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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Netflix Review: ‘Grace & Frankie’

At first glance, Netflix’s “Grace & Frankie” seems like one of those shows your grandma who is trying to feel young again watches. The casual AARP references by the older main characters only serves to remind me of this fact, but this was one of those shows that, yet again, kept hovering on my Netflix dashboard until I finally caved and watched it. Now I can’t stop watching it, and my inner old lady is happy with my decision.

“Grace & Frankie” has an 81 percent on the Average Tomatometer on Rotten Tomatoes. One of the actresses, Jane Fonda, has won an Online Film & Television Association (OFTA) Award for Best Actress in a Comedy Series. While the handful of older actors and actresses as main characters might not entice a young person in their twenties to watch, upon giving it enough of a chance it can be a more than a decent binge-watching show. And, despite age, there are some life lessons throughout, that yes, even the older people can learn from. There is some tension between the two families, which is the premise of the show, that might take a bit of getting used to within the first few episodes, but once you get used to that, you can just enjoy the complex but entertaining train wreck for what it is.

The show is about two women in their seventies whose husbands have, apparently, been cheating on them with each other for the past 20 years, despite having been married for 40 or so years. Through their grown children and coming babies, the show takes us on a whirlwind of journeys and adventures of all kinds in both families, while focusing primarily on the growth of Grace Hanson, played by Fonda, and Frankie Bergstein, played by Lily Tomlin, as individuals both coming out of a, to say the least, stale marriage.
Their husbands, Sol and Robert, played by Sam Waterston and Martin Sheen respectively, eventually do finally marry each other. In one episode, Coyote Bergstein (Ethan Embry), one of Frankie’s two adopted sons, discovers he does want to learn who his birth mother is, despite the unconditional love Frankie has given him even in his darkest moments as a drug and alcohol addict. As with most cases, at first this is a great idea, and the meeting between Coyote’s family, Frankie, and his birth mother, Krystle (Carrie Preston) goes alright, until eventually things sort themselves out and Coyote figures out his mother was Frankie all along. Life lesson learned: family doesn’t always mean blood.
In another series of episodes prior to this one, Grace has been going on a dating spree, trying to figure out what exactly she wants after her crappy end to an, apparently, equally crappy marriage. After breaking up with an old friend of her now ex-husband, through some soul-searching of her own, she finds herself remembering an old flame she had once been in love with, but, because she had been married to Robert at the time, they had eventually lost touch. Long story short, without giving too much of this arc away, this time it’s him who’s married, and his wife is sick with Alzheimer’s, though somehow remembers her from way back then during one moment. Eventually moral conscious once again wins for the them both. Life lesson learned: when in doubt, just leave well enough alone.
I could go on with these, but I can’t without giving away so much more than I already have. If you’re really good with binge watching things, you could probably get away with watching this just in time for season five to come out in May 2019. I’ll probably end up re-watching this myself anyway.