tv series

In TV series ‘GLOW’, spandex, fake body slams and real friendships

The Netflix series is the fictionalised story of the beginnings of a real-life league of women wrestlers.

An abundance of hairspray, neon eye shadow and Roxette’s The Look blaring through the radio – welcome to the 1980s. Netflix’s latest comedy series GLOW, set in Los Angeles in 1985, tells the fictionalised story of the beginnings of a real-life league of women wrestlers.

Alison Brie (Community) stars as Ruth Wilder, a serious actor looking for work in Hollywood and getting nothing more than auditions for the role of an office secretary. Her casting director tells her that she’s the kind of woman directors say they’re looking for when they ask to cast “someone real,” but when they see what “real” is like, they look the other way. A deliberate mix-up at an audition and a washroom stakeout lead Ruth to Sam Sylvia’s league of unconventional women.

This is GLOW, the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, which was a real-life low-budget TV franchise and a product of the wrestlemania that defined the decade. Sam Sylvia, played remarkably by comedian Marc Maron, is a sexist, cocaine-snorting, chain-smoking, spent and bitter B-list director of movies with titles such as Blood Disco. Sylvia has been hired by a young rich wrestling enthusiast, Sebastian Howard (Chris Lowell), to produce a women’s wrestling TV show. Sylvia is the good-hearted jerk who gives out advice like “Try not giving a fuck: there’s a lot of power in that,” but goes ahead and does the opposite. He is a leader of the underdogs but is too crass to deliver a PG-13 worthy inspirational monologue. Sylvia and Sebastian select and train 12 women to fake body slams, run the ropes, throw a punch, kick in the gut, and scream for an audience hooked to larger than life characters fighting in costumes.

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GLOW (2017).

For Ruth and her 11 companions, this is the best they’ve got going for them. And they’re going to use this to create opportunities where none existed for women – in the ring. Once the casting is done, Sam scripts a post-apocalyptic, psychosexual, sci-fi drama. Bash convinces him to cut it down to characters with no back stories but a lot of stereotypes. So the Indian woman Arthie (Sunita Mani) becomes Beirut the terrorist, the Cambodian Jenny (Ellen Wong) becomes Fortune Cookie, Tamee (Kia Stevens) becomes Welfare Queen, Reggie (Marianna Palka) becomes Vicky the Viking, Rhonda (Kate Nash) takes on the character of Brittanica, the smartest woman in the world, Carmen (Britney Young) becomes Machu Picchu. Then there’s Sheila the She-wolf (Gayle Rankin).

Ruth seems like the most conventional. She is also a very committed actor, and thus struggles immensely with finding a character that feels right. Sam initially fires her, but let’s her stick around when her estranged best friend Debbie Eagan (Betty Gilpin) chases her and wrestles with her in a fit of anger. Debbie has had a semi-successful career with a leading role in a soap opera, but her “difficult” attitude forced the writers to put her character in a year-long coma, then in a wheelchair, till dropped out to have a baby. GLOW is her comeback.

It is also revenge, as she enjoys how badly Sam treats Ruth and pits them against each other. Debbie is an American sweetheart, Liberty Bell fighting the good fight, and Ruth is a brutal representative of Communist Russia. Set in the Cold War years, their fight is to be the highlight of the TV show.

Though the women fight it out in the ring, the show does not play on catfights. Instead, GLOW is a story of friendship, sisterhood and a shared struggle to find your place in a world bent on forgetting you exist. The sport of wrestling isn’t about rivalry but about having faith in your partner. So these women train and practise together, share secrets, throw birthday parties for each other and watch out for each other in and outside the ring. They discuss miscarriages, abortion, extramarital affairs, and estranged kids. They create identities that subvert the dominant image of women on television in the ’80s.

Created by Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch and executive produced by Orange is the New Black’s Jenji Cohen, who has again assembled a wonderful ensemble of powerful female actors, GLOW is a throwback to movies about the adorable underdog misfit from the ’80s, set against a synth-heavy soundtrack. But in 2017, it is about a lot more.

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A GLOW featurette.
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Advice from an ex-robber on how to keep your home safe

Tips on a more hands-on approach of keeping your house secure.

Home, a space that is entirely ours, holds together our entire world. Where our children grow-up, parents grow old and we collect a lifetime of memories, home is a feeling as much as it’s a place. So, what do you do when your home is eyed by miscreants who prowl the neighbourhood night and day, plotting to break in? Here are a few pre-emptive measures you can take to make your home safe from burglars:

1. Get inside the mind of a burglar

Before I break the lock of a home, first I bolt the doors of the neighbouring homes. So that, even if someone hears some noise, they can’t come to help.

— Som Pashar, committed nearly 100 robberies.

Burglars study the neighbourhood to keep a check on the ins and outs of residents and target homes that can be easily accessed. Understanding how the mind of a burglar works might give insights that can be used to ward off such danger. For instance, burglars judge a house by its front doors. A house with a sturdy door, secured by an alarm system or an intimidating lock, doesn’t end up on the burglar’s target list. Upgrade the locks on your doors to the latest technology to leave a strong impression.

Here are the videos of 3 reformed robbers talking about their modus operandi and what discouraged them from robbing a house, to give you some ideas on reinforcing your home.

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2. Survey your house from inside out to scout out weaknesses

Whether it’s a dodgy back door, a misaligned window in your parent’s room or the easily accessible balcony of your kid’s room, identify signs of weakness in your home and fix them. Any sign of neglect can give burglars the idea that the house can be easily robbed because of lax internal security.

3. Think like Kevin McCallister from Home Alone

You don’t need to plant intricate booby traps like the ones in the Home Alone movies, but try to stay one step ahead of thieves. Keep your car keys on your bed-stand in the night so that you can activate the car alarm in case of unwanted visitors. When out on a vacation, convince the burglars that the house is not empty by using smart light bulbs that can be remotely controlled and switched on at night. Make sure that your newspapers don’t pile up in front of the main-door (a clear indication that the house is empty).

4. Protect your home from the outside

Collaborate with your neighbours to increase the lighting around your house and on the street – a well-lit neighbourhood makes it difficult for burglars to get-away, deterring them from targeting the area. Make sure that the police verification of your hired help is done and that he/she is trustworthy.

While many of us take home security for granted, it’s important to be proactive to eliminate even the slight chance of a robbery. As the above videos show, robbers come up with ingenious ways to break in to homes. So, take their advice and invest in a good set of locks to protect your doors. Godrej Locks offer a range of innovative locks that are un-pickable and un-duplicable. To secure your house, see here.

The article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Godrej Locks and not by the Scroll editorial team.