End of Season Report: GLOW, Season 2

7 Aug


GLOW is a very good show. GLOW isn’t a great show, but it’s important to appreciate the very good shows. The great shows get all the love, and with good reason; they take big swings and they hit TV baseballs out of the park with those swings; The Americans is a great show. BoJack Horseman is a great show. Great shows make you stop and think, they run through your brain over and over while you’re in the shower, while you’re waiting for a train, while you’re walking down the street. Minute details and plot points, memorable lines. And that’s great.

But there would be maybe five shows a year, in a good year, if all we watched are great shows. And more than that sometimes we don’t want a show that’s going to keep us up at times. We want a show that makes us smile. A show that’s well constructed, that does everything well, while not necessarily absolutely blowing us away in any particular aspect. A show that can provide a weekend, or a week, or couple of weeks of joy, depending how fast we binge it, and GLOW, if you’re into that sort of thing is perfect for bingeing.

GLOW is exactly that show. There’s nothing spectacular about GLOW, but it does everything pretty well, and that makes for a show that’s a lot of fun, goes down really fast and easy, and while you’ll probably forget about it a couple of weeks after you finish off the season, you’ll be equally excited to remember it again when you hear the next season’s release date.

GLOW has a decent sized cast, with eight or so character who get served with at least some significant amount of story line, but Debbie, Ruth, and Sam get by far the most. Debbie and Ruth’s frenemy relationship is at the core of the show; and the show does a great job of portraying neither of them as the villain in their relationship, with both sides (aside from, of course Ruth’s inexplicable first season initial decision to sleep with Debbie’s husband) as sympathetic and understandable. Their relationship bounces up and down, back and forth, and evolves over the course of the second season, and doesn’t feel as if it’s treading over the same ground, even as they find new reasons to alternatively be chummy and at each other’s throat.

Sam grows up a little bit. The show threatens to go with the obvious relationship angle between him and Ruth, but swerves, which is a welcome reprieve from a fruitful friendship turning into a less-interesting romance.

Ten half-hour episodes does unfortunately mean that not everyone gets the type of fleshed out story and characterization that Ruth, Debbie, and Sam get, and that’s maybe the biggest shame, because another of other characters getting lesser chances in an episode or two to shine, like Justine, Cherry, Bash, and Welfare Queen, who all have potential for more. The next tier of characters doesn’t get a ton of solo time, but even in their small ensemble moments they generally feel like people and that’s a credit to the general dynamic, acting, and writing of the show. Carmen was the one character who was part of the second tier of characters in the first season, was particularly underserved relatively this season which was a little bit of a shame.

Overall, GLOW is fun and breezy. It’s not laugh-out-loud funny but it’s light on its feet and generally makes you feel good after watching it, while having the gravitas handle serious moments with real well-established pathos. How much more can you ask?

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