Friday, 23 June 2017

GLOW: Episode 1 Review

Over the past few years Netflix has taken the world by storm and is changing the way that we view our films and shows with its original content. We've seen success after success, and viewers have become accustomed to high quality content. On June 23rd they presented us with a new show exectuively produced by Jenji Kohan, the creator of Orange is the New Black; GLOW. Set during the 1980s, it follows aspiring actress Ruth Wilder (Alison Brie) as she auditions for the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling as a last chance bid to save her career. Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, GLOW, did you get it?

The first episode starts during an audition in which Ruth appears to deliver an epic monologue for a male role by 'mistake' to her casting director, who is quick to point out that she's reading the wrong part and that the only words that she has to deliver are meant for the bubbly secretary; "Sorry to interrupt, your wife is on line two." After her brash attempt at an audition falls through and she graciously turns down an offer to perform in porn, Ruth agrees to follow a tip off about a role that leads her to the conception of GLOW.

It's story is something a little different; this isn't women in a typical environment, it's women who have been employed to kick seven bells out of each other. In the 1980s. GLOW's narrative flow might be something that has been done before; it's a show about the plight of one woman and her supporting characters, but there is a certain je ne sais quoi characteristic to it that still makes it seem so shiny and new. It promises us characters that won't be walked all over against a backdrop of a time in which women were overly sexualised and walked all over (particularly in media, anyway). 


The Pilot does a great job at fleshing out its protagonist, we get to see the different sides of Ruth; her strength, her humour, her vulnerability and her tenacity. When her friend Debbie (Betty Gilpin) suggests that she should give up on her acting career to get married and have children Ruth only becomes more driven to pursue her true ambition, and when she is denied a place in GLOW she doesn't go home to cry and eat her feelings, she wears her duvet like a cape and practices Hulk Hogan-esque wrestling moves and catchphrases. Besides Ruth, we also get a decent glimpse at a diverse bunch of women who have also joined this budding television show, all of whom leave us wanting to know more. From the meek and mild to the insane and angry, GLOW offers a platter of fantastical wrestlers. However, in the midst of all the oestrogen, is the absolute scene stealer Sam Sylvia (Marc Maron). Sam is the mastermind behind GLOW, the main source of wisely cracked lines and the definition of risqué. He is clearly unafraid to push the limits and boundaries of the women in his employ and everyone will want to stick around to see what the repercussions of his actions are.

Overall, GLOW's first episode gives its all. It proudly screams "GIRL POWER" at the top of its lungs and serves us with (lady)balls to the wall characters, an awesome soundtrack, rather glamorous wrestling and enough drama and comedy to shake a stick at. Oh, and a lot of heart. Don't forget heart... Or cunt punches. Expect those too.

★★★★★


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