GLOW Recap: Bowel Trouble

Photo: Erica Parise/Netflix


Concerned Women of America Season 2 Episode 3
Editor's Rating 4 stars

There’s been plenty of TV punch lines over the years about women’s menstrual cycles syncing up, but how often do we hear about the highs and lows of their gastrointestinal comings and goings? (Okay, maybe Broad City is an exception.) In this third and, to this point, high-water mark episode of season two, GLOW goes there right out the gate. Melanie is bloated, not from cramps, but because she hasn’t pooped in an eon. But these women — who have bonded sufficiently enough to dub their shared lodging the Glowtel — aren’t about to let one of their sisters suffer in anatomical angst. (How great, by the way, that her stage name, Melrose, merely mashes up her first and surnames?) Enter Rhonda, who delivers some tummy pats and a cute little lullaby aimed at coaxing Melanie’s “poop baby” out in a flash for a big splash. Never before has real-life singer-songwriter Kate Nash, who plays Rhonda, put her pipes to such practical use.

Rhonda’s not the only one looking out for her colleagues these days. Despite some initial moaning, Sam obliges Keith and visits Cherry’s Chambers and Gold trailer for a little pep talk. Turns out Cherry’s a mean stuntwoman but a terrible actress. And when the director starts pruning her lines and has the on-set stylist lather her curls with permanent relaxer, it’s more than she can bear. Sam is, naturally, as blunt as Keith is doting, and lays it on the line that a leading dramatic role ain’t her bag. A simple phone call to the network — massaged as it was with the suggestion to kill off Cherry’s character before she was even onscreen — and Cherry’s back under G.L.O.W.’s bright lights. (Are you surprised? This is the auteur behind A Wolf Knocks Once, after all.)

If only Ruth, who’s off Sam’s shit list, were fully back in Debbie’s good graces. This continues to be GLOW’s most lethargic story line, kind of a platonic will-they-won’t-they that disrupts the rhythms of otherwise buoyant episodes with boggy drama. This time, Ruth is super keen on attending the Ruth Gordon memorial film fest with Russell, who not creepily at all knows her movie tastes because he’s been compulsively watching her for several weeks. (Hard not to side with Debbie about Russell seeming a tad shady at best.) Alas, Debbie pulls rank and puts a wedge between them by forcing Ruth to choose an all-night editing shift over sating her loins with the dude Debbie will only call “camera guy.”

On the upside, plenty of other ladies get some lovin’ at that evening’s boozy Glowtel pool party. After all, they can’t just stand by and let teen Justine be the only one having regular sex. (And, in a broader sense, the only TV stars not getting laid, as if that’s only fait accompli for male actors.) Stacey and Jenny are getting it on with random crew members, although it’s unclear if Yolanda scored any “bush” (or “pussy” for those, like Arthie, with delicate ears), and poor Carmen is content having some schmuck in a flirtatious headlock (guess it’s back to masturbating in the shower for her). Saddest of all, however, is that Melanie — no longer so “filled with shit there’s no extra room for a dick” after swapping her sweet jacket with Jenny in exchange for an enema — doesn’t manage to net herself a man.

Now, if protest group Concerned Women of America had witnessed this debauchery, there surely would have been riots outside of Chavo’s gym. Glenn has the thankless job of reporting their concerns about racy and demeaning content to Sam and Bash, who are forced to green-light a PSA that counteracts some of controversial mystique. Like the season premiere’s opening-montage mall escapade, the subsequent shoot gives several ensemble members a chance to shine, especially Carmen in the role of an oversize baby making teen mom Justine and baby-daddy Bash’s lives a living hell. Sam, who has to step out midway to crisis-manage Cherry’s acting flameout, willingly cedes supervision to Debbie, which is either a sign that he’s softening on his masculine power trip or gently acquiescing that he can’t do it all alone. Parallel to that, when Debbie accepts Ruth’s help on the script, it’s unclear — at least to Ruth — if she’s beginning to forgive or simply delegating the best she can to thrive and overcome her harrowing predicament as a newly divorced single mom. Phew.

If we’re being honest here though, the most unfortunate revelation is that Justine and Billy are still an item. It seemed conclusive that she’d dumped pizza boy after her dust-up at the Shitpope (lol) show, but perhaps attending high school has been her source of purpose and she’s reasonably mellowed. Nope, she hates high school and probably Billy too, but he’s a good lay. Good thing she’s not constipated, because as Melanie notes, “Enemas belong to the Jews.”

Apart From All That:

• Funniest script yet from regular writer Sascha Rothchild.

• Fun fact: Many moons ago, director Kate Dennis was a script supervisor on both Cliffhanger and Babe.

• Wrestling, mock-police procedurals, and coke-dusted typewriters. What more could you ask for?

• Sheila might strike fear into the Concerned Women of America, but she has some mean administrative skills.

• Of course Keith has a great memory.

• I really hope Sam doesn’t dramatically OD at some point.

GLOW Recap: Bowel Trouble