Full disclosure: I am a huge fan of Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, so when I saw that they were doing a sitcom together I was over the moon. To say that I’m impressed with what Marta Kauffman has done with this A-list cast is a gross understatement. Season two has left my jaw on the floor in amazement far more often than season one did, all for good reasons.
One point I feel is particularly worthy of highlight, however, is Grace’s love affair with Phil, played by Sam Elliott. Marta Kauffman has done it, ladies. She wrote a love scene for a seventy-nine year old woman. A sexy, naked, nails down his back kind of love scene…with a man played by an actor seven years younger than Fonda. Let me repeat that- Sam Elliott is SEVEN YEARS YOUNGER than Jane Fonda. In an era where women become “too old” to play opposite their male counter parts when the age gap becomes less than twenty years difference, Kauffman is breaking ground with her casting alone, much less the actual story line between the characters.
Grace, played by Fonda, is your all American W.A.S.P., pink floral blouses with starched collars and all. That a woman who drinks her wine white, keeps her nails a pale shade of blush or bashful, and could be a docent at a hair spray museum gets to display any kind of sexuality at all is astounding. The presence of the love affair, which isn’t a decades-long marriage but instead is riddled with insecurity and a history of untruths but honest desire and connection is innovative on it’s own. Every time a viewer watches Grace allow her perfectly coifed layers, and a whole lot of other things, to be mussed by Phil, Kaufman makes television history.
Grace is a successful businesswoman, a mother, a roommate, a friend, a bitch, a fool, a functioning alcoholic, and an ex wife, to name a few things. Had this been any other series, Grace may have been one or two of those things. A businesswoman and a bitch. A loving mother and a good friend. An alcoholic and a fool. Instead, Kaufman has created a dynamic, fatally flawed, well-rounded woman with insecurities, successes, desires, and sex appeal. Fantastic sex appeal. Who also happens to be a senior citizen. That Kaufman has not only breathed life into womanhood and all of its complicated aspects, but a woman with honest to god senior citizen status, continues to blow my mind.
If you haven’t seen Grace and Frankie yet, go grab a bottle of wine, a box of tissues, and cancel your plans for the next few days. It’s an adventure in to womanhood, heartbreak, loss, love, and new beginnings that every woman, no matter your age, can relate to and enjoy. Thank you, Marta Kauffman, for writing a show that women can recommend to one another TRULY no matter your age. Brava to you.
Archived ©The Laughing Lesbian 2017