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Grace and Frankie: Divorce, Drugs, and Dildos

Normally, the thought of older ladies selling dildos would really turn people off, but co-creator Marta Kauffman finds a way to make this topic funny and appealing. The Netflix original comedy series, Grace and Frankie, has gotten a lot of unpredictable attention from a wide range of audiences.

After twenty years of running a law firm together, Sol and Robert finally admit to their wives, Frankie and Grace, that they were more than just business partners all along. Their “long nights in the office” actually consisted of rendezvous to the beach house they went halfsies on when the market was still good. 

The show is star-studded with Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin as the older-woman version of The Odd Couple, and Sam Waterston and Martin Sheen as the theater-loving star-crossed lovers. In a comedy-drama, Grace and Frankie find ways to make the worst conditions possible absolutely hilarious.

Fonda plays Grace, the perfect women’s club president modeling the J. Crew catalog with an expensive taste in vodka. Although she has two beautiful blonde girls and a rich husband, she never gives much care to either, she’s too engaged in her overpriced hair-dye company. Her uptight character is complemented by Lily Tomlin (Frankie), with ever-present hippie vibes. Two adopted sons, a tye-dye wardrobe and a liking for recreational drugs definitely add to her carefree persona. Kauffman makes it exceedingly clear that these two were never meant to befriend each other. 

No one was surprised when both Frankie and Grace try to escape the horrors of their failed marriages at their San Diego beach house.  Frankie, sad and delusional that her marriage is over, immediately resorts to her old pal Peyote. Once Grace finds Frankie’s clearly intoxicated self on the beach, and unknowingly sips some of her “tea,” the two end up on a wild trip. A literal trip. Although they hate each other, this eye-opening experience leads them to believe that they could actually live with each other.What else would the world expect two single women to do?

Grace’s tidy and troubled demeanor doesn’t always blend well with Frankie’s messy and happy-go-lucky style. From morning meditations and nightly smoke sessions, Grace’s Grey Goose filled veins boil anytime Frankie mentions her famous yam lube.

The two eventually settle down and build up as a pretty strong relationship. Together, they mourn the loss of their past lives and find a way to fill the void of their husbands with a warm, yet annoying friendship with each other.

They get themselves into lots of trouble. Just about every time their kids, who always have weird sexual tension, come in and save the day from whatever massive mess they manage to create. Whether the two are stranded on the floor after a back spasm, or trying to make wedding arrangements for their ex-husbands before one undergoes heart surgery, Bud, Coyote, Brianna and Mallory always find their way in.

There’s always been a lot of tension between Grace and her little blonde babies. Her girls, Brianna and Mallory are total daddy’s girls.  Kauffman sneakily but smoothly mentions the way working women’s relationships with their children are criticized by both others, and their own family. As the girls mention so, whenever someone was hurt or sick, Grace would not hesitate to pick up the phone for a house call, rather than tend to them herself. The girls didn’t take to that so well, and they are constantly holding her accountable for doing so now that things with her marriage are apart.

As for Frankie, her boys love her quirkiness. Together they have millions of weird traditions from celebrating their Jewish religion, to watching the annual spelling bee. The family has been through a lot together and aren’t afraid to display their love for another. Their closeness results in either a strange mother-son scene, or a real heartfelt moment.

When the two families are together, it’s a weird dynamic. Especially when Sol and Robert are around. In the beginning, the kids really struggled managing how to balance time between the new divorcees Grace and Frankie and the newlyweds Robert and Sol. Eventually, they predictably become one big happy family, but there are still those big family fights.

Despite the terribly lame humor, the show shines a light on taboo topics in an aging audience. Not many acknowledge the fact that older people actually think about sex. Or for that matter, have sexual intercourse. Grace and Frankie break all those barriers.

Grace is adamant on finding someone new in her life, and so are her girls. They sign her up for online dating and send her out into the world only to find a bunch of weirdos. It’s an interesting concept. A lot of older women are single, and they don’t really want to be. Online dating seems like the regular for younger generations, but what about someone who barely knows how to use the internet? Watching Grace navigate through pokes, likes, and kisses is not only amusing for the audience, but also makes everyone on a dating site feel like they’re not the crazy one.

Frankie, on the other hand, seems to find people more naturally. Maybe it’s her all-natural, grass-fed persona, but she just can’t see why someone would want to meet someone online. This definitely adds to Grace and Frankie’s constantly butting heads. But, it’s good to see that dating differently is okay.

Not only are they open to sharing their dating lives but encourage others to embrace theirs, as well as their sex lives. The girls soon learned that dating life is rough, and you can’t always get what you want. So, instead of waiting around for someone or something to come out of the woods, they find a way to meet their own needs.If you’re catching my vibe.  

Grace and Frankie team up to make sexual health products specifically for older women. Although it makes many uncomfortable, Grace and Frankie help make it the norm for all their friends, and their client base. Kauffman makes it clear that apparently, you can teach an old dog new tricks.

The girls cover all the grounds of aging life.  Whether it’s knee surgery or defensive driving class, they take their audience on a journey through old age and make others feel better about doing so.

Grace and Frankie bring a lot to the table. With easy laughs and heartwarming stories, the show is the next best thing to The Golden Girls. Overall, its content may be a little overdone, but it gives those who need it, the confidence to move through their older years with a little bit of spunk.

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