Tuesday, June 27, 2017

GLOW (Netflix) (No Spoilers)

Five plus hours of fun, for the most part.
Thanks to half hour episodes, a ten episode run, and most importantly, a lack of interest by anyone esle in my life that might mess with scheduling, I watched the entire run of GLOW on Netflix in about four days. Oh, also thanks to it being wildly entertaining.

Without going into too much detail, the first season covers the fictional origin of a fictional version of the actual Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling TV show from the late 80's. None of the characters are actual people involved with the actual GLOW, on-screen or off, although there are definitely some parallels between the stereotypes used on both shows.

The center the show revolves around is the relationships between protagonist Ruth Wilder (Alison Brie), soap actress turned GLOW star Debbie Eagan (Betty Gilpin), and low budget filmmaker turned pro wrestling director Sam Silvia (Marc Maron).

This is weird to say, given that he spent four seasons literally playing himself on IFC, but Sam Silvia is the role Marc Maron was born to play. Or made to play. Maron knows cocain, booze, smoking, creative failure, and the late 80's on such a deep personal level that his Silvia is simultaneously very familiar to Maron fans and still somehow it's own character.

The story is alternately funny and serious, and overall, the funny stuff is more successful than the dramatic stuff, which tends to hit some obvious notes along the way. Still, a lot of the dramatic beats pay off with happy endings, especially when it comes to the smaller stories of the other performers. My favorite of these was the story of Machu Picchu (Britney Young), for reasons that will become apparent if you watch it.

Lots of fun cameos, from the likes of Johnny Mundo, Joey Ryan, Brodus Clay, Carlito, and Alex Riley, and the show really treats wrestling with the right degree of respect - playing up how fun it can be at its best, and how ridiculous and racist it, and its fans, can be at its worst. They strike the same balance with the 80'sness of it. There are songs, and clothes, and decor, and tech, but it's handled in an almost naturalistic way. There are a couple of other 80's things part of a spoilery subplot that are even more startling to see.

The biggest downside, for me, is that Brie's character spends a LOT of time doing the "overeager but totally wrong" brand of awkward, desperate neediness that really pushes my cringe button HARD. Some of it was a real challenge to watch. But apart from that, it was super fun, and I really want there to be a Season 2.

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