Netflix is on a roll with the original series lately and here’s another gem! Grace and Frankie stars Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin (REUNITED!) and this show is gold (there’s a “golden years” joke in there somewhere).
Let’s talk cast first. This glorious ensemble is lead by two heavyweights. Fonda plays our fave waspy, uptight retired big biz owner. Tomlin plays our fave art teacher–you know, the pot smoking, peyote tripping, making her own lube, fun aunt. Sam Waterston (Law & Order) plays Tomlin’s husband and Martin Sheen (The West Wing) plays Fonda’s husband. How great is that foursome? Other great mentionables: Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters) and Craig T. Nelson (Coach), as well as June Diane Raphael (Burning Love, awesome podcast How Did This Get Made?). The emphasis isn’t constantly on one-upping each other, either. There’s a give and take that I really appreciate within the ensemble cast.
If you don’t know the premise, here it is: the husbands of Fonda and Tomlin have fallen in love with each other after 20 years of a secret affair. Fonda and Tomlin end up living together in the beach house the two couples had invested in together over the years. At first I thought the premise was just a convenient way to get Tomlin and Fonda stuck in a house together and force them to start dating again, but as the show goes on, I found the writers and actors really did the storyline justice. Sheen and Waterston (especially) get real props from me for not playing their relationship like a gimmick.
But really, this show is all about our two leading comics. They carry this show effortlessly and with such charm. I feel like this show comes after years of “older people” rom-coms and dramas (see anything with Meryl Streep in it lately) creeping into theatres and probably after years of veteran actors telling studio/network execs that people would happily watch older peeps fumbling through new romances and menopause. Tomlin is my personal favourite because she plays a quirky nut so genuinely, but of course Fonda is royalty in every way. She’s so old school and so smooth.
This show is like Grumpy Old Men with better actors, better writing, better chemistry and better hair. They talk about love, friendship, sex, work, passion, gentrification, weed, death, online dating, texting, and figuring your shit out. The whole feel might be a bit subdued for some people, but I’m really into it, as it leaves room to really get into the characters. I can’t wait for the second season.
Image courtesy of Netflix.