GLOW

image via IMDB.com

Creators – Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch

Starring – Allison Brie, Betty Gilpin, Marc Maron, Kate Nash, Sydelle Noel,

G.L.O.W  is a dramedy and true story of a group of lady outcasts in Hollywood who come together in order to produce a pilot for an all female wrestling promotion the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling.

During the golden age of professional wrestling in the eighties, women are not getting the roles in entertainment as much as their male counterparts. Desperate for work several ladies meet at a casting call to audition for a pilot titled the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling an all female wrestling promotion. None of the ladies are pro wrestling fans or know how to wrestle but in need of income the young women buy into the idea and learn how to become wrestlers.

Initially not knowing what to expect, eventually the women all learn to love the art form. When the initial investment for the pilot falls through the ladies come together and hold car washes, crash fundraisers, and pitch the idea to network executives in order to generate the income and interest to get G.LO.W. off the ground.

There is a power struggle between the show director Sam Sylvia (Marc Maron) who would like to focus on the actual art of pro wrestling such as storytelling, expression, getting crowd reactions etc. while the producer Sebastian Howard (Chris Lowell) of the show is really more infatuated with seeing catfights, high impact moves like ddts and piledrivers with stereotypical ethnic driven storylines.

Several personal and professional storylines arise such as after former A-list star Debbie (Betty Gilpin) finds out that her best friend the melodramatic Ruth (Alison Brie) slept with her husband so she decides to confront her at a G.L.O.W work out and an altercation ensues. Sam begins to envision that this could be his first real storyline between a heel and face and have a real money angle.

At times it is very difficult to be a pro wrestling fan especially now where lets just say the pastime is not in its heyday. I always refer to the significant other test. If you were to show a professional wrestling show to someone you just met at the risk of being embarrassed they would think you were absolutely insane. To most it is just two guys dressing up in their underwear and pretending to beat the shit out of each other. Really though it is difficult to explain pro wrestling to those who have never seen it.

There is an aha moment in one episode where Debbie is at her first wrestling match. It is explained that a character played by Kevin Kiley Jr. the Steel Horse fights for his former loves honor as she has been brainwashed and now is being abused by the new man in her life. For her it clicked. “This is a Soap Opera” she exclaimed. This is entertainment, this is art, this is storytelling all rolled into one. I wish that I could display that one scene to every professional wrestling naysayer or first time viewer to hopefully make it make sense for them.

Could just be me but I also couldn’t help but feel the producer was some sort of parody of Vince Mcmahon and his views on women and wrestling in general. He was secretly the owner who did commentary but was very focused on making the ladies seem more like loveable objects instead of actual wrestlers. Meanwhile all of the characters and storylines were racially driven and heels who hate America.

For pro wrestling fans there are some notable Professional wrestlers who make an appearance. There most known as personas Johnny Mundo, Brodus Clay, Alex Riley, Awesome Kong, Carlito, Frankie Kazarian and Christopher Daniels.

G.L.O.W is an excellent series that explores overcoming many different sexist and racial inequalities to persevere. Even though this show could be very feminist there is a lot of action and dark humor to appeal to multiple audiences. There are also some familiar faces in wrestling that appear that may give wrestling fans a pop as well. G.L.O.W is streaming now on Netflix.

-Caleb Harris