Finally! A Comedy Series for Women Like You and Me
“You’ve got to watch Grace and Frankie!”
Over and over, I heard the same refrain. It came from my sisters, my friends, from women at the office. It came out of the blue from women I didn’t even know.
“You’ve got to watch this show. You’ll love it.”
So finally, five years after its inception, I gave in.
I am so very glad I did.
Grace and Frankie is funny and fresh. At its heart, it’s OUR story.
That’s why I love it, and I think you will too.
If you, like me, have been resisting the gravitational pull of this show, let me fill you in on the details.
Grace and Frankie launched in 2015 on Netflix. It’s now in its sixth season and has a huge fan base.
Along the way, this series has accumulated numerous Emmy and Screen Actors Guild award nominations.
It will finish its successful run with its seventh and final season next year. When the final show wraps, it will be the longest-running Netflix series in history with a total of 94 episodes.
This is great news for anyone who is just discovering this charming show and for those who are reluctant to see it end.
The talented cast is led by Jane Fonda (Grace) and Lily Tomlin (Frankie). It’s a joy to watch.
The Stories We’ve Been Waiting For
The series begins with Grace and Frankie waiting for their husbands to join them at a restaurant. When Robert (Martin Sheen) and Sol (Sam Waterson) arrive, they announce they’ve fallen in love and are leaving their wives for each other.
Their declaration turns Grace and Frankie’s worlds upside down. Before they know it, the two women (who don’t even like each other) have become unlikely roommates.
The sitcom takes this precarious and painful situation and turns it on its head. Every episode is packed with laughs, but there are also surprising moments of honesty and tenderness.
Surviving with Humor and Grace
Like any sitcom, the show isn’t always grounded in reality.
For example, Grace and Frankie are probably the luckiest divorcees I’ve ever known, with their ocean-front beach home and their carefree lifestyle. Money is definitely not an issue.
That doesn’t sound remotely like my world!
Still, the series tackles real and meaningful subjects with humor and grace. Episode after episode, it delivers stories that resonate with women, whatever their age.
These are the stories we’ve been waiting for, delivered with a laugh and a wink to let us know that no matter what life throws us, like Grace and Frankie, we will survive.
Wonderful, imperfect women
Grace is claustrophobic and pretty tightly wound. She’s a businesswoman who can’t exit her bedroom without dressing to kill. A perfectionist to the core, she’s not one to talk about her feelings.
Frankie is part hippie, part artist, and anything but linear. Her free-spirited approach to life drives Grace crazy.
The two are cordial acquaintances at the beginning of the show. They put up with each other because their husbands share a law practice and they have to play nice.
Then their marriages go up in flames at the same time.
Suddenly they find that, though they may not like each other, no one else in the world understands what they are going through.
A New Adventure Begins
Their blossoming friendship is one of the pleasures of the show. Another is the journey of self-discovery and transformation both women embark on.
In this series, as in life, what first appears to be the end of the road is only the beginning of a different adventure.
It’s a reminder to all of us that who we think we are, what we think we know, may not be true.
Friendship and connection can be found in the most unlikely places if we let it.
Just like old friends
Our differences make us interesting
I’m old enough to know that there are many different ways to make your way through life. My friends may not walk the same path as me, but it’s a joy to have them in my life when our paths meet.
In the end, we are all quirky collections of the experiences that have shaped us. None of us are perfect.
But boy, are we interesting.
Grace and Frankie have now joined my hodge-podge collection of friends. Like the real women in my life, they lift me up. Though we don’t always see eye to eye, we don’t really need to.
In the end, they always leave me refreshed and so very glad I know them.
Telling it like it is
Women, at least in my world, have always talked frankly about the things that matter to them.
Grace and Frankie are sometimes brutally honest with each other. They don’t hold anything back.
Maybe that’s because, at their age, they don’t have time to beat around the bush anymore. Maybe it’s because they are reeling from their divorces and they don’t have enough emotional gas left in their tanks to pretend.
Whatever the reason, this honesty is what allows them to grow into great friends.
We could learn a thing or two from their example.
Friends: A Recipe for Sanity
We need our friends to bounce ideas off of, to reassure us, to laugh with us, and to tell us the truth.
They love us when we’re not even sure we love ourselves. Even when it’s painful.
Especially when it’s painful.
These friendships keep us sane and happy. In the same way, Grace and Frankie feel like old friends. They’re not perfect. They’re sometimes frustrating. But, God, I love them.
They make me feel like all the obstacles in my small world are normal. Best of all, they make me feel that whatever the outcome, all will be well.
Tackling Tough Topics with Humor
Stories we can relate to
I love the way Grace and Frankie dives into tough topics. It’s a comedy, but that doesn’t mean they take their gloves off.
Buried amongst the laughter are moments that perfectly capture the difficulties of life, love, family, and getting older.
One moment that will stick with me forever came in Season 1 when the two women attend a funeral for an old friend.
It’s the first time Grace and Frankie have been out in public since they separated from their husbands, who (of course) are also attending the funeral.
Somehow, the two couples get through this awkward situation without incident. Then just as they are leaving, Frankie’s soon to be ex-husband, Sol, pulls up in his car.
Without thinking, Frankie does what she’s done a million times before: she climbs into the passenger seat to ride home.
It’s only when Robert walks up to the car that Frankie remembers she is no longer going home with Sol. Robert is.
She will never go home with him again.
Fresh STories and Lots of laughs
Love and sex are also frequent topics, in all their permutations. (Yes, there is sex after 60!).
After so many years of marriage, the women’s dating skills are a little rusty. Not only that, things have changed. A lot. They need to master the art of swipe left!
These topics lead to some of the funniest scenes. In one episode, Grace assumes what she hopes is a seductive pose in her dark bedroom while her new beau gropes his way to the bed, stubbing his toe along the way.
Frankie is frequently found at the stove whipping up a batch of her Yam & Honey Lube … need I say more? (I’ll never look at a sweet potato the same way again!)
They hit life head-on, and I love them for it.
Blazing a trail for the next generation of women
Up until now, my images of life post-retirement were formed by memories of my grandmothers. I will always remember them in their final years, fading away in old folks’ homes, lonely and sad.
There haven’t been a lot of role models in this age group to show us another way. Sure, you see older couples fly south with the snowbirds for a few seasons of fun. But then what?
Then along comes Gracie and Frankie to blaze the trail for the next generation of women.
You can describe Frankie and Grace as many things. Quirky, busy, sassy, honest, silly, and experienced come to mind.
But old? Never.
Too busy living to grow old
They may need a hand up now and then, and there is no denying their chronological age, but what strikes me most is how unrelentingly alive they are.
They are busy living. There’s no time to be old.
I’m so happy to have characters like Grace and Frankie leading the way for me into the next decades.
If they’re having so much fun, despite all the crap that life is throwing at them, what do I have to be afraid of?
I watch this show and I feel hopeful and happy. It gives me permission to stop taking life’s ups and downs so seriously.
Make Way for mature characters and role models
It’s wonderful that the actresses playing these roles are actually the same age (or older) than the characters they are playing. This is not typical Hollywood casting, at least not for women.
Fonda was born in 1937 and is 82 years old. Tomlin is the younger of the two at 80. Both look fabulous. They ARE fabulous.
Even more impressive, they are headlining a hit series at 80 years old. I love it!
I’m hoping this is a new trend.
The Golden Girls is the last sitcom I remember that was dedicated to mature women. It’s been 27 years since its last episode aired. We were long overdue for another show that stars 60+ women in vital, positive roles.
Perhaps the days of older actresses being reduced to saccharine-sweet, doting grandmothers or frail mugging victims will come to an end.
Look out, Hollywood! Women are Watching
Maybe Hollywood will finally acknowledge that half the people on the planet are women — and most of us are not 18!
Newsflash, studio execs: women buy tickets too.
Who knows what’s next? Karate-kicking, planet-exploring, grandma zombie fighters? Anything is possible.
Until that day comes, I’ve got 94 episodes of Grace and Frankie to keep me company.
If you haven’t met them yet, I suggest you make a date with them soon!
P.S. What are you watching? Leave a comment with your favorite Grace and Frankie episode or other show recommendations below.