This week, I’m going to make a weekend bingeing recommendation from the king of the binge, Netflix. However, I’m not here to tell you to watch something that everybody is already watching. You’ve seen Stranger Things. You know it’s awesome. There’s no point to telling you to check out that show. However, I bet there are some of you out there who heard the concept of “a show about women’s pro wrestling in the ‘80s,” and thought, “Not for me.” If that was the case, might I humbly suggest you watch GLOW.
It was recently announced that the third season of the show will drop on Netflix on August 9. That means you have a couple months to binge the first two seasons, and you definitely should. Now, if you have any interest in the ‘80s or old-school pro wrestling, this is a definite watch. GLOW luxuriates in the silliest elements of the decade, and of old wrestling. You will definitely be thrown back to that era. It hits those nostalgia buttons. It’s all delightful.
On the other hand, let’s say none of that grabs you. Well, you should still watch GLOW. If you aren’t familiar, the show is ostensibly about Ruth Wilder, a struggling actor played by Alison Brie. She needs a gig, finds a new women’s wrestling show that is starting up, and decides to give it a shot. However, she’s really just the figure that gets us into the world. It’s an ensemble show. Mostly, it focuses on the women that are part of the group, though Brie’s Ruth and Betty Gilpin’s Debbie are the main characters. Well, those two and Marc Maron’s Sam Sylvia, a failed director who runs and produces the show.
There’s a lot of backstage stuff about the making of a TV show on a low budget, and on putting together a wrestling program. It’s fascinating. It can also be quite funny. On the other hand, they treat the personal lives of all the characters seriously. There is tragedy, pain, happiness, frustration, love, hate, everything. It can be hilarious and gripping in the same episode. And then you watch two women dressed as old ladies in a wrestling match and it’s wonderfully specific.
The cast is outstanding, led by Brie and Maron. We already knew Brie was a really good actress, but Maron has been impressive. The first season is about getting the show on its feet, while the second season is about the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling show trying to find a footing on TV. I don’t want to spoil how that goes, but the third season is going to be slightly tweaked from that. If nothing else, you should watch the second season just to see the episode of GLOW that is an episode of “GLOW,” the show within the show. It’s a half-hour of pure joy.
If you have any affinity for old wrestling or ‘80s pop culture, you will love GLOW. If you just want to watch a show about relationships and struggling and figuring your life out, featuring many talented women, then you should give it a shot too. Sure, you could rewatch Friends on Netflix again, but why not do something new this weekend? There are only 20 episodes. You could maybe bang out the entire thing before heading back to work Monday.
Vents interviewed filmmaker Huan Anny Cheng. Click here to read the full interview.