There’s nothing like the magic of movies and television. I love losing myself in a really great story; it’s what fuels my fandom. And as an actor-writer-producer, I’m passionate about stories that are female driven. That’s why I’m so excited to share my favorite flick picks here at Ms. In the Biz.
One of my favorite shows streaming on television right now is the Netflix original series — GLOW.
Before the women of the WWE successfully fought to end the use of the “Divas” moniker, before Becky Lynch became “The Man,” and before Rowdy Ronda Rousey revolutionized the sport of Mixed Martial Arts and brought her superstardom to the WWE… there were the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling.
In the 1980s, the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling was the first all-female professional wrestling T.V. show. With a cast made up of mostly actresses, models and stunt women, G.L.O.W. brought a unique blend of zany sketch comedy and athleticism to their performances and changed the perception of women in wrestling.
Shot on-location in Las Vegas, G.L.O.W. aired in syndication and often could only be found during the late, late, late night time slot on cable television. Despite its early struggles, the show became a fan favorite and ran from 1986 to 1989. Then in 1990, the Ladies distribution deal was canceled due to financial problems. With only ticket sales and limited advertising sponsorship to fund the production, G.L.O.W. ultimately went dark. (To learn more about this amazing story, I highly recommend Netflix’s 2012 documentary GLOW: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling.)
Flash forward to 2017 when Netflix, inspired by these true events, launched GLOW.
Now back in the Hulk Hogan days when the WWE was the WWF, I used to watch wrestling. But somewhere along the way, I lost interest. Then recently, I was reintroduced to the high-flying, arm-twisting, glorious spectacle that is World Wrestling Entertainment and was hooked all over again.
As a newly minted wrestling fan, I naturally tuned in to GLOW when it first aired. I was floored.
Helmed by creators Liz Flahive (Homeland, Nurse Jackie) and Carly Mensch (Orange Is the New Black, Nurse Jackie) and starring Alison Brie (Community) as an out-of-work actress desperately holding on to her dreams, GLOW delves into the deep waters of an unlikely band of women struggling and striving in a business that isn’t always kind to them. Despite their frequent — sometimes debilitating — injuries, the clash of personalities and the on-going struggle to be seen as more than just novelties in sequined spandex, these indomitable women hold fast to each other as their lives grow more complicated and their fame more fleeting.
Three seasons in, and GLOW still speaks to me as a writer, an artist, and as a woman. Not only is the show snarf-out-loud funny, it’s sweetly charming and full of heart. Courageous and uncompromising, GLOW tackles the very real and oftentimes uncomfortable issues of misogyny, sexuality, racism and even single parenthood with honesty and grace. It never backs down as it walks the fine line between edgy humor and endearing sincerity.
GLOW is modern Vaudeville in its craziest, most vivid form. You don’t have to be a wrestling fan to appreciate the intense work, dedication and passion that this type of theater demands. These women, these athletes, these actors go beyond putting their blood, sweat and tears into each performance…and it’s incredibly entertaining.
You can binge all three seasons of GLOW on Netflix right now.
Until next time, may your popcorn be hot, your soda be cold, and your chocolate be dark. (It’s healthier).