A Noteworthy Binge: Grace and Frankie

Last summer, “Grace and Frankie” was released on Netflix to audiences worldwide.
The comedy, (or dramedy, if you will) explores the life of two women in their seventies forced to re-evaluate their lives and relationships. These women, though never before detrimental to the well-being of the other, are thrown together after their husbands ask for a divorce.
Grace is a top-tier socialite, who thrives on her ability to impress and be comfortable. Her
undying self-confidence and need for self-preservation are shaken when her “ticket” to the elite
class is removed. She once owned a business and modeled on the label, but her husband, Robert a
divorce lawyer, came with all the prestige.
On the other hand, Frankie finds the little things in life to be of the most comfort to her. Frankie
follows whatever path the universe sets out for her and rarely questions its motives. From the first episode, she embarks on a journey of self-discovery to begin her path to understanding, shown to
Frankie when she drinks Peyote tea, a Native American tea to induce trances.
Although these women greatly differ, their lives intertwine until the divorce proceedings have ended, which only adds to the distrust and rocky waters these two face together.
Behind these divided characters is a real message. The show touches on an aspect of television often not discussed – the exploration of age and being alone.
In Hollywood, roles of older women often go to younger actresses and makeup is applied to add years, which, in turn, makes being an actress harder with age. Jane Fonda who plays Grace stated, “ageism is alive and well [in Hollywood]. It is OK for men to get older, because men become more desirable by being powerful. With women, it’s all about how we look. Men are very visual – they want young women. So, for us, it’s all about trying to stay young [Washington Post].”
We as a society also don’t like to discuss what its like to get older, let alone the idea of being alone. It’s nice to see a comedy about women that is not depreciating them or objectifying them, but simply showing life.
“Grace and Frankie” has some definite weaknesses, though. The cast within the show show is primarily white. All four of the main characters are white, three of their children are white and one is black and all but one of their friends are white. Of the two black characters, one possesses an ethnic name, Nwabudike, but goes by Bud. The other is one of Frankie’s friends who is an African American gay man.
It may be lacking diversity but the issues it addresses are equally as strong. Aging women, society reaction to gay men, defeating stereotypes, addiction and the harm it causes are just some of the issues presented.
Grace and Frankie” adds something to television that many shows don’t.
Similar shows are: “Transparent,” “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” “Master of None” and “Jane the Virgin.”
Starring: Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Martin Sheen, Sam Waterson, June Diane Raphael, Baron Vaughn, Brooklyn Decker and Ethan Embry.