

So I get where Ruth is coming from but it doesn't make it any harder to watch (through my fingers, in this case, because the self-destructiveness was too real, and unlike Debbie blowing up her relationship and Vegas show, she'll have nothing to show for it afterwards.)

Basically, due to it's Season 3 finale status and the Debbie/Bash storyline, this felt a lot like Mad Men's "Shut the Door, Have a Seat" to me. Debbie, bristling at being a "producer" with no input or power for two seasons now, effectively pulls off a heist of the show, using Bash's and Rhonda's money, and screws over her boyfriend and her patron in doing so. Her coming to Ruth with that offer, after seasons of feuding and various degrees of cold war, is very much akin to Don bringing Pete Campbell into the fold for the creation of SCDP. Now, Pete isn't nearly as likable a character as Ruth is, but they share a similar pigheadedness and intense senses of entitlement. They both idolize/resent the person giving them the offer in the moment. But Pete takes it, and Ruth shits on it. Why?

I think the key is that Don tells Pete that Ken is their next call if Pete turns them down, and Debbie tells Ruth "if it was going to happen it would have happened by now." Both characters absolutely crave validation, but Don makes that work for him while Debbie makes it work against her (though again, this is well-set-up as some tough-love that Debbie knows Ruth needs to hear, and which she also knows Ruth won't be willing to hear.)

If Debbie had said "directing for our network is going to open all sorts of doors you've never considered," Ruth would have said yes. But Debbie is genuinely sick of Ruth breaking her own heart by running into that wall over and over again. So she says the hard, necessary, wrong thing, and Ruth walks down the jetway.

But also there's no way that they don't do something to change her mind in Season 4.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:17 AM on July 6, 2020

Aaaand randomly I just discovered that Toby Huss (Tex/J.J.) is also the voice actor who played Ray Smuckles in the Achewood test footage when Onstad was shopping it around as a cartoon, and I can't quite wrap my mind around that.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:28 AM on July 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

Wow I don't get any of that negativity about Ruth. She just needs someone to tell her she's good at comedic acting & should focus on that. There's nothing entitled & stubborn about knowing you're in the right profession but being on the wrong path. She just needs a mentor and/or someone who gives 2 shits. It's not her fault she hasn't found them.
posted by bleep at 4:00 PM on July 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

posted by vibratory manner of working at 11:29 PM on October 7, 2020

Six of the actors on the show (Sunita Mani, Sydelle Noel, Britney Young, Shakira Barrera, Kia Stevens, and Ellen Wong) wrote a letter to the GLOW production team:

"As the principal women of color on a show tackling racist and offensive stereotypes, we have felt disempowered throughout our time on GLOW,” the letter reads. “It has been problematic to use our faces, oftentimes solely in the context of a racist storyline, and to be brief with our story development to serve the in-depth white storylines... With zero persons of color in the writer’s room this season, it is a huge oversight to be writing our narratives without anyone else to represent us besides ourselves,” the letter says. “The meta narrative of our show — actors dealing with the conflict of perpetuating stereotypes in order to have opportunity — is exactly what is happening in our real life.”
posted by ChuraChura at 8:54 AM on October 22, 2020 [1 favorite]

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