“What I love about this show and other shows like it, is that they represent what life is,” divulges director Anya Adams of Netflix’s “GLOW.” Adams joined Season 3 to direct the episode “Outward Bound.” This installment takes the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling on a camping trip. Simmering tensions on the team are unearthed, but the episode still sticks to the series’ signature humor. Watch the exclusive video interview above.
Adams had fun charting the tone of the episode because of it’s mix of comedy and drama. She was a fan of “GLOW” before signing on to direct because the series explores a wide array of emotions. “Life is funny and sad and boring and conflicting,” explains the director. “You can stay on tone by how it resonates with you and how you see life.”
A prime example of the complicated emotions of the series arrives during a tense conversation between Jenny (Ellen Wong) and Melrose (Jackie Tohn). Melrose is unable to comprehend why the racist Asian caricature she portrayed in the previous episode is upsetting her best friend. Adams says that being both a person of color and a child of the 80’s made the scene “really resonate” with her. In the 80’s, conversations around institutionalized racism were far from mainstream, but people of color still experienced prejudices. Instead of broadcasting one’s feelings of being hurt, Adams reveals that “learning how to articulate them and verbalize them happened more on your own.” So she carefully charted a scene where “you really saw the disconnect” between the two friends, and Jenny has to learn how to express the pain she experiences.
The episode impressively follows multiple character pairings and story threads. Another successful heartfelt moment is courtesy of a delicate scene between Ruth (Alison Brie) and Debbie (Betty Gilpin). The frenemies become lost on a hiking trail as night falls and contemplate whether they’ve made the right life decisions. Adams notably sticks with a two-shot for the majority of the scene. During rehearsals, the director remembers that “the scene was so compelling just watching them together, that it didn’t feel like it needed more.” That simplicity helps capture the fascinating reactions between the two women. “The scene really told me how it should be shot,” suggests Adams.
“Outward Bound” has already landed Adams a win at the NAACP Awards for Outstanding Comedy Director. “I was overwhelmed,” the director admits of receiving the honor. While that night proved incredibly special, she is most proud of the finished product because “there’s so many different topics touched on in really sensitive and powerful ways.”
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