I grew up with Hulk Hogan, Sgt. Slaughter and Rowdy Roddy Piper. I loved the WWF (that’s what it was called back in the day) and probably laughed as much as I cheered while watching every single match.
Women were always present on the WWF but mainly as managers or girlfriends, never as wrestlers themselves. That is until some crazy new show worked its way onto television in the mid 1980s. It was called GLOW and it starred the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling.
I don’t remember a single character’s name, I just remember being absolutely mesmerized by this show. It was wrestling, which is a pure adrenaline rush for any teenager. It starred attractive women wearing spandex and pulling each other’s hair in the ring. Again, a pure adrenaline rush for any teenage boy.
GLOW was ridiculous. The storylines were worse than some of the lamest soap operas on TV. The “characters” were incredibly straight-forward stereotypes, though to be fair, so were most of the men over on the WWF. But the action on GLOW was pretty impressive.
Like I said, I can’t recall a single character from it, but I very clearly remember watching it and loving every second of it. And now, well, GLOW is back. Sort of.
A new Netflix Original Series, GLOW takes a fictionalized look at this female wrestling phenomena from the ’80s. Set in Los Angeles, it follows out-of-work actress Ruth Wilder, who takes a simple audition only to somehow end up among the premiere round of female wrestlers showing off their big hair in the center of the square circle.
I didn’t know what to expect from GLOW and I’m glad, because it’s really something else. It’s funny. It’s bizarre. There’s even some drama. Toss in plenty of curses, some nudity and of course drug-filled parties, and you’ve got the perfect retro feel of ’80s TV and movies.
No, GLOW is definitely not for kids, but I am absolutely loving it. Each episode is only 30 minutes which makes for an easy, fun viewing. I’m halfway through season 1 (there are only 10 episodes sadly), but I”m really hoping it gets picked up for more seasons than the original GLOW from the ’80s (that’d be just four seasons).
Need more reasons to watch this oddball series? How about the fact that Jenji Kohan (Weeds, Orange is the New Black) and Tara Herrmann (Orange is the New Black) are executive producers? Oh, and the series was co-created by Liz Flahive (Homeland) and Carly Mensch (Orange is the New Black), who also serve as show runners.
The cast is what really makes this series, though. Alison Brie plays protagonist Ruth, who seems to have some serious trouble making friends. Though she does get along with a few regulars such as the big-yet-super-sweet “Machu Picchu,” and the scary-as-anything Sheila the She Wolf. (Dead squirrels in your bed aren’t normal, are they?)
Toss in a plethora of ridiculous female wrestlers named The Welfare Queen, Fortune Cookie, Liberty Belle and Britannica, and you get a hint of the over-the-top ludicrousness of GLOW. It’s everything you love to hate about the Bubble Gum Decade. Big hair. Colorful spandex. And of course, leg warmers. Yeah, GLOW is pure comfort food for the soul. Well, assuming your soul grew up in the ’80s, that is.