Way back in 2019, before COVID added decades to our lives, YouTuber Ben J. Pierce — a.k.a. Miss Benny — filmed a CW pilot starring themselves and Brooke Shields that never saw the light of day. Three years later, Netflix would make a full series order, this time with soon-to-be And Just Like That cameo guest star Kim Cattrall replacing Shields as the head of a luxury make-up company.
Glamorous (★★☆☆☆), from Star Trek: Discovery and Quantico producer Jordon Nardino and Damon Wayans Jr., is all about Miss Benny as Marco Mejia, a gender nonconforming influencer turned assistant to make-up mogul Madolyn Addison (Cattrall).
At their new job, Marco must contend with Addison’s nepo-baby Chad (Zane Phillips), her first assistant Venetia (Jade Payton), and the head of social media Alyssasay (Lisa Gilroy), all of whom harbor suspicions about the new hire, who has no prior experience but suddenly has the favor of their illustrious boss.
Much about Glamorous will make you raise an eyebrow. The story itself starts off on fairly lazy terms, with influencer and department store make-up counter MUA Marco looking for their big break when, suddenly, former supermodel and CEO of Glamorous Cosmetics Addison appears before him.
One small makeover and a speech about make-up empowerment fit for a Drag Race parody leads to them getting hired as her new assistant, despite a flagrant lack of experience. This leads to Marco forgetting important product samples that could cost the company a multi-million deal, which gets them canned.
Because this is a fantasy world, however, a week later Marco finds the products and interrupts an important meeting to return them. They then deliver yet another speech that would make Lea Michele’s Glee character proud and get rehired. Finally, the focus of the series comes into frame, with Madolyn learning her company won’t last another year unless they turn things around.
The predictable nature of the plot lingers through the rest of the series. The series feels like a redux version of The Devil Wears Prada but without follow-through or quality. As a comedy, the series falls flat, with Marco’s constant little quips feeling like a drunk straight white girl at the gay club who only knows one gay person.
Every other sentence from Marco brings to mind how gay people make fun of gay people, eliciting eye-rolling with the tired, overused lingo. The worst of it comes when the story introduces Marco’s love interests, illustrating the show’s worst elements all in a shiny package.
Ben (Michael Hsu Rosen), one of Marco’s coworkers, blurts out that he’s into Marco within three seconds of meeting them and spends the rest of the series pining after their single encounter. Then we have Parker (Graham Parkhurst), Marco’s other unbelievably attractive love interest, who meets them in an accidental Uber that just so happens to be going to the same place as Marco.
When Marco forgets the important samples in said Uber, Parker could stop the ride, considering they left mere seconds before he noticed, but no, how else would the series have a reason to keep him around for some future storylines? Instead, Marco searches the Hudson Yards gym facilities for this man, who they conveniently find after barely any searching in one of the world’s largest cities.
Unsurprisingly, Cattrall is the main standout, even if she doesn’t really have much to do. Her tone stays the same the entire time, but as a 60-plus CEO freaking out about her legacy, she quietly provides Glamorous‘s best performance.
There is just not enough going for Glamorous. Once it gets over its initial woes, it never truly finds its footing, and ultimately feels like an enormous waste of potential. The best parts of the show feel as though they’ve been done before, like Cattrall’s mother/nepo-baby storyline, reminiscent of Hacks, or the show’s many romantic storylines that feel copy-and-pasted from any forgettable workplace series in the past decade.
LGBTQ television is often set up to fail. Cast a fan-favorite actress, add in hot guys and gay lingo in every other line of dialogue, and you’ve got what studio execs think queer people want. Take the queerness away from Glamorous and you can’t hide the fact that it doesn’t hold up. In an era where queer people are actively being erased in front of our faces, we can do better with LGBTQ entertainment. We deserve better.
Glamorous is not better. It’s a series of empty platitudes that will become a simple one-season series that Netflix will throw to the bottom of the algorithm, while using it as further evidence to not commission more queer content, before patting themselves on the back for having another show that checks off the diversity quota for the year.
All 10 episodes of Glamorous, season one, are streaming exclusively on Netflix. Visit www.netflix.com.
These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and MetroWeekly.com remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!