Netflix UK TV review: Grace and Frankie Season 2
Tomlin and Fonda partnership10
Victoria Curatolo | On 10, May 2016
Season 2 of Netflix’s wonderful comedy-drama, Grace and Frankie, kicks off in full swing, as we begin right where Season 1 left off, with Sol (Sam Waterston) facing a moral dilemma of telling his soon-to-be-husband Robert (Martin Sheen) about sleeping with his ex-wife, Frankie (Lily Tomlin). Grace (Jane Fonda) and Frankie – the 70-something former wives of business partners Sol and Robert, who are now engaged after a 20-year affair – are still rooming together in the beautiful beach house they once shared with their husbands, only this time around, they’re not at each other’s throats, but instead enjoying each other’s company and newfound friendship.
As the duo face a new batch of trials and tribulations – both personal and professional – Grace and Frankie obtain a new sense of confidence; a confidence previously shattered by their two-timing husbands. Now, the ball is in their court, as they decipher new boyfriends, old friends and business propositions – not to mention more yam lubrication mishaps.
The show’s second run sees Fonda and Tomlin reunite onscreen after the 1980 comedy hit 9 to 5, as well as Sheen and Waterston, who starred alongside one another in the 1979 western Eagle’s Wing. Their new endeavour is one made for fans of New Hollywood Cinema, who grew up rejoicing in the talent of the actors, filmmakers and screenwriters of the 1970s. With directors like Hal Ashby, Steven Spielberg and Roman Polanski, and films like Terrence Malick’s Badlands (1973) and Robert Altman’s Nashville (1975), cinema in the 70s was at its most original and fundamentally progressive. It is therefore a true joy to be able to see four talents such as Fonda, Tomlin, Sheen and Waterston together – and with a sleek, smart script at their hands.
Season 2 of Grace and Frankie offers nothing less of equal measure in its supporting cast. Frankie seeks advice once again from fabulous friends Jason and Amanda – portrayed by praised theatre and film actors Joe Morton and Mary Kay Place (Morton notable for his performance in Terminator 2: Judgement Day and Place for her chic wit and charm in 1980s classic The Big Chill, to name a few) – as she finds herself in a dilemma with new business partner/boyfriend Jacob, played by the ever-lovable Ernie Hudson. In addition, with Grace saying goodbye to the adventurous Guy (Craig T. Nelson), she soon tracks down former flame Phil, who is portrayed by non other than Sam Elliott. Offering heart and charisma through his charming stance, prolific voice and infamous moustache, Elliott has remained a cinematic legend and iconic veteran over the years and is a perfect addition to an already stellar cast.
Grace and Frankie is undoubtedly one of the best shows gracing our television screens today. In a world in which films, series and shows are made so accessible, it’s hard to value great content when placed in front of us, but this is not the case with Grace and Frankie. The series offers a dynamic look at a number of complex and unconventional relationships; we witness business-minded Grace’s relationship with her new hippy best friend, Robert’s extremely loving and honest relationship with Sol, Grace’s resentful relationship with the ex-husband who never truly loved her, and Frankie’s valued friendship with ex-husband Sol. However, it is the vibrantly cherished and candid relationship between its title characters that leaves us wanting more.
Netflix’s series provides the right balance of humour, heart and relatability, allowing viewers to appreciate a wide demographic that is rarely explored is such depth on the small screen. The problem with Grace and Frankie? It only contains 13 episodes per season, which leaves a large gap in your lying-around-binge-watching time. In the words of Frankie Bernstein: “What a great binge. All the satisfaction and none of the bloat.”
Photo: Melissa Moseley/Netflix