Season two of Glow brought a lot of drama in and out of the ring. But one of the series most shocking moments happened offscreen, yet had a big impact on the flashy finale.
Spoilers ahead for Glow.
We’re talking the death of Florian, Bash’s bestie/butler. In season one, he was the reluctant witness to Debbie’s drunken meltdown during the GLOW bash at Bash’s. Later, he showed up in a tuxedo top and jean shorts to present the crown. We knew little about him other than that he and Bash had been friends since third grade, and he keeps their house stocked with drugs and sugary cereal. Though a minor character, season two was defined by Florian’s absence.
In “Perverts Are People Too,” we discover that Bash has been crashing in Carmen and Rhonda’s room in a Garfield sleeping bag. “I don’t want to be at home right now,” he confesses to Carmen, “It’s too lonely.” Florian’s left Bash’s mansion after they fought over another bounced check. “He said I was being completely solipsistic. I looked it up. It means that you think you’re the center of the universe and you don’t care about other people. Which is completely insane because I hate being alone!”
Carmen encourages Bash to track Florian down to make amends. This leads them to a hot bartender at a swinging gay bar, which comes as a major shock to Bash. When the studly drink-slinger hits on him, Bash basically flees after learning Florian hasn’t been to this bar in weeks. The mystery of the missing butler buddy is solved in episode nine, “Rosalie,” with an unexpected call from a local hospital. Florian Becker has died. Bash was his emergency contact. Asked how Florian passed, the doctor delicately says, “Technically pneumonia.” They won’t say the word that was a cavalier prank call punchline in season one. Florian died of complications related to AIDS. The doctor further hints at this with a warning to Bash, “You should also know you may have trouble finding a funeral home that will take the body.”
In the 1980s—when Glow is set—AIDS (formerly called GRID or Gay-Related Immune Deficiency) was absolutely feared beyond reason. So, funeral homes refused to take bodies of its victims. This is also why Bash hired cleaners to scrub his home and throw out everything that belonged to Florian. It’s homophobia in part, but also a deep and irrational fear of the “gay plague.” But some fans are speculating there may be more to Bash’s dramatic over-reaction. Essentially, is Bash gay? Was that a truth he couldn’t admit to himself or even his best friend? And with Florian gone because of the “gay plague” is that why Bash rushed to marry Rhonda?
In the finale ep “Every Potato Has a Receipt,” Bash tells Rhonda, “I’ve been coming to your room for weeks, sleeping on your floor and I’ve been trying to tell you that I’m in love with you. I have trouble processing my emotions sometimes. Ideally, I would have told you this weeks ago and we’d go on a date, and figure it out. But maybe we do everything backwards?”
This confession of love feels out of nowhere. There have been no shots of Bash looking longingly at Rhonda, no hint of his interest in her. And this explanation for crashing in her room ignores the bond that Carmen and Bash have formed over two seasons. I suspect the marriage was a band-aid to a couple of problems that threaten his life. It keeps Rhonda in the country via Green Card marriage without having to marry her off the creepy fan called “Cupcake.” It means he won’t have to be alone in his mansion. (“Rhonda just married a millionaire without a prenup!”) And it means that he has something big and dramatic to push away his feelings about Florian. Were they romantic feelings? I’m torn.
On one hand, Bash hasn’t shown much sexual or romantic interest in any of the women of GLOW. Sure, he and Carmen have grown close, but the only physical aspect of their relationship was when he kissed her to fool her dad into thinking she had a boyfriend. But neither did he seem to have the hots for Florian. And if Bash is gay would he be all that shocked to learn Florian was? Or maybe he knew that, but was shocked Florian would go to a gay bar? Were Bash and Florian lovers? I don’t think so. The supposed fan theory evidence that Bash is gay seems to be centered on his love wrestling (big, burly, glistening men!), glitter eye-makeup, and costumes (Bob Mackie, dominatrix gear, and gowns for parties). As much as I’m for more LGBTQIA representation in GLOW (that lesbian love arc was too brief!), in a show that’s all about presenting stereotypes and then subverting them, a reveal that glitter-loving Bash is gay would be off-brand.
I suspect that Bash’s sexual orientation will become a focal point if GLOW gets a third season. I suspect that Rhonda and he will not have a sexual relationship, and she’ll write it off as him being a gentleman, then him being gay. I suspect she’ll tell her roommate Carmen, who will be crushed because she’s been crushing on this Malibu Ken. But my theory is that Bash’s love that dare not speak its name is for Carmen. I think he was devastated by the death of his best friend because not only was it the death of his best friend, but also it was sudden, shocking, and revealed that Bash didn’t know Florian as well as he thought. He probably also has shame tied into how he handled the death, passing off the duties to Florian’s seemingly estranged mother and treating their shared home as a shameful biohazard.
I don’t know if Bash is romantically interested in Carmen. But I think he’s so scared of being close to someone that he chose to run away from the possibility of a deeper intimacy to play house with Rhonda. So Rhonda is a beard, but not in the standard sense. Of course, this is all theorizing. We’ll only get a solid answer if/when GLOW season three comes to Netflix.