Netflix knows its way around women characters. Arguably, its first hit show was Orange Is the New Black, a series devoted to showcasing women at their most complex. News flash: This isn't something networks have been devoted to throughout their history. With GLOW, Netflix's take on the '80s women's wrestling phenomenon of the same name, the streaming platform promises to deliver another gem packed with nuanced women. The first trailer for the show, which premieres June 23, promises characters who are anything but average.
At the center is Alison Brie as struggling actress Ruth, who responds to a rather bizarre audition.
"They're looking for unconventional women," her agent tells her in the trailer." For Ruth, this is confusing. For us, these are magic words, because they foreshadow a slew of "unconventional" women on the series — precisely what we want to see on television. The audition is for GLOW, a women's wrestling league. (It's an acronym: "Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling.") Led by Marc Maron as their jaded coach Sam Sylvia, GLOW is a motley pack of lady wrestlers clad in spandex and scrunchies. There's Ruth, doe-eyed and trying too hard, and there's her nemesis Debbie (Betty Gilpin). Kia Stevens, Ellen Wong, Sunita Mani, and Britney Young round out the cast.
Every woman-led show requires a few man buffoons, parading their ignorance. For GLOW, there's the aforementioned coach and their producer Sebastian Howard, played by Chris Lowell of Private Practice.
"Wrestling is about type," Sebastien explains to the ladies of GLOW. "You're a sexy party girl. You're an Arab."
"You mean stereotype," Arthie (Sunita Mani) responds.
"Exactly!" he says excitedly. Arthie: 1. Sebastien: 0.
Later, another dude takes a whack at mansplaining the team. "Lady wrestlers. I get it. Women can do anything men can do, blah, blah, blah."
By "blah blah blah," he probably means, "That's absolutely right, and women deserve equal pay for everything men can do!" — right?
The new series is led by Jenji Kohan, the creator of Orange Is The New Black and Weeds, who actually doesn't like the notion that her characters are "unconventional" or "bizarre."
"I feel sad that it’s considered unconventional when [the characters in OINTB] are, in a lot of ways, conventional. They represent a wide cross-section of people — what’s unconventional is showing one prototype of human being on television for so long," Kohan told The Guardian in 2016.
While the audition notice for the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling may have asked for "unconventional women," the characters we'll get to know aren't actually anomalies — it's just that we haven't seen them represented on screen until now.
Watch the full trailer for Netflix's GLOW, below.
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