For how many years television has not offered comedies featuring older people as a focus? Well, since the cult hit The Golden Girls in the late 80s – early 90s. Obviously, it can be explained by marketing reasons. Apparently, old people are not attractive. Okay, that’s not a scoop. The thing is: they don’t interest young people, ‘cos young people are only interested by themselves. Of course. And they don’t interest old people either, because old people don’t want to be reminded of their own condition on a weekly basis. Think 50 years old single (or cheating married) men: they are attracted by 20-30 years old, not some old women of their age. They need youth. Same thing here.
As a result, no network has the balls to venture into this field. Yet, it is fertile! Remember Grandma Yetta in The Nanny. Think of the grandpa of the Goldbergs family, Maw Maw in Raising Hope, and so many others. These characters make us laugh every time! They can say or do the worst atrocities, they are always forgiven. The privilege of age. And where the networks don’t go anymore, Netflix finds a way. Not with anyone here: with one of Friends’ co-creators (who are not that young anymore) and some of the best older american comedians out there: Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Martin Sheen & Sam Waterston.
Grace And Frankie are the mainly focus of the show, if the title was not clear enough. Their two ex-future husbands are not very much featured in the pilot ultimately, after the opening scene. Which is a shame, since it’s a little hard to believe in their couple for now. Subsequent episodes will definitely have to put them into the spotlight. They have great comic potential. The scene when they come out to their wives is classical but effective, until shrimps and lobsters claws fly all over the restaurant. Acted well (and I’m sure it will be), it could turn into a very good mome,nt. Then we enter into a more introspective phase of the pilot, in the privacy of our two bruised heroines who see 40 years of marriage nullified. A whole life to start all over again, even if they don’t have so many years left to live. The writers do not hesitate to go into pure drama for a while, something a network might not have allowed. It would have had to be funny every two seconds, fast paced and never too serious. Here, it is funny but probably not every two minutes, it is fast-paced most of the time, and it is serious when it needs to be. Hence the advantage of having so much talent, able to pass from laughter to tears easily.
But rest assured, comedy does really pay off. There’s the announcement to the children, which contains excellent and quite daring lines. These secondary characters are promising but not full-fleshed at this moment. There are so many (as you can judge watching the cast list). The pilot ends with a big delusional acid trip for Grace and Frankie, which reminded me a lot of the best hours of the notorious alcoholics stars of Absolutely Fabulous! Hopefully, they will be be fabulous too.
Grace And Frankie is a refreshing and touching dramedy that is not afraid to be what she wants and needs to be to fulfill its promises. Friends’ creator Martha Kauffman still go it, that’s for sure! I really see myself embark on their tribulations for years and there is plenty of it to imagine. I’m sure you will join the club joyously.