Between women in sequined spandex with hair teased to heights that would make Madonna weep flinging each other across a wrestling ring and a small band of misfits in Hawkins, Indiana battling the Upside Down in ghostbuster costumes, the ‘80s are undeniably having a moment. And based on the fact that Season 1 of GLOW scored 10 Emmy nominations and Season 2 of Stranger Things tallied 12, we are so here for it.
The Stranger Things season 2 soundtrack alone is enough to inspire a shoulder pads and parachute pants comeback, if anything possibly could. From The Clash to Metallica, Kenny Rogers to Queen, Bon Jovi to Cyndi Lauper, The Police to DEVO, the season's emotional and narrative arc is perfectly accompanied by the music that defined a decade in all its larger-than-life, in-your-face glory. Factor in the show's near-endless list of ‘80s movie references—Aliens, The Empire Strikes Back, E.T., The Evil Dead, Firestarter, The Goonies, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Poltergeist, Predator, Scanners, Stand by Me and The Thing, to name a few—and it would be easy to mistake Stranger Things as nothing more than a vehicle for ‘80s nostalgia.
GLOW follows a similar path, paying such an incredibly thorough tribute to the decade in which it is set that it would be easy to assume that's all the Netflix comedy has going for it. GLOW matches Stranger Things for ‘80s soundtrack goodness with Patty Smyth's “The Warrior,” Journey's “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)," Patti LaBelle's “Stir It Up,” The Go-Go's “We Don't Get Along,” Billy Joel's “Movin' Out,” the Scorpions' “Rock You Like A Hurricane” and Queen's “Under Pressure,” again to name a few.
GLOW's stylists take their obligation to capture the decade of big hair and even bigger personalities incredibly seriously. Lead hairstylist Theraesa Rivers told Refinery29 that despite being on a tight production deadline, the styling team refused to take a shortcut by using permed wigs. Instead, they teased, they sprayed, they styled and then they teased some more. They even used the Paul Mitchell Extra Body Sculpting Foam that was so popular during the ‘80s.
Thankfully for those of us who can't get enough of either series, GLOW and Stranger Things are so much more than ‘80s nostalgia. We have two incredible storylines that are forging new paths, teaching relevant lessons and opening up incredible opportunities for faces that might not have received as much air time during the actual ‘80s to step boldly into the spotlight. Audiences get the bright, shiny ‘80s aesthetic with the added advantage of a hefty dose of female empowerment, conversations about race and gender and sexuality, explorations of grief and trauma and the price of resistance, the cost of growing up and the incredible value of a tribe that gets you.
In “Dissecting the themes of Stranger Things 2,” Dazed writes, “If the world of Stranger Things was fighting against a misunderstood and strange evil, the world of Stranger Things 2 is learning to live within that danger and darkness. In many ways, the series is about resilience.” In many ways, GLOW parallels that theme. In “GLOW Brings #MeToo to the 1980s,” the New York Times writes, “Out of the many ways in which the world has typecast them, the women of GLOW have made incendiary, punk entertainment. They're working with the world they've been given.” There's an emotional authenticity to both shows that makes the hairspray and the music and the leotards that much better. Many fans gushed over the mere fact of seeing so many women on screen together at the same time, as much an anomaly today as it would have been in the ‘80s.
Fundays is channeling that totally righteous ‘80s energy and aesthetic with an ‘80's Funko High School Fundays Prom, which we're livestreaming for the first time ever. Bookmark go.funko.com/fundays and tune back in on Friday, July 20. We'll kick things off at 7:30 p.m. PST with the show beginning at 8:30 p.m.!Don't know what to do with yourself in the meantime? Throw on a pair of Reeboks and take our Which ‘80s Movie Are You? Quiz.