The first season of “GLOW” featured an oddball cast of women who couldn’t tell a german suplex from an powerbomb, but at Netflix’s FYSee event at Raleigh Studios on Wednesday, the cast assured the show’s wrestling aficionados they had much to be excited for in the upcoming second season.
Despite being away for eight months, Alison Brie, who plays the show’s thespian enthusiast Ruth, described returning to the wrestling ring similarly to riding a bike.
“I was a little bit nervous, but as soon as we got back in the ring that muscle memory was there,” Brie told Variety on the red carpet. “It was totally gratifying to remember this skill.”
Sydelle Noel, who plays Cherry Bang, said when cast trained with stunt coordinator Chavo Guerrero Jr., a former WWE wrestler who hails from the legendary Guerrero wrestling family, he was impressed with how much the women already knew and remembered from the first season.
“Literally the first day we came back Chavo was like, ‘Did you guys go to wrestling camp?'” Noel said.
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Betty Gilpin, who plays the Liberty Bell heroine on the show-within-the-show, said “GLOW’s” wrestling fans should expect bigger moves and flashier stunts during the second season’s wrestling scenes.
“We’re doing way bigger moves this season, I in particular do a huge amount of wrestling in season 2 and my joints and muscles and ligaments are squeaking and singing like an old, old woman,” she said.
Executive producer Carly Mensch said receiving the green light for a second season was the perfect chance for the writers to plan out more elaborate wrestling matches.
“I think we were holding back a lot in season 1, but we kind of knew we had more exciting things planned,” Mensch said. “It’s kind of like we were holding cards behind our back and now we get to play them, which feels great.”
Brie added the sport was not only a relief, but empowering as well. She went on to say that “GLOW” and women’s wrestling are great ways for exploring themes of women empowerment and issues facing women on television.
“Something that we really play with on the show is that line between the women feeling empowered and the audience wanting to sexualize that,” she said. “Wrestling is such a specific and broad form of entertainment, and when you put women in a ring in very tiny outfits, people are going to feel a certain way about that, so it’s certainly fun fodder for television.”
Marc Maron, who plays Sam Sylvia, said during the panel he didn’t have any issues playing the show’s token male role, and enjoyed working with all the women on the show. He said during the first season he didn’t interact with the cast on set very much, though that changed during the shooting of the second season.
“I didn’t know if I’d have the energy,” Maron said. “It’s been enlightening, it’s been exciting to be part of the show and I love watching them all work, and I enjoy being an a—hole in the scenes where I can be that. I enjoy being humbled, and I enjoy the scenes where my character shows up for them in a very sort of sublime way. It’s been a tremendous experience all around.”
“When I took the show I knew this was their show, and I respected that,” Maron continued. “I knew had to be an endearing, s— representative of my gender and I’ve had experience with that.”
Mensch and Noel said the show’s professional wrestling angle allows them to tackle issues on television in ways other settings and situations might not. Noel pointed to one episode which featured a tag-team wrestling match between two black wrestlers and two women dressed in Ku Klux Klan robes. The match was inspired by a real 1995 WWF segment that aired on television. Noel said she was uncomfortable with it at first, but felt reassured later since the creators and the cast worked so closely together on the show.
“I was like “Oh wow, we’re really going to do this,” Noel said. “I had some questions of course. I didn’t know how it was going to be presented, but Liz [Flahive] and Carly were so open about it and they presented everything and showed me all the notes they had.”
Mensch said the wrestling ring is a special place for the “GLOW” writers to be able to parody the 1980s setting and talk about the issues of the time, as well as the ones still affecting women today.
“The wrestling ring is this special place like a theater space where you can cross boundaries. There are taboos you can cross and you can take on things like the KKK and we can talk about welfare queens in the ring because it’s this safe, crazy exaggerated space,” Mensch said.
|“GLOW” actress Alison Brie
Britney Young, who plays Carmen, said what sets “GLOW” apart is not only its attention to detail on the wrestling side of things, but also in how it accurately represents how women interact.
“I think that we really take notice to the simple things. We talk about periods, we talk about drug use, we talk about families and fractures, I think we just talk about real things, and that was something that was really refreshing to read when every script came through.”
At the panel, the cast not only expressed excitement for the audience to see their new-and-improved wrestling skills, but they also reflected on the bonding moments the second season’s wrestling allowed them to experience.
Along with learning how to wrestle, Brie said “GLOW” has allowed much of the cast to learn to appreciate professional wrestling as its own form of art. She said that, given the chance to wrestle anyone in history, she’d want to wrestle Andre the Giant, the former 7-foot-4-inch, 529-pound 1980s wrestling mastodon.
“I feel like being in the ring with Andre the Giant would be the craziest thing ever, can you imagine getting body slammed by him?” Brie said. “I might die, but it’d be pretty cool.”
“GLOW’s” season 2 streams June 29 on Netflix.