I must say that new TV shows have been positively surprising me with their diversity (thanks, Netflix!). The choice of what to watch is no longer between series about financially secure 30 somethings looking for love and male lawyers series. It’s an oversimplification, of course, but let’s just say that a lot of shows deviate from the “safe” formulas and explore new areas. A good example of such a show is “Grace and Frankie”
Grace (Jane Fonda) and Frankie (Lily Tomlin) fiercely dislike each other. They have to spend time together as a part of the same Coupleverse. Their relationship changes drastically when at the age of 70, they learn that their husbands are in love with one another and they’ve been cheating on the ladies for the last twenty years. The gentlemen want to get married and the two very different women are forced by circumstances to share a house. Grace is a well-groomed former business woman who enjoys her Martinis a bit too much. She’s rather detached in her behavior and appearances are of utmost importance to her. Frankie, on the other hand, is an unsuccessful artist with a soft spot for weed and a keen interest in spirituality. Their characters naturally clash, but shared misery (just think about your coworkers ;)) can bring people closer together.
The husbands are present in the story, but the plot focuses primarily on the experiences of their (ex-)wives. It’s a bitter-sweet journey for the audience too! Do you think that dating at 30 is difficult? Try doing it at 70! Grace and Frankie experience many ups and downs in their rather mature single life. There’s no beating around the bush about sexuality in this show, in particular, about mature sexuality. I really liked the lack of prudishness! As we know there’s a lot of ageism in dating and a TV show that speaks specifically about sexual needs and problems of older women is a novelty. Society loves to put breaks on female sexuality. Too young isn’t good (just watch 13 Reasons Why to learn about differences between parents’ ideas about their kids innocence and reality) and too old isn’t good either. According to many, women should only have sex in their reproductive years and that, preferably with one man they’re married to and with not too much pleasure. Well, Grace and Frankie are getting some well-deserved cock and mostly without much fear of “sex in the vagina” (you’ll have to watch the series to really get the joke). These women feel they deserve sex, love and professional satisfaction regardless of their age. It’s not Girl Power, it’s Granny Power, here.
“Grace and Frankie” is a series about the right to pursue happiness, regardless of everything. The husbands, Saul (Sam Waterston) and Robert (Martin Sheen), make a difficult decision of being together, disregarding the expectations of others. It’s not because they’re assholes and it’s an easy decision for them to make, it’s because they want to be true to themselves, even if it means unpleasant consequences. Grace and Frankie fight for their well-being, regardless of how many doors close in front of them. Last but not least, there are children of both couples, who make similarly difficult decisions.
“Grace and Frankie” isn’t a hahaha and hihihi show that laughs everything off. The characters seem to be real people with human problems, even if there’s a lot of lightness in the series. I think this is the main reason why I enjoyed it so much. I may not be 70, but who hasn’t been disregarded in their life because of their gender, age or other quality that people can be prejudiced against? Who doesn’t want to be loved? Who hasn’t faced the difficult choice between pleasing others and doing what they feel is right? At the bottom of all of our experiences and troubles, lays our need to simply be happy.
The only thing that’s wrong with the series is the opening song, which is a butchered version of “Stuck in the Middle With You”. Let me remind you how it should sound like, before you start watching the series that I really recommend.