Desperate female performers, including out of work actress Ruth Wilder (Alison Brie - here looking like Nathalie Imbruglia with a hangover), struggling on the Los Angeles entertainment production scene flock to a mystery audition which some appear to think is porn and others seem to think is extras casting for a used car commercial. The auditions prove to be for something more bizarre for it's time i.e. women's professional wrestling on cable TV.
Ruth is no saint (She's doing her best friend Debbie's husband & Debbie just had a baby). She also doesn't appear to care whether or not she actually has any gift for acting to still want to do it after numerous indications from others that she isn't very good.
In fact none of the people depicted looks particularly heroic or even like someone you'd wanna know. They swear like women do now and use an argot that women use now. But as far as I remember women didn't call each other "dude" back in the 1980s or throw Fs and Cs around near as often.
The pilot episode strikes a universal tone that anyone should be able to understand. It shows us where someone has to get to that they might think taking up pro wrestling (without years of training, only the minor chance of success, excellent chance for injury and be insulted every step of the way) is a good idea.
The humour is of a drier, darker edgier variety. For instance during her cattle call audition with Sam Sylvia (Marc Maron) - the sleazo cokehead producer/director of GLOW, Ruth is given not only a crude, cursory assessment of her physical appeal (Specifically her face) but one that sounds it was written by an insult comedian who can read her thoughts and knows how to word exactly the nuanced missive to her that she will have staring back at her in every mirror she sees thereafter.
That particular rock-bottom feeling, common to all of us at one time or another, is of the kind that started revolutions throughout history. Ruth does something else with it as do the other characters on GLOW. Many will laugh at these characters. Others will look at them with pity and an awkwardness recognizing similar circumstances.
Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling was a real life cable TV wrestling promotion that specialized in works performed by female sports entertainers. Its legacy of grooming women gladiators for TV stardom and wrestling glory cannot be overestimated. GLOW paved the way for generations of female performers in the wrestling ring.
At worst it was fun to watch. At its best, like any pro wrestling promotion, it reached a fairly high level of live performance art many times in any given year. But the characters in this series are composites and it very loosely articulates the chain of events in GLOW history.
As for feminist or post-feminist I don't know. Is there such a thing as "Post-post-feminist"?
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