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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Read this: Betty Gilpin mourns GLOW, “a weird island... where everybody got to do their dream”

Illustration for article titled Read this: Betty Gilpin mourns GLOW, “a weird island... where everybody got to do their dream”
Photo: Ali Goldstein/Netflix

Betty Gilpin is a very good writer. Betty Gilpin is also an exceptionally skilled actor, something underlined by her three Emmy nominations for Netflix’s GLOW. (She was also a highlight of the first season of American Gods, despite only appearing in two episodes; she is very good at her job.) Now there are many fine actors who have other skills as well, but it’s always a little startling when someone who is known for being very good at one thing then demonstrates a similar amount of skill and talent in a completely different arena. And in this piece for Vanity Fair, she uses that less well-known skill to share her love for, and grief at the loss of, what she calls “the best job I’ll ever have.”


The show in question is, of course, GLOW, which was abruptly canceled after being renewed for a final season prior to the pandemic.

This is one of those situations where the whole point of us writing about Gilpin’s piece is to encourage you to read it; all we have to add, really, is that it’s very good and worth your time. Here’s just a snippet. We could honestly pick any paragraph at random and it would be a winner, and so we shall! Here’s an excerpt, chosen at random:

Panicked that I was never going to be able to support myself as an actor, a decade ago I did an arc on a show where you saw my areolas before you saw my face. Avoiding eye contact with ancestors’ ghosts, I bravely signed on to press my taint against the lens every four frames for Chipotle and weed money, while the other actors did real scenes in between. But there were two lapsed playwright-genius women on the writing room staff, and they went against the bro mandate and slowly changed the part to an addled character actor instead of a blow-up doll to boost ratings. I would cry into their scripts on the subway, clinging to their subliminal I see you.

Then years later, three days before my wedding, those two ladies gave me GLOW.

Okay, one more little snippet:

But it’s a pandemic and Rome is burning, and I bet you that while Rome fell, someone had a great stone-tablet niche magazine that got canceled. Honestly? It’s okay. Apparently numbers-wise, GLOW really only appealed to men in kimonos and women in cat hair, who, as far as I’m concerned, are the beating heart of the arts and the reason to keep waking up.

Just wait ‘til you get to the bit about Alison Brie. In short, Betty Gilpin is great, and so was this show. The rest of the cast seems to share her passion for the series, and several have enthusiastically joined their fandom in calling to #saveGLOW by way of a wrap-up movie, if nothing else.


And that’s a subject that will presumably come up a lot this weekend:


It’s hard to see an upside on this one, but hey: Maybe it’ll get Betty Gilpin a book deal?

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Contributor, The A.V. Club and The Takeout. Allison loves TV, bourbon, and overanalyzing social interactions. Please buy her book, How TV Can Make You Smarter (Chronicle, 2020). It’s short!