‘GLOW’ Postmortem: Alison Brie on the Powerful Fights in Episode 1

Ethan Alter
Senior Writer, Yahoo Entertainment

Warning: This post contains spoilers for the “Pilot” episode of GLOW.

Netflix’s new wrestling series, GLOW, wastes little time getting to the in-ring action. At the end of the series premiere, stars Alison Brie and Betty Gilpin get in a knock-down, drag-out fight that spills over from reality into fantasy. Earlier in the pilot, which debuted on Netflix on June 23 along with the rest of the 10-episode first season, Debbie (Gilpin) discovers that her BFF Ruth (Brie) has been sleeping with her husband (Rich Sommer) and shows up at the struggling actress’s latest audition to read her the riot act.

The fact that Ruth’s latest potential gig is as part of the ensemble for a female wrestling series called the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling unleashes Debbie’s inner Andre the Giant. Stepping into the ring, Debbie ignores Ruth’s insistence that she’d rather talk than fight and takes her former friend to the mat. Meanwhile, up in the rafters, GLOW mastermind Sam Sylvia (Marc Maron) is looking on and imagining this fight as the kind of epic wrestling brawl that will make his show a hit.

According to Brie, shooting the real-world fight was much more difficult than the fantasy bout. “When we were choreographing them, we spent most of our time on the fantasy sequence, because we were learning these bigger moves,” the actress tells Yahoo TV. “The head-scissor was a very complicated [move]; it was the first fight we learned for the show. But the other fight that’s happening is so emotional. We were all very conscious of it being much more raw, much scrappier, and very primal.”

Also making the bigger GLOW-style brawl easier is the fact that Brie and Gilpin had an audience cheering them on. “Their energy was intoxicating,” Brie says with a laugh. “We were on such a high for days after shooting that sequence.” And you can’t count out the impact of the stars’ offscreen friendship on their ability to work in tandem in the ring. “Betty and I have incredible chemistry. We trusted each other so much. We had never met until auditioning for the show together, but we bonded very quickly, and I think that mutual trust helped us go full force into these moves.” If you’ve only started your GLOW-binge be prepared: there’s lots of more brawling — and plenty of scissor-kicks — to come.

The first season of GLOW is currently streaming on Netflix.

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