GLOW premiere recap

GLOW Premiere Recap: Will You Get in the Ring With the Wrestling Comedy?

Nothing about GLOW, Netflix’s fictional comedy about the real Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, should work. A group of women, most of whom who have never wrestled or acted before, team up with a sketchy director to create a ladies’ wrestling TV show that’s remembered as ’80s kitsch at best? On paper, it seems like the series equivalent of slap bracelets or Garbage Pail Kids: silly fun that’s easily forgotten.

But with a production team that includes Orange Is the New Black‘s Jenji Kohan and a cast that includes Community‘s Alison Brie, Nurse Jackie‘s Betty Gilpin and Maron‘s Marc Maron, the half-hour series — which premiered on the streaming video service Friday — is a rollicking, funny ensemble effort that feels like a lighter, flightier OITNB.

In a moment, we’ll want to hear what you thought of the premiere episode. But first, a quick recap:

Neurotic, out-of-work actress Ruth is broke and sad: She can’t book a job anywhere in 1980s Los Angeles, and she’s having an affair with a married man (played by Brie’s Mad Men co-star Rich Sommer). So when she hears about an open casting call for an undefined project, she goes… and finds herself at a shabby boxing gym, surrounded by a bunch of amateurs.

Soon, the project’s director steps forward: His name is Sam, he’s helmed some seriously bad B-movies, and he is looking to put together a female version of the World Wrestling Federation television show. Ruth’s fellow hopefuls/competition include a stuntwoman, a woman who styles her clothing/hair/behavior like she’s a wolf, a pair of hairdressers and a music-video babe. And when Ruth tries to Serious Actress her way through a backflip move — she demands backstory — she sees even this feeble prospect dry up before her eyes: Sam tells her she’s done.

No wait, it gets worse for the plucky protagonist: She’s mugged by some kids, forcing her to beg a ride from her friend Debbie (Gilpin), a new mom and former soap actress. And when Debbie shows up, it becomes clear that Ruth’s married man is Debbie’s husband (!).

Undaunted by getting asked to leave, Ruth goes home and works on a character, then returns to the gym the next day to try to impress Sam with her creativity and commitment. Too bad that Debbie, who has learned about her husband’s infidelity, picks that exact moment to show up and get into a full-on brawl in the ring with her former pal. And as the two women rip at each other’s hair and pin each other to the ground (well, Debbie does most of the pinning), Sam’s eyes light up: He imagines what his series could be, and it’s a thing of neon-lit glory.

OK, your turn. Grade the premiere episode via the poll below, then hit the comments to elaborate!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Scribe says:

    This was AWESOME.

  2. Gina says:

    I’m in it for the soundtrack alone, so far.

  3. Jason says:

    I’d follow Alison Brie to any project, but luckily this one is good. And I’m always a sucker for 80s nostalgia.

  4. Cody Drennen says:

    I am a big wrestling fan and have been for 20 years now. And this show is right down awsome. Although if you go back and watch the real GLOW you can see how close it is to the series.

  5. BT says:

    I loved it! Wish it was longer than 30 minute episodes.

    • Tom says:

      Yeah I found that rather odd. The show is as much of a drama as a comedy, and has such a large cast of characters it could easily fill up a full hour.

  6. Joanne says:

    I am not a wrestling fan, and i didn’t really care for the trailer for this how. I have watched all the episodes and I was sad there was only 10! Hoping this get renewed great stuff!

  7. Tim says:

    The woman who plays the trainer can’t act. I hate when they cast bad actors.

  8. Wooster182 says:

    I was so excited to see John Morrison. It’s great that they’ve hired real wrestlers for some of the roles. I enjoyed the first season and it looks like it’s going to stay true to history. I’m on board.

  9. Sam says:

    I’ve watched the first half of the series and it’s so great, I’m going to try and slow it down and savour it a bit more. Love the costuming and the soundtrack!

  10. AprilJo says:

    I’m not a big fan of wrestling, but I have a whole new respect for it after watching Glow. I’m really interested in learning more about Sheila’s back story. Why has she been dressing like that for a year? I like Ruth, but damn does Debbie annoy me!

  11. DJ Doena says:

    Yesterday and today I watched all ten episodes. While as a heterosexual male I will never say no to a nice pair of breasts, it was a pretty obvious and – IMHO – pointless stunt to have Brie show her goodies in the pilot episode twice. From a story-telling POV only the sex scene can be argued for (otherwise you would have to do a bit more trickier camera work) but the gym scene was just for the marketing.

    What I really liked was that it refrained from running out the clock. 10 episodes à 35 minutes left much less room for boring than some of the recent Netflix Marvel seasons.