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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that GLOW is a comedy that centers on the real-life women's professional wrestling league formed in 1986. Created by a team that includes Orange Is the New Black's Jenji Kohan, this show features a large and very diverse mostly female cast, with all characters given roles with dignity and complexity. The show is set in a world in which competitors battle physically, so even though most of the "wrestling" is fake, there are still a lot of physical fights in which characters may get hurt, including one real fist- and slap-fight between two characters after one has sex with the other's husband. Speaking of sexual content, you'll see characters having sex fully nude (visible from the side; breasts but no genitals are seen) with lots of moaning, frank talk about menstruation, pornography, body parts, infidelity, and a scene in which a woman is seen nude with breasts and pubic hair visible. Women are frequently evaluated for their attractiveness and bodies. Cursing and language includes "hell," "son of a bitch," "s--t," "f--k," "f--king," "f--ker," "c--t," and "tit."
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What's the story?
In 1980s-era Los Angeles, struggling actress Ruth Wilder (Alison Brie) is just looking for a role, any role. Casting directors call her in to audition for secretaries and wronged wives, but she has little success. That is, until the day she gets a call for an unconventional project. As she soon discovers, abrasive director-coach Sam Sylvia (Marc Maron) has been tasked with creating an all-women professional wrestling league -- GLOW, an acronym that stands for "Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling." He doesn't want Ruth to read lines -- he wants to see how fiercely and theatrically she can face off with rivals such as fierce warrior Cherry Bang (Sydelle Noel), pro-wrestling heir Carmen (Britney Young), and, most fearsome of all, Ruth's best-friend-turned-rival Debbie Egan (Betty Gilpin). Is this a chance for stardom for Ruth and her misfit league? Or will this job land them all in the hospital?
Is it any good?
Female-centered, funny, fresh, and lovable, this comedy follows in the Orange Is the New Black mold in all the best ways. Namely, it finds a world where women, many women, are forced to coexist and thrive despite their many differences, slowly teasing out their backstories. The 1980s setting gives the whole shebang a shot of vintage fun, too -- GLOW sets the period tone with neon opening credits scored to the apropos 1984 hit "The Warrior." Viewers who did time in the 1980s will enjoy glimpses of high-cut leotards, giant TV sets, and Swatches, possibly as much as they enjoy sequences such as the pilot's cattle call for wrestlers, the first time the show's big cast is brought together. When a cranky Maron asks each to step forward and hand over a photo, Ruth has a professional headshot, Carmen has a snapshot of herself blowing out birthday candles, and one gothy gal (Gayle Rankin) hands over a picture of a wolf.
Despite the outsize theatrics pro wrestling demands, the interactions between characters ring true. You get the feeling that these are real women in an outrageous situation that wouldn't be believable without historical precedent (the GLOW league did air a TV series from 1986 to 1990), real characters with entire awkward, funny, beautiful lives outside the ring. And with creatives like Kohan, Liz Flahive (Homeland, Nurse Jackie), and Carly Mensch (Nurse Jackie, Orange Is the New Black), pros who have already proved their adeptness in spinning tales about complex and strong women, we couldn't be more excited to get to know the women of GLOW.
Talk to your kids about ...
The management in charge of the GLOW wrestlers don't seem very concerned about safety. Is this realistic? What about for the time period? Do you think today's professional wrestlers are given more or better training or safety equipment?
The "G" in GLOW stands for "gorgeous." Why would it be important that these wrestlers are attractive? Why does that matter?
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