I have just finished watching the first and second seasons of Grace and Frankie with Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. I realize I am late to the G and F party, but I’d like to put in a good word for this original HBO series. It is funny, topical and, of course, well-acted. Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston complete the primary acting quartet and, while not as fluid as Lily and Jane, they do a great job of portraying two 70-year-old men who have finally admitted to the world that they love each other. That is the premise of the series: two husbands who are law partners finally admit to their wives after 40 years of marriage that they have had an affair with each other for the past 20 years and want divorces so they can get married. This premise provides an opportunity to cover a lot of topics on the show: love, sex, betrayal, gay issues, straight issues, family issues and most importantly, aging issues.
The most refreshing and novel aspect of Grace and Frankie is that it is about people in their seventies. This is not your usual television fare because these 70-year-olds are healthy folks who just happen to be the age that most of us think of as “old” and yet they aren’t really that old at all. They are definitely older than the usual protagonists in television, but they each defy the stereotype of aging. And they tackle tough issues while they are at it, such as a love interest of Grace’s whose wife has advanced Alzheimer’s and end-of-life decisions for one of Frankie and Grace’s closest friends who has learned that her cancer has spread all over her body.
The gist is that this series, which I initially resisted I must admit, is well written and has a lot to say to those of us who are getting older, but who face challenges daily about love, sex, friendship, career, relationships and family.
Suffice it to say that I highly recommend this series. It is not always perfect but it has its charm, primarily because the approach to all issues is never the easy way out. These characters work their way through their feelings on some tough life problems, and they do it with a genuine desire to look at all sides of whatever it is they are dealing with. That is impressive in itself.
Grace and Frankie can be found on Netflix.
Give it a look-see for some thought-provoking television that is also entertaining.
Two enthusiastic thumbs up.