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Is Netflix’s GLOW a True Story?

August 12, 2020
4 min read

‘GLOW’ is Netflix’s hit series about an aspiring actress, Ruth Wilder who auditions for Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, G.L.O.W. She finds herself amidst other struggling actresses who either wish to use this work as an opening door to many greater opportunities or are not left with any other choice. All the selected women face a B-movie director, Sam Sylvia (starring Marc Maron) who expects them to be real wrestlers.

Straight-forward and idealist Ruth opposes director, Sam’s rigid approach. Moreover, a former soap opera actress, Debbie Eagan who was once Ruth’s best friend is hired as a star in the show. Debbie and Ruth share a rough history which is enough to increase the discomfort. Aware of her present situation, Ruth can’t afford to leave the show and goes on facing her rival, Debbie. As the production of the show moves forward, the series goes on detailing both the personal and professional lives of cast members. ‘GLOW’ takes the viewers on a nostalgic road to the 1980s California and Southern Nevada leaving them to wonder, whether it is based on real-life incidents? Let’s find out!

Is GLOW Based on a True Story?

No, ‘GLOW’ is not based on a true story. It is loosely inspired by true events but it is not a biopic. It is a fictionalized version with the major similarity being the name and the time period. Other than that, everything is freshly written. The creators, Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch were influenced by Brett Whitcomb’s documentary film, ‘GLOW: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling.’ Released in 2012, the documentary is now available on Netflix. Over the course of 75 minutes, it talks about the real ‘G.L.O.W.’

It was a strictly low-budget 80s show. They were so short on money that even the creator, David McClane, was given a phone booth as his on-air office. The Pilot show was shot in 1985 and released a year later. No one, neither the crew nor the producer, had any hopes from the Pilot. Against all the assumptions, the show became an instant success. For the next four years,  it was aired on millions of small screens across the USA.

The ‘Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling’ ran only for four seasons from 1986 to 1990. Meshulam Riklis, the man who financed the show abruptly stopped the funding. Hence, ‘G.L.O.W.’ couldn’t create any further seasons. Although several attempts were made to continue the show again, it was too late. Most of the cast moved on with their lives and careers and it became almost impossible to bring the entire cast back.

Alison Brie’s character Ruth Wilder is the central character of ‘GLOW.’ But there was no leading person like Ruth’s character. All the names of the original cast are different from the ones in ‘GLOW.’ And none of the characters from the original series can be related to the Netflix’s series. Not to mention, the personal lives of these fictional characters don’t resemble the real experiences of the 1980s cast. However, some similarities can be seen in the director’s character played by Marc Maron with Matt Cimber, director of ‘G.L.O.W.’

The performers of ‘G.L.O.W.’ lived together in a house nearby the Las Vegas casino where the series was filmed. It is true that ‘G.L.O.W.’ cast didn’t have a wrestling background. They were mostly actors, singers, or dancers, who had to train to increase the show’s potential and prevent injuries. The only exception to this was Dee Booher, who had the experience of wrestling. She played Matilda the Hun. Similarly, the actresses in the Netflix series trained only weeks before the shooting. Another major difference is in the location, the original series was filmed in Las Vegas while ‘GLOW’ is set in Los Angeles.

The most significant difference between the real version and the Netflix version is of perspective. While the previous one was created by men, the Netflix version is written by Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch who were determined to represent the women’s side of the picture in the new version. Unlike the original ‘G.L.O.W’ that couldn’t have a perfect ending, fans are hopeful that the creators will end Netflix’s version on a settling note.

Read More: Where is Glow Filmed?

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