Lunchtable TV Talk – Grace and Frankie: Squandered opportunity


The pedigree of Grace and Frankie’s cast (Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Sam Waterston, Martin Sheen) should guarantee (and does on paper) that this would be at least a semi-worthwhile viewing. But then it relies entirely on the marquee names and ignores the need for compelling writing, which is tired and borderline offensive, or acting. The characters are one-dimensional caricatures – and the show is just plain boring. It’s sad. Netflix rarely misfires this badly with its original programming. But this is just lazy and not funny where it is supposed to be. Full of insensitivity and lack of believability. It misses the opportunity to handle topics, such as late-in-life divorce, late-in-life coming out, quite deftly. We saw Amazon take on a similar journey in Transparent when a senior citizen man comes out as transgender and handled the story well. Grace and Frankie also deals with the retirement-aged set and looks at characters of an age that we don’t normally see in leading roles. They usually hang out in the background as the resident grandparents. Sadly, even with this cast and the potential for groundbreaking material, this show entirely mishandles these themes horribly.