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Is the Wall going to come down?
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Is the Wall going to come down?
Okja is a movie about a multinational corporation bent on feeding everyone in the world the same lab-engineered garbage. Coincidentally, that’s the view some film purists have of the company that released it: Netflix.
The streaming giant kicked up dust at the Cannes Film Festival in May, where Okja and another Netflix feature, Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected), premiered in prestigious spots in the main competition for the big prize, the Palme d’Or. Both films played at the Lumière Theater, cinephile holy ground, and yet the vast majority of the people who see them will see them via streaming. Maybe even on their phones.
That’s a prospect so disturbing to traditionalists trying to protect the theatrical experience that it actually prompted the festival to change its rules — as of 2018, all movies in the Cannes competition will also have to open in French cinemas. Meanwhile, at this year’s festival, audiences booed the Netflix logo and jury president Pedro Almodóvar and jury member Will Smith had a battle of philosophies during the opening press conference.
“I personally don’t perceive the Palme d’Or [should be] given to a film that is then not seen on the big screen,” the Spanish filmmaker provocatively declared. The American actor (who has a Netflix movie of his own set for December) countered that Netflix has led his kids to watch movies they wouldn’t otherwise have come across. “It has broadened my children’s global cinematic comprehension,” he said.
In recent years, Netflix has successfully transformed itself into a fire hose of streaming content that’s made it more and more feasible for us to never go outside again. But it’s the company’s original series that have gotten most of the attention, while Netflix’s film strategy has felt less certain, a mix of Adam Sandler and awards trolling by way of Cary Fukunaga’s Beasts of No Nation and docs like The Square. Even as the company has stepped up its investment in movies, it’s shown an unfortunate tendency to just burp its titles out without much by way of promo.
The Sandler stuff is, according to Netflix’s dubious numbers, doing fine. But for smaller fare — like the Shirley Jackson–inspired horror film I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House or this year’s Sundance winner I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore — the message has been, basically, to trust in the algorithm. As a platform, Netflix is immensely powerful and well-funded, but it has not, until this point, felt like an active force of good for the world of film.
And if you’re a die-hard theatergoer, like Almodóvar, it probably still isn’t — having a wealth of subscription streaming options at home has absolutely eroded the motivations of many to shell out for a ticket. But Okja is the first Netflix original movie that suggests the streaming service can do right by ambitious cinema. The multilingual, content-hopping, dystopian future-of-food epic from South Korean director Bong Joon-ho (of Snowpiercer and The Host) is an impossible-to-pigeonhole joy, a thrilling, funny, dark corporate satire by way of a kiddie adventure.
It was made for a reported $50 million, which is the kind of medium budget range that big movie studios have largely abandoned in pursuit of giant franchise ventures. It’s not a remake, a reboot, or a sequel — it does the increasingly rare thing of telling an original story, one that Bong dreamed up and wrote with Jon Ronson. And Smith is right: Okja is the kind of idiosyncratic, unfiltered, globally aware, demographic-defying release that people can’t and don’t get to see in cineplexes, and it’s available so widely because Netflix footed the bill.
Almodóvar has a point, too, in that Okja is absolutely best experienced on the big screen (a few theaters have opted to screen it), something Bong has agreed with himself. But Bong is also pragmatic about how we watch movies these days, pointing out to ScreenCrush that a theatrical release is only a short part of a film’s life. “I believe that Netflix is a very good means of digitally archiving one’s film,” he said. “It’s not only a good way of digitally archiving, it’s a very democratic way for people to come back to and revisit the film.”
The fact that Okja is in even a handful of theaters is hopeful — an indication that the streaming experience doesn’t exist in total opposition to going out to the movies. There are still people interested in the immersive experience that is seeing something projected, and there are theaters willing to bet on their showing up. The way Netflix has handled the ramp-up to Okja, with press days and imaginative advance marketing, is heartening, too, a sign that the company can give a film like this the push it deserves, provide it with a real (if hybrid) release, and know how to treat it like a big deal.
It is a big deal, and it’s slated to be followed by some arguably even bigger ones — like the aforementioned Will Smith urban fantasy Bright, the company’s first full-on attempt at a blockbuster, or the restoration of Orson Welles’ unfinished The Other Side of the Wind, or Martin Scorsese’s upcoming gangster drama The Irishman, sure to be an Oscar bet. We may still be living in a turbulent world in which sweeping changes are alarmingly wrought by large corporations, but the existence of Okja suggests there is a potential upside to that. At least we know that, whatever happens, the movies might be good.
After three seasons, NBC’s The Carmichael Show, a comedy built around Jerrod Carmichael, has been canceled after the stand-up comedian announced he’s leaving.
“For three seasons (okay 2.5), I got to make a show that I love with my friends. It’s something I’ve wanted to do since I was 13. Now, I’m excited to go make other things that I love. Thank you to every person who worked on or watched The Carmichael Show,” he said in a statement to Deadline.
In light of Carmichael’s exit, NBC and 20th Century Fox, which produces the show, have confirmed it’s been canceled. “We are enormously proud of The Carmichael Show and Jerrod’s talent and vision to do a classic family sitcom that also taps into issues and relevant stories from the real world,” Bob Greenblatt, chairman of NBC Entertainment, and Jennifer Salke, president of NBC Entertainment, said in a joint statement. “We thank and salute the cast, crew, and producers — and especially Jerrod — for three critically-acclaimed seasons.”
20th Century Fox TV presidents Jonnie Davis and Howard Kurtzman said in a joint statement: “The Carmichael Show was such a wonderful show that we choose to focus today not on its loss but on the three incredible seasons we had the pleasure to produce. We are thankful to the brilliant Jerrod Carmichael and his talented cast, and to showrunner Danielle Sanchez-Witzel, our fantastic writers and devoted production team. It’s a rarity that a comedy series tackles the social and political issues of the day in such a clever and hilariously funny way. This show was special, and we will miss it.”
The news comes weeks after Carmichael took NBC to task for pulling an episode about a mass shooting that was set to air the same day as the Alexandria shooting. “I understand a corporation making that decision, but really, to me, what it says is that you don’t think America is smart enough to handle real dialogue and something that reflects real family conversations and something that feels honest and true and still respects the victims,” he said on Netflix’s Chelsea. “To pull that is just criminal. It seems to do a disservice to the viewer, it does a disservice to you, it does a disservice to all of us.”
Season 3 of The Carmichael Show is currently airing on NBC and the series finale is set to air in August.
What I think the plot is about: Ryan Reynolds’s heart is made out of the same material they make airport metal detectors out of, so he can’t go near certain objects or he’ll start beeping. Sandra Bullock, his boss, spends the entire movie trying to figure out where that damn beeping is coming from. Also, she’s engaged.
While many men were away fighting in WWII, Major League Baseball executives wanted to keep the sport in the public eye. So they brought in teams of women to form the AAGPBL. A League Of Their Own is a fictionalized portrayal of the Rockford Peaches, one of the legendary teams that ended up in the Baseball Hall of Fame. TL;DR YOU SHOULD WATCH THIS MOVIE.
A representative for Jay-Z did not immediately respond to BuzzFeed News’s request for a comment.
E! News‘ two-part exclusive interview with former Bachelor in Paradise contestant DeMario Jackson aired earlier this week, after nearly three weeks of rumors revolving around an alleged incident of sexual misconduct on the show’s Mexico set.
On June 4, the first night of production on Season 4 of Bachelor in Paradise, a sexual encounter between Corinne Olympios and Jackson occurred that prompted two producers to file a complaint. On June 11, news broke that Warner Bros., which produces the Bachelor franchise for ABC, had halted production and launched an investigation into the incident. And then, on June 20, Warner Bros. announced that its investigation turned up no evidence of misconduct and that production would resume on Bachelor in Paradise Season 4. (On June 29, a few days after Jackson’s E! News interview aired, Olympios released a statement that her legal team’s investigation was “completed to [her] satisfaction.”)
For the first time since the incident, Jackson provided his take on the incident and what transpired afterward. But there was much more in the full hour and 43 minute interview, which E! posted online Wednesday.
1. According to Jackson, the alleged incident between him and Corinne Olympios happened around 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 4. He said no one was severely intoxicated by that point and also noted that Olympios grabbed him away from Alexis Waters, another contestant on Bachelor in Paradise Season 4 from Nick Viall’s season of The Bachelor. Jackson said that approximately an hour or two after he arrived on the Paradise set, Olympios made the first move. “She snatched me away from Alexis. She did a Corinne moment,” said Jackson, who said Olympios “hopped in my arms and I put my drink down… This was probably between like 4:00 and 5:00. You know, it was extremely early … We’re all arriving, we were like staggering in.” In his memory, Jackson had had a mixed drink and three shots at that point. (A representative for Olympios told BuzzFeed News she had no comment about Jackson’s E! News interview.)
2. Jackson said it didn’t occur to him that Olympios could be too drunk to consent, though he also said he wasn’t able to get an erection to have sex. “I get every guy’s biggest fear. I get like straight whiskey dick,” he said. “I’m like, kill me, kill me kill, me, and she’s like, ‘No, it’s okay’ … And then I get out of the pool and I have like my legs in the pool like this and I’m kind of just like hanging out really, and then, this is when she like gets up out of the pool and just like puts her lady parts like right on my face.” Jackson also said: “It was nothing that had never been seen on Paradise before. It was something that — there was nothing like crazy or like wild. We were both super coherent. We were both speaking, like… never once did it hit me like, ‘Man, this girl’s too drunk,’ because we were still talking. We were having, like, conversations.”
Later on in the interview, Jackson said, “I’m on Paradise, it’s not my job to walk around with a Breathalyzer. Unless some chick is like passed out on the ground or something, this isn’t the case. … And number 1, I’m drunk, so do I not have the same rights? If I’m 10 shots deep and you’re 10 shots deep, and you and I, you know, both make out, I mean, why is it the man’s guilty? Obviously it’s playing devil’s advocate, but why is it just on me? … If you have two people who are equally at fault for drinking and making out and hooking up?”
3. According to Jackson, it wasn’t until the cast gathered to meet host Chris Harrison that the binge drinking hit a peak. Jackson said Harrison pointed out to him how drunk he was. “We were getting ready to get lined up because Chris Harrison was coming to speak to us… so this is probably around 5 p.m./6 p.m. or so,” Jackson said. “Chris comes and talks to us probably like an hour or so later and no lie, between that hour, it was like go time. … At this point, we’re all drunk.” Jackson said Harrison said: “‘DeMario, get your shit together, pick your head up, where are you, open your eyes. Corinne, get up.'” Jackson also said fellow cast member Derek Peth had thrown up on himself. “We’re just like, ‘Bro, get it together,’ and like, Corinne’s drunk, and like, everybody is, like, just drunk, but it’s not like a bad [thing],” Jackson said. “We’re just in Paradise, you know? It’s nothing that TV has never seen before.”
Jackson said Harrison introduced the cast to the new bartender, Wells Adams from last season of Bachelor in Paradise. When he talked to Adams the next morning, Jackson said, “Wells was like, ‘Dude, when I got in here, you guys were like going for it.’ He goes, ‘It was very crazy to walk in to because you guys were already at that peak level.’”
5. By Monday, the day after his hookup with Olympios, Jackson already had solidified who he was getting a rose from at the ceremony on Tuesday: Waters. On Bachelor in Paradise, either the men or the women will give out roses to the opposite gender during a rose ceremony, and they’ll switch who gives out the roses during the next. If you are not given a rose, you are sent home from the show. “On Monday, it’s all about locking up the roses, so by now, Monday, Alexis was like, ‘Yo, I’m going to give you my rose.’ I’m like, ‘Cool!’ So I kind of told all the fellas, ‘By the way, I have my rose already.’ Vinny [Ventiera] is like, ‘Cool, Corinne is giving me hers.’”
6. On Tuesday, Jackson said one of the producers “hyped” him up about his hookups during his confessional (aka “ITM,” which stands for “in the moment”). “I discussed this in my in the moment,” Jackson said. “[The producer] is like, ‘D! You and Corinne, you and Alexis.’… This is like, my boy. Some producers know how to get me going and once I get going, I’m not stopping. … He’s like ‘D! First-day legend.’ … Like, he’s hyping me.” (A representative for Warner Bros. did not respond to BuzzFeed News’s request for a comment.)
7. Jackson believes producers had seen the incident in question between him and Olympios by Tuesday. “At this point … first day has already been chopped up,” Jackson said. “It’s already ready to go to the last form of editing. They’ve already went over it, they’ve discussed it, so they’ve all seen it and nothing’s wrong.”
8. But by Tuesday night, Jackson sensed something was wrong right before the rose ceremony Tuesday night, and he thought, ABC is going to fuck me again. “I’m getting ready to like, you know, put on my clothes for like the rose ceremony and all that kind of stuff and I do my ITM … and [the producer is] like, ‘D, it’s happening again. You know, you had Corinne the first night, now you’ve got Alexis. How’s it going?’ I’m like, ‘You know what? I’m super secure, I’m super confident, but I feel like ABC is going to fuck me again.’ My exact words: ‘I feel like ABC is gonna fuck me again,’ and he goes, ‘What do you mean?’ I go, ‘I don’t know, dude.’ I said, ‘I feel like something crazy is gonna happen.'” (When reached, a representative for ABC had no comment and forwarded BuzzFeed News to Warner Bros.)
9. Shortly after that, Jackson said Bachelor franchise executive producer Elan Gale asked to speak with him and told him to take off his mic. Jackson said he had a friendly rapport with Gale, who he said once joked to him, “Oh, you wearing skinny jeans? I thought you were a black man. Where’s your dick at?” Jackson said Gale told him that that night, at the rose ceremony, he should tell Harrison and the cast he’s leaving because he’s “not here for the right reasons.” Jackson thought Gale might be playing a joke on him. “I’m like… ‘Elan, why? Why?’ He goes, ‘I can’t tell you. … Let’s just say I know things, and it would just be best.’” (Gale did not respond to BuzzFeed News’s request for a comment.)
10. Jackson said he felt like the producers set him up early on in the current season of The Bachelorette when the contestants played basketball with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and afterward, Jackson was exposed by an ex. She showed up at the gymnasium where they were filming, saying she and Jackson had been dating when he joined the show. The encounter led Rachel Lindsay, this season’s Bachelorette, to send him home. “They knew that this crazy Bumble girl was gonna be here, but they all lied and said, ‘No, she just showed up to the gym,’” Jackson said. “She specifically called my mother on Facebook. She called my mother and she’s like, ‘I’m gonna ruin your son, I’m gonna call ABC.’” Jackson wondered why the producers didn’t do more fact-checking. “She called in, but like so many people call in per year, per season about people and you guys never do this,” he said. “Why me? Like, what was, like, the beef with me, especially the way they did it was very like, sneaky. It was very like, ‘Hahaha, like, let’s do this. Let’s make him a villain for the bigger picture,’ which is Paradise, and I was like, ‘Okay, cool.’”
11. Jackson said that at the end of their conversation on Tuesday, Gale said he’d check back with him in 30 minutes. “I go up to my producer and I’m like, ‘Bro, what’s going on?” Jackson said. “And I go up to Alexis. I told her, I was like, ‘Yo, I don’t know what’s going on.’ … So she’s asking around, I’m asking around.” Jackson said he found one more producer that he knew from The Bachelorette who also wasn’t able to provide more information. After drinking before the rose ceremony, Jackson said he went to get food and another producer came up to him and said, “Hey, can we speak offline?” “I’m like, ‘Yeah, what’s up?’ And then, all of a sudden, I walk up the hill and you’ve got an executive producer standing right there… he’s like, ‘Well, we need you to just go back to the hotel room to breathe.’”
12. In the hotel room early on Wednesday morning, Jackson was informed of the third-party complaint about him and Olympios. “This is Bachelor in Paradise. Like, people have sex here. We’re all adults. That’s what people do,” Jackson told a producer after spending the night pacing in his hotel room. “‘If you’re upset about people having sex, go get another job,’ and he’s like, ‘Yeah, I know.’ ‘So why do I have to go home?’ ‘Well, you know we’re just taking precautionary measures.’ I’m like, ‘What does a third party have to do with Corinne and I? Did she consent? Yeah. Did you consent? Yeah’… I asked him that and he’s like, ‘Well, she didn’t say anything.’ I was like, ‘So, why are we caring?’ ‘Well, you know, it’s like a workplace environment, man. We take these things seriously.’”
13. The longer Jackson was in the hotel room, the more questions he said he had, and eventually, he suspected it was a racially charged situation. “I’m just asking like, ‘Why? Why me?’ And for me, it’s just, I’m not the kind of person that brings up like, ‘Ah! Black man in America,’ this and that, but at this point, I’m thinking like, what else could it be?” Jackson said. “I asked, ‘You guys have shown sex before on this TV show?’ ‘Yes.’ Like was there anything out of the [ordinary]? ‘No…’ I asked them, ‘Have you guys ever shown interracial…’ and he’s like, ‘Uh, I don’t know,'” said Jackson. “‘Because I don’t watch the show.'”
14. Later that Wednesday morning, Jackson said he was visited by an executive producer. After an emotional conversation, he was sent home. “‘What did this person see that you guys didn’t see? You’re the executive producer. You have 15-plus years in this industry. So you mean to tell me that an assistant producer, who’s been working for one fucking season…?'” Jackson asked the executive. “He goes, ‘I don’t know, because I’ve watched the video a thousand times and yeah, it’s raunchy as shit, and it’s softcore porn in a sense, but it’s nothing bad. It’s not,’ and I’m like, ‘What is it?’ And again I ask him, ‘Is it race?’ and he’s like, ‘Yeah, you know, I don’t know. I don’t know.'”
Jackson said the producer had tears in his eyes. “We spoke about the possibility of 300 people not having a job and I felt horrible,” he said. “He was extremely genuine. … I can tell he was confused. I was confused. I can tell that he really didn’t know the full story himself and it was just a very, like, man-to-man [talk]. And he’s a tall guy too, so he was, like, bigger than me and gave me, like, a big bear hug, and like, I got tears in my eyes, he has tears in his eyes, you know? But I’m still thinking like, ‘Man, this sucks, you know?'”
15. Jackson got home on Thursday and the news broke on Sunday night after a producer called him and said, “Hey, shit’s about to get real, real fast.” It was shortly after that that he realized he needed a lawyer. “I’m not thinking anything legal,” Jackson said of his assumption in the days prior. “I’m thinking like, Dang, I got a little too turnt up, got wild in the pool, and I got kicked off the show.”
16. Later, Jackson said, he was told the producer who made the claim “never watched the tape.” “She wasn’t even present while this was going on,” Jackson said. “She heard over a walkie-talkie later on in the night when Corinne was drunk that Corinne and DeMario hooked up and I’m like, ‘What about the three other guys? What about them? You know how they say black lives matter, all lives matter? All hookups matter? … Why was it specifically, ‘DeMario hooked up with Corinne?'”
17. Jackson said he had joined the Bachelor in Paradise cast in hopes of finding redemption after the incident on The Bachelorette, much like former villain-turned-Bachelor Nick Viall. “I tell the producers just like homies, I’m like, ‘Yo, you guys really fucked me. I understand it’s like reality [TV] and like, I get it, but like, you guys really, really fucked…’ and that’s the reason why I did Paradise, because it was the whole redemption,” Jackson said. “You get to have the last laugh. I saw how [Nick Viall] was this bad-boy villain for two seasons and then he went on Paradise, and so I saw that, and I respected it, and was like, ‘Cool, okay, I could do that.'”
18. Jackson said ultimately, he views the crew as a family. “We’re really family and even through all this whole process, people have reached out to me who could have lost their jobs talking to me,” he said.
19. And he doesn’t harbor any ill will toward Olympios, but he sees her saying she doesn’t remember what happened that night as “a gray area.” “I feel bad for her. I feel bad for her family. I feel like she was given wrong information or she was part of something that was much bigger,” Jackson said. “One thing that I’ve noticed in all of her real [statements], she’s saying she doesn’t remember and she’s saying she doesn’t blame me, she blames the production. But at the same time, saying you don’t remember… it’s like a gray area. I get what she’s doing. She’s being very smart wording certain things. … But I don’t know.”
He added: “We’re all pawns, we’re all victims to certain degrees.”
Netflix’s wrestling drama Glow is funny, poignant, and wonderfully acted, but what makes it really interesting is how aware it is of its own contradictions. The series’ fictionalized take on the real Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling promotion from the ’80s explores how empowerment and exploitation aren’t always so clear cut or easily parsed. Its female characters are women who’ve been dismissed by Hollywood as the wrong size, race, type, or tractability level. In joining GLOW, they’re promised exposure and rich material from which to work, but only by way of what the program’s director Sam Sylvia (Marc Maron) cheerily refers to as “porn you can watch with your kids, finally.” And while these women are assured that the outsize wrestling personas they create are a way of challenging stereotypes of gender, race, and class, they have legitimate reasons for wondering if anyone watching will know that.
With a first season running 10 half-hour episodes, Glow is the rare Netflix show that feels too short, given its abundance of promising characters and how relatively little runtime it has to spread among them. It’s a series that pits its characters against each other in staged catfights, but sometimes feels like it inadvertently pits members of its own talented cast against each other in a battle for screen time. And so, in the spirit of Glow’s multilayered dramas, here’s a ranked look at how each of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling fared for themselves over that rousing first season.
14. Reggie “Vicky the Viking” Walsh
Reggie is the only actual professional athlete in the main ensemble, so of course she gets the shaft, both in the series itself and the show-within-the-show. Physical prowess isn’t remotely the highest priority for the kind of production Sam and producer Bash (Chris Lowell) have in mind. Early on, the plum role of Liberty Bell is taken away from Reggie and given to the more conventionally attractive Debbie (Betty Gilpin) — “She seemed more all-American,” the men shrug. And that’s basically everything of note for the character, who keeps to the background, but at least gets a fabulous Viking hat for her troubles.
13. Jenny “Fortune Cookie” Chey
In a monologue combining a dozen Orientalist stereotypes into one hilariously tasteless package, Jenny doesn’t just lay forth her own wrestling persona: She establishes a pattern into which all of the other characters will soon settle. Wearing a conical hat and wielding a samurai sword, Fortune Cookie declares herself “cute like panda” but also “fast like dragon!” Jenny herself is Cambodian, adores birthdays, and…that’s about it. Wong is so funny during her Fortune Cookie intro that it’s a shame she doesn’t get more time in the ring — though she does at least get to team up with Alison Brie’s Russian wrestling character in the final episode of the season, for a clever Communist allies combo.
12. Justine “Scab” Biagi
As GLOW’s punk wrestler, resident teen Justine doesn’t really click during the first part of the season. She’s sulky and sullen, a devoted fan of Sam’s schlocky movies and of movies in general, and has a stilted thing for the pizza delivery guy. But then there’s that reveal, which unfolds in the most excruciating way imaginable: Justine is Sam’s daughter. In truly Freudian fashion, aligning perfectly with the psychosexual themes of Sam’s films, the truth comes out after Sam makes a move on the horrified young woman, prompting her to confess she’s the result of a one-night stand Sam had after he was kicked out of a Black Panther rally. He handles it (predictably) poorly, but Justine finally snaps into focus — not some kid idolizing a failed artist, but a girl trying to figure out how to connect to her father.
11. Arthie “Beirut the Mad Bomber” Premkumar
Nowhere is Glow’s shortness more frustrating than in the cases of Jenny and Arthie Premkumar. The show’s cast is laudably diverse, but while the biggest stories go to the two white leads, these two characters of color are left without real arcs. Arthie, a premed student, is Indian-American, but per GLOW’s blithe racial insensitivity is told to present herself a “terrorist or genie or some sort of other evil Arab.” And so she dons a keffiyeh and becomes Beirut the Mad Bomber, the most incendiary of the wrestling personas. Mani (who showed off her dancing skills in the “Turn Down for What” music video) goes for broke, running around the ring wild-eyed and working up a signature move — the Lebanese Cannonball. But the payoff, in which Arthie facing real ire from a live audience who yells racial slurs and hurls beer cans, ultimately comes off as an unfinished thought. “Everyone really hated me,” she tells Rhonda (Kate Nash) afterward. “Yeah, but that’s a good thing, though… right?” Rhonda answers. Arthie doesn’t answer.
10 & 9. Stacey “Ethel Rosenblatt” Beswick and Dawn “Edna Rosenblatt” Rivecca
“Our clients think we’re funny and should be on television,” hairstylists Stacey and Dawn tell Sam at their audition. Turns out, their clients are right. Stacey and Dawn don’t get an arc either, but they, at least, don’t feel like they require one. As the series’ reliable source of comic relief, they are the Statler and Waldorf of ladies’ wrestling, cackling and making prank calls from the sidelines. Gatewood and Johnson, two-thirds of the talent team behind The Apple Sisters, enjoy hamming things up as much as Stacey and Dawn do. They may not be the most fearsome of wrestling talents when they go into character as the elderly wrestlers Ethel and Edna Rosenblatt, but they’re so much fun to watch.
8. Sheila “The She Wolf”
Sheila’s got one note, but it’s, er, a howler. While all of the other women have to work up to their outsize personas, she lives as hers, 24/7. The fourth episode provides the only instance in which we see Sheila not fully done up, and it reveals her morning ritual — smearing kohl around the eyes, staining her teeth yellow, putting on a matted wig, and exhaling a sigh of relief, everything finally being as it should. She also wears a fur bodice, doesn’t talk a lot, and genuinely feels like a wolf in a human body. Sheila works better as a source of pathos than of quirk, a way for the show to delve into the idea that feeling like a genuine outsider doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to be great at playing one on TV. Maybe that’s why she pairs so well with Brie’s character, Ruth, an actor who keeps treating Sheila’s behavior as some kind of method stunt instead of a form of dysmorphia. It forces Sheila to try to articulate why it wounds her when everyone treats her wolf affiliation like an eccentricity instead of part of her identity.
7. Rhonda “Britannica” Richardson
Rhonda is a dim bulb in real life who, in the ring, plays Britannica, the smartest woman in the world. It’s not the most revelatory of divides between fact and fiction, but Rhonda makes up for it with juicier backstage antics, including her affair with Sam. Rhonda has blundered through life being pretty, moisturizing carefully, and not thinking too hard about what’s next. But she has an emotional intelligence that others underestimate — among them Sam, who assumes Rhonda’s sleeping with him to get special treatment, only to figure out too late that she actually liked him. It’s Rhonda who comes up with the GLOW theme song, and Nash (who’s a singer) mimics ’80s-era white-rapping flawlessly, delivering an awful, slightly off-rhythm earworm that’s impossible to shake: “GLOW, GLOW, that’s the name / Women’s wrestling is our game.”
6. Melanie “Melrose” Rosen
Melanie may be the only character on Glow whose actual personality manages to dwarf that of her wrestling persona. Party girl Melrose, a transparent Madonna knockoff, is but a pale imitation of the force of nature that is Melanie. Melanie is the kind of woman who drives a limo, has what Sam calls a “‘please objectify me’ vibe,” and claims as her special talent that she “can wake up in the morning with absolutely nothing to do and just be in a Van Halen video by the end of the day.” Melanie strives tragically hard to be interesting, but the thing is, it works — the show is able to bounce her off of other characters to reveal different nuances and to create new drama. It’s Melanie who initiates the astonishingly insensitive prank of pretending, with the help of some purloined ketchup, to have a miscarriage due to a stunt gone wrong, an act of multilayered revenge against Cherry (Sydelle Noel). It’s also Melanie who needs to star in the R-rated sitcom spinoff Glow leaves you longing for, one in which she’d solve crimes in the company of Bash’s drug-laden robot butler.
5. Cherry “Junkchain” Bang
Cherry is GLOW’s most competent member, which is less praise than it is a misfortune for her. A stuntwoman who stopped getting work because, as she tells Sam, “movies get a little white after 1979,” Cherry actually knows what she’s doing in terms of falls and jumps. Which is why she gets railroaded into training the other wrestlers, having to play hall monitor and hardass while getting shorted when it comes to her on-camera persona. Cherry is the grown-up of the series, but she’s no less captivating for it, and Noel plays her as steady but guarded, harboring various emotional wounds from a frustrating career and from having lost a child. It’s through her eyes that we see GLOW as the ramshackle operation it actually is, held together with grand promises and cocaine delusions. And it’s Cherry, joining up with Tammé (Kia Stevens), who provides Glow’s most triumphant instance of the wrestlers taking control of their narrative by engineering a too-provocative-for-TV match against opponents dressed as members of the KKK.
4. Ruth “Zoya the Destroya” Wilder
It’s a credit to Brie’s skill that Ruth, the closest Glow comes to having a main character, can be so annoying. She’s a theater kid who craves the spotlight in which no one is willing to allow her. Her qualifications include “extensive mask work and clowning workshops” and a willingness to show up to auditions where casting directors use her as a tool to get other, more commercially viable actors picked. She’s not lovable, Ruth, who starts the series by sleeping with her best friend Debbie’s (Gilpin) husband because she’s feeling bad about herself. Brie plays up Ruth’s self-pity and her neediness in ways that flesh out the character, making her empathetic without being endearing. “I don’t want everyone to hate me!” she wails to Sam; he answers, brutally, “Crying, caring, the desperation. That’s what makes you unbearable.” He’s not wrong, but it turns out we don’t need to like Ruth to invest in her journey toward self-acceptance. Ruth isn’t meant for saving the day, no matter what she thinks of herself. She’s the heel, and once she finds her rhythm as Russian tyrant Zoya the Destroya, she lights up — though (again, credit to Brie) once she settles into her Soviet shtick, she almost immediately starts running it into the ground.
3. Tammé “The Welfare Queen” Dawson
Tammé has a kid at Stanford, but when she heads into the ring, she’s a boogeywoman right out of Reaganite rhetoric, a semi-mythical figure used to rile the public about scammers getting rich off taxpayer money. Tammé plays the Welfare Queen, clad in a fur coat and jewelry, smirking that “Y’all are stupid for going to work every day and paying taxes.” As a living embodiment of conservative fears, the Welfare Queen is right on the line between offensive cartoon and subversive satire, and when Tammé raises her concerns with Sam, the conversation is fascinating. Sam goes on about pushing the envelope and creating “a fuck-you to the Republican party,” but Tammé, a bit player for whom GLOW is a huge break, is the one who has to stand in front of the camera, and the one wondering if she’s being taken advantage of. And yet of all the GLOW women, she’s the one who has the best feel for her persona, no matter whom the Welfare Queen has been placed into combat with. It certainly doesn’t hurt that Stevens is a real-life pro wrestler with a 15-year career under her belt. When Sam and Bash declare the Welfare Queen “our masterpiece,” their self-congratulatory sense of ownership is questionable, but they’re not wrong — in the ring, Tammé is a thrill.
2. Debbie “Liberty Belle” Eagan
From afar Debbie, a soap opera star turned stay-at-home mom, doesn’t seem like she’d be interesting. Her character — the all-American hero, Liberty Belle — doesn’t seem like she would be all that interesting either, just a blandly beautiful face who’s supposed to win her matches and reassure the world that order continues to hold. And yet, courtesy of the show’s writing and of Gilpin’s performance, both Debbie and her persona are totally compelling. Debbie is the friend who appears to have it all together. She’s the one who got cast on the soap opera, the one who married well (at least on paper), the one who had a baby. But Gilpin broadcasts her character’s barely disguised dissatisfaction through her every pore, even as she insists she’s happy. Debbie is all sharp edges underneath the curvy, blonde exterior, brittle and angry and hungry to have something of her own, and her friendship with Ruth is Glow’s broken but still-beating heart. The moment she stands up in the crowd during the final match, announcing she’ll take her place in the ring, is the highlight of the series, both in terms of the shlock wrestling narrative and the backstage one. And of course, even then, the match doesn’t go precisely as planned. Why should it, really? Maybe it’s order that’s boring.
1. Carmen “Machu Picchu” Wade
OK, sure, when Carmen’s estranged father, a famous wrestler named Goliath Jackson (Winston James Francis), shows up at the end to support his daughter, it’s a little pat. But if there is a stealth MVP of Glow who embodies everything the series does best in its first season, it’s Carmen Wade, a naive, awkward, towering young woman with anxiety issues and a parent who doesn’t want her joining the family business. Carmen handily demonstrates wrestling basics for what is essentially a group of know-nothings, but there’s something particularly touching about the ways in which she tends to place herself on the outside, even in a world she knows better than anyone else onscreen. Carmen assumes she’s a heel, a villain who scares kids. But Bash (with whom she develops a winsome, surprising connection) insists she’s been a hero all along: “Look at this face, huh? Look at that smile. You’re smiling all the time.” She is always smiling, even when she introduces her wrestling persona: “Machu Picchu, the Peruvian fortress, strong and proud.” “I’m a good guy,” she giggles with delight, and it’s impossible not to join her.
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So, what do you think? How old is Diana at this point?
800 sounds about right
She has to be older than 800
She has to be younger than 800
You’ve put way too much thought into a fictional character, you dweeb
Corinne Olympios, the former Bachelor in Paradise contestant at the center of an incident of alleged sexual misconduct that caused the show’s production to be suspended, has released a new statement saying the situation has been resolved.
Here is Olympios’s full statement:
In light of the overwhelming amount of misinformation that has been spread in the media, I want to clarify a few things. My intent over the past few weeks has been to learn and understand what happened on June 4. While I never filed complaints or accusations against anyone associated with Bachelor in Paradise, my team and I felt it was very important to be thorough in getting to the bottom of what had occurred. I felt victimized by the fact that others were judging me through conflicting and unsubstantiated reports, while I myself had no recollection of the events that transpired.
My team’s investigation into this matter has now been completed to my satisfaction. I am also happy about the changes that have been made to the production of Bachelor in Paradise. While I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to have been a participant on The Bachelor, and while I was invited to return to Bachelor in Paradise when production resumed, I respectfully made the decision not to return.
I understand the media’s interest in this story, and I greatly appreciate my fans’ concerns for my well-being, but I think it is best if I keep any further thoughts private for now.
In her statement, Olympios makes clear that she was never the complainant against fellow castmate DeMario Jackson, with whom she had a sexual encounter that two of the show’s producers thought Olympios was too drunk to consent to. They filed a complaint, causing the show to shut down on June 11. Subsequently, Warner Bros., which produces the Bachelor franchise for ABC, launched an investigation into the incident, and on June 20 concluded that no impropriety had occurred.
Production on Season 4 of Bachelor in Paradise resumed in Mexico without Olympios or Jackson.
After Warner Bros. finished its investigation, Martin Singer, Olympios’s attorney, said her side was not satisfied, and that they would continue to look into it, citing witnesses that corroborated the accusations of wrongdoing. That has ended today. “My team’s investigation into this matter has now been completed to my satisfaction,” the statement reads in part.
When asked whether there had been a monetary settlement for Olympios, a spokesperson from Warner Bros. declined to comment. Olympios’s publicist also declined to comment.
In its statement clearing Jackson of sexual misconduct, Warner Bros. was clear that going forward, production would “implement certain changes to the show’s policies and procedures to enhance and further ensure the safety and security of all participants.” Earlier this week, TMZ reported that from now on, contestants will need to give producers their explicit consent before having sex, and producers can overrule them if they think they’re too drunk. Producers can also interrupt sexual activity if the cast members don’t go to them beforehand. According to TMZ, the show is also enforcing drinking limits.
Repeated attempts by BuzzFeed News to confirm these rules with Warner Bros. went unanswered. In Olympios’s statement, however, she seems happy with whatever the new guidelines are: “I am also happy about the changes that have been made to the production of Bachelor in Paradise.” (Her publicist would not reveal the nature of the changes to BuzzFeed News either.)
Earlier this week, Jackson gave his first interview to E! News, providing graphic details of his sexual encounter with Olympios and denying any wrongdoing. He said Olympios had not been too drunk to consent, though in the full interview released on YouTube, he said he had been too drunk to get an erection, and that as the evening progressed, it was “probably the wildest night of my entire life.” He also said that producers pressured him to quit the show after the complaint was filed, and he was sent home against his wishes.
Olympios has not given any interviews.
Bachelor in Paradise Season 4 will air on ABC later this summer.