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G.L.O.W.: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling

tn_glowDo you guys remember G.L.O.W.? Back in the ’80s, specifically 1986-1990, it was a weekly televised all women’s wrestling event. What I remember is it was taped in what looked like a hotel banquet room (turns out it was in a casino). And because of the time it happened there was alot of big hair, alot of glitter, alot of shiny aerobics type outfits. And face paint.

This movie is one of these nostalgic documentaries we’re gonna start seeing even more of because of Kickstarter. It’s HEY, REMEMBER G.L.O.W.?: THE MOVIE. Not alot of substance. But it’s an unusual topic that’s interesting to me, so I enjoyed the stroll down memory lane.

The director Brett Whitcomb and writer Bradford Thomason actually did another nostalgic documentary about a colorful pop culture oddity that only could’ve happened in the ’80s, THE ROCK-A-FIRE EXPLOSION. I recommend that to anybody that wants to see a movie about the animatronic bears and gorillas and shit that played music at the Show Biz Pizza chain, the weird guy that invented them, the crazy coke-fueled hey day when the company was on top of the world, the inevitable downfall, and the dilapidated warehouse where he still keeps all the old crap he has left. That’s real interesting stuff, GLOW actually seems kinda predictable compared to that but, you know, it’s about women who used to paint their faces and wave chainsaws around and rap and bodyslam each other on TV. I’m gonna watch it.
mp_glow

G.L.O.W. was during the same period when WWF was very mainstream, had a cartoon, toys, and a reocurring NBC special airing instead of Saturday Night Live. But G.L.O.W. was different, it was even more of a cartoon. I forgot all this, but the movie reminded me. They did little comedy skits between the matches. Not just in the ring or backstage, but at “The G.L.O.W. House,” where they all lived, the good guys rooming with the good guys and the bad guys with the bad guys. It turns out this was kinda real, they made them live together and fined them if they were caught associating with the other side! I guess that’s in the tradition of James Brown and MC Hammer fining their musicians and dancers when they screwed up.

Some of their characters are comedic too, and much funnier than the skits. The movie shows a bad guy tag team called “The Housewives” who wear bathrobes, curlers and facial mud, whine about the ropes being too high to climb into the ring and criticize the other wrestlers for dressing like “tramps.” So there was more going on with this show than I remember picking up on at the time.

Another thing I forgot about: the rapping. they did all these big group numbers with lyrics and flow that make the Super Bowl Shuffle look like Supreme Clientele.

There are clips from the episode of Donahue when they talk about what it’s like to be lady wrestlers and then Phil Donahue gets in the ring with some of them. I definitely remember watching that. Do you guys ever miss Donahue? I do. If they had a channel that just showed old Donahue episodes I have to admit I’d probly watch it alot. Probly best that they don’t. Yet.

I remembered The Farmer’s Daughter (she’s country, she doesn’t know better than to wear Daisy Dukes to a sporting event). I remember Tina Ferrari. We liked that kind of stuff back then. If I could go back and do it over I know Ninotchka would be my wrestling dream girl. She was the Nikolai Volkoff type bad Russian who shit talks America to get the crowd going, but she had blond New Wave hair. She looked a little bit like Brigitte Nielsen, alot like Debbie Harry. Even today.

Even without remembering all of them it’s interesting to see what an ex-gorgeous-lady-of-wrestling is like. Some of them seem like actresses who maybe were in a cult movie a long time ago, some just seem like normal civilians, and only Matilda the Hun acts like a pro wrestler for life.

The heart of the movie is Mountain Fiji, a big Samoan lady who was a shot putter before GLOW. Everybody seems to adore her and now she seems like the one who misses those days the most because she’s laid up in a nursing home. She cries talking about it, seems like a very positive individual, even admits a crush on the head honcho guy everybody else said was an asshole.

They say that GLOW sort of became a kid’s show, just because that’s who it was popular with. And the documentary is mostly wholesome. I think there’s a part where the crowd chants “bullshit,” but otherwise it’s suitable for teaching your daughters to beat each other up. But there’s one part that’s pretty disgusting, a horrible injury where a wrestler does a move wrong and gets her elbow dislocated. It looks like a skeleton arm wrapped in loose latex. She claims she didn’t get upset until later when they told her she’d have to wear a cast, and I believe it. They show her leaving the ring with the monster arm and a big smile on her face. I don’t know if that’s a real tough woman there or a really creepy example of being able to smile through anything.

The making of the movie apparently inspired a reunion, so it follows the ladies getting back together at a hotel, hugging, reminiscing. It’s sweet to see Fiji, making a big deal about looking nice, loving seeing everybody, reciting her terrible raps, admitting her crush on that guy. He’s there and he’s a mystery. He seems to have a strong bond with some of them and also a sense that there are some hard feelings. He leaves early and you wonder what he’s thinking as he walks away.

He declines to be interviewed. They talk to a writer/referee and Mondo Guererro, a veteran wrestler and a real entertaining nut who was the trainer and choreographer for the ladies. It was cast from actors and models like a TV pilot. That’s interesting, because to me it seems like some of them are really good, quicker and more acrobatic than their dick-having counterparts. Maybe it’s their smaller bodies, or maybe you wrestling connosseurs would disagree. Anyway he brags about knocking a girl out with a sleeper hold on the first day to make them take it seriously. Other than this it’s all the women’s point-of-view, which is pretty cool.

I was happy that it also avoids the common documentary short cut of interviewing fans about why they love the thing, or unrelated celebrities lending their endorsement. I do wish there was a slightly more journalistic bent to it, though. There are two really interesting rumors mentioned (1, that the show was designed as a tax write-off and wasn’t intended to ever get so popular, 2, that the reason it was cancelled at the height of its popularity is that the financer’s wife, Pia Zadora, found out he was cheating with some of the wrestlers) but no sign that these were investigated any further by the filmatists.

It’s not one of the great wrestling documentaries, but it’s a warm little portrait of some interesting people talking about an interesting time. I definitely recommend it for anybody who has a fond memory of watching that show, or wants to see proof that it existed.


VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 17th, 2013 at 1:39 am and is filed under Documentary, Reviews, Sport. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

100 Responses to “G.L.O.W.: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling”

  1. Am I the only one who think it’s hilarious, that in that GLOW rap video everybody has these weird and exotic names…except for Tina. She’s just Tina. Not even “Just Tina”. What was up with that?

    (Also I was hoping to learn the name of the blonde on the right during Spanish Red’s rap.)

  2. But then she was “Ivory” in the WWF when the other girls had regular names like “Terri” or “Tori” or “Jacqueline” or “Debra”.

  3. Samantha Night Flash

    April 17th, 2013 at 5:46 am

    More reasons why the 80s is the greatest decade ever!

  4. the 80’s man, people were on something back then

  5. “Suitable for teaching your daughters to beat each other up.” Brilliant, Vern.

  6. Some of the people involved in Glow started up a modern successor a few years ago:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ei93yTpJSj0&feature=share&list=PL3421CFC11BE3065C
    The WWE actually puts out a lot of good documentaries when they make compilation DVD sets for specific superstars/eras/promotions. They sometimes have a revisionist bent to them with regards to how they as a company acted during the events, but they’re generally pretty detailed and enlightening. I recommend THE RISE AND FALL OF ECW, which is about the independent Philadelphia promotion that’s featured on BEYOND THE MAT. Another good one was the recent CM PUNK: BEST IN THE WORLD set, where he’s allowed to be very candid on the documentary about how he thinks the company mishandled him and didn’t know how to use him properly for the longest time.

    I also know from an unrelated CM Punk interview that that separation of Good and Bad guys continues today to some extent, with there being a “Face” Bus and a “Heel” Bus for traveling, but that’s about it. Back in the 80s there was still a mandate to protect the illusion, so much so that when Randy Savage passed away, a guy on a message board I go to shared a story about how he was visiting his uncle around that time, and Savage lived in the same building. Savage apparently walked over to his uncle, carrying his pet snake and said in a rather soft voice that he was getting it some air because he didn’t think it was feeling too good, but as soon as he saw the guy’s nephew he switched to his Macho Man voice and said “HEEEYYYYYY THERE LITTLE MAYNNNNNN!” or something.

  7. TRACEY SMOTHERS, THE WILD EYED SOUTHERN BOY

    April 17th, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    WHERE IS THE SMOKEY MOUNTAIN WRESTLING DOCUMENTARY ALL OF AMERICA HAS BEEN SCREAMING AND HOLLERING ABOUT?

    COAL MINERS GLOVE -> HOT SUMMER BLAST

  8. An ECW documentary is about to or already has premiered in Philadelphia.

    http://www.youtube.com/user/barbedwirecity

  9. Okay, time to kickstarter THE DONAHUE NETWORK.

    Also, there must be so many good stories out there about wrestling, I’m a little shocked more don’t come to light. I mean, no one but the kids believes in the kayfabe anymore, right?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6JMeKSjBYQY

  10. This comment is meant to draw Vern out on the topic of GLOW, the new show that he loves and I keep almost giving up on because it’s a lady wrestling show that seems to find cute pizza boys, Russian landlords, and obnoxious theater kid neuroses more interesting than, you know, lady wrestling. But then they do a few minutes of actual wrestling material and Marc Maron does an absolutely perfect line reading as a beleaguered 70s exploitation auteur and I think, “Well, maybe one more episode…” Will this show ever stop stepping on its dick and commit to its premise? Or will I bail for good when I get to what my TV pointman Mouth called “the almost-incest episode”? Stay tuned!

    (If Vern takes the bait, be prepared to hear my thoughts on the hypocrisy of the nude scenes and my theory about how modern TV uses a backwards strategy in getting viewers to connect to its characters. It’s gonna change your fucking life.)

  11. Crushinator Jones

    July 2nd, 2017 at 11:57 am

    Well, you have my attention Mr. M! I hope you will share soon.

  12. I will never get the hype over Netflix original shows. I’ll stick to good ol cable thank you very much. At least there are less pretenses there.

  13. I don’t think you can dismiss Netflix’s output like that, because it’s not like there’s any kind of common denominator. What do UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT, WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER, FULLER HOUSE, and the Marvel shows have in common with STRANGER THINGS, ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK, and HOUSE OF CARDS? You can’t paint those shows with the same brush and say that if you disliked one of them, you’ll dislike all of them. Netflix’s content is hit or miss, but that’s part of what’s interesting about them. You never know what the fuck they’re gonna put out next, because unlike more traditional “channels,” they’re not not trying to find a niche for their brand. They’re trying to cover all the bases and deliver something for everybody. So while their prestige shows tend to not be for me (or stop being interesting after a few episodes) there’s enough other shows that are very entertaining and wouldn’t be allowed to be what they are on any other platform.

  14. Still trying to find an HBO comedy series that is actually funny.

  15. HBO shows haven’t been my cup of tea since the days of TALES FROM THE CRYPT and DREAM ON, but I will say that, while SILICON VALLEY ended up being more drama than I wanted to deal with in the longterm, the gag about the best way to jack off an auditorium full of dudes at the end of the first season was arguably the funniest dick joke ever assembled.

  16. HBO lost me when they cancelled HOW TO MAKE IT IN AMERICA. I cancelled them once THE WIRE ended even though I enjoyed BOARDWALK EMPIRE season 1. Still Showtime (c’mon man they brought back TWIN PEAKS and RAY DONOVAN is the truth), AMC (only watch one show on there though and the season just ended), FX & even Starz pretty much got me covered.

    I find the same amount of boldness and diversity Majestyk noted that Netflix has across those networks. Usually with superior production values and arguably greater casting and showrunners

    My issue with Netflix tbh is that everytime someone tells me xyz show (ie: DAREDEVIL, ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK & STRANGER THINGS which to be fair the only ones I ever tried for a couple of hours) and I sit with them and see the glee in their face as they share their favorite moments on their tv screen deep down inside I look like Picard in that infamous WTF meme.

    I don’t look that way in front of them. I don’t like hurting feelings. On the inside though that is my sentiment. From what I’ve seen it’s just B grade stuff that only compells you when it’s derivative of something that did it or does it even better. Sometines in a fraction of the time. So like why should I peep this shit when I watch FARGO? feel me? I’m just not feeling netflix’s steeze.

    With that said G.L.O.W. was awesome and a show revolving around the dramatics behind such an organization has potential. I mean carnies are goddamn whackos so anything that takes a look at the grittier elements of the wrestling biz has to be worth a watch? Right? Then again I tend to agree with Majestyk more often than not and his mixed outlook on the thing already makes me doubt it.

  17. CrustaceanLove

    July 2nd, 2017 at 5:51 pm

    I do not consider myself a member of the wrestling community, more community-adjacent, but I think G.L.O.W. does a great job of capturing what’s appealing about it. I also think it does well having fun with the broad racial stereotypes of that era while also recognizing how damaging they can be. And Marc Maron is great in it; G.L.O.W. uses him better than his own show did. Have not finished the series yet, but seeing a lot of potential in it.

    For you cranky oldsters who shake your gnarled fists at the Golden Age of Television and wish all this Peak TV would just get off your lawn already, fear not. G.L.O.W does not breathe the rarefied air of “prestige television”. Like its subject matter it’s a little bit broader and cheesier, less pretentious and more blunt in its storytelling, and I like that about it.

  18. Maron is great in this. I have no familiarity with his work at all, so to me he’s just this guy. And I love this guy. I’d watch a whole show about this guy. A burned-out B-movie hack trying to squeeze the tiniest drop of artistic integrity out of the cheesiest crap? Come on. That’s got me written all over it. I’m just not so sure about the rest of the show.

    There’s something about the rhythm and tone of modern dramatic TV that repels me. I can’t put my finger on it. It’s like once you notice that a movie has post-action tendencies, it puts up an aesthetic barrier between you and the material. Except it’s less blatant than that. More insidious. It’s something with the sound design and the pacing. I don’t know. But some kind of wall comes up once I notice it and it’s hard for me to engage.

    Or maybe I’m just a movie guy and I prefer a story that moves. I’m six episodes in and they’ve had like one successful practice. Unless you’re totally in love with the characters and just want to hang out with them, that’s too slow to get to the meat of the show’s premise.

  19. Maj, there’s certainly something about the network dramas that seem to suck the fun out of even a badass concept like MacGyver. Not sure your experience with cable and streaming.

    I’d have to second above that pretty much everything FX does is outstanding. They’re sort of like the TV ninja. They don’t make a big show of it but they’re more consistent and bold than most of the Nets that get more attention.

    I do like Netflix’s output though. I’m not into Stranger Things but if it pays the bills for 13 Reasons Why, GLOW,,Bojack Horseman, Kimmy Schmidt and Master of None I’m happy. First season of Bloodline was great but can’t bring myself to experience what sounds like a disaster of a third.

  20. I prefer Marvel to DC, I love Stranger Things and GLOW, I also love various network TV shows, I don’t like Fast and the Furious. I’m the red headed step child of outlawvern.com lol

  21. Don’t sweat it Sternshein, I’ve never been able to get into the F&F’s either, and not for lack of trying. I know they’re about more than fast cars with the “family” thing and all, but they’ve never clicked for me. I’m not against “family”, by the way. Hell knows I love the Texas Chainsaw series. I’ll give them a proper chance someday. Until then I’ll be the other red headed bastard, but with mild aspergers. The one you lock in the cellar when your mates come over.

  22. I watched and enjoyed all of Netflix’s GLOW. I wasn’t bothered by the “pizza boys, Russian landlords, and obnoxious theater kid neuroses” subplots. I also never once thought about the pace of the story, or wanted it to move any faster. That’s probably because I don’t care about wrestling anyway, and maybe because it presented as more of a breezy hang-out show than a show you’d watch for the plot anyway. That it’s only ~30 minutes long really helps its case, there.

    I do feel the opposite about the insanely overrated The Americans on FX, however. That’s a show where nothing ever happens and the same character conflicts play out, make no impact, then play out again ad nauseum. It’s gotten by on the extremely high quality of its acting and the pretensions of its writing for three straight seasons now.

  23. THE AMERICANS is a show I don’t watch on FX. It’s definitely too full of it’s stuff. Now ATLANTA, FARGO, LEGION, AMERICAN HORROR STORY that’s more my jam. SUNNY too but it’s now on an FX subnetwork.

  24. How was Legion after the pilot? As much as I thought it was one of the best pilots ever I never stuck with it.

  25. I gave up on LEGION after four episodes. It was all good, I guess, but I went out of town for a few weeks, and when I came back, I realized I didn’t give a shit what happened next, because in all likelihood the only thing that happened next was another couple Russian nesting dolls of weirdness were layered on top of the weirdness that was already there, and I didn’t like any of the characters enough to deal with that. Plus, since THE X-FILES screwed the pooch on the dismount I’ve been loath to trust any show that’s based around any kind of central mystery. The needs of the network (keep the money coming in for as long as possible) run counter to the needs of the narrative (build to a satisfying and logical conclusion).

    That’s generally how it happens with me. It’s not like I usually bail on a show in disgust. I just walk away for a minute for IRL reasons and never feel compelled to come back. Then there are other shows that I can’t wait to get back to. Those are the ones I continue with.

  26. LEGION was actually really good*, it was just that the story of season 1 could have been told in half of the episodes. Same with AMERICAN GODS. Isn’t it weird, that we’ve reached the points where a full season now only runs less than 10 episodes, yet they still find ways to tread water and run in circles?

    *In the 2nd to last episode is a long scene, that is one of the greatest scenes in TV history.

  27. Two shows worth checking out are QUARRY on Cinemax and PATRIOT on Amazon Prime. QUARRY is a 70’s period piece shot digitally, but everything surrounding that makes you believe it’s of that period. Good performances across the board, including Damon Herriman (Dewey Crowe on JUSTIFIED) and even Logan Marshall-Green as the lead put away any doubts I had to his talent after PROMETHEUS. Peter Mullan (who oddly looks a hell of a lot like Ridley Scott in this) as the mysterious passive-aggressive is what really sealed it for me though.

    PATRIOT is a good mix of intrigue, humor and quirk. Kurtwood Smith is in a supporting role in this, but I think it may be his best work to date.

  28. I motherfucking loved the PATRIOT pilot and expected it to be Amazon’s new, big, prestige show, but I’m not sure if they ever advertised its start. I only noticed by that the first season is there. And like all the other Amazon shows, I still haven’t watched it yet. Don’t know what it is about Amazon. Their shows seem to be most of the time good enough, but unless they are “topical”, everybody seems to forget about them after a week or two or ignore their existence right from the beginning.

  29. *I only noticed by ACCIDENT that the first season is there.

  30. BOSCH is their longest-running drama, so I would think that’s really the prestige show for them. I like that one a hell of a lot too.

  31. I loved the shit out of G.L.O.W. as a kid and I dig the new Netflix series.

  32. I second the praise for Quarry. It’s a damn shame it didn’t get renewed, I would have loved more of it, even if what we got works perfectly fine on its own.

    Every episode of Quarry was directed by Greg Yaitanes, who was an executive producer and frequently the director of Banshee, another show that was on Cinemax and was fucking AWESOME. Didn’t have a ton in common with Quarry, but definitely worth watching.

  33. There was a lot to like in QUARRY – the 70’s production design was so spot on I was having childhood flashbacks to my parents house, Herriman was great as already stated (also worth seeking out is the Aussie horror-comedy 100 BLOODY ACRES with him and the great Angus Sampson from FARGO Season 2), but I’m not surprised it got cancelled. The thing holding the show back was Green, who just could not convince me he was a moody traumatized vet prone to violent outbursts. He was like a toned boy band member/GQ model with scruffy facial hair, who would mumble for a while then throw the occasional tantrum.

    But yes, BANSHEE was awesome, more so after season 1’s misstep with some post-action nonsense.

  34. Oh so I should watch Banshee?

  35. If you have a pulse, then absolutely yes you should watch Banshee.

  36. I watched episode one but then the free weekend of Cinemax ended but now I have Cinemax so I have no excuse.

  37. I’ll check out the subsequent seasons of BANSHEE. I watched the first and thought it was okay but a little too simple and ham-fisted for me. If it improved over time I’ll give it a shot.

    Without spoiling it, QUARRY really worked as a stand-alone season. With how it ended, I felt like there wasn’t a whole lot to tell after.

  38. Sternshein – It became more of a regular X-Men comic book story. Albeit the best live action one yet since the movies have not embraced the X-Men comic book storytelling tropes and themes the way this series ended up doing.

    Plus the awesomeness of the last 2 episodes alone made it a ride worth going on and Jemaine Clement’s character is easily the greatest X-Men character to not originate in an X-Men comic book. I also really appreciated that touch from Hawley b

    tw. Instead of using a familiar character’s profile and name while changing everything else about them the way even X-Men movies have done he decided to just create original characters to serve the same purpose. It’s such a simple concept that escapes so many hollywood types that it seemed refreshing.

  39. It gets more and more over the top as it goes on, in a “how could so much shit go down in one small town?” kind of way. But I like over the top. Your mileage will vary.

  40. @onthewall re: Banshee, not Legion.

  41. CrustaceanLove

    July 3rd, 2017 at 6:33 pm

    BANSHEE was great. I enjoyed the increasingly implausible pretzels the show had to tie itself into to keep Lucas Hood at the center of the action. I wish they’d stopped out at 3 seasons, though. The 4th season was kind of a let down, with much less action (and Job!) and a bummer of a serial killer plot that sucked a lot of the fun out of the show.

    I really enjoyed LEGION, but I can imagine it would be torturous for anyone who expects some kind of narrative momentum in their televisual programming. For over half the season the show was a teetering pile of mysteries kept upright only by Noah Hawley’s sense of visual style and directorial chops. But by the end of it I was surprised how many of my lingering questions were answered. It almost made sense.

  42. Netflix has a Castlevania animated series. I will definitely watch that.

  43. Castlevania is one of my favorite game series, I might just finally cave in and get a Netflix subscription for it alone.

  44. I would really be excited for that CASTLEVANIA show, if it wouldn’t be a violent (Strike 1, because the games aren’t splatter) Anime (Strike 2, because I really don’t like Anime), produced by that guy who does all those crappy fan films (Strike 3).

  45. I’m hopeful for CASTLEVANIA because I always root for more adult/mature-minded animated material but I can’t help but side with CJ’s views on this. I don’t mind it being anime-ish but them promising it being violent and it being made by ‘that guy’ gives me pause.

  46. Crushinator Jones

    July 5th, 2017 at 9:42 am

    Ok, I finished GLOW and it’s further proof to me that modern hyper-capitalistic society is so corrosive and alienating that people will watch, and enjoy, any goddamn thing that features community-building and friendship. I guess the kids are calling this a “hangout” show now?

  47. Crushinator Jones

    July 5th, 2017 at 10:40 am

    BTW it sounds like I hated Netflix’s GLOW but I didn’t. It was ok. Some of the plot beats landed. Marc Maron was good. The weird nudity flashes were gross and exploitative.

  48. Mr. M: Since Vern didn’t take the bait can we pretend he did so we can hear/read your deep thoughts on it? Cause I for one really too.
    -In fact I was hyped for this show until I read your comments that you found it hard to get into. Then Vern said he loved it on Twitter. This is ALIEN COVENANT all over again, which parent do I side with?!

  49. I haven’t gone back and watched the show so my insights are perhaps not as sharp as they might have been a week ago, but here goes.

    RE: The nudity: I remember an interview with Alison Brie from a few years ago in which she was asked about what she liked about her agents. She said something to the effect of “I like that they DON’T want me to do nudity.” Other interviews through the years have revealed her to be an actress who’s not averse to expressing her sexuality onscreen but who didn’t want to use her body as a commodity. But then she finally gets a starring role, and hey, big coincidence, she’s getting naked in the first ten minutes of the first episode in a completely gratuitous locker room scene that we’re somehow supposed to see as “ironic” nudity because the script hung a lampshade on it with some joke about how the 80s were all about boobs. I remember this same thing happening in the first episode of ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK. The female lead’s nude scenes are clearly part of the marketing, and the producers put them right up front to get more eyes on the pilot. I can only imagine that if Brie had stuck to her “I don’t do nudity” stance, GLOW would have a different star, because famous tits are part of the marketing scheme. I also tend to believe that her nude scene was purposely leaked weeks ahead of time to make sure every pervert in the land knew that they were guaranteed at least one money shot if they tuned in. I just don’t see how this is any less mercenary than the era GLOW is satirizing. At least the 80s were honest about their business strategy of monetizing female bodies. GLOW wants to have its cake and eat it too, patting themselves on the back for how far they’ve come since those long-ago sexist days while still engaging in the exact same practices. It’s hypocritical, especially for a supposedly feminist show.

    As for the larger issue of narrative, I have found that a big reason I have a hard time connecting to most modern TV is that they go about character-building backwards. My preferred format is to show what makes a character worth following through action and behavior, and then reveal their vulnerability and humanity once you’re already invested. I like to be surprised by drama, to have my emotional connection to a character sneak up on me. This used to be the standard. You watch seven episodes of a character kicking ass and cracking wise, and then they slowly let some melodrama slip in. By then, you know what makes this character awesome, so it’s a nice contrast to see their vulnerabilities. BUFFY did this well, giving you a season and a half of monster-of-the-week stuff before sucker-punching you with some devastating drama. STAR WARS too: You see how cool the world and the action is first and foremost. Then, using the frog-in-boiling-water method, they slowly get you to accept these action figures as real people with feelings. You don’t start with the “I love you / I know” scene. You start with some laser battles and work up to it. In the case of GLOW, you start with some wacky wrestling matches and then show us the real people behind them, not the other way around.

    Modern TV and even a lot of movies have it backwards. They start with drama and then take their time working up to the action. I think it goes hand in hand with the contemporary obsession with origin stories, prequels, and backstory. You can’t just have a character show up fully formed like Dirty Harry. You gotta show how they got that way or everybody complains. But it’s an easy, knee-jerk complaint to make. A story that makes you want to know more isn’t a failure, it’s the ultimate success. But nobody has that kind of imagination anymore, where they can fill in the blanks about where a character comes from based on their actions in the present. Nobody wants that feeling of coming in in the middle and trying to catch up. Nobody wants stories; they want mythologies. I’m against it.

    Anyway I think that’s what I was getting at.

  50. Consider my fucking life changed!

  51. Crushinator Jones

    July 5th, 2017 at 1:33 pm

    Wow. Mr. M that’s a great breakdown. Thanks for taking the time to share it with us.

  52. Crushinator Jones

    July 5th, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    BTW Mr. M I don’t think it’s “backwards” to start with drama and work into action, after all that’s what John Wick does, I think they just spend too much time wheel-spinning before they do it. GLOW feels like a show where they wanted to end the first season at the premiere and then invented a bunch of sub-plots and ass-dragging to make it happen. Even then they could barely make it to 10 episodes.

    Things I would have kept:

    All of Marc Maron’s tirades
    Most of the Ruth stuff
    The Malibu party
    Anything with Machu Pichu and her family

    What I would have dumped:

    Literally everything else, who fuckin’ cares? They never did anything with Cherry, they never did anything with Melrose, the British chick was wasted (when they had her whip her tits out it was sooooo fuckin’ skeezy), the pizza guy stuff went nowhere, it was just very obvious padding.

  53. Maybe “backwards” is the wrong word. It’s backwards for my personal taste but it’s not objectively in the wrong order.

    You make a good point with JOHN WICK, but the emotional setup is gotten out of the way very economically. In fact, I think of JOHN WICK as one of the few successes for original narrative on film in the past few years. We jump into this guy’s life a long ways in, well after he’s become the guy he is, and we never backtrack, but everybody got it anyway. Nobody bitched that we didn’t get to see John’s Impossible Task, or that there wasn’t a flashback to the fuckin’ pencil scene. Everybody seemed to grasp that it was more interesting to have his background and the mythology of his world hinted at secondhand than it was to start the movie with an origin story. I’m sure there’s some gormless fuck out there working on a prequel comic to demystify everything but nobody cares about that. The movies tell us everything we need to know.

  54. I guess since it was women making this one that I didn’t really find the nudity skeezy. It might be a Netflix directive though since so many shows seem to have nudity on it for no reason.

    I enjoyed the show a lot but I guess I could start talking about how inaccurate the wrestling stuff was if you want. It’s not that much though.

  55. Maj, to take it a step further, there’s now a mentality that in a long running series like Marvel or Harry Potter, you HAVE to see everything that came before or you couldn’t possibly understand the latest entry. If people really feel like they can’t understand Civil War or Deathly Hallows on their own, I fear for critical thinking. You can tell Tony Stark and Steve Rogers have old beef, and that Harry Potter was a kid wizard fighting Voldemort, without needing all the specifics.

    Now if you like the movie and want to go back, great. I’m sure all the backstory can improve your experience, but the idea that you’d be completely helpless in an in medias res story is troubling. And the idea that you need a prequel to explain the movie you’ve already seen is pure balls.

    As for the nudity, I was surprised Brie did it. But, if indeed it did help sell the show, at least she’s using it to promote good work. She earned her cred working for other people’s shows, and if she needs to pull out the big guns (wish I could think of a better metaphor) then at leas it’s for a good cause.

    I guess I’m saying “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” and I should probably aspire to have your attitude of good work should be promoted on its own merits.

  56. CrustaceanLove

    July 5th, 2017 at 5:29 pm

    Wow, you guys seem real cut up over fifteen seconds of nudity spread out over about five hours. I was surprised by the incongruity of the locker room scene, but I’d forgotten about it until you guys brought it up, and I don’t really care how this show was marketed. And Maj, it’s weird that you’d take a swipe at OITNB, which has the least exploitative and male-gazey nudity I can think of. Actually the OITNB comparison applies pretty well to this show, as it goes about it’s character development in the same way. People who seem like stock characters and thin archetypes at first will turn out to have surprising dimensions. These women are more than their gimmicks, both in and out of the ring. I don’t think it’s always successful at this, but all of the non-wrestling/non-plot-driven stuff you guys are dismissing as pointless fluff is an important part of the show. If you’re expecting the second season to morph into a full-on wrestling-focused soap opera then I’d bow out now, because I suspect it’ll be constructed in the same way.

  57. I just want them to remember that the power bomb, while around in the 80s, wasn’t really a major move until well after GLOW was over. Or that nobody really did moonsault a like the wrestler played by Christopher Daniels does on the show. That’s about the only thing they should do differently.

  58. I haven’t watched GLOW yet, but it’s weird to see people complaining about nudity on that while recommending BANSHEE. Anyway, I am obviously going to move GLOW up my queue now and I do recommend that everyone watch Banshee because it is fucking awesome. I have posted Banshee fight scenes here a few times before. And if you like your tv with tons of nudity and violence, you should definitely check out SPARTACUS too.

  59. The people complaining about nudity (Crushinator and Majestyk) aren’t the same people recommending Banshee. Though to be honest, I wouldn’t use the nudity or sex in Banshee as a selling point, anyway. And to someone who would view it as a deterrent, I will say that although the first season goes pretty much comically over-the-top with it, it is scaled back in the second season, and scaled back even more in the peak-quality third season.

  60. geoffreyjar and CJ – Castlevania is a Japanese video game series, so why wouldn’t this adaption have an anime influence? In fact one of the best games in the series, RONDO OF BLOOD, had anime cutscenes.

    I find it interesting how it’s adapting of the earliest games in the series timeline and makes me wonder if each season will adapt a new game leading all the way up to stuff like SYMPHONY OF THE NIGHT and ARIA OF SORROW.

  61. Call me a bit old school here, but neither the box arts or the sprites of the old Castlevania games looked anime-esque, so that’s one problem I have. (Apart from that, I really can’t stand the interchangable character design in many Animes and this one doesn’t look any better.)

  62. Yeah, sorry, I didn’t mean it was the same people. It was just funny to see that in the same thread of comments. The nudity is kind of a selling point because let’s face it – SPOILER – every hot woman on that show gets naked – SPOILER but there are a lot of other selling points too. It is a ridiculously entertaining show in many ways.

    And I’m not sure why people shit on the 4th season so much. It was not *as* good but was definitely not bad.

  63. HALLSY: It’s not the nudity that’s the problem, it’s the hypocrisy. This show clearly used Alison Brie’s status as “the girl nerds have been trying to see naked for years” to get more eyes on their pilot, yet in the same breath claims to decry such exploitative casting practices. And nobody says shit about it. Movies get all the crap on the internet for their supposed sexism but prestige TV is basically an automated celebrity tit delivery system and nobody says a word. I don’t get it.

  64. Mr M, are you visiting nerd sites where the nudity of Alison Brie was talked about as a main selling point? I didn’t know she was naked in any of the promotional material. It’s not talked about anywhere I go other than the brief mention to my friend about her being naked after watching Maron’s bare ass.

    Some of you are acting like conservative Christians in here. It’s like some of you are the walking equivalent of the MPAA where gratuitous violence can still get you a PG13 but put a scene of two consenting adults enjoying themselves during sex and you get an NC-17 automatically. It’s just a pair of boobs. If you can’t get beyond you are the one with the problem.

  65. Yeah, I didn’t hear about the nudity either until you folks mentioned it, so I wouldn’t say “It was part of the promotional material”.

    I also kinda fail to understand what the scandal is. That an actress, who once talked about not showing her boobs, now got naked on cam? Did they film it with a hidden camera or blackmailed her into getting naked? Would it be less shocking if in the next scene some guy showed his dick or would it be even worse? (If this makes it worse, then don’t watch BANSHEE, btw.) Is it because the showrunner is a woman and we expect more from her than naked women?

    Okay, I’m European, we had naked women in day time margarine commercials 30 years ago and give dramas about strippers and prostitutes “12” ratings. Also I have female friends who shoot and sell amateur porn because they are sexually open like that and not because the patriarchy forces them to do it. So what do I know?

  66. HALLSY, your spoiler is not true (e.g. Odette Annable, Afton Williamson, Meaghan Rath). And anyway, it feels weird to me to recommend a show for that reason. I’m not upset that the nudity there, but you don’t need to watch Banshee to see breasts (or even those particular breasts, with the amount of sites out there that catalog nude scenes from TV shows and movies). But you DO need to watch Banshee, whoever you are, because its just the best.

  67. LOL – that is some amazing fact-checking. I will assume you are right and did not just make up those ladies’ names. Anyway, my point is that I don’t really care one way or the other about nudity, but people that really like nudity will enjoy Banshee. And I agree with you that everyone else should watch it too. I assume you have seen SPARTACUS?

    Re: GLOW – I have not heard anything about nudity in that show except in the above comments (and I don’t really remember seeing nudity in other Netflix shows). As much as I like Alison Brie, I was actually more excited to read that Christopher Daniels is in this show. :-s

  68. Daniels is in it briefly doing a moonsault style that didn’t exist in the 80s.Joey Ryan and Alex Riley are also in it.

  69. Crushinator Jones

    July 6th, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    And John Morrison (aka Johnny Mundo from Lucha Underground) is in it as well, as a trainer.

    They are all in the show EXTREMELY briefly.

    Anyway the nudity I mentioned because (beyond one scene) it was so obviously shoe-horned in. Women literally change their clothes in front of the camera so you can see their tits. That’s it. And I don’t give two shits if women produced it, they’re as capable of being manipulated/pressured into showing tawdry shit by the network as anyone else.

    If Orange is the New Black had a grisly blood-opera style axe murder scene inorganically shoved into it I would be bitching as well.

    Just acknowledge it and move on, you don’t need to cry out about how I’m being mean to the wildly uneven padded-out prestige wannabe TV of GLOW. It’s really not worth getting in a huff about.

  70. Crushinator Jones

    July 6th, 2017 at 1:11 pm

    One thing I did notice about GLOW is that there is a ton of people urinating in it.

  71. Glow was never presented as prestige TV. It’s a good half hour comedy on Netflix.

  72. Crushinator Jones

    July 7th, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    Oh good fucking christ, Sternshein. The show prominently features a woman getting an abortion. Quit being a dumbass.

  73. So abortion subplots automatically makes it a prestige show?

  74. “Prestige show” is such a vague classification that I’m sure means different things to different people. It certainly didn’t feel like one to me. Felt too loose, too breezy, too willing to be silly. It never felt like it was taking itself as seriously as a ‘prestige’ show would. Also, the ~30 minutes a pop thing — there are a few half-hour shows that could be considered ‘prestige,’ but IMO they’re still exceptions.

    Either way, an abortion plot is DEFINITELY not the dividing line. Not for several years now. Characters on CW shows have abortions.

  75. Crushinator Jones

    July 7th, 2017 at 4:33 pm

    Well fine. Prestige television is quite honestly “television meant to be taken seriously” (that’s NOT necessarily synonymous with “serious television”) and the fact that the show is built around a difficult and complicated man (a la the Sopranos, Breaking Bad, Mad Men, etc) while Ruth is a comparatively simple character (and gradually made a liason between Marc Maron and the rest of the cast) made it a prestige show. I found the show to be more “heavy” than “breezy” but short of categorizing every minute of it (which, guys, I’m not gonna do) there’s no way to tell.

  76. I’m more upset that you called me a dumbass. We all should rise above hate. We are better than the average internet talk back poster guys. Let’s not troll each other. I will no longer be cruel in response to anybody. Plus I imagine one day there will be a Vern film festival we will all be at lol

  77. Let’s please not call each other dumbasses. Unless we unanimously agree that we are ALL dumbasses.

  78. I’d make the trip from down under to be at that film festival. On two conditions – that Maggie and Shoot be in attendance. And that Shoot and I arm-wrestle it out to settle our dispute once and for all over Maggie. Bets can be placed from this point on.

  79. I think the “Prestige Show” label comes less from its content, but more because it’s even by Netflix standards a heavily advertised show, starring a popular actress, created by the woman who made WEEDS and OITNB.

    Also I fully expect the Vern filmfestival to also have a Kumite between films.

  80. The CASTLEVANIA Netflix show is okay. At four episodes it goes by quickly and gets the job done. Even at four-episodes it’s theme plot of ‘well actually the Catholic church are the evil ones’ gets redundant real fast and it doesn’t help that I’m kinda sick of that narrative popping up in fantasy titles now-a-days. Also Trevor repeating his damned family backstory every episode get tired as well. They have four episodes but doesn’t seem they have enough plot to fill it up. Also the music is generic and that’s a crime in an adaptation of a game series known for it’s amazing scores. Again, I thought it was okay and recommend it to fans of the games and those wanting a ‘traditional’ vampire story.

    Also as an adaptation it’s terrible. It opens up with a woman just walking into Dracula’s castle and there’s his throne room. You wish it was that easy show. Also there are a few times Trevor gets hit and he doesn’t jump/fall back three feet into a bottomless pit every single damned time. Which brings us to the fact that it’s based on CASTLEVANIA III: DRACULA’S CURSE probably the hardest in the series (even more than the first NES one and RONDO OF BLOOD for Turbo Graphix 16) and Trevor doesn’t die once. NOT ONCE! Can you believe you they adapted the third game, one of those games that is statistically impossible to play without dying a minimum of 250 times, and that’s BEFORE you can get even half way through the damned thing. The show-makers said they were fans, they lied. They’re nothing but a bunch of fake nerds and tourists.

    PS – I have not seen GLOW yet, so to keep this on topic um…. I really liked the documentary this Vern-review is for.

  81. After episode one I was totally on Dracula’s side so that was weird.

  82. “What is a MAAAAAN!? A miserable pile of secrets!”

    Between GLOW and all the talk of the naked ladies in it and Castlevania, I gotta finally cave in and get me a Netflix subscription soon.

  83. ^^^^^^^^ My point exactly. ^^^^^^^

    “Say wha? There’s tits on this show? Shut up and take my money!” Using female bodies as a marketing tool still works, and GLOW knows it. That’s why the nude scenes are right up front, to hook guys like Griff. It’s the same old shit, just frosted with a patina of feminism. I like naked ladies as much as the next guy, but be honest about what you’re selling. The hypocrisy of trying to pretend that your show is above that sort of thing when it’s clearly not just rubs me the wrong way.

  84. You are still being a prude.

  85. Griff: “Enough talk… HAVE AT YOU!!”

  86. I’d pay double the Netflix subscription rate if one of the Belmonts on the show actualy greets Dracula with: “DIE MONSTER! YOU DON’T BELONG IN THIS WORLD!!!”

  87. Mr. Majestyk – I actually agree with your point, in my opinion there’s nothing wrong with showing naked flesh to get eyes on the screen, people, both male and female and me included, like to look at attractive people, both male and female, in various states of undress, it’s just part of being a human being with a sex drive.

    But a show should be up front about it, it does strike me as hypocritical that GLOW is presented as yet another “yay feminism!” thing instead of just a funny, sexy dramedy look at a slice of the ridiculousness of 80s culture, it’s kind of pretentious.

  88. Where are the women to give their thoughts?

  89. Crushinator Jones

    July 10th, 2017 at 10:25 am

    I’m sorry I called you a dumbass, Sternshein. I should have used something less harsh because it was meant to have about as much heat on it as if Older Brother Bill Paxton sarcastically said it at you.

    aw fuck I can’t believe he’s gone

  90. Maybe the (from what I read female) producers went with the ‘ol ‘Alison, you must show your boobs for the greater good. People and perverts will tune in for your boobs but then get a healthy dose of feminism instead. After they are done binge-watching they won’t even want to look at boobs anymore!”

    As Alision Brie you must one of the following to proceed:
    -“Well if it’s for the greater good..”
    -“Well as long as it’s done artistically for artistic reasons…”
    -“Well if it will help my career…”

  91. Are you all saying there is no reason for boobs in any movie?

  92. Yes, that’s obviously what we’re saying, as long as you only read half of what anybody ever writes.

  93. I’ve read what you have written and I think you are wrong. We are probably at the point of no return on this issue.

  94. This entire argument about nudity in GLOW kind of reminds me of arguments found in third-wave feminism. I’m hardly an expert in feminist philosophy, but from what I remember from college, third-wave feminists were more open to women presenting themselves as objects of the male gaze, even arguing that there can be a certain amount of power in this role. But of course, this gets tricky because at some point you can simply slap the label of feminism on things like sex work or pornography without really changing the underlying patriarchal system.

    Obviously, there’s nothing inherently wrong with nudity, but I kind of agree with Majestyk that in the case of GLOW, the show presents itself as a feminist show, but then it gives its audience unnecessary some obligatory nudity for no real reason other than for male enjoyment. Unlike “tits and dragons” Game of Thrones, GLOW is hypocritical. At least that’s how I understood Majestyk.

  95. And I agree with that assessment, though I don’t agree with the idea that nudity, even only for the sake of titillation, is always something exploitative or degrading.

    Has anyone heard of the “Outdoor Co-Ed Topless Pulp Fiction Appreciation Society”? It’s this group of fine young ladies who like to go topless in Central Park while reading classic crime fiction, as a top freedom thing (is female toplessnessil legal in NYC?) and share photos of it on their blog, it’s obvious these fine young ladies want to show off their bodies even if it’s in the name of equality and it’s a good example of something that’s very sexy in a totally non-exploitive way.

    I think in general women are becoming more relaxed about their bodies these days, I mean good lord there was another website I saw that has video close ups of women’s vaginas as a way to teach women how to have better orgasms (with the founder of this site even jokingly saying “welcome to my vagina!”), I think Mr. Majestyk ironically has a more old fashioned attitude towards female nudity, that a woman by default should always be clothed as often as possible and seeing someone unclothed is in some way getting one over on them but attitudes towards nudity in general are changing.

  96. RBatty, honestly, I think GOT is the most hypocritical show on TV. It doesn’t pretend to be feminist, but it’s a crappy pulp story full of exploitative sex, absolutely unnecessary nudity and over the top violence, that pretends it’s some classy drama, with all the politics, war stuff and Shakespeare actors.

  97. Griff, I said nothing of the kind. RBatty got me right. In this particular instance, the nudity was done in a way that took me out of the show and made me doubt its sincerity. That doesn’t mean I think women need to wear burkas or some shit. Motherfuckers always gotta extrapolate.

  98. Okay, I will have a full-on review later, but you guys are calling a half hour dramedy *ABOUT GORGEOUS LADIES OF WRESTLING* “pretentious” because it shows boobs for like two seconds but doesn’t feel bad about it. Is it possible you are overthinking it

  99. p.s. Sorry to be dismissive, but it seems to me like this criticism is based on assumptions that are outside of the show itself. What does “presents itself as feminist” even mean? That somebody said it was? That you thought it was after you watched it? If you thought it was supposed to be one thing and then the show violates that, couldn’t it be that the thing you thought was wrong and the show is actually what it is?

    I guess I just don’t understand because I barely noticed the nudity, didn’t think it was out of place, and have only heard it mentioned in the exact context of this discussion. “Isn’t it weird that there’s a little nudity?” Well, no, not that I noticed.

    And also I was watching this Mimi Lesseos movie called AMERICAN ANGELS: BAPTISM OF BLOOD where the wrestlers lay around in lingerie and keep having reasons to get whip cream smeared on them and it’s a pretty good reminder of what GLOW is not like.

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