Grace and Frankie isn’t your average TV show. The Netflix comedy is in a league of its own. The show is about Grace Hanson (Jane Fonda) and Frankie Bergstein (Lily Tomlin) who find out that their husbands are going to divorce them and marry each other. Their husbands Robert Hanson (Martin Sheen) and Sol Bergstein (Sam Waterson) have been having a love affair for nearly 20 years. As to be expected, Grace and Frankie are in complete shock, rightfully angry, and expecting answers. After all, Grace and Frankie are in their early 70s when Robert and Sol break the news.
In season one, Grace and Frankie work to pick up the pieces after their ending marriages. Their unlikely friendship reads as one of convenience in the early episodes. They have this singular shared experience and while they were only ever friendly toward each other when they had to be before, the situation binds them in a way they never expect. Season one is slow, easy, and a little dull, but it serves as the setting up of the lives, hopes, and dreams of these four dynamic characters and their funny and witty children. Season one allows Grace and Frankie the room to grow into their newly formed friendship. You learn Frankie smokes marijuana and has great faith in both meditation and vegetarianism, and Grace has a strong need for constant control and has a slight drinking problem. Yes, season one of Grace and Frankie was about friendship in its messiest form and the work to pick up the pieces after a sudden life change.
In season two, we find Grace and Frankie in a much better place. They have forgiven their husbands as best they could and now are facing the prospects of new love all on their own. Frankie has got a thing with her farmer Jacob (Ernie Hudson) whose yams help make the lubricant she is aiming to sell in stores. Meanwhile, Grace works to rekindle a flame with her first love, Philip (Sam Elliot). Season two is very much still about the friendship between the two women; however, there is a familiarity that was lacking in season one for obvious reasons. Now, it seems as if their friendship is an anchor ready to steady them even when they venture out on their own. When Frankie finds herself taking her driver’s test again for the fourth time, and when Grace goes out on her first date with Philip, Frankie is there for her to come home to, and vice versa. Where season one was slow and focused on building Grace and Frankie’s worlds, season two lets them live fully in it.
Grace and Frankie is witty, quick, and original. They allow their lead characters storylines that push the envelope while making the audience laugh out loud. The characters and writers of the show don’t mince words; they say what they mean and mean what they say. Grace and Frankie are given a sexual and romantic autonomy not afforded to older women in most other forms of media, especially television. The chemistry between Fonda and Tomlin is electric; they play off each other as if they have been acting together their entire lives. At its core, that’s what makes the show so special. Grace and Frankie is a show everyone should be watching.
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Why You Should Be Watching ‘Grace and Frankie’: photos courtesy of Netflix