The second season of Netflix’s wrestling comedy G.L.O.W. capitalizes on the potential of what the first season brought to the ring.
G.L.O.W, the series based on the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling of the 80’s, returns to Netflix on June 29th. When it comes back, viewers will get the same amount of fun and fighting that made season one a hit. However, season two takes everything up a notch, and surpasses the first season on nearly every front.
The central conflict is far stronger than the framework for the previous season. Season one mostly stuck to covering the Ruth-Debbie struggle, and how it affected the creation of G.L.O.W. However, the second season digs more into the power struggles amongst the wrestlers and producers. The go-getter Ruth (Alison Brie), the experienced actress Debbie (Betty Gilpin), and grizzled Sam (Marc Maron) all fight for control of G.L.O.W. The show does a great job jumping between the three, as each creative tries to claim power. It’s a far better arc for the show than Ruth and Debbie fighting over a husband. It’s all about making sure that one of them, and their “vision,” winds up on top.
There are some wonderful side character plot lines as well. The other wrestlers don’t get quite as much exploration as the leads, but some absolutely shine. Tammé Dawson, aka Welfare Queen (Kia Stevens) and Debbie have powerful mirrored storylines about motherhood. Likewise, themes of racism plague several wrestlers, including Welfare Queen and Arthie Premkumar (Sunita Mani). Season two works so well because it feels more and more like a well-rounded ensemble showcase.
This new season is all about show business, and all the problems that come with it. Along with the various characters fighting for power, there are other societal problems that plague the wrestlers. For example, the sexual politics in show business are painstakingly prevalent, and all too reminiscent of today’s landscape. Alison Brie’s Ruth helms the most pivotal and heavy scenes, bringing raw and visceral emotion to the screen. G.L.O.W also tackles racism and sexual identity, much of which is played wonderfully by the slept-on Sunita Mani.
The writing and directing of G.L.O.W. is beautiful across the board. The shots are crisp and the writing is sharp, so all the wrestlers feel like real characters. The season is also fairly consistent across the board, picking up steam with each episode. There is a dud or two along the way, and a few wrestlers who don’t quite get their due. However, the well-polished conflict at the heart of G.L.O.W, and the clear passion infused into the series by everyone involved, makes it a television powerhouse.
STAND-OUT PERFORMANCES: Alison Brie, Sunita Mani, Kia Stevens, Britt Baron, Horatio Sanz