Sure, Ruth. Places.
We’re not deep into the last half of GLOW. The pilot of G.L.O.W. is just a few weeks away and so a dark show is a go. Sheila finds a nice witch while they’re handing out fliers who agrees to bring his entire coven. The missing camera issue opens the show, with Bash upset and spazzy, Sam calling for the cameras return in a very Sam way. Ruth is fine tuning the look that will go with her now complete gimmick and Debbie is hungering for more. In fact, Debbie wants so badly to prove herself that she goes to Ruth to let her know they need to step up their game. Sheila is privy to their personal strife as she refuses to leave the room/Jeopardy. They get with Carmen and beg for time with the LumberJacksons.
This is my favorite montage of the show so far. Wrestling is hard. These women have been training for weeks. We know that both of them can move and Debbie came in with a relatively athletic build. I loved that despite this, nothing comes easy, and Carmen’s brothers are patient, informative, and respect their creative boundaries. It was a great demonstration of the athleticism and storytelling that goes into each and every move and didn’t waste time on reminding us that they were beginners, or women, or any other thing that is usually considered an obstacle for a would be wrestler. All the better that the ever so 80s “Dare” by Stan Bush takes us through it. I so love that they didn’t seem to care about keeping the soundtrack niche or cool. Would I have paid for them to use “Hungry Eyes”? Maybe… maybe…
Cherry and Tamee are teamed together to go up against the Bad Old Biddies, Dawn and Stacey, for their match. None too happy with being thrown into a tag team and worried about how it will look for a welfare queen and a rapper to beat up old white ladies, Cherry plans to sabotage the whole thing. Dawn and Stacey are easily swayed.
We go home with Rhonda and Sam, and they’re surprisingly very sweet to each other. It turns out that Rhonda had the camera, making a very strange speak-singing video of a GLOW theme song. The camera showed up in her locker. So now we know what Justine was hoping to accomplish. Rhonda sneaks away to Sam the next day backstage and asks for a kiss for luck. “You’re not gonna need the luck, I scripted you to win,” he says sardonically, but he does give her the kiss. Justine appears to let Sam know that the camera was in Rhonda’s locker and Sam shoos her away. Rhonda explains that Justine probably has a crush on him and when he asks what to do she says, “be kind and generous to her, like you are with everyone.”
And lo, I have become Rhonda’s number one fan. Kate Nash has been impressive this entire turn, but I’m happy to see her character being fleshed out a little, even if it is through Sam.
The show itself is hysterical. Sheila’s the only person who can play keyboard and she only knows one real downer of a song, so it serves as every person’s theme. While delightful it is not without it’s share of troubles. Carmen panics to the point of collapse (but guess who followed her outside and is there to with her as she’s checked on by an EMT? IT’S BASH, YOU GUYS). She and Bash bond over expectations. The EMT tells her to lose some weight, a fatphobic comment that may be realistic but felt out of place in the show. Points to the writers for having Bash say that he was an asshole but not doing that horrible and not actually helpful thing of being like, oh oh, you’re beautiful. Arthie and Jenny, the two women on this show who are begging for at the very least a C plot, have a squash match that goes off without a hitch but no one responds. And then Cherry’s big plan… Dawn and Stacey come out in makeshift Klan robes. For the first time, the crowd is not silent. They boo the Klan and mark out hard for Junk Chain and the Welfare Queen.
The crowd is nice and warmed up for the headline match between Liberty Bell and Zora the Destroyer. We get a glimpse of Debbie before she runs out and see her transform and immediately kill it, “I’d like to call on the power of my three favorites Americans: Ronald Reagan, Larry Byrd, and Jesus Christ himself!” Ruth has gotten a boombox from somewhere to march out to docile Soviet tunes and the character work between them just works. My favorite work in the match, however, comes from their ref, Cherry’s husband Keith, looking like he’s giving Zoya a real talking to, “Hey, you guys are doing. GREAT. Do you know what happens next, because I. DON’T.”
For all the good in the match, GLOW takes a page from Dirty Dancing. Debbie misses the big jump, but it’s because Mark shows up (Stupid Mark). The real bad guy is husbands. She’s worked through a hope spot and thrown an elbow to regain dominance when she sees him sulking, glaring at her, at the back of the gym. “You put your name on this trash,” he yells as they air grievances in the dingy bathroom. He serves her divorce papers and in this moment it seems our Debbie who has grown so much and left so much behind is back in the shit.
Meanwhile, Ruth is staying married to her character, spurring on boos, getting more heat. I have no idea where she was going with it, but I’ll never know, because Rhonda jumps in the ring with the mic to perform her speak-sing theme for GLOW. The other women quickly catch on to the simple beat and repetitive lyrics and they all join in. This is supposed to be a touching moment. I know this because music happens and it’s all swell-y and big, and there are a lot of shots of the crowd cheering, and the women smiling. But I mostly just felt confused by this choice.
All the same, it’s nice to see it end on a high note. The first G.L.O.W. show, though it was not for TV audiences (a dark match, the term if you’re here to learn, I may have said this in other posts), was overall a success. Fade to black on smiling faces. And the episode is dedicated in memory to Chavo Guerrero Sr., who passed away this February. Chavo Jr was the fight coordinator for this GLOW and another Guerrero, Mondo, was a trainer on the real G.L.O.W. back in the day. The gym in the show is dubbed Chavo’s.
Marc Maron Moment:
“Alright, this is definitely not a match for children… or maybe it is, maybe you’re never really too young to know about this country’s racial history.” His entire bit as an announcer is brilliant.
“No questions asked, except that you’ll be immediately fired. Too fucking many of you anyway.”
“The audience won’t know.”
“I wanna fly, I want to literally leave the ground, and do some bad ass aerial shit, the audience is like AAAH, like slack-jawed, maybe they shit their pants.”
“It’s like a fucking trust fall, except I have to stare at you and remember all the reasons I don’t trust you.”