I was unknowingly a big, fat ageist and I was not aware.
This is not the only thing I take away from “Grace and Frankie”, but it is the first one I want to get out of the way, in case your own ageism is stopping you from giving this show a shot too.
If you think your young, careless self is not going to find something fun, entertaining or relatable in “Grace and Frankie” you are dead wrong.
When I first heard about this show I was rather intrigued by the premise: two marriages of over 40 years fall apart when both husbands reveal to their wives they have been in love for over 20 years and want to spend the rest of their lives together. Then both women decide to grieve the loss of their marriages together and instead of tearing each other apart, they occupy their fabulous, shared beach house and become best friends.
But somehow, something was stopping me from watching and I didn’t know what it was: was it the fact that Miley Cyrus was the one who got it a second season? Was it the fact that legends Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin were getting paid the same as their male co-stars even though they ARE the two leads of the show? Was it the fact that I have barely watched any other TV shows since From Dusk Till Dawn and Bob’s Burgers and I didn’t feel like watching anything else?
No, it was the fact that I didn’t think I would relate to the story of two 70-year old women starting over.
Which when I look back into it, it’s completely ridiculous. We all have started over before, and in fact, two of my favorite shows this year have been about starting over after a traumatic event. I can find something to relate to in Grace and Frankie as much as I can find it in Kimmy Schmidt or Liv Moore and the fact that I believed that I wouldn’t says a lot about how I am conditioned to see older women on television.
But after all that self-criticism (sometimes it’s necessary) let me tell you all the reasons Grace and Frankie is an hilarious show and you should watch it, immediately:
1. It doesn’t shy away from harsh truths
After Robert and Sol reveal to Grace and Frankie that they’ve been together for over 20 years and they are moving together and getting married, both families, including their sons and daughters try to handle the situation as sensitively as possible, but it doesn’t quite work out that way. The fact that, had they been cheating with women the situation would be so much different is dealt with, and it comes out as realistically as possible, with anger and sometimes insensitive comments about blowjobs and whether Ben & Jerry are more than “ice cream buddies”. It’s not an easy transition for any of the families and the show doesn’t shy away from dealing with it. Hilariously, but realistically.
2. Sexuality is not a joke
While yes, some insensitive comments do come up, Sol and Robert are never shamed for coming out. Most of their friends and family are shocked by the news but they are never rejected (there is this one episode where one character does in fact show disrespect toward them, and the character is clearly portrayed in the wrong). We see them struggling to adapt to the big change in their lives, we see them getting used to the idea of waking up together and behaving like a couple when they have never had the chance to, we see them dealing with the fact that these two men have connections with their wives that they do not have with each other that are hard to break and we see them make mistakes too.
And while when they come out as a couple, both of them refer to each other as gay, it seems that the show might not shy away from exploring sexual fluidity next season and deal with something that occurs during the final episodes.
3. Female friendship trumps all
Grace and Frankie are very different people. We all have seen it before, the hippie and the type-A. But they’re not stereotypes, and they let the other into their lives, because they both recognize no one will understand what they’re going through better than the other. They don’t necessarily get along all the time, and they might sometimes fail at being each other’s best support, but they grow to care and love each other, and their dynamic is nothing but delightful to watch. These two women have gone through their personal idea of hell together and it only makes their bond stronger.
4. There are lots of history left to learn about
These two families have been intertwined through all their lives. All their sons and daughters are friends, things have happened between them that we don’t know about yet and they all know things about each other that will eventually come out to the surface. This only makes way for more hilarious situations in the future that I cannot wait to watch.
5. You will want season 2 as soon as you’re done
If you thought the season would end and you’d be thinking “this is it, this is the show”, you’re wrong. The season ends in a sort of cliffhanger and it’s not what you expect at all. When you’re done, you’ll realize you will want to watch more.
So if there is something stopping you from giving the show a shot, please forget about it, sit down and hit play. You will be glad to have put all preconceptions aside and you’ll enjoy a realistic, fun, sweet (but not cheesy) comedy.