Monday, July 3, 2017

TV Show Review: Glow

Glorious Ladies of Wresting is a fun story about showbiz and the lives of women in Los Angeles. Ruth Wilder (Alison Brie) is a struggling actress trying to find a fitting role for her ability She attends an audition for a wrestling group led by a sleazy director Sam Sylvia (Marc Maron). Low on money, Ruth is desperate for a gig, even showing up after Sam turns her away. She also has a relationship with Mark (Rich Sommer) but that turns out to be complicated. Her best friend Debbie Eagan (Betty Gilpin) is a former soap opera star and a new mother who also happens to be married to Mark. When Debbie shows up to beat down Ruth, Sam sees potential in the two actresses.

While the tension between the two main characters is central, there are a ton of other interesting characters that play wrestling characters as well. Leading the group is Cherry Bang (Sydelle Noel), she has a history with Sam and refuses to be cornered into a stereotype based on her race. Carmen Wade (Britney Young) is the daughter and sister of successful wrestlers who refuse to let her pursue her own career in the sport. Justine Biagi (Britt Baron) is a young punk rocker who has motives beyond wrestling. Tammé Dawson (Kia Stevens) a former actress and tv show host who plays the Welfare Queen as social commentary. Other characters use their race to critique the stereotype and stoke the anger of the ignorant wrestling crowds like Arthie Premkumar (Sunita Mani) as Beirut right during the Lebanese hostage crisis and Jenny Chey (Ellen Wong) as Fortune Cookie.

With the cultural sensitivity of the 80s and the height of the Cold War, Ruth develops a Russian character to be the heel of Debbie's star turn as the face of Glow after Sam convinces her to go along with it. Sam's initial script of an elaborate post-apocalyptic storyline by the wealthy producer Bash (Chris Lowell). He tries to get money from his mother but finds his trust fund cut off. The women are forced to live in a motel to bond and stay out of trouble. Some girls like Melrose (Jackie Tohn) don't respond while to the enclosure still wanting to go out and party. As Sam and Bash seek to fund this experiment and guarantee airtime, the women train on their moves and eventually take the issue of finding funds into their own hands with little success. Sam also starts a relationship with the British wrestler Rhonda (Kate Nash) though finds it difficult to be the boss and the boyfriend.

They put on a live show filled with hilarious antics but still find themselves in a precarious position especially after Bash is cut off from his mother's money. Ruth and Debbie grow close again though there is always a rift between them due to Ruth's infidelity. The other characters didn't get as much time as other shows with the episodes at only 30 minutes but whenever they are on screen, it is pretty funny. The finale has the team putting on a taped performance to get the pilot off the ground and it looks like Glow will have a future though it is still up to Netflix to decide if we'll get to see these women's career grow.

The show is charming and funny with easy to watch episodes that just speed by if one is into a binge. Glow shows a ton of potential not afraid to step over into more serious issues like racial conflict and abortion while giving women a starring role. Brie is absolutely the shining star finally able to take center stage in an awesome performance that will hopefully spell more roles. Gilpin is a shining star that should also garner more recognition after a turn here and in American Gods as a spurned wife. Maron brings the humor he is known for in standup, his own show, and his brilliant podcast. I would highly recommend this to those Netflix watchers looking for a fun comedy with some serious issues sprinkled in.  

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