Browse all

A Netflix Anatomy - GLOW

The inspirations behind one of best 2017 Netflix productions: Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling

A Netflix Anatomy  - GLOW  The inspirations behind one of best 2017 Netflix productions: Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling

"Glow" is a word that hides many meanings.

It is the acronym of Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling.

It is a program aired from 1986 to 1990, which documented the real life of female wrestlers, as recalled by Brett Whitcomb’s 2012 documentary omen.

It is a TV series available on Netflix since June 23, created by Liz Flahive, Carly Mensch and Jenji Kohan, who has been the author of Orange Is The New Black.

It is, above all, the story of Ruth (Alison Brie), an aspiring actress who, in Los Angeles in mid-80s, cannot find a gig, until she comes to a bizarre audition for the first show dedicated to women’s wrestling. Here, along with twelve aspiring wrestlers, losers like her, among tight-fitting dresses, big hair, and wrestling moves, she will find her way and redemption she was looking for.

But beware: GLOW is not a sickly sweet or heavy series.

On the contrary, it’s pure entertainment, it’s fun.

If you want to know more, you just have to sit on the couch and enjoy one of the best tv series of the year.


Feel like: Laura Callaghan

Laura Callaghan is an Irish illustrator based in London, who loves Dario Argento’s movies and Hellen Jo’s work.

Her favorite subject? The female world.

The artist portrays today’s girls, their mania, insecurities, their desire for independence and approval.

She chooses women of different corporations, different ethnicities, hair colors. Paints them in everyday life, while they eat, they are in the pool, do the washing, are stretched out on the couch, do sport. Using a mix of watercolor, ink and pens, attractive colors and a style a bit  80s makes real, sincere, imperfect, beautiful illustrations.


Dress like: Moschino by Jeremy Scott

1985: big hair, pounds of glitter, body style cut very high at the legs  style “I’m doing aerobics with Jane Fonda”, mom jeans, crop top, Reebok, tights and so much makeup that rivals Jem and the Holograms.

All this and much more is GLOW.

Strong references, heavily marked ‘80s aesthetic and masked wrestler are a potentially devastating combination in terms of style. Having to choose the look, Beth Morgan, the show’s costume designer, made the decision as wisely as possible: subtract. Less is more. This was what Coco Chanel said and continues to be repeated today, but when it comes to the time of Duran Duran and Farrah Fawcett, the challenge gets tough. The only solution is to remember that the clothes should be functional to the character.

The secret? Add a personal touch to give a twist to everything. And if Alison Brie, Ruth’s interpreter, dreamed for his character a mood to Sigourney Weaver in the first Alien, instead had to become Zoya the Destroya, the hyperbolic parody of the Cold War Russian style: military wool coat, busby, fake European accent.

Her natural enemy? Obviously the very incarnation of America, the blonde and prosperous Liberty Bell, who in everyday life, when she is still Debbie, wears pseudo middle-class pieces, but on the ring shines or is wrapped in flag stars and stripes . Who had in mind Beth Morgan outlining her look? Cher and, above all, the country star Dolly Parton. What about the rich partygirl “Melanie Melrose”? Her outfits full of lace and bustier do not remind those of Madonna in the Like a Virgin period?

Before starting to work on GLOW and its varied cast, made by women of different characters, ethnicities and corporations, the costume designer has carefully studied the dives of that decade, but also street style, has browsed dozens of magazines and Many family photos, watched and re-watched A Chorus Line and Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.


Think like: Sisterhood of the Squared Circle: The History and Rise of Women’s Wrestling by Pat Laprade and Dan Murphy, with a foreword by WWE Superstar Natalya

Wrestling is not a girls sport?

If you still think about it after seeing the new Netflix TV series, you will surely change your mind reading Sisterhood of the Squared Circle: The History and Rise of Women’s Wrestling. The book tells the story of women in wrestling since the late 1800s when their fights were relegated to the carnival circuit, treated as freaks like the bearded lady or guy who swallows swords, to contemporary match.

The profiles of over 100 wrestlers from all over the world are reviewed, from Mildred Burke (Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch, screenwriters of GLOW, have carefully studied her biography) and the Fabulous Moolah to Chyna and Sasha Banks. From these pages we peek, even thanks to rare photographs, between backstage, real-life grunts and incredible personalities formed the business.


Sound like: Pat Benatar's Invincible

As for the costumes, the music of GLOW lends itself easily to the kitsch of the period. It would be, therefore, all too easy to charge the soundtrack with popular songs, easy to sing loudly, but the danger would have been to distract viewers from disarming warmth and realism of the show.

For that Bruce Gilbert, music supervisor also Transparent and Orange Is the New Black, chose to eke out the use of big hits, opting for smaller pieces. For example, instead of including a success as White Wedding by Billy Idol, the man inserted the less popular Ready Steady Go by the same artist, Car Wash by Rose Royce is song that you hear in Sheila’s birthday’s episode at the roller derby or Separate Ways (Worlds Apart) by Journey that is the background when Debbie rails against Ruth after discovering friend’s betrayal with her husband. Among the other songs commenting on the TV series scenes, however, there are some hits: the David Bowie and Queen duet on Under Pressure arriving during the complicated Ruth’s pregnancy test; The Look by Roxette accompanying Melanie’s entrance with her white limousine; Head Over Heels by Tears For Fears, an 80s cult, which is Justine’s crush for the pizza guy soundtrack; Invincible by Pat Benatar, chosen for Liberty Bell’s final fight against Zoya the Destroyer.


Taste like: Taco & humburgers



Love like: a renewed feminism that now, through the medium of wrestling, make fun of sexism and stereotypes and does so joyfully, ironically, with no anger, but with great determination.

GLOW is definitely one of the best TV series of 2017.

It has everything you need: an original storyline, a brilliant script, good actors, memorable lines.

But it also has something more.

The show can propose a joyful feminism, free of sterile commonplace or unjustified guilty feelings. If, in addition to entertaining in a brilliant and effective way, GLOW be able to make normal for any woman to be conscious of her uniqueness and power, then it would have given more than a few hours of leisure.

Because, like many contemporary girls, such as Emily Ratajkowski, and even the show’s screenwriters say:

“Use our bodies for ourselves also means subtract certain dynamics of exploitation.”