#METOO AND A BONE SNAP (GLOW EPISODES 5 & 6 RECAP)
Episode 5 - Perverts are People Too
The ladies of G.L.O.W. have reached the unfortunate inevitable spot in the Venn diagram of women-led entertainment--not famous enough to be taken seriously by their bosses, but popular enough to have super-creepy fans. Sheila is freaked out by the wolfkin that worship her, while Rhonda seems mildly entertained by the letters and dick pick. Says Melrose, “An intellectual sexual predator? You’re so lucky--all I get are letters from little girls who like my hair glitter.”
Building the popularity of the show is particularly crucial after Sam, Debbie, and Bash learn during a producers meeting with Glen that Patio Town has dropped their sponsorship. Apparently, showing how easy it is to smash up your sponsor’s merchandise doesn’t make for good business. The head of the network, Tom Grant, asks for a meeting, basically meaning that they’re in the position of having to sell the show even though they’re already in the middle of the season.
While spending time with the girls at the glowtel, we learn that Bash has been bunking in Carmen and Rhonda’s room. He’s been avoiding his house ever since getting into a fight with his butler, Florian, supposedly over a bounced paycheck. Florian took off, so Carmen and Rhonda agree to go with Bash to a bar where Florian’s a regular in hopes of tracking him down.
“Shenanigans--must be an Irish place, like Bennigan’s,” says sweet summer child Carmen. It’s quickly apparent that a) it’s a gay bar, and b) Bash is uncomfortable being there. Since the first season, there’s been subtle hints at a relationship between Bash and Florian that goes beyond your typical Mr. Belvidere scenario. There’s no sign of Florian in the bar, and a dejected Bash trudges to his mother’s house seeking comfort. He’s greeted by Gary, his mother’s butler, and Bash finally smiles. “It’s so comforting to see a butler,” he says. RICH KIDS, AMIRITE?? (Please tell me, I have literally know idea, I grew up with 5 siblings in a one-bathroom house). Over a bowl of Birdie’s brand spaghetti-o’s, Bash learns that Florian had recently stopped by to ask Birdie for money to cover travel expenses. His eyes well and he goes upstairs to his childhood bedroom to stare at a photo of him and Florian as kids at a wrestling match. OMG DID BASH BUILD FLORIAN A WRESTLING SHOW TO EXPRESS LIFELONG UNREQUITED LOVE?? I just want to see him live his truth, popped collars and all.
Meanwhile, Ruth gets a call from Tom Grant’s office seeking a dinner meeting. When she arrives at the restaurant, the maitre’d tells her that Mr. Grant takes all of his meetings in his bungalow. MOLLY YOU IN DANGER GIRL. Ruth grows wary as she approaches the hotel room, and is so relieved to see Glen answer the door that she gives his a giant hug. Unfortunately, her first instinct was correct--after a few glasses of white zin, Glen makes an excuse to exit the bungalow, leaving Ruth alone with Tom. He gets super creepy, begging her to put him in a headlock (EWWW) then nuzzling her with his face and sniffing her hair. When he goes to the bathroom to turn on the jacuzzi jets (EWWWW) Ruth sees her chance to make a break for it. Oh man, that shot of Ruth leaving the hotel room just kills me. Her relief at getting away mingles with disgust, anger, and shame. Someone give Alison Brie all the awards for capturing that horrible feeling so many of us sadly know all too well.
The next day, the producers learn that Tom Grant decided to move G.L.O.W. to a 2 a.m. time slot, which is the final nail in the show’s coffin. Ruth thinks it’s her fault, then confides in Debbie about what happened in the bungalow. Debbie immediately blames Ruth, telling her she should have led him on and hinted that she might sleep with him even if she has no plans to ever do so. In other words, be “an actress.” Frankly, the whole scene is difficult to watch and it makes me angry at Debbie. But it’s also apparent how Hollywood’s objectification of women and the misogyny of show business has worn her down over the years. “Feminism has principles. Life has compromises,” Debbie says. It’s heartbreaking, complicated, and all all too real.
Episode 6 - Work the Leg
The women are under pressure to step up their game after losing their morning time slot to a men’s wrestling show. “We break our bodies and wrestle harder and magically get our time slot back?” asks a skeptical Debbie, to which Bash replies with an enthusiastic “Yeah!” The bulk of the responsibility falls on Carmen, who mines her family’s wrestling tapes for inspiration. Cherry wants to steal her brother Kurt’s lumberjack chop move. Carmen is hesitant about full-out theft, but she’s also under a lot of pressure from the producers. In this episode we also get one of my favorite things in existence, a training montage, set to Frank Stallone’s “Far From Over” (you best believe this went straight onto my Spotify workout playlist). The women have been working their butts off, and the hard work is showing. Even Bash, the ultimate wrestling fanboy, is so impressed by their practices that he jumps to his feet and gives Carmen a big thumbs up.
Justine stops by the gym to invite Ruth to a film festival, I’m With the Banned, where one of Sam’s movies is headlining (Gina the Machina, which is an absolutely perfect fake movie name). Justine is afraid no one will show up, and as she tells Ruth, “You’re, like, his friend.” Ruth arrives at the fest and is quickly spotted by Sam in the mostly empty theater. The organizer coaxes an introductory speech out of the director, and is given peak Sam Sylvia: “I made this when I was younger. It think there’s some good stuff in it. I don’t fucking remember.” After the movie, he receives praise from a bunch of high school kids and discovers that Justine had talked up her dad’s films in her A.V. club. It warms the cockles of his shriveled-Grinch heart. I love this scene between him and Ruth because we get to see that Sam is actually quite self-aware and feels bad about his petty behavior: “I’m an insecure old man...I’m accustomed to a certain level of failure.” This prompts Ruth to tell him that the demise of G.L.O.W. isn’t his fault, and shares her story of what happened with Tom Grant. Sam’s reaction is the opposite of Debbie’s: “Fuck that guy!” he proclaims loudly, almost gleefully. For real, I nearly jumped on my couch Tom Cruise-style; this is the catharsis we all need after the end of the last episode. Ruth is relieved that Sam doesn’t blame her, and the air between them has finally cleared. I truly love the relationship between Ruth and Sam, though I’m def not a shipper (I’m still rooting for Ruth to get together with normcore Russell). I love the layers to their friendship: while they’re mentor/mentee and coach/athlete, they’re also solid equals with respect and tolerance for each other’s flaws.
Debbie has a run-in with Mark (STILL THE WORST) and his new secretary/girlfriend (COME ON MARK EVERYONE HATES A CLICHE), which leaves her emotionally reeling before her big rematch with Zoya. Debbie is the queen of misdirected anger, so she goes to unleash on Sam, who tells her to cool off in his office. When she goes to steal a cigarette off his desk, she find his stash of blow and does a line. NOOOOO Debbie; the Queen of 80’s PSAs should know to JUST SAY NO. Cut to the ring: Liberty Belle is racing through her moves twice as fast as usual. “This is as riveting as a freight train” Sheila comments. Ruth in Zoya drag has a few moments of concern, and tries to check in with Debbie, but Liberty Belle is a blur of divorce baggage and cocaine sweats. She flips Zoya into the finishing move, torquing Ruth’s leg further and further. With one final wrench, we hear a pop, and Ruth breaks character to scream “Debbie!”
Between Ruth’s #MeToo moment and now a possibly serious injury, these are two tough episodes to take in. During my years playing roller derby, I’ve witnessed many bad injuries. It’s a horrific thing for a tough competitor face a season-ending trauma, and I had that same gut punch reaction at the end of this episode. In the middle act of season 2, the drama is coming at us fast. I’m hoping that a happy ending still looms for Ruth and the ladies of G.L.O.W., and I’m totally onboard for however many montages it takes to get us there.