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GLOW S01 Ep08 Breakdown: “Maybe It’s All the Disco”

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The show opens in media res during a raging Rhonda and Sam debate over who was the best James Bond.  Sam is wrong, as usual, declaring George Lazenby as his pick.  Rhonda is a firm Roger Moore fan, so you know this relationship is about to hit the rocks.  It doesn’t help that Sam also wants to keep their obvious dalliance on the down low, and that Sam will happily throw her under a bus whenever his authority is the least bit challenged.

The camaraderie between the girls is infectious.  They’re all pulling for each other and they’re also menstruating together, as we learn in a locker room scene that flips the standard “jocks in a locker room” scene on its head.  Well, all the girls except for eternal outsider Ruth, who we will learn is pregnant from her fling with Debbie’s husband, Mark, which is the root cause of most of their tension.

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So this is the episode Ruth has to decide if she wants to have an abortion.  What is remarkable about this sub-plot is how unremarkable it is.  There was nary a hue of outcry from fans or critics.  I don’t argue that the show shouldn’t tell this story.  Personally, it’s a little melodramatic for my tastes, and I don’t think it makes much of an impression on the show.  Maybe that’s the point the writers were making.  It just seems to happen and everyone moves on, and I imagine it could’ve and probably will make a bigger dramatic moment in a Glow Season 2.  Or not.  To me, it seems like an unnecessary contrivance when there’s all sorts of other stuff going on and a life moment like this could be a bigger dramatic story with a bigger pay-off.  Or any pay-off, because by the next episode, it’s never mentioned again.

The B plot is that the girls discover it’s Sheila’s birthday and they endeavor to throw her a party.  In the C or D plot, Bash is missing and they need to make a down payment on a venue for the filming of the first episode.   The E plot has Mark wanting to get back together with Debbie and tears up their divorce papers.  I’m constantly impressed with the quantity and quality of storytelling on display here.

NETFLIX

On the pregnancy story front we get a montage to Queen’s “Under Pressure” as Ruth goes through the byzantine ordeal of a mid-80s technology pregnancy test.  Then she has to hide the results from the other girls who have decided to congregate for Sheila’s surprise party in her motel room.

So Sheila and Sam mutually agree to break up.  Sheila tells him, “I can’t tell when you’re joking and when you’re just being mean.”  “I know.  I can’t either sometimes,” replies Sam.  But after Sheila tells him she was shagging him because she fancied him and not to get a horse, Sam decides he likes her after all.

Sheila’s birthday party is at a roller disco and all the girls bond and have a great time.  They are a team now and it’s pretty fantastic. The episode ends with Ruth’s abortion decision and Sam being the only friend she could think of to call to take her to the clinic.

BOTTOM LINE: This was another good episode, as Season 1 seems to be building to the epic GLOW premiere taping.  The storylines are all coalescing into shape before the big show.  The actors are all getting comfortable in their roles and this is just a pleasure, even when it’s about an abortion.

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I am a professional writer living in Van Nuys, CA. I have spent the last 20 years honing my sarcasm writing for the internet. I have two cats, a dog and an imaginary hairless mole rat.

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