GLOW (Netflix TV show)
I've seldom watched a Netflix show all the way through, season by season. Orange is the New Black, I watched into the third series before the grimness of the prison setting began to wear me down. Brit Marling's intelligent sci-fi, The OA, I did watch, and was sad it covered only one season. Sense8 I could happily watch for my love of the Wachowskis and their trans protagonist Nomi Marks. But other shows, like Orphan Black, my interest waned after one or two episodes.
I don't know what drew me to GLOW. Set in the 1980s and the world of female wrestling, perhaps it had parallels of 1980s American football – the wrestlers in GLOW, after all, are like an all-in-one fusion of American footballer and cheerleader. Their leotard glamour, I can't get enough of – what trans woman hasn't dreamed herself in such an outfit, their female curves shown off to the max, with the added delights in GLOW of glittered, multi-coloured theatricality, and kick-ass physicality. Whatever the casual sexism the female wrestlers face, not least from their programme director, they defiantly grow into their fighting alter egos and are the cause of their show's success.What I love about GLOW most of all are the characters, especially the main one, Ruth, played by Alison Brie. I hadn't seen Brie's work before, but I've never seen a figure encapsulate such a potent mixture of optimism and a well-meaning nature with the melancholic onset of being in your mid/late 30s, trying to hold on to your dreams with honesty, diligence, and hope. If Nadine from Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections is my favourite literary character of all time, then Ruth is my favourite on the TV screen. Her gradual, awkward transformation, from sincere, dedicated thespian into trashy fantastic female warrior, I find the most poignant and powerful representation of what it is to transform like the proverbial butterfly, from melancholic loser to fierce, snarling superstar.