Glow season 2 is an all-together stronger effort than its enjoyable first. That is not to deride the first season in any way, certainly, the first season was well-written, engaging and at times, rather innovative, allowing women the ability to adopt and perform comedic personas. Rather, season 2 shows its audience what a series can offer when provided with the freedom to create and experiment.
Watching Glow, it strikes you just how unusual it is to watch a cast that is predominantly made up of women, and notably, women from a variety of backgrounds. The series knowingly plays on stereotypes and undermines them to highlight their absurd nature. Thus, Debbie’s Liberty Bell, self-proclaimed as ‘American as apple pie’ is shown to be consistently on the edge of a breakdown, indelibly affected by her divorce and the subsequent guilt that she has to contend with when earning money and raising her son. Similarly, Tamme, as welfare queen, is confronted with the perception of her racist character trope when her son, who she so proudly boasted about during a parent’s weekend at an Ivy League university, attends a live taping of the show.
Rather presciently given the recent publicity of the #MeToo campaign, it is Ruth’s narrative that has attracted the most media attention. Ruth, when invited to a dinner with the head of the studio, quickly makes runs away when propositioned, and, rightly, stands steadfast in her decision when explaining to Debbie the sudden change in the timeslot of the series. Lumbered with a 2am timeslot, Debbie is aware that Ruth’s decision has impacted all involved with the series. This scene, in which Debbie argues that Ruth should have handled the situation differently is notable. Debbie does not suggest that Ruth should have slept with the man who holds the power to the success of their show, but rather, brushed him off with excuses.
She argues that, in an industry in which men hold the power, Ruth should have pretended that such an act was possible, but just not possible at the moment. On first viewing, Debbie may come across as unduly harsh or unfair to Ruth, but when considering the scene again, it becomes clear that Debbie, thanks to her prior TV success, has experienced such a scenario on many occasion, and has, therefore, become adept at handling it without damaging her career prospects.
Debbie does not for one moment excuse or make light of the scenario, indeed, firmly decrying it, but Debbie has, through necessity, been compelled to find a way to survive. Contrast her response to Sam’s, who immediately decries the behaviour, and stridently asserts that they will not make any allowances for such behaviour. While Sam’s response is entirely right and is arguably the correct one, his response highlights both his and Ruth’s naivety. As a man, Sam has not had to consider such behaviour himself, while Ruth, not yet working in the apparent illustrious echelons of TV, has simply not encountered it. Rather, while Debbie’s anger towards Ruth is entirely misplaced and misdirected, her reaction highlights the complex nature of being a woman in society.