The Netflix Original series GLOW has released its second season to streaming subscribers and can be regarded as an even greater success than the first, CNN reports, perhaps most strikingly in the deeper and more varied performances of the female cast. In a very positive, lightly-spoiler bearing review of the second season of the lock-up drama, CNN writer Brian Lowry discusses an increased presence of controversial subject matters such as racism and sexual stereotyping.
Comparing GLOW to cultural neighbor Orange is the New Black, both helmed by Jenji Kohan of Weeds fame, Lowry reminds viewers that it is refreshing to see females cast in their own strong, independent light, standing free of prototypical or cliched relationships. All three shows share this commonality, focusing on the eccentric and unorthodox walks of life undertaken by their uniquely feminine protagonists, each representing an archetype or ideal of modern womanhood that represents a political progression reflective of our era.
Alison Brie’s character of Ruth is driven, ambitious, and at times painfully sensitive and egoistic. Marc Maron’s crusty wrestling promoter Sam is laconic, embittered, sharp-tongued, and soft on the inside. Betty Gilpin’s antagonistic anti-hero Debbie takes on an almost theatrical rivalry with Ruth, seeking to upstage her in terms of mat skills as well as in terms of wardrobe. All of them work together along with the rest of the crew to put on a show the likes of which the world has never seen before – blood, sweat, tears all spilled out in front of boisterous crowds.
Everything has gotten an upgrade in the second season according to most sources, including the aforementioned costuming. The Vulture gives fans of the show a breakdown of how the art assets have changed moving into the new episodes. GLOW costume designer Beth Morgan spoke on the matter, talking about her vision for the new outfits. As any wrestling fan knows, presentation – be it entrance theme, face paint, or fashion choices – matters.
“In season one, we definitely wanted to keep the grit of the real world in it,” Morgan said to reporters. “But in season two, the story lends itself to being more fashion forward and flashy and over the top.”
All American Debbie Eagen is bedazzled in a bright American flag skirt, while scrappy underdog Ruth keeps it simple with more tapered, utilitarian ring gear as they face each other before the bell rings.
Not all is well in terms of the general plotting and performance of the show according to some critics, with Vanity Fair having recently put forth a suggestion that Marc Maron’s strong – yet dominant – performance may, in fact, diminish the efforts of an ensemble cast and a story meant to be focused on the titular gorgeous ladies of wrestling.
Lauded by many feminists as a physically imbued triumph for women in the wrestling industry as well as those who work outside of the squared circle, The Huffington Post points out that real life wrestling promotions such as the WWE are now forced to give women equal billing in the ring and that GLOW and shows that bear similar sentiments are supportive of that aim.
Fans of professional wrestling past and present, as well as those looking for a surreal and supremely well-written look into the earliest days of women’s pro wrestling, would do well to dive into season two of GLOW with the full blessing of those who were privileged enough to get a sneak peek.