Frankly, I’m not entirely sure what Netflix’s new advertisement policy is with their slate of newest releases, but lately I’ve seen the streaming giant promote their original series less and less. So when GLOW was released on June 23rd, I was surprised by the attention it received. The show is a semi-fictitious account of the 1980s television series The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling and follows a group of women as they try to film a pilot for a new women’s wrestling endeavor.
Picking up in 1985, GLOW opens on protagonist Ruth Wilder (Alison Brie), a struggling actress who can’t seem to find a part she’s suited for. When a casting director gets in touch to tell her about an opportunity, she discovers her audition is for an all-women’s wrestling television series. The audition attracts a variety of different women: actors, stuntwomen and some who just need an outlet to be themselves. As the women work towards achieving their shared goal, they must learn to wrestle each other as well as their inner demons, tackling not only their own view of themselves but also the perception they receive from the public.
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Like most Netflix shows, GLOW‘s biggest strength is its incredible cast. All talented and well versed in the comedy so paramount to the series’ tone, the women of GLOW represent different ages, races, backgrounds and ideas of femininity. The female characters are perfectly contrasted by the two men central to the show. Sam Silvia (Marc Maron), the show’s director who considers himself a visionary horror filmmaker, perfectly teeters the line between father figure and disgruntled teacher, while Sebastian (Chris Lowell), the show’s producer, approaches everything in his life with the fervor of a Golden Retriever puppy. Like many of its Netflix predecessors, GLOW relies on its character development and comedic subtlety, marking even the most serious moments of the show with notes of laughter.
GLOW‘s premise and diverse characters allow for a stunning visual representation of the 1980’s, marking every trend under the sun both in terms of the show’s costume design and production aesthetic. The soundtrack is also filled with 1980’s bangers which truly help elevate the emotions within the show. What was most interesting to me about GLOW was it’s subtle feminist aspects. With Netflix series, I’m either used to very heightened and direct political statements or ones that border on being problematic representations of gender, sexuality or race. GLOW however is feminist in it’s very nature and, much like recent hit Wonder Woman, doesn’t need to fan representation flames simply because of the show’s context. However, I do think the series could play up the political side of the time more, playing with the issues surrounding race, gender and sexuality that made up the Reagan-era of the United States at the time in which GLOW takes place.
Overall, GLOW is a great new addition to the Netflix line-up and has proven to be a sleeper hit for the company that so recently received backlash for the cancellation of some of its more diverse shows. It’s still unknown whether the series will get to show off its campiness for a second season, but judging by the critical reception GLOW has received, I wouldn’t be surprised if it became one of Netflix’s most successful comedies.
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Published by Gemma Pecorini Goodall