It starts to feel that while the actresses playing Grace and Frankie are still extremely lively, agile, and in full possession of their lives, bodies, and mental acumen, the people behind the scenes cannot help themselves from showing some ageism when writing for this show. Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin are still acting up a storm, producing excellent work on both big and small screens, and living life to the fullest. Unfortunately, the producers and writers of the show Grace and Frankie cannot get over the characters’ age, and thus must write entire episodes finding the two women on the floor because both of their backs give out at the same time. I am not joking. An entire episode of the show takes place on the floor of the beach house because the two women have literally fallen and they cannot get up. To add insult to injury the women are then gifted by their overbearing children some life-alert kind of pendant, and thus press even further into the awful parody of terrible 80s infomercial that has become their lives. It’s bizarre that a show that boasts such wonderful actors who are still in great spirits and shape, reduce them to merely aging women who are old, and doesn’t really know what to do with them other than make them grapple with old people stuff like bad backs, strokes, dry vaginas, and the like. Well… maybe that last one is not so cliche after all.
Speaking of post-menopausal vaginas, Grace and Frankie are in full entrepreneur mode this season. They have been working on their vibrators for the elderly and are ready to make their dream a reality. Grace especially is set on proving herself all over again. She started a successful business once, and she wants to be able to do so all over again. Problem is the banks see the two women as old and refuse to give them business loans. Even startups think they’re too old. While Grace and Frankie are being laughed at all over town for wanting to make some money at their age, Sol and Robert deal with retirement, or the prospect of it, and what to do with all their time if their jobs no longer control the vast majority of it. If being in a musical with a completely gay cast is not what came to mind then clearly you’re not paying attention. This show is not very creative. Grace and Frankie are old single ladies. Sol and Robert are old gay men. All plot points revolve around one of those adjectives at all times. Full stop.
There are some storylines about gun control, gay activism, home intrusion, coming out in old age to one’s parents, dating, but most get resolved over the course of the episode. Although good friends now, the writers still lean in heavily on the bickering between the two ladies, constantly giving them things to fight about or hurt each other, never letting them fully settle into a supportive friendship. They keep telling us how strong the friendship is, but they do a pretty poor job at truly showing it. Actions are louder than words, though, and too often the viewers may ask themselves why these two women continue to live together. Their kids are all present and accounted for, but are so one dimensional that any on screen appearance is now annoying and superfluous. The show is growing a bit tiresome in its unoriginality and inability to move into fun and uncharted territory. I would say there might be hope for next year (the show is already renewed for a fourth season), but given that the characters will have gotten even older at that point, I dare not waste time wishing for something nobody seems willing to give. I may watch next season, but it’s getting to the point that I only do so because I really like Jane and Lily. Grace and Frankie? Not so much anymore.