The Third Third

Grace and Frankie

OK, So how do we really feel about this?  Jane Fonda (77) and Lily Tomlin (75) are starring in a new show, “Grace and Frankie,” created specifically for them on Netflix. It focuses on the relationship between two women whose husbands of 40 or so years leave them to marry each other.  So here we have two conventional TV taboos making it to the 21st century screen:  gay marriage and older women, and I’m thinking the former is probably easier for audiences to swallow than the latter.  It’s one thing to sympathize with great actors who lament the absence of meaningful roles for women even half a decade past the starlet stage; it’s another to want to watch older women acting our age (or theirs) as if it could — or should — be entertaining.  My first take is that Fonda and Tomlin are pros; they’re good, damn good.  But the storyline, which initially addresses their very recognizable fear of growing old and dying alone, is inevitably, inexorably grim, albeit relieved occasionally by Tomlin’s pitch-perfect, often bawdy one-liners. Several other meaningful themes may develop in the series — let’s hope (it's been renewed for a second season) — but at first glance, we’re left with too many scenes highlighting the foibles and frailties of old(er) age.  And these are not amusing or helpful.  Watch for yourself and post your review below.

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