WHO takes you in­side the ring of TV’S de­light­fully au­da­cious ’80s wrestling show

WHO - - News - By Marc Snetiker

WHO takes you in­side the ring of TV’S de­light­fully au­da­cious ’80s wrestling show.

De­spite what you may have heard, women don’t glow with­out a lit­tle sweat. Net­flix’s buzzy new com­edy — GLOW in­spired by the real-life Gor­geous Ladies of Wrestling, a tele­vised fe­male-wrestling show­case that ran in the late 1980s—is a bruiser en­cased in span­dex and hair­spray. In one cor­ner: Ruth Wilder (Ali­son Brie), an as­pir­ing ac­tress who claws her way into a wrestling pilot de­spite know­ing noth­ing about the sport. In the other: the friend she be­trayed, Deb­bie Ea­gan (Betty Gilpin), a for­mer soap­opera queen who is spurred to take con­trol of her life—and de­liver a few smack­downs—af­ter Ruth has an af­fair with her hus­band. ­Deb­bie takes on the role of all-amer­i­can hero op­po­site Ruth’s com­mu­nist Cold War heel, and their best-friend break-up bleeds into the ring. “Half­way through shoot­ing,” Brie re­calls, “I re­alised and said to

Betty, ‘ You know, we are the will-they-or-won’t-they of the show.’ ”

In that dy­namic, Ruth is dif­fi­cult to root for but im­pos­si­ble to root against, and co-star Marc Maron, who plays the di­rec­tor whose quest to film the pilot serves as the sea­son’s back­bone, cred­its Brie with pulling off such a con­tra­dic­tory role. “That weird bal­ance of des­per­a­tion and per­sis­tence and charm—earnest charm—it’s a tough char­ac­ter to put to­gether,” he says. Un­like Maron’s Sam Sylvia, who in­structs the wrestlers on the show-within-the-show to mas­quer­ade as stereo­types, GLOW trusts fans to re­late to the women in all their com­plex­ity.

“It’s a great time for a show that pumps up women and re­minds them what they’re ca­pa­ble of,” says Brie.

Judg­ing by the se­ries’ knock­out de­but, view­ers feel the same. “The thing that’s so cool is ev­ery­one’s watch­ing the show and seem­ing to get what we in­tended,” says ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Carly Men­sch. Fel­low EP Liz Flahive says she’s re­lieved the de­tails aren’t be­ing lost in the rush to binge the 10-episode first sea­son: “Peo­ple are pay­ing at­ten­tion to the big shiny wrestling stuff and also the tiny, tiny mo­ments.” WHO talked to the cre­ative minds be­hind GLOW to get the scoop on how those mo­ments—from the killer 1980s sound­track to Deb­bie’s glo­ri­ous cos­tume re­veal—keep fans com­ing back to the pink-roped ring.

Ruth (Brie, left) and Deb­bie’s (Betty Gilpin) friend­ship dra­mas play out in the ring. Fash­ion flash­back: Chris Low­ell (left) and Su­nita Mani.

Bashir Salahud­din as Keith and Ali­son Brie as Ruth.

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