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To Watch: Grace and Frankie

We went camping for the Victoria Day weekend, which inevitably means mountains of laundry at the end. Monday night we started loading up the washer and decided to watch the new series Grace and Frankie as we folded and sorted. I love both Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, so I was predisposed to like the series, which also has Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston on board. grace_and_frankie

If you’re not familiar with the story, Grace and Frankie’s husbands are divorce lawyers who’ve been working together for decades. In the first episode, they reveal to their wives that they’re also lovers, and want a shot at happiness together as they’re tired of hiding. Both couples have kids and the two families have been connected for years. The series looks at how these connections change as the relationships of the parents change.

The comedy hinges on Grace and Frankie’s differences as they cope. Grace is driven to control, and wants privacy as she deals with the changes. Frankie is open to her feelings, her art, and her people. The two haven’t been buddies all the long years, and now they are pushed together as property and support payouts are in process.

Each woman mourns the loss of husband and marriage and is surprised by the turn of circumstances, but neither turns to homophobia. I like that. Many comedies would use this slyly even as society becomes more accepting. Grace and Frankie are dealing with a loss, but they’re not talking about their husbands’ relationship as something to be scorned.

In the last episode we watched (spoiler alert), Grace was going on a date, and poo-poohed Frankie’s suggestion she take condoms along. Frankie told her that more seniors are getting STIs because of erectile dysfunction drugs (and crummy safe sex education), which is true. Frankie sneaks some in Grace’s bag just in case.

This many episodes in, I think so far so good: older women as main characters dealing with the shifts that marriage break ups bring and impact on family, sexuality and self-preservation. I’m looking forward to more.


Janet   |  @janet_madsen

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