Archive for August 11, 2019
GLOW season 3 made a big leap to Las Vegas but here is the true story of the real-life Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling in Sin City. The first two seasons of Netflix's critically-acclaimed series about women's professional wrestling in the 1980s were based in Los Angeles. Actresses Ruth Wilder (Alison Brie) and Debbie Eagan (Betty Gilpin) were among over a dozen women aspiring for a jumpstart to their acting careers but instead found themselves as part of the first all-women pro-wrestling league.
In its first two seasons, GLOW followed the dramatic lives of the female characters, but also spotlighted GLOW's abrasive director Sam Sylvia (Marc Maron) and their producer and financier, Bash Howard (Chris Lowell). Based out of a dingy warehouse in the San Fernando Valley, Sam and Bash attempted to turn a gaggle of neophytes into passable pro-wrestlers and outfitted them with outlandish gimmicks to play; Ruth became the Soviet villain Zoya the Destroya, Debbie played her All-American arch-nemesis Liberty Belle, and the other girls were given stereotypical characters like Welfare Queen, Fortune Cookie, and Beirut the Mad Bomber. The GLOW TV show became a minor success despite being relegated to a 2am time slot on a local TV station.
GLOW season 2 ended with the ragtag wrestling league losing their TV deal, which meant GLOW would be out of business. But at the last minute, a new opportunity arose for GLOW to become a live act in Las Vegas. The entire crew packed their bags and drove east to Sin City, where they would now take their place among Vegas performers like Siegfried and Roy. In GLOW season 3, GLOW becomes a live (but untelevised) show at the fictional Fan-Tan Hotel and Casino on the Vegas Strip. The GLOW girls live at the Fan-Tan and stage their show six nights a week, which takes a toll on their lives in various ways, both physically and emotionally. This paradigm shift was an exciting prospect, because it meant the Netflix series was going to more closely resemble the real-life GLOW fans remembered from the 80s.
However, GLOW season 3 diverted from what the original GLOW did and charted a different course entirely. As GLOW's showrunners Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch told Entertainment Weekly, "We're the opposite [of being beholden to the history of the real-life GLOW]". Here's the true story of what GLOW actually was as opposed to what fans saw in GLOW season 3.
The Real GLOW Was Always Based In Las Vegas
The real-life GLOW was always based in Las Vegas and it was the brainchild of David McLane, the babyfaced entrepreneur and lifelong wrestling fan whom Bash Howard is based on (Chris Lowell even mimicks McLane's excitable announcer's voice). However, the GLOW girls' politically incorrect and stereotypical gimmicks were created by GLOW's director Matt Cimber, whom the character of Sam Sylvia was based on. McLane and Cimber clashed over GLOW's creative direction, which led to McLane quitting after season 2 - not unlike the power struggle between Bash and Sam in GLOW season 3.
GLOW's nationally syndicated TV series was taped at the ballroom of the Riviera Hotel and Casino on the Strip and the GLOW girls lived in the hotel just like their Netflix counterparts do in GLOW season 3. Similar to how it was depicted in GLOW season 1, the actresses who would become GLOW girls were recruited in LA, but they immediately went to Vegas upon casting and were trained to wrestle by wrestling legend Mando Guerrero. GLOW was headquartered in Las Vegas for its entire 1986-1990 run, but only the first two seasons were taped at the Rivieria. The final seasons of GLOW were taped in a warehouse three miles from the Strip. Netflix's GLOW reversed this by starting in an LA warehouse in GLOW seasons 1 and 2 before relocating to the Fan-Tan in Vegas.
Additionally, the GLOW girls only lived in the Riviera for the first few weeks before being relocated to nearby apartments. However, life for the real GLOW girls was different from the hard-partying ways Netflix's GLOW girls enjoyed in Las Vegas because they were subjected to strict curfews and were fined for violations. Further, in the 1980s, before the Internet and social media exposed the pro-wrestling business, the GLOW girls had to live by the strict guidelines of the "good girls" and the "bad girls" not being seen together in public in order to preserve their TV personas and rivalries. The GLOW girls were also ordered to remain in character when seen in public. Each of the GLOW girls also had a rap unique to her individual character as well as a "GLOW Rap" for the entire show, which Netflix's GLOW did a version of written by Rhonda (Kate Nash).
The Real GLOW Was Bigger And More Successful Than Netflix's GLOW
A big difference from the real-life version of GLOW is how minor league Netflix's version is, even after 3 seasons and a jump to Las Vegas. In reality, GLOW was a gigantic success and a bonafide pop culture phenomenon in the late 1980s. The first season of GLOW was sold to 30 markets and 6 other countries, but that expanded to over 100 markets as the series grew in popularity - mainly with young kids, who loved the colorful characters, and college-aged males who loved the sexuality of the show. Unlike the Netflix series, which has maintained its cast for 3 seasons, many original GLOW girls and McLane left the show after season 2 and were replaced with a new crop of GLOW girls. This refreshed the product with new characters and did nothing to hinder GLOW's popularity.
At the height of GLOW's success, GLOW had its own magazine and the promotion also occasionally toured and staged shows around the country. The GLOW girls also made multiple appearances on other TV series; daytime talk shows like Phil Donahue and Sally Jessie Raphael booked GLOW as guests and the GLOW girls also appeared as contestants on popular game shows like Family Feud, where they took on male pro wrestlers from World Championship Wrestling (WCW). GLOW girls Babe The Farmer's Daughter (Ursula Hayden) and Hollywood (Jeanne Basone) also guest-starred on prime time TV shows like Married... With Children and several of the GLOW girls posed nude for Playboy in 1989.
By comparison, Netflix's version of GLOW is still struggling for recognition after 3 seasons; it was also disappointing that they also didn't go to Las Vegas to produce a television show, which is what launched the real-life GLOW to mainstream popularity. It's possible that if GLOW season 4 happens, the Netflix series will finally depict GLOW as the mainstream sensation the promotion became in real life because Debbie and Bash now own a TV network, but that still puts the streaming service's hit series way behind the success of the real-life GLOW.
Why The Real Life GLOW Ended
After 4 seasons and over 100 episodes, GLOW abruptly stopped production in 1990. There was no series finale or wrap party for the GLOW girls when the promotion suddenly folded. While 'financial turmoil' was blamed for GLOW ending, there were also rumors that Meshulam Riklis, who owned the Riviera and was GLOW's financial backer, was caught having inappropriate relations with some of the GLOW girls by his wife, actress Pia Zadora. Riklis was said to have pulled his support of GLOW to appease his wife, which instantly doomed the promotion. In the decades since, GLOW has staged some revivals and some of the GLOW girls went onto success, both in WWE and in the entertainment business, but GLOW remains a fondly-remembered symbol of its era by its fans.
By contrast, GLOW season 3 ended with a cliffhanger that promises another paradigm shift for the series, although Netflix has yet to announce its renewal for season 4. If GLOW falls victim to Netflix's habit of canceling its original series after 2-3 seasons, that ending would be an ironic echo of how the original Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling left Las Vegas.
GLOW is available to stream on Netflix.
Parks and Recreation's seven season finales have each been met with high praise and anticipation. The popular comedy mockumentary had a knack for topping off every set of episodes with a conclusion that tied up aging plot points, introduced new dilemmas, and kept viewers wanting more.
We're here to evaluate all the season finales of Parks and Rec and determine which ones are good and which ones are great.
Get read to cruise back to Pawnee, Indiana; Here is a ranking of every Parks and Rec season finale.
8 “Freddy Spaghetti” (S2 E24)
"Freddy Spaghetti" has Ron making government cuts alongside state auditors during a government shutdown. On the other hand, Leslie is adamant about saving a kid’s concert that stars the popular musician Freddy Spaghetti. Andy and April become an item, and Ann tries to get over her resurfacing feelings for him.
The episode marked Paul Schneider’s final appearance as a regular cast member. It was also the second to feature Adam Scott and Rob Lowe as Ben and Chris respectively.
The finale received generally positive reviews, with many praising the full-circle way Leslie and Mark’s relationship is brought to a close. It also set up many other romantic interests that would push the story forward in the future.
7 “Moving Up” (S6 E21/22)
The Season 6 finale has Leslie, Ben, and Andy visiting the National Parks Conference in San Fransisco. With a little help from Michelle Obama, Ben convinces Leslie to take a job in Chicago. However, a three-year jump forward at the conclusion of the episode shows the couple dealing with the stress of raising triplets and balancing work.
The cameo game was strong, with bands including The Decemberists and Letter to Cleo appearing in addition to Mrs. Obama. The setup for the following season was also solid, and the time jump encouraged fresh content to follow.
6 “Rock Show” (S1 E6)
The Season 1 finale sees Andy finally getting his casts removed, Ann considering whether or not her relationship with Andy is a beneficial one, and Leslie figuring out her own feelings toward Mark while he is drunk.
Many cited this episode as being the one that helped guide Parks and Rec in its own direction. Co-creator Michael Schur, in fact, said that Season 1 was treated like a six-episode pilot — and this last one was what helped tie it all together.
April notably tells Andy that she understands him when he describes to her his style of music during one scene in the episode. Improvised by Aubrey Plaza, this line helped the writers move the characters’ relationship in a more romantic direction when they realized the unlikely connection between the two.
5 “Are You Better Off?” (S5 E22)
Leslie and the rest of the Parks staff go camping in the woods. What they leave behind is a positive pregnancy test, and after Andy discovers it, he takes on his role as Burt Macklin, FBI to determine which of the five women staying at the cabin got pregnant. Meanwhile, Leslie hosts a Founder’s Week public form to commemorate her first year as a Pawnee councilwoman and Tom’s Rent-A-Swag business is met with a potential buyer.
It all ends with Ron’s girlfriends, Diane, showing up to tell him the news Andy had been trying to dig up since the beginning of the episode.
Many praised “Are You Better Off?” for heightening the stakes and preparing itself for a new chapter.
4 “Win, Lose, Or Draw” (S4 E22)
The final episode of Season 4 sees Leslie patiently awaiting the outcome of the city council election, in which she closely competed against Bobby Newport. Though the road there is rocky, she is eventually declared the winner after a recount. Ann and Tom also get back together through accidental means, and April tells Andy that he should join the police department after they joke about getting new identities.
The episode led Michael Schur to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing or a Comedy Series. Though it didn’t win, it still received highly favorable reviews.
3 “One Last Ride” (S7 E12/13)
This double season finale of Parks and Recreation ties up all the show's loose ends into one masterpiece. Though it begins in 2017 where the previous shows left off, it soon jumps through the future to show what happens all the way through 2048.
Donna is happily married to Joe and sets up a non-profit called Teach Yo Self, April and Andy give birth to a son, Tom becomes a motivational speaker and publishes a book, Ron takes a new job as a superintendent, and Leslie becomes Governor of the State of Indiana (and potentially more). There are further things to dive into, but let's not get ahead of ourselves quite yet.
2 “Li’l Sebastian” (S3 E16)
“Li’l Sebastian” had Pawnee preparing for the funeral of their favorite miniature horse of the same name. Leslie and Ben also do their best to keep their feelings for each other secret due to how it being a conflict of interest in the workplace.
“Li’l Sebastian” received a heaping of praise from critics who found that the episode highlighted the best of every character through humorous circumstances, holistic jokes, and high-stakes. In other words, the actors and writers reached their peak.
Pawnee also got the spotlight it deserved in the episode, with the setup proving how critical the setting was to the show as a whole. Could the death of a horse have had the same impact anywhere else? Heck, no.
1 The Series Finale
We're back to "One Last Ride," but this time, we're looking at it from a different angle. While it was an excellent season finale, it was an even greater series finale.
“One Last Ride” is highly regarded for ending the series on a positive note in a unique way. Flipping through the years left no room for a future season, letting the series come to a natural conclusion.
It’s satisfying to see Leslie and Ben’s political rise as well as the rest of the gang’s happy endings. Well, most of the gang has a happy ending. Garry’s final moment is an exception, but we'll let that slide.
The Scream franchise is a four-film commentary on the horror genre, making it the ideal sort of franchise to rank. Whereas most horror franchises are accused of repeating the same formula with little to no innovation with each sequel, Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson made sure Scream's self-referentiality was as vital and prominent as its unforgiving body count.
Kicking off in 1996, the Scream franchise is a blood-soaked love letter to the horror genre. It brought together director Wes Craven, who was already responsible for creating classic horror films like A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Hills Have Eyes, and The Last House on the Left, and aspiring screenwriter Kevin Williamson. Together, Craven's proclivity for horror and Williamson's love of the genre helped craft a surprisingly perfect team.
The Scream franchise walks a fine line between horror and comedy, placing A-list talent in B-movie territory. And, even though the pop culture references may have a considerably brief shelf life, their datedness is part of the appeal. They fit with the genre's oftentimes transitory aesthetic. And, unlike the horror films this franchise equally mocks and tips its hat to, the Scream franchise is as self-aware as horror franchises go.
Now, since horror connoisseur Randy Meeks would devour the opportunity to rank the Scream franchise himself, it's only right to make it official. Let's take a look at all of the Scream films, ranked from worst to best.
On paper, Scream 3 is a strong bookend to the franchise. Considering the whole series is a meta commentary on horror, pop culture, and filmmaking, the film has a "finish where we started" setup, without physically finishing where the franchise started. It appropriately doubles-down on the fact that Hollywood's self-awareness has always been Scream's thematic crux, physically moving the action to Hollywood itself; expanding on, but also recreating, the events of the first film. However, instead of embracing the clever necessity of its location, it instead becomes a kind of narrative ouroboros, circling back to the past, only to eat its own tail in the process.
Where Scream 3 succeeds in the big picture (discovering that Sidney's journey has been orchestrated all along - by a Hollywood director, no less), it fails in the details (said discovery ruins the simplicity of the original). The highs in Scream 3 are too far-reaching and the lows are too unforgivable to excuse. It's ultimately an exercise in not pushing the envelope like its two predecessors, but tearing it open; removing itself from the grounded reality in which the franchise was established and drowning in excess.
Scream 3 had potential, but shaky execution. From the pointless and unrealistic evolution of the franchise's iconic voice changer to the watered-down gore to cameos from Jay and Silent Bob, Scream 3 is an unfortunate outlier in the Scream franchise that could have benefitted from a few more rewrites - or, more importantly, its original writer.
While Scream 4 might seem like an easy film to criticize by design, it's hardly the wasted sequel that too many horror franchises tend to produce. Ten years have passed since its predecessor, and though 2011 may not have been a peak moment for the Scream fandom, Scream 4 goes beyond holding its own, and is easily a worthy companion to the 1996 original.
Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, and David Arquette return as the franchise's main trio, Craven and Williamson (as well as Scream 3's Ehren Kruger, in part) take on directing and screenwriting duties, respectively, and Woodsboro is yet again the center of attention (though, in this film, Michigan replaces California in a noticeable, but not distracting, geographical change). However, even apart from the film's strong foundation, Scream 4 has the benefit of slick storytelling that rivals at least two of the three films that preceded it.
Ten years after Scream 3, Sidney returns to Woodsboro on the last stop of her autobiographical self-help book tour. And, in doing so, she unleashes the threat of a new generation of murders. As Ghostface slices through unsuspecting locals, Scream 4 succeeds in three key ways: cleverly acknowledging the myriad of horror tropes that have tested the waters over the past decade, bringing Sidney's story full-circle, and commenting on the times, contrasting the modern Generation Z with the original trilogy's Generation Y.
In fact, the killer's reveal in the final act is an on-the-nose - and also tongue-in-cheek - representation of the times, which itself a thematic centerpiece of the franchise, done ever so delicately (and disturbingly) here.
Though sequels historically tend to have a weak track record, Scream 2 goes out of its way to prove otherwise. In fact, it even includes a scene in which film students highlight the fact that "many sequels have surpassed their original." And, even though Scream 2 doesn't quite stand shoulder-to-shoulder with its predecessor, it comes dangerously close.
Instead of forcing its way into existence, Scream 2 feels necessary; a true companion piece to the original. Like the first film, it comments on, and sometimes satirizes, horror movie tropes - specifically horror movie sequels - while maintaining its meta commentary on the way life imitates art, and vice versa. Gale Weathers' novel, The Woodsboro Murders, has been adapted into a film, mirroring the events of Scream and inciting a new Ghostface-led killing spree. And, while the sequel stereotypes and rules are a fun component to Scream 2, its success stems from the sum of its parts.
Williamson is extending his reach with classic horror movie references (Sarah Michelle Gellar's cat-and-mouse sequence scored by Nosferatu is particularly satisfying), Craven is given room to put his psychology degree to use with deep dives into Sidney's damaged psyche, and Dewey and Gale's romance is as realized as it'll ever be. In short, though, Scream 2 is just a lot of fun. Not taking itself quite as seriously as its predecessor, yet without doing a disservice to the genre, the franchise finds its footing in Scream 2, and its clever evolutions of plot and character makes the first Scream that much more satisfying with repeated viewings - notwithstanding one fan favorite failing to make it out alive.
Scream isn't the first meta horror film, but it did set a precedent. Before Scream, films like Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives, Fright Night, and even Craven's own New Nightmare approached the genre with a hyperaware point of view. Horror films exist in these films, and that awareness influences its characters - typically for their own good.
With Scream, though, that awareness isn't just the foundation, but the focus. Its characters are knee-deep in pop culture and are just as likely to watch a horror movie on a weeknight as the audience watching; in other words, where most other horror movie characters can often be the human embodiments of cheap stereotypes, Scream's characters are real. They're relatable. And, in being so, Scream makes it abundantly clear that this isn't your average slasher.
On the surface, Scream is a simple whodunit that borrows from (and even references) films like The Town that Dreaded Sundown, Prom Night, and Psycho. But it also stands on its own. The film's opening scene proves that everyone is expendable, and the final twist juggles two major components: it proves that the aimless slice-and-dice formula is just a red herring for a fully-realized emotional motive, and it also opens the door to the complicated topic of how media might influence the general public.
Do movies really have the power to rattle the skeletons in our closets? Is the youth of America too impressionable to handle on-screen violence? Or is violence in cinemas just an easy scapegoat to justify real-life cruelty and sidestep responsibility? These are the questions Scream posits, and these questions are what elevate it from being some throwaway horror film. On the surface, it might seemingly present one more costumed killer to add to the catalogue of other costumed killers, but it's the grey area - the general ambiguity surrounding these questions - that makes Scream the classic that it's deservedly become.
The dark 1957 Western Run Of The Arrow is the first Hollywood movie to use blood squib effects. Prior to the 1960s, onscreen violence tended to be somewhat tame. If a character was shot, for instance, it was taboo to show the shooter and victim in the same frame. This would be relaxed in the 1960s, where films like Sam Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch and Bonnie And Clyde featured graphic sequences of characters being shot.
By the time the 1980s rolled around, movies like RoboCop or John Woo's The Killer featured blood squibs being used by the gallon load. Squibs refer to tiny explosive devices that are used to simulate bullet hits, with blood squibs being filled with fake blood. The 1955 Polish movie Pokolenie - AKA A Generation - by director Andrzej Wajda is the first documented case of a blood squib being used in a film.
While there's conflicting information about which Hollywood movie was the very first to use a blood squib, all signs point to 1957's Run Of The Arrow. This gritty Western stars Rod Steiger as a Confederate soldier called O'Meara, who fires the last shot of the Civil War. Refusing to accept defeat, he decides to join the Sioux so he can continue the fight. He's allowed to join them after surviving a grueling initiation - the titular run of the arrow - and takes a wife and adopts a mute child. While he swears an oath to fight for his tribe, when he's entrusted to make peace between them and the U.S. Calvary, O'Meara is left with no easy options.
While the violence featured in Run Of The Arrow is relatively mild by today's standard, it was bitting for its time. Soldiers are shot with arrows and characters suffer when wounded. Director Sam Fuller was known for making tough genre movies with conflicted anti-heroes and tackling difficult themes like racism and war head-on. One of his most famous projects is the World War II movie The Big Red One, starring Lee Marvin and Mark Hamill (Star Wars: The Last Jedi). His treatment of violence was inspired by his own experiences in the war, and there's nothing glossy or slick about it.
The blood squib used in Run Of The Arrow still has the power to shock since it's so jarring to see an effect like that used in a 1950's film. The movie is praised by movie fans today for its treatment of the subject matter, and while a number of it's Native Americans characters are distractingly played by Caucasian actors - most notably Charles Bronson (Death Wish) - the story actually treats the tribe with respect and dignity, in contrast to most Westerns of the era. Oddly, lead Rod Steiger is considered one of the weaknesses of Run Of The Arrow, owing to his bizarre Irish accent. The movie would later inspire the likes of Dances With Wolves and Django Unchained - a movie that definitely used its share of blood squibs.
What happened to Mutt Schitt in Schitt's Creek? The character, played by Tim Rozon, was a recurring figure in the first two seasons of the Canadian sitcom. Rozon guest-starred in two later episodes but many fans have wondered why his role greatly diminished.
Mutt was introduced as the adult estranged son of Roland and Jocelyn Schitt (Chris Elliot and Jennifer Robertson). The bearded and brooding Mutt instantly caught the attention of Alexis (Annie Murphy) after the Rose family relocated to the podunk town. Mutt and Alexis got to know each other in season 1 when they were both sentenced to community service for past crimes. Rather than living a life of luxury, Mutt was more of a hippie who lived in a barn and took interest in composting.
Related: Where Is Schitt’s Creek Located?
Alexis had an obvious crush on Mutt but they both were dating other people at the time. When they acted on their feelings, Alexis was engaged to Ted (Dustin Milligan) but she later left him to be with Mutt. The relationship survived until the middle of Schitt's Creek season 2 when Alexis seemed to lose interest after Mutt shaved his beard. In reality, it was the communication issues that drove them apart. Following his relationship with Alexis, Mutt mostly disappeared from the series.
After appearances in the tail-end of Schitt's Creek season 2, Mutt was only present for the first episode in the following season. By this point, he was dating a conservationist named Tennessee (Sarah Power). He was initially last seen asking Alexis to watch his barn after planning an overnight trip with Tennessee to forage for pine cones. The trip must have lasted longer than expected because he didn't return until much later.
Behind the scenes, it seems likely that Mutt's absence following season 2 could be due to the fact that Rozon landed a role on Wynonna Earp. There simply wasn't time for Rozon to appear on both shows. This would also explain why his subsequent appearances have tended to be guest spots, requiring considerably less shooting time.
In Schitt's Creek season 4, Jocelyn was revealed to be pregnant with another son. Mutt reappeared in the episode titled "The Rollout" just before the birth of his brother, Roland Moira Schitt. Viewers also learned that Mutt was newly single when he returned to town. Alexis was planning a Singles Weekend at the time but she still harbored feelings for Ted. Seeing Mutt again gave Alexis the courage to face Ted in order to spill her heart out.
Mutt didn't appear in Schitt's Creek season 5 and it's unknown if Rozon will reprise his role for the final season. Hopefully, viewers are given closure for all characters, including Mutt. It was clear that the Mutt and Alexis romance was dead but it would be nice to see Mutt find someone suitable for his lifestyle. It's possible that Mutt could return for David and Patrick's (Dan Levy and Noah Reid) wedding since it will most likely be a town affair. Rozon still stars in Wynonna Earp, but it wouldn't be a surprise if he agreed to one more Mutt appearance.