The Hudsonian’s GLOWing Review

Gotta love GLOW, if for no other reason than Marc Maron looks and sounds like a younger (i.e., middle-aged) Stan Lee

Glow Season 1 Review
by Joshua Hudson

(This article contains spoilers!)

Doesn’t the word “comedy” mean I should be laughing? Why do people think that because a show runs for a half hour that it automatically means it’s supposed to be funny? Or better yet, when you only write one legitimate joke and pack the rest of the script full of awkward moments, why would you say your show is a comedy?

This was my initial impression of GLOW, or Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, the latest in the Hollywood trend of shaming original ideas for tired concepts and reboots of classics. Through four episodes, this show had little to nothing to offer me. The actors are great and as someone who watched wrestling growing up, I had to see how the first season would play out. Episode five finally made me laugh. Once.

How can that mean this show is a comedy?!?!

I’m struggling to find that meaning. Meanwhile, here’s what you need to know about GLOW, especially if you’re old enough to remember the original: In this series, Gorgeous Ladies, um, Wrestle. Yeah.

Episode five introduces more of the wrestling the show touts. Yes, it took five episodes to get these ladies wrestling outside of wrist locks and the occasional clothesline. But when they start wrestling and showing off moves, it felt like I was watching 80s WWF. It was cheesy, gimmicky, and downright enjoyable. The personas were so stereotypical that social justice warriors will have a field day with it. To that I offer this: lighten up. It was the 80s for crying out loud!

The show also got funnier. Like, I found myself laughing at some of the gimmicks and even some of the dialogue. (Still not enough to categorize as a comedy, but I’m tired of fighting that battle.)

Alison Brie and Betty Gilpin as Ruth and Debbie truly carry this show. Their story, packed full of exciting drama that can make you love and hate them both throughout the season, is awesome. And Marc Maron as Sam brought a dry, lethargic sense of energy to compliment all the moving parts. Crazy to think on the surface, but it works. I promise.

If you have patience, give it a try. If you don’t, it’s not exactly groundbreaking television so you’re not missing anything. But if you like wrestling, definitely check it out as episodes 5 through 10 will bring a smile to your face.

NOTE FROM LB: I too have watched all of  GLOW. But my perceptions differ from Josh’s.

I didn’t expect it to be funny because it’s done by the same women who do Orange is the New Black, which also seems to me to be a so-called comedy in spite of having very few laughs.

I loved the first episode of the series because wrestling be damned –  it was dead on about showbiz and the personalities in it, especially Mark Maron’s director character. For me, the series gets weaker as it goes along, but I stuck with it for the ’80s feeling it duplicated so well…and was rewarded by the big Episode 10 finale, which totally overwhelmed me because of all the perfectly orchestrated heroic moments of “victory” for the group of dauntless young women.

Another thought re the “Where’s the funny? problem here. I seldom find any of today’s new “comedies” funny. I think that in our current cultural climate we have to redefine the word into something more Shakespearean. Shakespeare’s comedies weren’t very funny either. They were called comedies simply because they weren’t tragedies. They had happy endings. Their protagonists didn’t die. So it is with GLOW. 

In other words, even if you don’t like wrestling, I think you should give GLOW a try for a very basic human reason: It’ll make you feel good. And feeling good isn’t something we come by all that easily these days.


Joshua Hudson is a producer, writer, and actor. Find out more about him at Hudsonian Productions. Hi, Josh!