DISCLAIMER: The following contains mild spoilers for Season 1 of Netflix’s GLOW. If you haven’t already watched it, I suggest you mosey on over to Netflix and stream away. You won’t regret it.
Who’s ready for Season 2 of GLOW? You can definitely add me to that list. I was immediately smitten with the Netflix freshman series the moment it went live. Thankfully, Season 2 will drop this month, so the agonizing wait is almost at an end. Cheers to us for our lasting endurance!
Now, I was very lucky to be invited to Netflix’s FYSEE event for GLOW in Los Angeles on May 30th. What’s a “FYSEE,” you ask? Netflix is putting on “For Your Consideration” panels for all of their original programming as a method to encourage eligible Emmy voters to toss their shows into the awards ring. Each series is granted a Q&A panel with certain cast members/creators of said series. “FYSEE” is merely a play on the “FYC” initialization. The Powers That Be at Netflix have a sense of humor.
So, attendees were treated to free alcoholic beverages and h’ordeuvres aplenty, as well as fun photo opportunities. Ever wanted to snag a picture in front of the “Hollywoo” sign from Bojack Horseman? Or try your luck at hopping on the Bluth stair car from Arrested Development? Netflix certainly went all out with the installations for each program this year. I actually traveled to the Upside Down from Stranger Things, you guys. By the way – Eleven says hi.
There’s also a red carpet where you’ll find cast/crew members from your favorite Netflix shows being photographed and interviewed. I was lucky to get my very own red carpet photo, which means I definitely removed all the white dog hair from my black dress pants prior to said photo. Plot twist: I didn’t.
Now, prior to all the party fun, we were treated to the GLOW Q&A. But first, we viewed the final two episodes of Season 1, which I assume are the ones Netflix submitted for Emmy consideration. Alison Brie, Betty Gilpin, Marc Maron, Britney Young, Sydelle Noel and creator Carly Mensch stepped into the panel ring to massive applause. And…action!
First thing’s first – did any of the GLOW cast have any knowledge of wrestling prior to joining the show? “Now that I watch it a little bit I see the parallels of growing up being a theater geek. I know it’s cheesy, but it’s magic. And it means the whole world is magic…wrestling is kind of like that. There’s so much vulnerability in standing in an arena in a glitter diaper fighting for justice,” Betty Gilpin, who portrays Debbie, explained to the crowd. You’ve just inspired my new superhero costume.
Now, the panel continued the discussion with GLOW‘s bold and unfiltered take on heavy-hitting topics. See what I did there? Anyway, the series also ran the gamut on stereotypes, and never shied away from why they exist in the first place. Noel mentioned the KKK episode from Season 1, and how stunned she was that the show was broaching such a hot-button issue. “I didn’t know how it was going to be presented or how people would take it. Liz and Carly, they were so open and they were like, ‘let’s talk about it.’ They presented everything…they really went in depth,” Noel revealed. She also added that the girls were free to openly discuss anything that made them feel uncomfortable with the showrunners.
Next, Brie delved into the process of doing her own stunts for GLOW. In fact, all 14 of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling performed their own stunts. “We get to play all the complexities of what’s happening between these people as people and what’s happening between their wrestling characters on top of all that in this squared circle. Those were some of my favorite scenes to shoot.” Brie also revealed the ins and outs of the training process for the ring. Kia Stevens, who plays Tamme, was the only actress who had a pro wrestling background. Brie cited Stevens as a valuable source of information where the wrestling aspect was concerned. Apparently, lots of slow somersaults were involved, to which Brie’s husband was reluctantly privy to.
Then, Maron blurted out that he had to “learn how to do cocaine again.” The crowd roared with laughter, and Maron became the comedic relief of the night. Maron also joked about being one of the only men on set, and how difficult it was being in the minority. That’s one thing I adore about GLOW – it’s a series that embraces female power and strives to not only hire female actresses, but female crew as well. “I love watching them all work. When I took the gig I was like, ‘this is their show,’ and I felt that. I respected that. I had to be a sort of endearing s****y representation of my gender,” Maron teased.
Next, Mensch filled us in on Maron’s audition story. He was the only person to perform his audition while being completely immobile. Yes, he was sitting for a wrestling show. Of course, Maron is also a stand-up comedian who has an affinity for sitting during his specials. The irony is not lost on us, folks.
Now, GLOW became a breakout series for Britney Young, who only had a few acting credits under her belt prior to joining the cast. She spend most of her time in the entertainment industry behind the camera. Young regaled the audience with her audition anecdote. She was working on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend at the time and called in sick so she could attend her GLOW audition. Thankfully, Rachel Bloom isn’t one to hold grudges, even if Rebecca Bunch does. Young also expressed her gratitude for how encouraging everyone was on set. Brie proved to be a wonderful scene partner to bounce ideas off of. Her fellow cast mates and the GLOW Powers That Be made Young feel right at home on set.
Then, Mensch dove into her inspiration for GLOW, which she co-created with Liz Flahive. Mensch revealed she had a fiery passion for documentaries. She viewed a documentary of the real-life Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, and the rest is history. The duo had been tossing around ideas for a series centered around women. “It really moved us. And then, also because we were nerds, I think we like ‘grad student-ed’ it out and got very theoretical about wrestling…how we were going to ‘deconstruct the ’80s.'” The pair decided to “start from the beginning,” which is essentially the fractured friendship between Ruth and Debbie. From there, GLOW was born.
Next, the cast was questioned on whether they watched any ’80s movies or listened to music from that time period in preparation for filming. Maron joked that he was 54 years old, so the era is still “very fresh.” Brie revealed the movies that she viewed to prepare for Ruth, and listed a number of highly dramatic films she believed her character would enjoy. Fun fact: apparently Ruth’s shaggy hairstyle was inspired by Sigourney Weaver‘s haircut in Alien. Young dished that all of her favorite movies are from that decade, and she was eager to live vicariously in the ’80s. Gilpin also informed the audience that GLOW gave her the opportunity to be as big and bold as possible with her acting choices. Hey, the ’80s were big and bold, so why not act with the times?
Lastly, the panel ended with Mensch informing the audience that most of the writer’s room is comprised of female writers (save one male). Not to mention, GLOW also boasts a number of female crew members. “We knew that in order to tell these stories we had to have women behind the camera,” Mensch added. “It’s totally different having women at the top, I think, and that changes everything. The trickle down effect is real in terms of them being mindful of employing women in all different facets of the show. It makes it a great place to work…it’s a wonderful, magical place,” Brie chimed in. Young also added that everyone is incredibly supportive and aware of each other’s mental health, which is not something you see on a normal Hollywood set.
Well, that’s a wrap on the GLOW Netflix FYSEE panel! Here’s to the ladies who wrestle, and to Mensch and Flahive for creating an empowering environment for women to blossom. I cannot wait to see where Season 2 takes us. May it be covered in glitter. May it be smeared with bright colors and bold music. That’s just how I like my ’80s.
GLOW Season 2 will be available to stream June 29th on Netflix.
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