Why I Love ‘Grace And Frankie’.
I recently found myself with a bit more time on my hands and a need for some cheering up, after being laid off from a job I really loved.
One night, after I got bored with watching The Holiday over and over again, I gave Netflix’s Grace and Frankie a shot. It was like my TV gave me a big hug.
Vox.com reviewed the show, stating it was the most relaxing show on television.
I wouldn’t go that far, but it is sweet, funny, entertaining and refreshing, given the fact that there are as many older actors as there are younger actors within its cast.
The writing is witty, and honestly, it’s one of the few shows that literally makes me laugh out loud.
While I’m not a senior citizen, I’m 45 years old, and I’m taking copious notes.
For those who are unfamiliar, the show is about two women in their early 70s who are rivals, their husbands are business partners who also become partners, romantically speaking.
In some ways, this show is like the 2.0 version of Modern Family.
In many episodes, this duo is replaced, ignored and forgotten. Perhaps I’m feeling that vibe a bit more these days as I head out to interviews as a 45-year old woman competing with younger applicants.
Like Grace and Frankie, I had a vision of my life going in a certain secure direction, and now I’m being led somewhere else. It takes a strong person to show up on job interviews full of confidence, only to be rejected for being overqualified.
I’m not sure what is more lonely: being a senior citizen, or being single. And perhaps being both is the worst.
For the record, I think this era’s old people are not old at all. They are looking good and making things happen. I’m a huge fan of the Advanced Style blog, which features fashionable senior citizens.
Plus, Jean Paul Gaultier just used a handful of silver-haired seniors in a recent runway show. Maybe Old is the new Cool. These seniors are not like the seniors of my Grandma’s era, who were, quite honestly, racist, mean and stubborn. The seniors of today’s world, like Grace and Frankie, are evolving and creating.
“It’s practically farm-to-vagina.”
After a harsh day of job-hunting, I would just love to come over to their beach house and have Grace fix me a martini (and I must say, I do like a dry martini with two olives). Then Frankie could give me some sort of witchy art therapy.
“I just took muscle relaxers with peyote?”
“And you’re welcome.”
The most touching episode was when Babe, a bon vivant friend of the duo, played by the amazing actress Estelle Parsons, decides to have Frankie assist her in her own suicide after her cancer has come back, as the cancer is everywhere.
While most shows would have shown the horror of finding the body, then the calling of the ER or cops or whoever you call when you find a dead body, and lastly, there would be some sort of lengthy police interrogation.
Grace and Frankie skims over all of that, and gives us a gentle metaphor of a life ending as the lights literally dim as the night sky changes colors. We are left with the image of this dark house in all its post-party glory as the sun goes down.
When I see a review that states how gentle, calm or relaxing a show is, I wonder if it were centered on two older men, would it be labeled as such?
I think that one has to be anything but gentle to deal with the type of subject matter that approaches the last years of life.
In the scene where Grace offers up the business idea of a farm-to-vagina all-natural lube to her daughter, she warns that by only appealing to the younger demographic, she is losing out on a huge market. Isn’t that the truth about the real time market?
There is a huge demographic that is rising up, and shows like Grace and Frankie are ironically relevant.
Spoiler alert: One of my favorite scenes from the last episode of Season Two was after this big blow-up and realization that Grace and Frankie have been dismissed in some way by every single member of their family. As a result, they announce that they will go into the business of making vibrators for women their age.
They walk out triumphantly in slo-mo with rap music playing, like one does on TV. This is a really clever twist.
Not only is it a great product idea (and actually their second great product idea as there have been many blogs written about Frankie’s yam lube) but talk about turning lemons into lemonade and then taking that lemonade and turning it into popsicles (or whatever you do with lemonade to make it fabulous… oh, you can add vodka to it, never mind).
I like our hero’s journey here: first they are rejected by their husbands, then ignored and dismissed by the rest of their family, and now they are about to align and embark on a business adventure. I recently attended a Yoga class where my instructor asked the class this question: do you want to be the victim or the student?
I’ve been in victim mode most of my life. It’s amazing how much time I’ve wasted while wondering why x-y-z happened to me. I could have been designing vibrators or, well… doing something more productive. Plus, it’s just more fun to be the student. This student can’t wait to see what her fellow students will do in Season Three.