The premise of the Netflix comedy-drama Grace and Frankie is unbelievable: after their husbands (who are business partners in a law firm) revealed their decades-long affair and plans to step out into the world as romantic partners, their foes Grace (Jane Fonda) and Frankie ( Lily Tomlin) move into a beach house in La Jolla, Calif., And begin to navigate their new lives as roommates, divorcees in their seventies and unexpected best friends. Fonda and Tomlin have already proven their chemistry onscreen (they starred in the iconic 1980 film 9 to 5 alongside Dolly Parton), and showrunner Marta Kauffmann also proved her abilities as the co-creator of the ’90s sitcom Friends.
It’s a formula that has worked well for four seasons, and the fifth season, which is now available on Netflix, shows that Grace and Frankie (and its titular stars) continue to improve with age, despite a few hiccups. At the start of Season 5, Grace and Frankie just escaped their retirement community on a stolen golf cart and returned to their oceanfront home to learn that it had just been sold. I won’t give any spoils, but this season you can expect a trip to a spa / cult, a visit to a leather bar, a proposal, a debacle involving 50,000 vibrators, and a cameo from RuPaul. Sadly, the show falters in its dismissive and stereotypical portrayals of millennial queer culture, as well as an odd time lag in the finale.
However, Grace and Frankie is more hilarious and avant-garde than ever; outraged Golden girlsI can’t think of another show with stars who are older women. Although they must face the dangers of aging, its protagonists are in a constant state of growth and evolution, with lives rich in love, romance, sex, conflict and adventure. It’s a welcome narrative and totally different from what we’re used to seeing in popular culture depictions of aging women.