GLOW, the Jenji Kohan executive produced series about women wrestlers in the 1980s, will soon piledrive (Google tells me this is a wrestling term, so) us into viewing submission. With a premiere date set for June 23 on Netflix, the streaming giant has put a few enticing images into the ring. (Also a thing in wrestling!)
For those who weren’t paying attention to televised wrestling in the ’80s, this may sound like another example of the formula of “thing, but, like in the ’80s.” But there’s a genuine historical reason for the nostalgia — created by playwright/Homeland/Nurse Jackie/Adult Beginners writer Liz Flahive and also-playwright/Nurse Jackie + Orange is the New Black/Weeds writer Carly Mensch. It’s based on Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, the 1986-1990 promotion show of the same name, which was broadcast from Las Vegas (first from the Riviera Hotel, then from a warehouse a few miles away) and saw women wrestling in eight matches per show… but also sometimes rapping and doing sketch comedy.
The fictionalized version (of the already somewhat fiction-adjacent original) stars Alison Brie as Ruth, an out-of-work actress in Los Angeles who “finds one last chance for stardom when she’s thrust into the glitter and spandex world of women’s wrestling.” (The participants on Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling often didn’t begin as professional wrestlers, but rather people involved in, but perhaps not making a great living in, the performing arts.) Netflix’s official description also reveals:
In addition to working with 12 Hollywood misfits, Ruth also has to compete with Debbie Eagan (Betty Gilpin) a former soap actress who left the business to have a baby, only to be sucked back into work when her picture perfect life is not what it seems. And at the wheel is Sam Sylvia (Marc Maron), a washed-up, B-movie director who now must lead this group of women on the journey to wrestling stardom.
Check out the first images from the series: