REVIEW: Netflix’s G.L.O.W. Season 1 Episode 1

Posted in Features, Reviews

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past three years, there has been a shift in women’s wrestling in the mainstream United States.  A women’s revolution, as coined by the WWE.  The latest endeavor to join the women’s revolution, outside of WWE, is Netflix original series G.L.O.W.

To briefly recap, G.L.O.W. stands for Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling.  It was a television series that ran in the 80s featuring an all female roster.  The show was a huge hit during its original run.  The Netflix series is based around the 80s iconic show, combining fiction with non-fiction elements of the history of G.L.O.W.

In the first episode, Alison Brie’s character Ruth Wilder is desperate to find work.  She bombed an audition, a group of teenagers on skateboards stole her purse, and she’s having an affair with her best friend’s husband.  In the midst of all of that, she stumbles across the audition for G.L.O.W.

Brie’s performance as Ruth Wilder is great.  She is able to draw from the viewer the power to feel for her struggle.  You want Wilder to succeed, and you want to just give her a big hug while telling her everything will be alright.

Another amazing performance in the series is by Marc Maron playing Sam Sylvia, the promoter of G.L.O.W.  Maron has a dexterous knack for getting viewers to dislike him, but still laugh at the same time.  It is a tough task to truly get angry at Sam Sylvia.  He is the epitome of the stereotypical sleazeball wrestling promoter of the 1980s, at the same time showing signs that he has his thumb on the pulse of his surroundings and pop culture.

One of the pieces of dialogue that sticks out in my mind is when Wilder asks Sylvia if he is looking for women wrestlers to play actors, or actors to play women wrestlers.  Sylvia gives a Vince McMahon-like answer with a simple “yes!”  The series does a great job in blurring the line between giving away whether wrestling is real or fake, and rightfully so.  Many may claim the business has been exposed, but I don’t think it has been fully exposed.  There are some elements that are still kept hush!

It isn’t always the in your face moments of the show that make it great either.  A scene displaying Wilder grabbing lunch takes a nice dive into the cultural landscape of the 80s.  As Wilder makes her way to her car while eating a taco, a group of pre-teens on skateboards (a popular past-time in the 80s!) start to give her a hard time.  One of the kids calls her a “Pert Plus looking bitch,” which holds true to an insult of that time.

The final scene in the episode is brilliant.  Wilder’s best friend Debbie Eagan, played by Betty Gilpin, confronts Wilder at one of the auditions about Wilder’s affair with her husband.  Eagan hands her infant to Tamme Dawson, played by Awesome Kong, and enters the ring to fight Wilder.  As the two tangle, Sylvia is watching and the scene transitions into what Sylvia sees as the vision for G.L.O.W.

The first episode of G.L.O.W. on Netflix is a must see.  I was hooked within the first 15 minutes of the episode.  I will continue to do reviews of each episode as I watch them.  At the moment having only watched the first episode, I highly recommend catching the series if you have the time.

Episode Rating: 9.5 / 10