Pilot Script Review of Glamorous
The CW has ordered two very inclusive pilots this year: DC’s Batwoman, which would be the first superhero series led by an openly gay character (and actress, Ruby Rose), and Glamorous, which would be the first series led by a gender non-conforming character (and openly gay actor Ben J. Pierce).
The first sale from Damon Wayans Jr’s newly launched company Two Shakes, Glamorous would appear to be very much in line with Wayan's stated goal of developing projects that focus on characters who aren’t usually at the center of series. It's an admirable move for Wayans, who recently apologized for a series of anti-LGBT remarks made earlier in his career, pledging to dedicate himself personally and professionally to righting his past wrongs. Also attached to the project is Eva Longoria, who will be directing the pilot -- a first for her, as well.
WRITTEN BY: Jordon Nardino
DRAFT DATE: Network draft 1/10/19
PAGE COUNT: 60 pages
SCRIPT SYNOPSIS: MARCO MEJIA (18) is a gender-fluid aspiring beauty influencer, and a soon-to-be high school graduate. Born to stand out, but lacking the following to make his mark on the beauty scene, Marco posts a scathing review for a Glamorous Cosmetics product. When Marco’s review catches the eye of aging glamazon turned Glamorous Cosmetics CEO MADOLYN ADDISON (50), she arrives on his graduation day to offer him an internship at Glamorous headquarters in Manhattan, and a chance to help improve the brand from the inside. His mother JULIA (40s) is not happy about it, but lets him seize the opportunity. On his first day at Glamorous, Marco realizes he isn’t the only one up for the job and finds himself competing against popular influencers like ALISSASAYS (19) and NOWHERE (16) in a cut-throat competition for the coveted internship. After impressing Madolyn and securing the internship, Marco finds himself on the path to self-discovery, caught between newfound friends like VENETIA (20), Madolyn’s assistant, and enemies like CHAD (25), Madolyn’s son.
COMMENTS: First, for those not already in the know, a primer on just what "gender nonconforming” means. It’s used to describe a person whose behavior or appearance does not conform to prevailing cultural and social expectations about what is appropriate for their gender. Here, Marco is an ambitious and creative latinx gender-nonconforming teenager who uses makeup and fashion to let his queer self bloom. He is a he, not a she, and that’s important. He’s gay but he’s not transgender. And he lives in a world where that’s not a problem. Not once in this script is there a moment when somebody mocks him for who he is, how he acts, or what he wears. That may not seem realistic and perhaps the writers will tackle homophobia later on, but that’s not what the pilot is about and quite frankly it’s refreshing.
Marco is an incredible, groundbreaking character whose struggles are universal. Like The CW’s critically-acclaimed Jane The Virgin and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the show has the potential to add something new to the television landscape and to our shared cultural conversation. Unlike Netflix’s Insatiable (which was also originally a CW pilot), Glamorous doesn’t try to be controversial for the sake of controversy, handling its subject matter instead with care and sensitivity.
While this isn't a Ryan Murphy show, it's hard not to think of him when reading this script. No other writer/producer/director has done as much for the positive representation of the queer community on television, and without Ryan Murphy, I don't think there'd be a Glamorous. What’s exciting about this project is it’s not just Marco being gay and more traditional characters surrounding him. Most of the other characters (in fact, all of the male characters in the show) are gay. Truly, it's like 50 shades of gay: Marco is the fabulous gay; Chad is the ambitious alpha gay, with a personality and wardrobe that would seem more at home on Wall Street than the beauty industry; BEN is the nerdy gay who has a crush on Marco but is too shy to act on it; LAWRENCE (50s) is the older gay, the head of Product Development who’s happily married; and Dizmal is like the younger version of Billy Porter’s Pray Tell in Pose. They come from different paths and generations, and together they tell a strong, diverse, story of what it’s like to be a gay man in 2019. And that's a lot of things, believe me.
The pilot is reminiscent of The Carrie Diaries, which also aired on The CW a few years ago. It’s a coming-of-age story full of cultural references, both light-hearted and inspirational. And it’s full of possibilities from the get-go, especially in the romance department. Will Marco sleep with his enemy Chad, or will he fall into Ben’s arms? Can something happen with Dizmal? These are questions one can rarely ask when it comes to gay characters on other shows.
There are particularly nice moments between Marco and his mother Julia, who share a very close relationship. Madolyn is more of a mentor figure, a bit like Melora Hardin’s Jacqueline in The Bold Type though there’s a bit more ambiguity with her. She’s not a Devil Wears Prada-kind of boss, but her intentions are also not entirely pure: this canny businesswoman and entrepreneur intends to make Marco her eyes and ears in the company, using him to discover what’s going on behind her back. Yes, it's soapy. And since I haven’t mentioned it yet: it’s also very funny -- full of punchlines and bitchy comments.
FINAL RECOMMENDATION: Glamorous may have to fight with Riverdale‘s spin-off Katy Keene for a spot on The CW, since they're both set in the fashion/beauty industry (and Glamorous is probably not the safer option of the two). But if the stars align, it could become a critically-acclaimed, award-winning show for The CW. I have a feeling that no matter what happens with the network, this show is too good to not to find its way to viewers, whether it’s on traditional TV or on streaming.
OVERALL PROJECT SCORE:
[ ] PASS
[ ] CONSIDER
BEST FIT: Pairing it with Dynasty on Fridays would probably make sense, so long as Netflix gets the international rights and US first window rights.