Who knew we would ever get a comedy where we could say that it was like Golden Girls meets Sex and the City. But of course, if we were ever to get one, it would be from Netflix. Grace and Frankie, stars Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda as women whose husbands end up being gay and leave them for each other. This is a show about women over 60 that everyone is eligible to love. Fonda’s preppy Grace and Tomlin’s hippie Frankie are far from perfect, but they practically sparkle with that enviable “we’re grown-ass women and we’ll say whatever we want” lack of inhibition. In fact, most of episode one plays as a running list of things they’re not afraid to do, such as dousing ice cream with Jameson (I gotta try that) and throwing shrimp in a restaurant, and things they’re not afraid to say—but if I spoil those, you won’t get to laugh crying as I did at Fonda’s one-liners.
Grace and Frankie grows from the same place lots of shows do—its main characters have just lost everything and need to start over. The fascinating thing about laying this element on the senior set is: They have varying opinions about whether starting over is viable. I haven’t been around long enough to say with confidence that stories with this theme at the heart of them are a totally new trend—but I think whenever you discover them, they feel new and world-expanding to you. Two long-term “straight” men blowing up their lives for love and two frightened women reaching past their fear to find resilience is pretty damn new to me. I hope my husband (one day, hopefully) doesn't leave me to be straight...
This show has made the headlines because of its revelations on sexuality and gender, but there’s something so much bigger here - their faith in the next chapter, their belief that life after 65 is not a write-off. That message benefits everyone. There is no downside to television that teaches us every decade is worth being excited about, that our lives, even if they're painful or harder, will still feel like our lives, not something foreign and unrecognizable, when we're older. Grace and Frankie is easy to love and very funny, but I’ll be honest: Half the reason I’m going to keep watching is for post-retirement leisure ideas and how I'm going to dress in my 60's.