Musings on Grace and Frankie

June 3, 2015
Watch this show!

Watch this show!

Jane Fonda is 77. OMG. 77! When did THAT happen? She’s playing a 70 year old on our new obsession, the Netflix series, Grace and Frankie, and she is good.  She’s awfully thin, though, so much so that it always looks to me like her bones could just snap.  But oh-so-beautiful. She had significant cosmetic surgery some years ago that made her look more generically beautiful than her true self. But her old self seems to be back. Maybe things settle in over time, I don’t know.

Fonda’s a smart cookie. I always liked her.  And she has a beautiful Coton de Tuleare dog.  If this role is one of her swan songs, she couldn’t have chosen a better one.

grace-and-frankieHer costar is Lilly Tomlin, who is hilarious. And 75.  When did THAT happen? There was a day when Tomlin was all over the media with her special brand of comedy. But not for a long time. In this though, her character has inherent sweetness which she plays so well. She also gets to play a little daffy and dotty, a Tomlin special.

Is she gay? She IS a lesbian and married to her long time business partner, I think. Funny how I almost forgot. It’s no big deal.  That’s because being gay is not WHO she is but a part of who she is. Unlike so many celebs today who are either afraid to come out or who come out on parade. Not to mention every celeb in the world, straight or gay, who has to suck face in public for the paps. Silliness. No, Lily’s not only funny, but a class act.

And for all those gay actors who think they’ll lose roles if they come out? Lily is playing a straight woman of a certain age and she is gay-gay-gay.  (Come out, come out, George Clooney!)

This photo provided by Netflix shows, Sam Waterston, left, and Martin Sheen, in the Netflix Original Series "Grace and Frankie," premiering on Friday, May 8.  (Melissa Moseley/Netflix via AP)

Sam Waterston plays her husband. He’s 74 and plays true to age. He’s endearing, much more so than his last big role on The Network, another show I loved. And in which Fonda also had regular role.  Martin Sheen is also in the series, playing Fonda’s husband.  He is also 74 and has a darling little pot belly.  He and Waterston play law partners who discover they are in love. They come out and leave their wives to be together.

Don't worry. No sex scenes.

Don’t worry. No sex scenes.

In just about every episode, they kiss. Not a big juicy kiss, but small ones that are age-appropriate for the screen, and always very sweet. I love that these two actors are so believable.

It’s a ground-breaking series and another example of how Netflix has really stepped up to provide some of the best entertainment on the planet. Not to mention the best star power.

There aren’t a lot of roles for aging actors, a fact that a playwright friend of a certain age and I lament quite often. She wrote a quite funny play with five roles for elderly women, a rarity. The dialogue is really snappy and left the audience in stitches. See, that’s the thing. After a certain age, you can say what you want. The writer who gets that and writes older characters also gets to write some funny stuff. My friend gets it and so do the writers of Grace and Frankie.  Another thing that I love is the series touches realistically and brilliantly on so many facets of aging, from sexual activity to fear of being alone to moving to coming to terms with life changes. It’s easy to relate to every bit of it.

Grace and Frankie is not only a funny series, it’s also touching, poignant and well-acted. I’m particularly enjoying the role of one of Fonda’s daughters, played by June Diane Raphael. Raphael is a beautiful actress who is height-weight appropriate, not super-thin. At least not at the moment. But I’ll bet $100 by next season she will have dropped 20 lbs and become as emaciated as her on-screen sister, Brooklyn Decker. Who, to tell you the truth, doesn’t look so good on screen.

If you don’t already subscribe to Netflix, this series and their House of Cards are both good reasons to sign up or find someone who will let you binge with them. Just don’t miss Grace and Frankie.

24 comments on “Musings on Grace and Frankie
  1. Carol, great read. I really enjoyed your post! Haven’t seen the show yet, but after reading this I will make it a priority.

  2. I enjoyed the series and will most likely watch season 2. I wasn’t as enamoured with Jane Fonda as you…she seemed stiff/wooden in the first couple of episodes–the massive amount of plastic surgery or an acting of Grace’s incredibly uptight life? Who knows.
    I thought Lily Tomlin was absolutely fabulous!

  3. I admittedly binge watched this series in two days! Loved it. Love character developments, which in these times of big blockbuster movies doesn’t happen as often. Great review, Carol.

  4. Carla says:

    I need to check this out 🙂 I’m the last of my friends…

  5. Agree! Love your assessment on Jane and the dual mellowing of her performances and her face. Great show.

  6. Debbie D. says:

    Nodding my head all the was through your post! 🙂 I watched this series over the course of one week and am looking forward to season two. Lily and Jane both look fabulous and Lily’s Bohemian flavour makes her all the more interesting. Refreshing to see that one of Grace’s daughters has a fuller figure. It would be too bad if she was forced to lose weight. Love her forthright personality, too, Good actors should be able to play any role, gay or straight and this series certainly illustrates that. (Yeah George – admit it already!) Thanks for this great review, Carol.

  7. penpen says:

    I started watching it with my daughter at her suggestion when she was here on an unexpected visit. Don’t know what Netflix button I inadvertently pressed, but the show arrived on my screen en Francais with subtitles. We couldn’t figure out how to repair it and am glad we didn’t. It adds a delightful edge to the episodes.
    Love the scenes with the grown kids and their coming to terms with the change. Kardashian/Jenner kids, are you taking notes?

  8. Haralee says:

    What a cast! I have seen them on talk shows promoting the series and I am interested. Exactly how did all these stars get to be in their 70’s and Jane, late 70’s??

  9. Janie Emaus says:

    I’ve been wanting to watch this show. You’ve solidified it for me!

  10. Toni McCloe says:

    Carol this show sounds great. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. Sounds like they could have called it Sex and the City for Seniors. I like Jane Fonda too. I saw her in person once back in the 60s and she was really thin – no skinny – then too. Oh and by the way, I am almost 74 and I can tell you that that happened behind my back and when I was not looking.

  11. Jennifer says:

    Jane being 77 just blows my mind! She’s had fabulous work done and still looks like Jane. Good for her!
    Lil is gay? Good for her!
    I have to get netflix!!

  12. Love the show! Just watched it in record time as well. Can’t wait for season 2, especially with the cliff hanger in the last episode…

  13. I’ve been wanting to sit down and watch this show! I love both Fonda and Tomlin and I can’t wait to see their antics for myself. I need to make the time to watch this immediately.

  14. I’ve been meaning to check it out. After I had major surgery on May 6 I watched all 5 seasons of Downton, so this will be easy to catch up on!

  15. Sheryl says:

    My husband and I burned through the entire season already – I love this show. It is cliched at times but the talent and the story makes up for it all!

  16. Okay, okay, you’ve convinced me to get Netflix. I wonder what Jane looks like without makeup? I saw her about a foot away on a CODEPINK stage years ago when she was around 70 and the pancake makeup was really thick!

  17. OMG! I’ve scrolled to the bottom without even reading the post YET b/c I LOVE them!!! I’ll be back in a sec….

  18. Okay. I’m back and YES YES YES!! Here’s what I love about the show 1) the casting is perfection and the writing for that cast is spot-on. 2) it’s really a VERY complicated, but nuanced, story. I’ve viewed the entire season twice and the second time saw/heard so many small bits that i missed the first time. I recommend repeated viewing. 3) there are many small moments that are sooo poignant- like when Grace dances with Guy on the terrace and what she says to him, or the trouble Grace has when she’s trying to stand back up after sitting in the sand all night. There a million. 4) the soundtrack is awesome. 5) the supporting cast (kid’s) are brilliant. When Bud is planting that garden for Frankie and he says ‘look what I’m doing for you’ and she says, ‘Yes. Why are you doing this to me?’ and he doesn’t miss a beat and says, ‘Do FOR you,’ and she responds, ‘What did I say?’…… OMG. Could ANYONE deliver that line with more perfection then Tomlin? Could any other young actor hold his own against her with such presence? I don’t think sooooo 6) The houses! OMG- they are cast members too. 7) the back stories are done so well I think I’m gonna cry! So- as you can see I like the show.

  19. I am not that big a fan of Jane Fonda but we are looking forward to binging on this series as soon as we have a free weekend.
    Great review Carol.

  20. Carolann says:

    We have Netflicks, and I have to tell the hubbster about this one. Sounds like something he would binge on! I think they all look amaizing!

  21. I recently went to an event for the TV Academy for Grace and Frankie. Jane, Lily and Martin were there and spoke on a panel. It’s amazing how great they all look in person. Martin showed up at the reception and talked to us. He’s a sweetheart. I love the show even though my Internet server makes it hard to stream Netflix. I’m just relying on screeners. I agree about Jane being so skinny she could break. Too skinny isn’t good.

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