- Season two of Netflix’s “GLOW” is even better than the first.
- It’s funnier, even as it explores complex themes including race and sexual harassment.
- Star Betty Gilpin steals the show in brilliant comedic and dramatic scenes.
- Season two dropped Friday on Netflix.
Season two of “GLOW,” which makes its debut with ten new episodes on Netflix Friday, is much funnier and deeper than its excellent first season, keeping it high up in the ranks as one of the best Netflix original shows, and one of the best shows on television.
The half-hour drama/comedy set in 1980s Los Angeles is inspired by “Glamorous Ladies of Wresting” (aka “G.L.O.W.”), a women’s wrestling program that premiered in 1986. The first season received glowing (forgive me) reviews from critics and audiences alike when it came out last summer. The show stars Alison Brie, Betty Gilpin, and Marc Maron, and features a large and diverse cast of women of many ages and backgrounds.
Season one was great, but it was just a charming and sweet introduction to what this show could become. And with the training out of the way – and the plot surrounding Ruth’s (Brie) affair with Debbie’s (Gilpin) husband – the show has more room for its spectacular set of characters and focuses on issues including race, sexual harassment, motherhood, teen angst, and letting go of the past.
There’s a lot more layers and a lot more comedy now that the women are wrestling, filming, and writing their ridiculous show full time, rather than preparing for it. Late in the season, there is an episode that is a show-within-a-show, and it’s some of the most brilliant sketch comedy in years.
Brie and Maron are as fantastic as they were last season. Gilpin’s ability to combine slapstick physical comedy with heartbreak as Debbie’s altar-ego Liberty Bell – providing insight into both Liberty Bell and Debbie at the same time – is mind-blowing. And Maron, who proved he has some acting chops as director Sam Sylvia, gets a lot more to do between his new role as a father to a teenage girl and his complicated relationship with Ruth.
With a better understanding of this world and the main characters, producer Bash (Chris Lowell) gets a major storyline that goes from surprising to tragic, while Tammé/Welfare Queen (Kia Stevens) and Arthie/Beirut (Sunita Mani) confront their racial stereotypes in very different ways. Unfortunately, the more characters who get the spotlight means that others like Cherry Bomb and Carmen take the backseat.
Instead of pitting the women of G.L.O.W. against each other, the story this season brings them together. There is conflict between them, especially Ruth and Debbie, who have a complicated past. Amidst a disagreement on how actresses should handle sexual harassment and a major injury that might have been inflicted on purpose, we get the chance to see how Ruth and Debbie’s friendship was before the first episode of the series. Their respect for each other, despite what they disagree on and what they’ve been through, is a great example of a female friendship on television.
By exploring complex, relevant themes and taking full advantage of its comedic elements, “GLOW” season two is even better than the first.
Watch the trailer for season two below. You can see the entire season when it comes out on June 29: