Thursday, October 21, 2021

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GLOW, episode 4 review “Nobody respects a lady wrestler”

After a cocaine-fuelled writing getaway, Sam Sylvia and Bash return with a new game plan. Seemingly on the same page creatively, the director and producer inform the GLOW girls that they will be moving into The Dusty Spur, a run-down hotel in Van Nuys. A curfew will be enforced and all drugs and alcohol will be banned.

 “Like Olympic Village,” one girl remarks.

 “More like rehab,” Sylvia replies.

The girls are given room assignments and Ruth draws the eccentric She-Wolf. Ruth misreads She-Wolf’s apparent species identification with wolves as a method acting technique, and elicits her feedback on her latest attempt at a character, a wealthy Imelda Marcos-type Ruth describes as “A female J.R. with a touch of Cruella De Vil.” Like every other character Ruth has pitched thus far, it’s a flop.

Bash begins instructing the girls on the finer art of gimmicks, showing them a video of Gorgeous George to illustrate the importance of character and showmanship. Tamme (played by (Kia “Awesome Kong” Stevens in her most impressive performance of the series so far) develops the character of The Welfare Queen, a caricature of a lazy black woman getting rich off the public dole. However, Tamme soon has misgivings about playing such a stereotypical character, wondering what her son – a student at Stanford – will think if he sees it.

 Sylvia gives a pep talk about it being The Welfare Queen being a satire against Reaganomics, but Tamme is unsure if anyone else will catch the satire or simply take it as face value. It’s an astute look at the original GLOW, in terms of knowing whether or not the audience would know it was intentionally campy or whether they would simply take it as face value and miss the comedic sensibilities at play.

Training is interrupted when Goliath Jackson and his two sons (played by Tyrus and Carlito) show up demanding to see “the promoter.” Instead, they get a director in Sylvia. Jackson, a star wrestler, has come to demand that his daughter Carmen “Machu Picchu” Wade (played by Britney Young) quits wrestling and comes back home. Wade refuses. “People respect me here,” she says.

 “Nobody respects a lady wrestler,” Jackson spits. “It’s like the midgets. You’re a sideshow.”

 In a last ditch attempt to save one of his featured performers, Bash kisses Carmen and the two claim that they’re in love. Jackson doesn’t buy it, but respects the gambit enough to give his daughter his grudging approval.

The girls have a movie night, screening a VHS copy of Sylvia’s magnum opus Blood Disco. However, a few minutes into the shlocky film, they find Sylvia’s video dating profile taped over the movie. It shows Sylvia as a lonely man, perhaps even desperate for companionship, leaving the girls sobered and sympathetic.

Having been kicked out of her shared room by She-Wolf, Ruth falls asleep on a lounge chair by the pool. Debbie arrives at the hotel with her baby, having left her husband and having nowhere else to go. She sees Ruth asleep on the other side of the swimming pool. They sit on opposite sides of a chasm with no one else around as the credits roll.

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