Netflix has become like that family member who keeps showing up at family gatherings and taking the spotlight from everyone else because it’s Netflix, and that’s what Netflix does. In other words, Netflix has come out with another original show, shocker, right? And while I still haven’t finished watching 13 Reasons Why, I’ve now watched through all 10 episodes of Glow. Here are my random thoughts on the series I ended up not loving.
There are spoilers from the first episode.
Glow takes place in the 80’s where an unsuccessful actress Ruth (Alison Brie) auditions for an all female wrestling show. It is not based on real life but it is strongly inspired by an actual wrestling promotion Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, GLOW. The first season starts with the auditioning process and ends with the taping of the first episode. While wrestling is the main theme, it luckily does not overpower the entire show and instead, Glow is more about the ladies outside the wrestling ring.
The first thought I had about Glow was that Ruth was very annoying. And with that thought in my mind I continued to watch the series until its final episode. Did she become less annoying by the end of the season? A little, but I ultimately disliked her the most out of the entire cast and she is the main character of Glow – not a great start, wouldn’t you say? So eventually I started to resent her, I actually wrote down on my notes and underlined “Ruth is so annoying!” because that seemed to be the driving emotion I had while watching this show. And it’s not that I have something against Brie, I think she is a lovely actress, it’s just that the combination of her character and her voice felt like nails on a chalkboard. At one point during the first season I literally wanted to mute the scenes she was in, and it’s sad really, because Glow itself is not that annoying!
Before I get to the highlights of the show, I want to point out that the main reason behind my dislike for Ruth is the whole subplot of her sleeping with her best friends’ husband. And while I’m not that sort of person who will boycott a television show for featuring heavy subjects, I’m always and forever against cheating and especially having to root for a cheater. Because Ruth essentially is the main character, most of the plot revolves around her, and it was difficult for me to be on her side because of what she did. Knowingly, I might add! She knew what she was doing. She might have been intoxicated the first time around (never an excuse), but she still did it again, and that’s not something that I can forgive. Even if it is a fictional character in a fictional setting.
So immediately I was rooting for Debbie (Betty Gilpin), the best friend, the wife, the mother of a very young child! Gilpin here is brilliantly cast as well because I thought she looked so hot and absolutely stunning! And it seems she is very good at portraying women in different times, first in Masters of Sex and now here in Glow. She had the look and she had the face for the character, and it was amazing to see her act against Brie with such disgust, because that’s what I felt towards Ruth myself. And I would have ended up loving Debbie until the end if her story line wouldn’t have derailed a little which I hope is a fluke and season 2 will fix it.
Luckily the show features a lot of supportive characters, each one special and unique. And even though Glow heavily reminds me of Orange is the New Black (which I haven’t seen past season 1), set in the 80’s without the prison but with a wrestling theme, there are elements to it that feel fresh. Gayle Rankin as She-Wolf is like the most unique thing I’ve seen this year but yet, her character symbolises so much more. It is a take on “be who you are” with a twist. And while embracing one self nowadays is usually in the context of sexuality, I feel like She-Wolf embodies the importance of staying true to oneself from a more comical angle. I recommend keeping an eye on Rankin as well, because despite her slightly off-putting appearance in Glow, she’s actually a stunning woman who is at the beginning of her career. In addition to these three women I mentioned there are many more, which seems like the show aims at appealing to everyone. For me, despite trying my best, I didn’t find a female character I connected with, but I did feel like a part of me was gravitating towards the shows sexist director Sam.
This very sexist director Sam (Marc Maron), who is so awful that he is actually funny, was probably my favourite throughout the first season. He gets the biggest role outside the wrestlers and there are quite a few shocking moments for him at the end of the season. The show’s biggest money provider, who enters the series a bit later on, is Bash (Chris Lowell) and he was such a needed addition to Glow! And I’m not just saying that because I’m still a Veronica Mars fan at heart, but I say it because he added lightness and ease to the show – in other words, he was the dumb rich guy. He balanced out the harshness of Sam and it made sense to have him there, plus, not going to lie, I was in desperate need of some eye candy at that point as well. Finally, there is also the cheating husband Mark (Rich Sommer), who of course, I didn’t care for at all.
While I did end up sort of disliking Glow because of my feelings towards Ruth, I think the overall message of the show is brilliant. It highlights overcoming difficulties, it showcases the fact that women can do anything, and it proves that women are not all out to get one another. And yes, the main subplot is about a friendship ruined by cheating, but there are so many other relationships Glow explores. There is one episode that features a birthday which I though was amazing! There is also a little scene where one of the girls helps someone to get some action, which I thought was hilarious yet brilliant. And there are many similar moments, little things that brighten up the show. And it’s also funny, granted, most of the time I was laughing was when men were on screen, but that’s not to say the women aren’t funny in this! It’s just, the cynical humour that Sam provides is simply the kind I enjoy.
Most important though is the fact whether I will continue on with Glow? And now, while I say that I most likely won’t tune in based on my feelings now, I’m not saying no for sure. Only time will tell. And time I’ll have, since the follow up season is not yet confirmed, but knowing that the show has been met with positive feedback, I assume it will be back.