Sometimes, with all the glut of great TV and movies out there these days, and with my busy life helping raise two beautiful but exhausting male humans, it takes me a while to get around to watching great entertainment even when I’m sure I’ll like it.
That was the case with “GLOW,” the fantastic comedy/drama that debuted on Netflix two years ago and whose first two seasons I just finished watching last week.
If you’re not familiar with it, “GLOW” on Netflix is based on the incredibly cheesy but in its own way, awesome, 1980s Saturday morning female wrestling show called the “Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling,” where beautiful but incredibly ridiculous stereotyped characters with names like “The Terrorist,” “Palestina,” and “Babe the Farmer’s Daughter” would perform offensive but sometimes really funny skits, put on some bad but entertaining wrestling matches, and basically play the whole thing while winking at the camera.
Not surprisingly, adolescent me ate all of this up, sparking an appreciation and love for women’s wrestling that continues to this day (Don’t judge me, Trish Stratus and Lita were as athletically gifted as 95 percent of the men wrestlers).
So when I heard that Netflix was turning “GLOW” into a series, and that “Weeds” creator Jenji Cohan was involved, I was pretty certain I’d love it.
What I didn’t know was how far, far superior it was to most every other TV show out there. Set in mid-1980s, “GLOW” stars Alison Brie and Betty Gilpin as two actresses and best friends who, for reasons you’ll find out early in season 1, have a falling out, and find their own path to this new, crazy idea of a TV show about women grapplers.
The cast is filled out by fantastic ensemble performances led by the obnoxiously insecure Melanie Rosen (of course her wrestling name is Melrose, it was the ’80s), an actual real, current star wrestler playing a “Welfare Queen,” and others whose characters and gimmicks I won’t spoil.
Season 1 of “GLOW” was terrific in establishing this world, showing how difficult it was for actresses like these to actually pretend to know what they’re doing, and giving us great dynamics between the women and the show’s director, Sam Sylvia (Marc Maron), a former B-movie slasher king who’s embarrassed to have to do a show like “GLOW.”
The first season is great, but Season 2, which I binged over the last two weeks, takes the show to a whole ‘nother level. The character development, the relationships that emerge, and the pure insanity the writers come up with to try to gin up ratings are hilarious and wonderful. (Season 2’s 8th episode has the best “We are the World” singalong parody you’ll ever see.).
Even if you don’t care about women’s wrestling, or want to wallow in ’80s nostalgia, “GLOW” is absolutely worth your time. It’s funny, it has a big heart, and more spandex than you’ve seen since your last trip to Jack LaLanne.
Definitely check it out.
Next up today, I fully expected “Saturday Night Live” to take on the bizarre, sad, infuriating and ultimately unsatisfying spectacle that was the Michael Cohen testimony this week. What a proud day for our country, when we’re listening to a two-bit, sleazy con man of a lawyer talk about his even more disgusting, despicable client, who oh yeah happens to be President.
And, happily, “SNL” was up to the task, bringing in big guns like Bill Hader and Ben Stiller to make it even better.
**Finally today, the greatness of Roger Federer is sometimes taken for granted by tennis fans, and sports fans in general, but every once in a while I like to stop and take a step back when he accomplishes another ridiculous milestone, and today is one of those days.
Over the weekend the 37-year-old won the Dubai Championships for his 100th career ATP Tour title. One hundred championships is second only to Jimmy Connors’ record haul of 109, but there are many, many caveats to Connors holding the top spot (the field of players wasn’t nearly as good back then, many more tournaments were played on hardcourts in the U.S., Connors’ best surface, etc.).
For Federer, in this day and age, to have survived and thrived for this many years, in as brutal physically and mentally a sport as tennis is in 2019, is just remarkable.
And he’s not done yet. He’s still got a great shot to add to his haul of 20 Grand Slam titles, and break Connors’ record.
One hundred titles. Just extraordinary.