The latest in the Netflix Original Productions brings us. The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, released June 2017. Based on a true story.
Ruth Wilder, a young struggling actress in LA. She has appeared in a few plays, she is rather overly dramatic. Constantly brought in to screen for parts, yet never taken on. This is the 1980's, if a woman wants a role it is pretty much as a secretary with almost no lines and just hired for her looks. Frustrated with this, she reads the man's part for her new audition. Then hangs around to harass the casting director in the bathroom to why she is never chosen. Disappointed that she is just baiting to 'show' the directors that they don't want a fresh-faced young newbie. She is offered Porn shows much to her disgust. Before given a casting for 'unusual women'.
Sent out to 'The Valley', Ruth finds herself mixed up in a group of crazy misfits. All sizes, all looks, goths, pretty girls. Nothing she is used to. When the director releases that they are hiring for a wrestling show, half the actresses walk out. Leave the rest, playing around at body rolls, and trying out the moves half-heartedly trying to gain a place. Based on purely if he liked their look or not.
Ruth works with a young woman, who is rather large and insecure about her size. Trying to convince the other girl that if they want to be chosen over the dozens of girls getting kicked out. They need to bring out more of a storyline. So they act out a whole scene, annoying the director (Sam Sylvia). Who throws Ruth out.
Ruth is in a bad place, she is already cheating on her best friend's husband after getting very drunk at a party. Although, that wasn't the only time they slept together. Debbie Eagan (an ex-soap actress) finds out about her husbands cheating, and that it was her friend part way into the series. Causing a huge rift between them. Along with a beat down in the ring when Ruth returns to try and win her place back with GLOW. Which causes them both to be hired. Much to Debbie's annoyance at having to work with Ruth.
The series shows the ups and downs of these ladies, as they struggle for funding, for identity, for respect as well as even a place within the group. As Sam picks them to show stereotypes, such as a big black lady as Welfare Queen. A selfish little brat who is happy and proud to mooch off the system and doesn't see why she should work. Junk Chain, a black lady with an attitude. Beirut the Mad Bomber, shoved onto a poor middle eastern lady. Fortune Cookie on an oriental girl. Worst of all, the larger lady from before becomes Machu Pichu. A gentle giant. I would say this kind of non-PC stereotyping wouldn't happen now, yet it does to this very day in the wrestling world.
This is an interesting series, showing a lot of interesting points about the sport. As well as the way women were treated in the late 80's in the acting world. There are a few standout characters, like She Wolf. Who is a very inventive Goth lady with a past. Machu, who comes from a family of wrestlers, but her father won't let her complete being a woman. Causing a huge rift in her family. Beirut, who is so upset when everyone hates her on their first public match. Welfare Queen. Let's face it. We have all known one of two of her kind in our lives. Who just refuse to leave the system and move on with their lives because where they are is easy street.
The Ruth/Debbie storyline gets old real fast. A touch too much daytime soap for my liking. As neither character is strong enough to take the leading role it is given. The few times they do get given a good piece of emotive acting or a series part of the storyline. It just seems to get lost in the vibrant mix of all the other characters. As well as the Viking, and the Old Ladies getting just sidelined. It could have perhaps done with another episode or two to give more time to develop.
I did however like the ending of the season, and do think it is worth bringing back for at least another season. If not more. I just would like the Ruth/Debbie storyline to disappear very quickly.
All in all 7/10.