GLOW (“Desert Pollen”)

Season 3, Episode 3
Date of release: August 9, 2019 (Netflix)

I think the genre of this streaming television show just changed. What was still a comedy drama during its first two seasons has now fully transformed itself into a drama, in which the characters deal with more problems they can handle, while the original premise of this show is not being celebrated with scenes that could bring some enjoyment to the audience. GLOW may have been dramatic already during its first 20 episodes, but that drama, sometimes even dark and deep drama, was regularly overshadowed by the joy that was the wrestling sequences and the storytelling Ruth came up with on the spot to make her character work. But now that they are in Las Vegas, the wrestlers stopped dealing with their show six nights a week and instead started to focus on their individual lives, which happened to be filled with all the cliches dark and deep character dramas have to offer. Maybe it’s a sign of the women losing control of themselves while trying to keep it up in the ring, or maybe it’s a sign that the writers weren’t particularly interested in wrestling any longer and decided to take the show into the more brutal regions of the character drama genre.

Rhonda had her migraine in the previous episode, making me think how far she is to become terminally ill. This episode took a few more steps towards illnesses the characters are going to deal with, as Tammé made the viewers aware of her back problems, Sam has difficulties getting fresh air in this desert heat of Nevada, and after she had an episode-long problem with cocaine in the previous episode, Debbie decided to upgrade to straight bulimia, because there is nothing more varied than letting the characters have all the illnesses and pain in the same television show. I guess it’s somewhat realistic, considering the demanding tasks the women have to execute night after night, which could not only screw up their moral and psyche, but could also lead them to varied versions of addiction (pain medication, alcohol, cigarettes or some of the white powder, partying, sex, eating and vomiting), with all of them definitely having found a spot in this season of GLOW. And while such a premise would make for a great television drama, I’m still not sure whether I want to see that in GLOW. Now that the show has not gotten into a wrestling move for the third episode in a row, should I just move over to WWE events instead and get my wrestling fix that way? But I really don’t want to support Vince McMahon’s business. The guy is a fucking asshole for the way he treats his athletes during and after their career.

When the very R-rated GLOW tries to get a little TV-14 rated for an argument.

Debbie’s first instance of bulimia came out of nowhere. She gets criticized about her body for the first time ever, and all while she is probably thinking about just quitting the show and get back home to her ex-husband and her kid, she was conveniently dropped into a whole different plot from here on. That Debbie can be convinced joining every corner of the dark universe, considering the fact that she may have a few mental problems here and there, which may or may not be a result of postpartum depression, as she always seemed very hyped up over things that have to do with Mark or her baby son). I guess that’s where her character arc would ultimately end up, and GLOW is about to turn into another television comedy drama dealing with a mental illness as well as CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND did, but the first bout of bulimia really did come over as a unexpected shock, and for me eve with a bit of disgust for the character in general. Debbie was trying to hard to not please the men in her life (isn’t that why she forced herself to become a producer?), but after one episode of criticism against her body form, she wants to please those men again by getting rid of those pounds in her boobs and ass. I don’t know if it was in character or completely out of character. Besides that, I felt uncomfortable during her episode-closing smile in the mirror, but here I think that it was a reaction the viewers were manipulated into feeling.

Meanwhile, Tammé made us aware of her back problems, which could of course end up being a real problem for her, when she gets carried out of the ring via a stretcher, ruining her best and last chance at making a career this “late” in her life. I did however love that she was taking acting classes, essentially looking for a way out of the wrestling show, most likely due to her health. Tammé may have realized already that she can’t get thrown out of the ring for much longer, so she takes the time in Vegas to work on her post-wrestling career, which is actually a great story for her (or any other character chosen for that premise). One can only hope though that her health isn’t conflicting with Rhonda’s health and the writers were suddenly dealing with the same idea for two characters — except of course the characters were supposed to get damaged all the way during their stay in Vegas. Those who can’t get ill, because they keep themselves fit and healthy will deal with an emotional fallout, while the rest gets physically damaged.I see a theme in this season and it might excuse the fact that there is no wrestling in this show right now.

Lunch among former friends turned enemies, who have become friends again.

Melrose may be dealing with a few different things than mental health or physical issues, as she might go up against whatever pimp is running business in casinos. Who knows, maybe Paul will turn into Melrose’s boyfriend or friend with benefit for the two months she remains in town, but maybe Paul will cause trouble for Melrose, because she didn’t pay the man and maybe found a liking to the notion that she can make a little more money on the side by being a hooker. Danger, Melanie Rose!

The rest of the episode was okay. There were probably a few too many nude scenes in this episode, but I guess the producers wanted to test out what Netflix would continue to allow or not. Cherry’s story seemed okay at first, but in retrospect it was just a story that could break her away from Keith, as she needs a story that has nothing to do with various illnesses, so a heartbreak it is. The premise of choosing career over family is a great one though, and it’s one GLOW hasn’t directly attacked yet. Debbie could have been placed in the story, but she is in limbo right now, craving to be close to her son, but also wanting to further her career.

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