We have all witnessed our favorite shows slowly decline after two, three seasons ; plot, storylines and character developments that used to be so entertaining gradually turning into something basic and boring. In honor of GLOW and its third season that just came out (August 9), let me do this quick piece on this show that actually keeps getting better and elevating. A show that celebrates women empowerment through their friendship, vulnerability, diversity ; their story as they’re trying to find their place in a male-dominated industry, while discovering who they are on this beautiful and glittering journey.
(I won’t go into to much details, so no spoilers)
“What I’m interested in are real parts. Not secretaries telling powerful men their wives are on line two.” — Ruth Wilder (Alison Brie), GLOW, Season 1: Pilot
A show about women becoming wrestlers, full of dazzling glitter and neon lights, bright and extravagant makeups and haircuts reaching to the sky. The series is based on Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, an all-woman wrestling show from the 80s, and basically how it came together, fictively.
Season 1 is an introduction to this group of women coming together and learning how to make this work — actual training, wrestling.
Season 2 steadily develops our understanding of the characters, while depicting the process of turning this into a real television show. Through these first 20 episodes (which last around half an hour), we witness these women learn how to work with each other in harmony, and handle this new work experience that is unprecedented for everyone.
Season 3 sees the girls relocating to Vegas (which is very big for them and not a meaningless change), sharing more time and experiences than ever. It takes a different turn, moving past the basics we already know about the girls, to go deeper into them. Less action, more talking, understanding, harmony between the group, through wonderful and touching acting, raw and realistic, because it’s about adults and their contradictions, their flaws, their struggles — in life, in the work place and in a patriarchy.
Ruth (Alison Brie) comes to term with the fact that not all dreams of becoming an actress come true, in opposition to characters actually exploring their ambitions and making bold moves for their future : Debbie (Betty Gilpin), a single mom newly navigating through LA as a producer and facing its inherent sexism, Jenny (Ellen Wong) realizing night after night what’s wrong with these racial stereotypes that are being played, Cherry (Sydelle Noel) struggling to find the right balance between wanting to start a family, and having a career, Arthie (Sunita Mani) being terrified of thinking about her sexuality, or Sheila (Gayle Rankin) digging into her true self and what being an actor means for her identity. It’s all about compromise and self-reflection, and more importantly how to be a woman in this industry.
This season is a beautifully crafted look into these women’s lives, and character-driven stories out of the ring, and while you can miss the action it provided, this is so much more important.
GLOW season 3 dives deep into the lives of these women, and it stands out from the first two seasons with a dialogue that is more meaningful, important discussions between the team — who perhaps though they had less in common than they actually have — about culture, oppression, racism, sexuality, ambition, identity, and everything in between. It manages to tackle so many important subjects, by having these women face them, try and come to terms with them, deal with them in the best way they can, by communicating and also being bold.
Plus, I have never seen a show equally offer such a great development of each character and their storyline. Everything makes sense, nothing feels rushed, and there is no way you don’t get attached to the majority of the characters. They all have something special to offer, and every performance is hilariously touching.
I can’t say more about the storylines without spoiling it, but this season leaves every character on the brink of a new life, new perspectives and intriguing adventures, and it definitely needs a season 4.
So, I hope you can check this show out : a celebration of what it means to find your true self, be that true self, and love that true self. Through learning how to become wresters and share this experience with a dozen other women with all their diversity and glory, GLOW is, again, all about dealing with your ambition, drive, while finding where you belong — and thriving!