The fictional story is set in 1980s Los Angeles, where struggling actress Ruth Wilder (Alison Brie) finds one last chance for stardom when she’s thrust into the glitter and spandex world of women’s wrestling. At the wheel is Sam Sylvia (Marc Maron), a washed-up, B-movie director who leads this group of women on a journey to wrestling super stardom. In addition to working with Sam and a dozen other Hollywood misfits, Ruth also has to compete with a former soap actress (Betty Gilpin), who is the undisputed star of the league.
GLOW hails from Liz Flahive (Homeland) and the Orange Is the New Black trio of Jenji Kohan, Carly Mensch and Tara Herrmann. All of the episodes will debut on Netflix in June, when the sports world is all but dead unless you’re a baseball fan.
Now, I grew up a wrestling fan, but I can’t say I stuck with it. In fact, I came to look down upon wrestling fans in high school, and it wasn’t until recently that I discovered I was missing the whole point. It was never about whether the actual wrestling was real or not, because it felt real to the people who had bothered to keep up with the story.
As the GLOW trailer points out, people aren’t watching women’s wrestling for the boobs or the blood (well, maybe some are, but I digress), they’re tuning in for the storytelling. They’re watching because whether they know it or not, they’ve become attached to the characters and wrapped up in their storylines. The wrestling itself is secondary.
I mention this because I’m oddly proud to say that I’m one of the main personalities (if you will) of Collider Video’s Movie Trivia Schmoedown league, which averages well over 100,000 views per episode on YouTube at this point. Our fans don’t care about the Schmoedown because they like watching people answer questions about movies. No, they care because of the storylines that have developed organically on the show. I have friends who don’t even like movies, let alone movie trivia, but they still watch the Schmoedown because they’re invested in the human drama that sandwiches each match. It’s very much like the world of wrestling, which is no surprise considering the league’s architect, Kristian Harloff, used to work for the WWE and applied that league’s sense of showmanship to an entirely different “sport” where the trivia is practically a bonus by now.
In the GLOW trailer, you’ll hear one of the wrestlers mention how “people respect me here,” while another says “we’re empowered. We’re the heroes!” That’s how I feel competing in the Schmoedown. I’m never going to be Tom Cruise, or even Marc Maron, but up on that stage, under those bright lights, in that hot seat… I’m the star. And I have fans. And they either love me, or they love to hate me. I’m cool with both, and that’s what makes it fun.
Like Maron says in the trailer, “this can either feel dinky or epic.” The same goes for the Schmoedown. It could’ve been a dinky little YouTube show, but I’ve watched it grow over the past two years and develop into something bigger. Something… epic. GLOW should be so lucky, and I can’t wait to smell what Netflix has cooking outside of the ring.
GLOW may be a tricky show to pin down at first, but frankly, it’s a Stone Cold stunner that this series even got made in the first place.
Jeff Sneider | Editor in Chief