Netflix: Grace and Frankie, breaking sexual stereotypes but not so much in real life.

Note: there is not a spoiler in this post. Feel free to read it.

Genre:comedy-drama web television

Creators:  Marta Kauffman (also co-creator of Friends) and Howard J. Morris for Netflix.

Main actorsJane Fonda and Lily Tomlin as Grace and Frankie;  Sam Waterston, Martin Sheen, as their respective husbands.

Seasons: 3 of 13 episodes each (2015-17)



Friends in business and in life, Sol and Robert (Waterston and Sheen), disclose to their wives they’re divorcing them. The plan is to marry each other. Grace and Frankie are shock and their lives, expectedly, are turned upside down by this confession.

Opposite characters, Grace and Frankie will be drawn to each other by the unexpected circumstances.  Both characters are physically and psychologically  antagonists. Blond vs dark haired, chic vs hippy, biological mother vs adoptive mother, constrained by society rules vs spiritual.  Despite this they do share the pain and the uncertainty left before them when they are left by their husbands: what will their economical situation be? what are people going to say? how are they going to show up in celebrations and social events to which they are invited by common friends? ……. and a long list of questions which will be answered as episodes are unfolded.

The most important question is how to face life, forgive and move on, making the best of your “golden years”.

Grace and Frankie scene

Breaking sexual stereotypes in front of the camera

Origin of the word stereotype (etymology): from Greek stereos “solid” (see stereo-) + ύπος (typos), impression. Basically a solid impression of something. We use it to refer to a rigid idea about something or someone. It is hard to break or erase them because they are everywhere: our comments, tv, books, press, etc. It is prejudging something or someone based on previous experiences and retaining the idea that someone else will be the same because there is some trait in common: for instance, thinking all blondes are silly because I met a sill blonde is as ridiculous as thinking all blondes are entrepreneurs because I met a blonde entrepreneur last week.

Sol and Robert

Sol and Robert

I am someone whose close friends are mostly gay.I do think I have a bit of a vision when it comes to what “a gay is supposed to be”. The thing is, gay is as individual a term  as each and every one of us. It is tiring and misleading  linking the adjective “camp” to gay or “masculine” to lesbian. There might be people who fit this description, of course  but that is just a statistical fact. We just notice what is obvious and we miss all the different shades any description attached to a person can attach. 

Grace and Frankie shows the love between Sol and Robert in a non stereotypical way. Of course, there will be things that fit into the stereotypical image but that, once again, is just statistics. Sol and Robert are not “prancing around” and they display love in a away which does not differ from the way they would display it to a woman.: leaving aside, clichés ,superficiality and providing their roles with a much more relatable nature.

It is not a series for women, it is not a series for men, it is not for gay or lenetflixsbian in particular: it is the story about two people who are in love and decide to act upon it when they feel society is ready for it and no one will make their lives hell.

A rather suggesting painting by Frankie

A rather suggesting painting by Frankie

10 easons why anyone should watch it

  1. There are not many mainstream shows which display gay love stories without revolving mostly about sex.
  2. It shows mature actors in leading roles and guess what? they are the same as those of younger people. What a surprise, eh?
  3. It has depth to it: you realise that love has many faces and phases. The love that Grace and Frankie have for their husbands cannot go away. It will just mutate, as it has been doing throughout their lives, into something new.
  4. It has hilarious moments
  5. It is super relevant: Many gay couples have decide to go public after their equal rights are finally granted.
  6. You will learn about love and passion and realise that they are present in all stages of our lives. All of them in some way or another are tying to reignite their passions (for live, for their partner).
  7. It has very reputed actors 
  8. It is addictive
  9. It is co-written by Marta Kauffman (co-creator of Friends), what other guarantee do you need?
  10. It is so open and well done that your boyfriend or girlfriend, mother, father, friend…. will watch it with you and probably like as much as you do.

Failing to avoid stereotypes behind the cameras (👎 Netflix)

Sadly, and I hope this does not put you off, it was quite a thing when it was discovered that Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin are paid as much as Sheen and Waterston.  Once again, industry has given us womena bit of sugar by hiring people after their 40s (well after it, Fonda is currently 77) but Netflix has failed to engage with this acceptance of women fully. Fonda and Tomlin share much more screen time than their male counterparts, the show is called Grace and Frankie for a reason. This is just one more example of how underpaid women are in general and how much better value we are for  any industry.

If anything, watch it because it is truly enjoyable and it is keeping real women in the industry. Both Fonda and Tomlin have openly said that they would love to carry on, they would even like to have less of a gap between seasons. Let’s keep it up for the girls!

Love, Mariví

Girls care ©

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