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In reimagining the familiar tropes of summer blockbusters—namely, D.C. superheroes and glamorous secret agents—Wonder Woman and the forthcoming Atomic Blonde seem intent on reminding audiences of the appeal of strong, powerful, and intelligent women. On a smaller scale, GLOW, the new hit series on Netflix, is accomplishing this same feat through a rather unexpected lens: professional wrestling. Inspired by the 80’s female pro-wrestling show Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, GLOW, created by Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch and co-produced by Jenji Kohan (Orange Is the New Black), follows a group of women with no previous experience who sign on to wrestle each other in a live TV show. Buoyed by their newfound physical skills and wrestling alter egos, they unlock untapped reservoirs within themselves and form bonds with their unlikely co-stars.
Emerging from this series as the ultimate platonic power couple are the actresses Alison Brie and Betty Gilpin, who play best-friends-turned-wrestling nemeses Ruth and Debbie, respectively. A struggling actress with a predilection for Shakespeare and Tennessee Williams, Ruth stumbles into the GLOW ring only to find herself pitted against her best friend Debbie, a soap star and new mother, whom she has betrayed in the series’s pilot.
Here, Brie, of Community and Mad Men fame and Gilpin, known for her work on Nurse Jackie and Masters of Sex, discuss body slamming, leotards, and body awareness (warning: there are spoilers for those who haven’t made it past episode 8).
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