Today I have come to you with some sad news. After watching Season 5 of “Grace and Frankie” I’m officially withdrawing my endorsement of the series. I still think it was worth watching three seasons and the first two were just brilliant but season 5 felt like a complete waste of my lifetime. People like to think in threes so here are three reasons why:
1. Nothing Has Happened
I’ve noticed that series that run for many years have two kinds of problems with the plot in seasons after season 1: either everything happens or nothing happens. Now, bear with me as I explain these two concepts.
Problem 1, meaning that everything happens, is often something attributed to series that involve some action, crime, supernatural events or are an overblown drama since the beginning (think what happens in 13 Reasons Why, Season 2). These series in season 1 surprise us, scare us and towards the end give us a hectic cliffhanger. Unfortunately, this usually means that season 2 requires some Deus Ex Machina or Macgyver kind of a miraculous solution to the problems that concluded season 1. Then season 3 gets even more dense and the next solution is even more improbable. At that point, you kind of want to slap yourself that you keep watching this completely improbable and unrealistic series but you’re hooked. Eventually either the makers realise that they can’t make the character come back from the dead…again or you decide that there’s better stuff to watch.
Problem 2 happens more often with comedy series, sitcoms and regular dramas where less and less or nothing happens in the following seasons. The script writers are adventurous in the beginning, like they were with “Grace and Frankie” when they decided to make a series about two ladies in their late 60’s who’re eager to have all the fun. In this particular example, they managed to do 2 following seasons that were still pretty decent and entertaining.
After that, they seemingly decided that it’s time for safe choices. In the last two seasons the main as well as secondary characters were basically moving back and forth with no truly interesting developments (unless you count getting a dog as exciting, sorry for the spoiler). There have been some surprises but they are all quite predictable. From those of you who’ve watched it, has anyone been surprised by the “cliffhanger” at the end of season 5?
2. The Jokes Are Getting Old
What I really liked about Grace and Frankie in the beginning was that the series was very different to anything else I usually watched. On top of it, it was funny.
Culturally, we don’t joke about older people (or even treat them like partners in a discussion) as if they were some special group. To me that’s a form of ageism.
I loved the message of “Grace and Frankie”: look at us, maybe we can’t run as fast as we used to but we want to be treated like the capable adults that we are!
However, as the series had been progressing, there was less and less consensus about the message. At some points, Grace and Frankie were shown as too old to take care of themselves and we started to think they require full-time helpers and at others these considerations completely disappeared. They were not presented as both capable in some respects and incapable in others but rather as either completely capable or incapable whenever the script writer felt like it. The jokes follow the characters and go one way or the other in a predictable way.
Some of the secondary characters are cartoonish too, particularly because of the repetitiveness of the jokes about them. Many don’t seem to be developing at all.
3. It Includes One of The Worst Lines I’ve Ever Heard
Apart from the series becoming predictably safe and repetitive, season 5 includes one of the worst lines I’ve heard on the screen (and did you know I used to be a fan of monster movies???). Here it is: “Frankie, you can’t fuck your cake and eat it too”. Can you hear the crickets?
I’m sorry because I really really REALLY enjoyed watching this series but it no longer does it for me. I may watch season 6 out of a habit but to you, Dear Rinser, I don’t even recommend watching season 5. Or 4.
Have you watched the newest season? Have you watched the previous ones? Do you agree with my comments? Tell me, please!