News traveled fast on October 5th when Netflix reported the cancellation of their series, GLOW. Sparking the campaign #SaveGlow.
GLOW, the hour-long comedy-drama based on the real-life 80s all-women’s wrestling promotion of the same title, had been renewed for its 4th and final season back in 2019. But due to “coronavirus pandemic shutting down production for an indicate amount of time” Netflix reversed their decision to cancel production for the upcoming season. Reports that the team was only able to film one episode back in March before production was shut down for being "high risk."
Much like their season 2 finale plot, where the onscreen wrestling show was being canceled by their cable network, the IRL GLOW cast began mourning the loss with the tag #SaveGlow. But unlike in the tv show, having to counter Netflix's move will make it much harder to "die on our own terms."
Of course, the cancellation comes as a major shock to fans, actors, and creators alike, as the show had a large following of supportive audiences connecting with the women run series. Not only did GLOW provide on-screen representation for women- with stars like Allison Brie, Betty Gilpin, and longtime wrestler Kia Stevens "Awesome Kong"-, but off-screen the directors, writers, and department heads were female-run.
Creators Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch said in a statement, “COVID has killed actual humans. It’s a national tragedy and should be our focus. COVID also apparently took down our show. We were handed the creative freedom to make a complicated comedy about women and tell their stories. And wrestle. And now that’s gone. There’s a lot of shitty things happening in the world that are much bigger than this right now. But it still sucks that we don’t get to see these 15 women in a frame together again.”
Along with that, male co-stars, Marc Maron and Chris Lowell felt the loss, now unable to continue branching into colorful characters that played alongside the gorgeous ladies of wrestling.
While Brie and Gilpin's characters lead the major plots of the first season, GLOW was ultimately an ensemble show; creating meaningful moments, individual storylines, and character arches for all. From new working mothers to experienced moms, to med-school flunk outs to undocumented citizens, from a Black stunt woman to a Jewish party girl to Cambodian aspiring fashion designer dealing with racial tensions and cultural celebration, GLOW's characters were complex and nuanced; each learning, competing and supporting each other. They all grew together, many of them wanting to be actors, as they learned to play up their personal strength in the ring and become empowered by a new storytelling media of professional wrestling.
Ultimately, the pro-wrestling medium works as a catalyst to explore powerful themes, including aging, motherhood, addiction, body image, jealousy, and trust. Sexism, racism, and gender bias in business and media. BIPOC and LGBTQ narratives. And perhaps most importantly, friendship and self-empowerment.
In this way, the show became very meta, as the characters themselves got a first chance at playing dynamic characters on screen. Just as for audiences and creators, GLOW was an exciting refresher and much-needed representation for many. As actor Chris Lowell wrote, "The tone of the show - its ability to swing from a larger-than-life comedy to grounded character drama- is what made it so special."
Over the past weekend, the cast reunited via a video call to do a live-stream Q and A with fans, where they talked filming stunts, character vulnerabilities, and the politics of Netflix canceling a longstanding, critically, and audience successful, Emmy nominated series staring 15 women.
Actor Marc Manson suggested the possibility of doing a 2-hour finale movie, since they already have the final season planned and written, and it would give characters some closure to season 3 cliffhangers. But until then, audiences can return to the ring for drama, comedy, and excitement to say goodbye to GLOW and the now-retired gorgeous ladies of wrestling.
(but if this is anything like real pro-wrestling they always bring the retired legends back.)