By Milad Yazdi, Contributing Columnist
Featured image by Jordan Stephenson
Picture yourself in Los Angeles during the 80s. The expected feeling of nostalgia would arise, everything from the bright neon spandex to the overuse of super-strong hairspray. Even though the culture of the 80s was synthetic, it was also a time where everything quite literally shined.
Within this era, a huge expansion in professional wrestling flourished.
Similar to WWE wrestling today, with over the top gestures and moves, it is about being in your face with finesse and pizazz. You can look at it like theatre with horrible, acting – whether or not it’s classified as a “sport” is debatable in some circles.
“GLOW,” a new series from Netflix, conveys this time period with a loveable aesthetic and surrounds this huge wave of professional wrestling during that time. Created by Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch, the show currently has 10 episodes at around 30-40 minutes each.
The lead, Alison Brie, steals the show. Brie plays Ruth Wilder, a struggling yet determined Los Angeles actress. After having no luck with countless auditions she finds herself with a group of other women who need an acting job like her. With time, she and her cast members will soon be in the wrestling ring practicing for a new professional wrestling show that has no men, just women.
The show is based on a real television franchise with the same name during the 80s, “GLOW: Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling.” But “GLOW” turns it into something more, with double the sexy and a unique sense of self, while empowering women and trashing the Republican Party, as Sam (Marc Maron), the director of the wrestlers, said in the first episode.
The cast of mostly all women parallels shows like “Orange is the New Black” and “GIRLS” with their exceptional chemistry; each character has their own quirkiness, and you can’t help but pick favorites.
While each woman takes on a persona, usually a stereotype from where they are from or what they look like, they know inside that they do not truly inhibit these personas; rather, they play a bigger role in “GLOW,” showing the audience that by confidently inhabiting the roles there is an empowerment given to women, which causes a reaction of freedom and rebellion. With that, the characters grow together in each episode. Looking past the melodrama and dark political humor we see an authentic bond between all the characters, making a boundless case for the female strength in numbers.
“GLOW” is a work of successful originality. Thankfully, the leotards and hairspray are not overbearing and neither is the feminism. It’s nostalgic, but also sincere and pleasing. It’s an enjoyable watch when looking at the bright neon, and the women just having a blast. This lends itself to be intimate when it needs to be, which lies in the high-quality storytelling. It’s strange in almost all aspects including the editing, but it’s the pacing that keeps you at the edge of your seat. Mostly, though, “GLOW” is a reminder of how we can close gender gaps rather than split them.
Stream “GLOW” on Netflix now, and keep an eye out for season 2.