With Netflix churning out their original series like there’s no tomorrow, you would be fooled into thinking that Grace and Frankie brings nothing new to the table. However, you’d be completely wrong as critics and fans rant and rave over this spectacular series which popped up on Netflix last month.
Struggling to come to terms with divorce following their bittersweet lifelong marriages, Grace and Frankie follows our title characters as they face the hardship of separation when their former husbands admit their romantic attachment to one another and announce their engagement.
Touched with the same brush that Meyers used for It’s Complicated (2009) and Frankel used for Hope Springs (2012), series creators Kauffman and Morris have greatly and respectfully managed to represent an age group within Grace and Frankie that is often overlooked in film and especially television. From sex talk to iPhones, it’s refreshing to see 70 year old characters out of zimmer frames and walking freely, not conforming to a stereotype which is far from true in reality. Supposedly Grace and Frankie, played by Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin respectively, are the Golden Girls of the 21st century.
With Fonda and Tomlin also acting as executive producers of the show, their characters are beautifully portrayed and developed over the course of the first season. Posing as binary opposites, Grace being the stern, no-nonsense CEO type and Frankie being the former hippie with a joint at Woodstock, they’re both initially presented as interesting individuals but it’s impossible to pair the two together. Contrary to this, though their relationship stands sour for the first few episodes, the two soon become sweet and it’s impossible not to picture them as a best friend duo. Together, Fonda and Tomlin deliver sublime performances to the point where you can’t not develop an emotional attachment.
Co-starring as Grace and Frankie’s ex-lovers, Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston play the engaged couple Robert and Sol respectively. Although their gay relationship is seemingly offered as a joke to begin with, it slowly develops into a somewhat more serious matter by the end of the season. However, with a constant will-they-won’t-they question mark above the heads of Frankie and Sol, it’s particularly difficult to put faith into the relationship of Sheen and Waterston’s characters. Thankfully, although this story arc is crucial to the narrative, it isn’t the be all and end all of Grace and Frankie.
From bonds in friendship and family to bonds in relationships, don’t let the comedy categorisation fool you. Of course, the entire show is hilarious but this rollercoaster ride of emotion will have you laughing one minute and tearing up the next.
Whether you’re laughing or crying, you’ll find that one of the most remarkable things about Grace and Frankie is that you remember each individual episode as a whole; the entire series doesn’t merge into one long episode unlike so many shows out there. The name of the episode, the story and the goings on, it’s so captivating that you’ll unknowingly make mental notes. Ultimately, the episodes each contribute significantly to the main story arc and the developments within them make them distinctive.
It’s only been on Netflix for a month so you can still jump on the bandwagon easily enough by dedicating a day or two to Grace and Frankie. Need convincing further? Well, the show has been renewed for a second season which will be coming our way in 2016!
Was the first season of Grace and Frankie a sweet dream or a nightmare?
Comment with your thoughts.