Like an unsuspecting piledrive, “GLOW” came out of nowhere to be one of the biggest TV hits of the summer. The Netflix ’80s wrestling comedy boasted an impressive ensemble of actresses playing fledgling members of a new televised all-female wrestling league. For star Betty Gilpin, the success of this first season was something she had subconsciously guarded against.
“I definitely thought it would be more of a niche show than it is. I think that the worry section of my brain does a really good job of crafting versions of the future where no one likes anything that you do to prepare you for that possibility. So I hadn’t prepared for this version,” Gilpin recently told IndieWire.
On Thursday, Netflix announced that it had renewed “GLOW” for a Season 2, presumably debuting sometime next year. One element of the first season’s finale that had audiences clamoring to bring it back was its final moment: Gilpin’s character Debbie insists that despite their previous longtime friendship, she still hasn’t forgiven Ruth (Alison Brie) for an affair with Debbie’s husband, Mark.
“They’re mourning somebody who’s still alive and right next to them. I don’t know if they’ll ever get lunch together again or be fully healed,” Gilpin said of the characters’ relationship in and out of the ring .
“Ironically they need each other more than ever,” she said. “Whether or not they can work past this, I really don’t know. But I hope that Liberty Belle and Zoya keep having to practice their matches together so that Ruth and Debbie can smell each other’s perms and feel soothed by it.”
Aside from navigating the rocky emotional terrain of Debbie and Ruth’s rivalry, the finale was also tricky for Gilpin because of the episode-long ruse Debbie had to keep her fellow characters in on the show. Keeping the reveal from the audience that Debbie would be rejoining the ladies of GLOW proved just as difficult.
“I was so nervous that everything was giving it away. ‘They’re gonna know! It’s so obvious! They know that I have a costume under my costume because I just looked down at my arm!’” Gilpin said.
Regardless of whether or not that star-spangled Liberty Belle look will be back for Season 2, having it in the first season offered her support from an unlikely source.
“The costume I wear is made by the people who make Dolly Parton’s costume, so I was like, ‘If I am struck by lightning in this moment, I will die peacefully,’” Gilpin said.
Gilpin also had the chance to be a “GLOW” viewer herself, catching up on the show when it debuted on Netflix at the beginning of the summer.
“We wrapped in December and didn’t see it until June. I was on the floor, sobbing,” Gilpin said. “When Britney Young’s character Carmen wins her match and sees her dad? I had completely forgotten that part and I was inconsolable.”
In some ways, the “Glow” renewal works as a interesting parallel for the show. This ensemble rehearsed and put together a show, not knowing who would eventually come around to seeing it. Now that the training montages are done for the time being, when the show returns, they’ll be a built-in audience.
“The thing about backbumps, which is the move where you land on your back when you take a hit, when no one is cheering, they really hurt,” Gilpin said. “When you do it in front of a crowd, you feel nothing. The showman takes the reins. Your bones and muscles are still there and they’ll have something to say in a few hours, but while you’re filming those scenes in front of a crowd, it feels like the mat is a pillow.”