By Elizabeth Teets
As much as I love GLOW. I am completely bored by the shows main characters. The dynamic between Ruth and Debbie is central to the show, but much like their wrestling personas, up to this point I’m not buying what they are selling, Debbie is supposed the star of Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling and recovering after discovering that her husband as cheated on her with her best friend. (AKA the other lead Ruth) Debbie is a former soap opera actress turned stay at home mom, therefore making her perfect for the part. She is already versed in the language of exaggerated storytelling and she’s ready to kick some serious ass. But four episodes in Debbie still falls short for me as a character. I barely sympathize with her despite her heartbreak and betrayal. As a viewer I want to, but there is nothing relatable to her.
The beginning of this episode shows that Debbie doesn’t even know who Debbie is. Nor is her character Liberty Bell realized, a persona she stole rather then come up with herself. Up to this point in GLOW, I have been very disappointed in Debbie and her heal Ruth. Although one would argue in GLOW the television show Debbie is actually Ruth’s heal. Debbie makes Ruth look better, she humanizes the fame and theater obsessed Ruth enough that the audience sympathizes with her, wanting her full redemption after betraying her best friend.
I understand the need for the relationship between Ruth and Debbie to be central to the show, a show about ladies fighting, needs just that, women fighting. Both in the rink and out. But because most of the series up to this point is just Debbie and Ruth avoiding each other, we don’t get the conflict we crave nor is it being built up enough so we know it is indeed coming.
Things star to heat up in the fifth episode pf GLOW perfectly titled “Debbie Does Something” because for the first art of the series things have just been happening to Debbie more than she has acted on her own accord.
Episode five also takes a turn for many of the supporting characters of the GLOW ensemble (seriously this show is about the support cast more than it is about the dynamic of Debbie and Ruth.) Justine and the hot pizza guy are so adorable and weirdly sensual at the same time I could puke from feeling too many things at one time. It is also in this episode where we learn my two favorite actors on the show Marc Maron (Sam) and Kate Nash (Rhonda) are totally fucking. I was not expecting this and still not sure how I feel about it—stay tuned.
But why is Debbie even there? Carmen (the best part of this show) points out that Debbie isn’t really putting in the necessary effort despite working out hard. Why is Debbie there is a good question. It is obvious that Debbie thinks wrestling is stupid and wanted to be a stay at home mom, so why is she there? No revenge seems to be being enacted upon Ruth nor her ex-husband. Debbie doesn’t even understand the world of wrestling.
To remedy Debbie’s unfamiliarity with her new profession Debbie and the show’s most lovable character then set out to visit the world of professional wrestling,
Meanwhile, it is here that Ruth also creates her character, an exaggerated evil Russian (of course the perfect heal to Liberty Bell) It is clear that these two are going to take that anger from that whole affair thing and turn it into great chemistry.
Speaking of great chemistry, Debbie meats meal wrestling heartthrob and walking erection Stealhorse. When Debbie sees her first real wrestling match between Mr. Monopoly and Stealhorse. Debbie discovers wrestling is actually a giant soap opera, something she knows how to do.
There is then a lot of foreshadowing about how good wrestlers need real tension for the audience to believe it and that they don’t have to be friends. Wow! good thing Ruth is working so hard on that Russian Character. And Debbie and Stealhorse get it on and that’s cool. This episode gets a 5 out of 5 for campy sexy time.
As much as GLOW can sometimes be painful to watch, it is important to remember that it is a show that steals from the soap opera cannon. If you ignore the obvious plot holes and foreshadowing, it is a really good time. In the final scene Debbie calls Sam letting him know she is all in as long as he finds her a great heal. The audience knows it will eventually be Ruth. But let’s just watch the story unfold.
three out five stars
Elizabeth Teets is a writer and stand-up comedian from Portland Oregon. She is currently asleep on the couch in the lobby of The Hollywood Theater if you need to find her. Below is a clip of her stand up