Netflix Robbed GLOW of the Ending Its Characters Deserved

Ruth has Debbie against the ropes in the ring.
Image Courtesy of Erica Parise/Netflix

Netflix is a massive streaming giant that holds a lot of shows that I watch on a regular basis, but over the past few years, they have proven time and time again that they do not care about their own content, or perhaps even their customers. They broke the hearts of thousands of people back when they cancelled The OA after two seasons with no reasoning or apologies behind it. They left the show on a major cliffhanger. That seems to be one of their favourite things to do, doesn’t it? And during the COVID-19 lockdown, another victim fell at the hands of the streaming monster—one of their very successful shows at the time—and that was GLOW.

It was in mid-March 2020 that Netflix suspended production of the fourth and final season of GLOW. At the time they had already filmed the first episode and began with the second. It came as such a huge shock to me that they had decided not to continue, and it seems like it was a huge shock to the cast and crew at the same time.

Was GLOW cancelled too soon? It’s an easy answer. Of course it was. It was a show that meant something to people, with characters that you could relate to, and it wasn’t given an ending that it more than deserved.

The cast of GLOW sitting on gym benches.
Image Courtesy of Erica Parise/Netflix

For me personally, GLOW was taken away far too soon. I always looked forward to its return each season and, yes, that’s because it was amazingly produced and had an incredibly unique concept that drew me in. But also, on a more personal level, GLOW was a show I felt connected to.

As a woman, I find it difficult to find shows and movies with feminine energy that actually feels real or that I can actually relate to. Women in the media have been portrayed so falsely for decades and apart from a few exceptions, it’s really hard to come across female characters who feel like actual real-life women being portrayed on television. And despite all the glitz, glamour, and spandex of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, I came away feeling that GLOW was a show out there for every kind of woman. It faced issues that real women face. It addressed body image, insecurities with even the smallest parts of yourself, questioning your sexuality, relationships, and feeling that your partner is losing interest in you, and it showed the lengths you will find yourself going to in these situations.

Perhaps other writers out there would be embarrassed or uncomfortable to dig into these issues in TV or film, but that is what I love about GLOW—it is real and you feel real emotion when the characters go through something that you have gone through yourself.

Ruth looks into the mirror and wipes off her makeup
Image Courtesy of Netflix

There are 15 beautiful women that make up the wrestling team on the show—each with their own stories, strengths, and weaknesses—and you might be able to see a bit of yourself in each of them. I think that every woman can relate to an element of the show. For the most part, though, the story of GLOW is about Ruth (Alison Brie). Ruth longed to be a real actor and faced one disappointing audition after the next. I think that, in a way, in the first couple of episodes when Ruth is asked ‘Who are you, Ruth?’ that this is the path that the whole show takes for the main character.

I find something satisfying in this when trying to accept the now final episode as it is because the ladies perform “A Christmas Carol” in the ring. I think it blatantly jumps out at you as a viewer, even if it doesn’t seem apparent to Ruth, that the classic Christmas story is one we must follow to learn who we are. Ruth had to face her past, in the form of struggling through a broken friendship with Debbie (Betty Gilpin) after she slept with her husband. Honestly, I don’t find it realistic that a friendship would survive such a betrayal, but there was such real pain involved in the two of them coming back together. Ruth really did face her past decisions and her own guilt as Scrooge did in the Christmas play.

Ruth plays Scrooge in A Christmas Carol
Image Courtesy of Netflix

Towards the end of the show, after the ladies felt tired and worn out by doing their show over and over, Ruth was forced almost to face her present and what she wanted her future to become. Ruth learned that what she was doing now might not be the path that she wanted to travel, but for a while it bought her excitement just like performing “A Christmas Carol” did. And one of the main reasons that GLOW was cancelled too soon was because we did not get to see what became of Ruth’s future, or what the future held for any of the ladies. Ruth made the decision before getting on the plane to go home for the holidays that she wouldn’t join Debbie at her new TV network as a director, and I’m really glad she didn’t. Ruth always wanted to act and she needs to act. Debbie strikes me as the type of friend who loves to pull you along with their own dreams and expects you to be as excited about it as they are, but that isn’t reality. Debbie got a needed piece of reality when Ruth turned her down and left. But we won’t see what happens next.

Will Debbie and Bash (Christopher Lowell) succeed in managing a network? In my opinion, they can. But they will need some serious support behind them. I think that a number of ladies from GLOW will join their new wrestling show. They may even get Carmen (Britney Young) to join them because I think Carmen would be happiest with the team sticking together. I do suspect that Sam (Marc Maron) will be persuaded into backing them along the way; he may even take the directing job turned down by Ruth.

Ruth and Sam smile at each other
Image Courtesy of Netflix

For Ruth, however, I would like to believe that a huge opportunity crosses her path. Part of me likes to think that she would become the star of her own show, even if it is on Bash’s network. Or perhaps Ruth writes her own movie and stars in it herself or joins Sam on his next project that actually works out for them both rather than Hollywood standing in the way. I also see her relationship with Sam coming back and actually lasting. I think there has always been real chemistry between them because he senses her passion. My hopes for the show I realise are incredibly optimistic, but I’m a sucker for a happy ending. Maybe it wouldn’t have gone that way at all, maybe everyone was headed down the road to failure, but with such strong powerful characters, I don’t think that is what was coming for one second.

It breaks my heart that we won’t ever find out. There have been talks and rumours of a GLOW movie, but can you really tie up all those loose ends in a movie without it being 10 hours long?

That being said, I would still be there on day one at the movie theatre dying to see it. I’d even be happy for Netflix to let us see the one episode of Season 4 that they did film and not let that go to waste.

So yes, GLOW is yet another show taken from us far too soon by Netflix and unfortunately I don’t think it will be the last. At least for three years there was a new show portraying real women in a 1980s universe that we could hold on to, and for now we can always rewatch what we have.

Written by Abbie Sears

Abbie is an author for 25YL from the United Kingdom. She has a passion for meditation and travel. She loves concerts, drumming, playing indie games and binge watching shows.

One Comment

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  1. Thank you for talking about GLOW, my wife and I loved this show and we were so disappointed when it was cancelled too soon. This was one of the best shows on Netflix, it had such great characters and was so fun to watch. Who couldn’t like Zoya the Destroya? It was awesome. There were so many great things about this show, I really hope a movie gets made or there is some way to continue the storylines and get some resolutions for the characters. This show had such an amazing cast, they deserve better than to have been cancelled in favor of a million other random shows that constantly appear on the streaming service.

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