(Wo)man Up: Invisible ‘Grace and Frankie’

Grace and Frankie made its debut in early May of 2015. The Netflix Original Series reunited Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin for the small screen. The series works within an immensely popular genre – dramedy, which means it holds components of comedy as well as moments of drama in the characters’ plot. Since their arrival, Grace and Frankie have been associated with the Golden Girls. Fonda and Tomlin depict two 70-something women who hate each other, but their husbands are friends, and they work in a law firm together. Soon the ladies find out that their husbands may be a little more than just friends.

That confession completely changes their lives. Despite their initial hate, they decide to live together in a beach house, and show everybody that they can also live fully and fall in love again. Grace and Frankie present in both a funny and sad manner, one of the world most important truths: you don’t have to be young to be able to do anything you want. However, sometimes you have to do unimaginable things so people notice you — something like, for example stealing cigarettes. In that particular scene, Frankie takes a pack. Did you steal those? – Grace asks. The other woman admits to it and explains why. They have power: you can’t see me, you can’t stop me.

The creators of the show, Martha Kauffmann (Friends) and Howard J. Morris (Home Improvement) did a great job avoiding any ageist jokes in a show about age. They also invited many great actors such as Lisa Kudrow, Peter Gallagher and, of course, in the roles of Sol Bergstein and Robert Hanson – Sam Waterston and Martin Sheen. The series couldn’t possibly be bad. Why? Because the creator that made a cult TV show about six friends that still makes money after 25 years just wouldn’t let it happen. 

The question is, how come such a great show didn’t get any Emmy Awards or Golden Globe? They’ve been repeatedly nominated in Primetime Emmy Awards. But maybe the reason is rather simple: extreme competition. Only one time, in 2016, was Lily Tomlin nominated in Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy for the Netflix Original Series. It’s so bizarre, as Grace and Frankie touches such an important subject like aging. As I mentioned earlier, it shows women in their 70s who, despite everything, live life to the fullest. They also have needs, not only social, but sexual, which is funnily demonstrated, when the characters decide to design a vibrator that facilitates the use for older women. I don’t think there are many contemporary series that present those aspects, especially not while making it “grossly” funny.

The production is not only that, though. First and foremost, it’s about the pure female friendship of two older women. They don’t give up on life just because their marriage ended. On the contrary – the show allows them to just start living their lives and find themselves again.

In four years, Grace and Frankie has won only ONE award. Jane Fonda got OFTA Television Award (Online Film and Television Associaton) for The Best Actress in a Comedy Series in 2015. The series also has 81% of a score on Average on the Tomatometer. What’s the problem then? We have a great cast, fantastic story-line, an important plot, and high ratings. It almost seems that people are “age phobic” against Grace and Frankie. Or maybe, like it was mentioned above, it’s merely the state of competition?

The questions will remain unanswered. I will never understand why. 

For now, the only thing that’s left is wait for the last and final season premiere in 2020. Now let’s get some watermelon, vodka and make ourselves a few fruity drinks. According to Grace Hanson, it’s just like cooking. When it comes to some days, I can’t argue with that.

Grace and Frankie is available to stream on Netflix.

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