On Friday Netflix released Glow. A short comedy series revolving around the creation of and the lives of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. The series is set in the 1980's and the production goes all out in order to ensure that you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. To start with, I love the bingeable quality of Netflix’s business model. I sat down on Friday night, intending just to check it out. I ended up flying through the first four episodes.
The series starts centered around Ruth, a down on her luck actress who does a despicable thing in a moment of weakness. She ends up auditioning for a director who is putting together GLOW. Allison Brie is magnetic in this role. The decision to have her film sans makeup makes her feel entirely more real than any other show I’ve seen. She looks haunted, gaunt, and downright plain. This look is perfect for the role of Ruth who is all of these things.
The show is practically a case study on female relationships. Each woman is inherently unique and trying to muddle through her own personal expectations of self as well as society’s expectations of her. Even though this is mentioned very directly in the dialogue, we’re not brow beat with it. Everyone is allowed to evolve and grow as the show progresses.
The cast itself is stellar. The role of the director as played by Marc Maron plays as though it was written for him specifically. The women in the cast shine with the roles they play. There are times in large ensemble shows where some characters tend to fade into the background. Glow is different in that they do their best to at least show everyone in at least one scene throughout each episode. With such a large cast and only thirty minutes per episode it risks become cumbersome and overstuffed. This is not the case with Glow, however, and everyone seems to have their place.
Showcasing so many women of differing ethnicities and body types is something that Netflix does well. Other than Orange is the New Black, I struggle to think of any other show that allows for such diversity.
This show is so unabashedly 80's that I couldn't help but love it. Between the big hair, the fashion, and the visual world they created, I felt like I had gone back in time.
Glow is certainly one of the most unique shows I've seen in a while and I can't recommend it highly enough. Have you had a chance to watch? What did you think?
Let me start by saying that I am a sucker for a murder mystery. Last year when Netflix released Making a Murderer I inhaled it. I couldn’t watch it fast enough. So with the Keepers, I was putting it off until I had finished the eighteen other things I was trying to watch. This past weekend instead of doing that, I finally dug in to the Keepers.
The premise of the documentary is the story of the unsolved murder of Sister Catherine Cesnik who was murdered in the late 60’s. Her body was found nearly two months after she disappeared and the case has yet to be solved. The first couple of episodes consist entirely of world building. It’s a slow burn. By the end of the second episode it’s like a bomb went off. Think S-Town level bombshell. Suddenly you’re flung into what is nearly an entirely new story that is horrifying to listen to. As they say in the show, the story isn’t the murder itself; it’s everything that came to light after the murder that’s the story.
Every episode is painful to watch and yet you can’t look away. The detailed accounts of women who suffered through a horrific time will chill you to the core. It’s hard to write this without giving too much away, but suffice to say that this is one of the more compelling documentary series I’ve ever seen. Making a Murderer left me not long after I watched it. I don’t think the Keepers is going to allow me to let go for a while.
I cannot imagine living through the things that these people have had to live through. The show leaves you with as many questions as you have answers, which is a little frustrating. Unfortunately, that’s kind of what you get with a documentary of this kind. If this genre is your thing, then I think you’ll enjoy this show. The first couple of episodes are a slow burn, but once it ramps up, I found it riveting.
Let me know what you think in the comments!
There's a paradox that exists in my life. It honestly just occurred to me today. I have a general disdain for Seinfeld. I never found it funny and I couldn't stand any of the characters. I do, however, have an unending affection for It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Therein lies the paradox.
These two shows are basically the same damn show. They are shows about nothing. Character studies in which the characters show little to no growth at all. Shows about jerks being jerks to each other and to other people. They both find themselves in ridiculous situations because of their jackassery. So why can't I stand Seinfeld but love Sunny?
Part of it likely has to do with my age. Seinfeld started when I was eight years old and ran until I was seventeen. Not only would I not have been allowed to watch it for most of that time, I was too busy being out in the world being a teenager. Sunny started in 2005 when I was twenty-four and it's over the top humor and grossness was basically targeted for me and the rest of my demographic.
Another part of it for me is that I never found any of the Seinfeld characters lovable. They only ever exuded selfishness to me. On Sunny I found that I had soft spots for basically everyone except for Dennis and Frank. Mac and his naivety, Dee and her bad luck, and Charlie with his ignorance; never fail to make me laugh. The only character on Seinfeld that I didn't mind seeing was Kramer who was definitely weird but seemed to be the only one with half a heart.
It's certainly also the type of humor and the delivery. Seinfeld is known for sarcasm and while I utilize sarcasm often, an entire show about it became annoying. With Sunny though, it's a lot of fast talking and in your face humor. There's definitely sarcasm but they don't use it as a crutch. I'm not saying Sunny is perfect. Honestly, I can't binge it for too long or it frustrates me. There are times when the constant yelling over each other can get abrasive. Also, while Danny DeVito is likely a lovely human being, his portrayal of Frank makes me incredibly uncomfortable in a gross kind of way.
Maybe I need to give Seinfeld another chance as an adult. Maybe that's the problem. I was too young to appreciate it then. Or maybe not. Maybe I'll just stick with Sunny and watch the smorgasbord of new and excellent programming that's available to me now. If you've never seen Sunny I recommend you start from the beginning and don't try and pop in midway.
I'm off to contemplate how I could have missed the similarities before.
Summer is here! The main TV shows are ending for the year and that means it’s time to binge-watch everything I missed during the year. It can be overwhelming when there is a ton of amazing content available.
The Handmaid's Tale
Good Girls Revolt
House of Cards
13 Reasons Why
The Mindy Project
The list is practically endless. It doesn’t even include the older stuff that I never got around to like Prison Break, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, etc. I wish that I had all the time in the world to watch these things. For some I’m only a season behind, others I am multiple seasons behind. Almost all of these are on a streaming service of some kind so binging is completely possible. That’s great! But it feeds into my addiction. Episode after episode. Wasting my life watching TV. Add to this the fact that I also want to read as much as possible and it really just boils down to the fact that I need to find a job in which someone pays me to review the books I read and the shows I watch. I know those types of jobs exist. I just don’t know where to find them.
I know that a lot of people think that TV cuts us off from society. If we’re all glued to the TV then we aren’t out in the world interacting with other humans. To an extent this is true. I would argue though, that it also gives us a lot of common ground. I’ve had TV be an icebreaker more times that I can count. Being able to have something to talk about with a complete stranger has always been a struggle for me. Almost everyone has something that they watch or characters they love and/or loved and when you can connect with someone over something they love, you can get to know them better.
Are there any shows that you’re excited about for this summer?
One of the things I love most about Broadchurch in a general sense, is its ability to make everyone look guilty. I originally started watching this show a few years back because I missed having David Tennant on my screen. What I found was an incredibly complex and nuanced family drama centered around the death of a young boy.
With Season 3 we're thrown into the world of a rape victim named Trish and the web of lies that surround her life. The exceptional thing that this show has done where others have failed, it that they never once questioned the validity of the rape claim. Never once is the character of the victim called into question other than by the victim herself. They also cover all the different emotions that a person may experience surrounding their rape. Denial, acceptance, anger…everything is laid out in painful detail.
We also get to catch up with the Latimers. Mark is still a broken man who struggles to move on from his son's death. Beth is a counselor for other victims. Watching them continue to grieve for the loss of Dan is still as heartbreaking as it was in the first two seasons. We're shown an evolution of grief within them. Many times grief is shown too simply and over the course of years people tend to gloss over the dialogues we can have with regards to our emotions.
The characters in Broadchurch are layered and deep. They are not just random tropes, even the secondary characters are given exceptional storylines.
Throughout the whole season we're kept guessing as to who the rapist is. When we finally are told the truth, Olivia Coleman's reactions are the audience's reactions. Disgust and revulsion.
Even though the subject matter is incredibly dense and heavy, they always manage to give you a little hope in humanity. The town always seems to come together when they need it most. This season had a strong theme of feminism and women supporting other women. Understanding that we are flawed but we are beautiful. Forgiveness is possible even in the worst of situations.
I would follow this series forever if they would make it. I really enjoy the idea of a contained season long mystery where they spend all ten episodes connecting the dots rather than having an overall arc of the main plot with a bunch of throwaway episodes. Big Little Lies was smart enough to do this as well. If more shows would focus on condensing their content into richer singular episodes, I think American TV would have a lot more stamina. The Brits get it. Netflix gets it. You don't need a lot of fluff. Broadchurch certainly offers you none.