Grace (Jane Fonda) and Frankie (Lily Tomlin) have been at odds with one another for years despite the close friendship of their husbands Robert (Martin Sheen) and Sol (Sam Waterston). One evening they are called to dinner by their husbands and are surprised to learn that both men would like a divorce. As that shock sinks in, the women are then told that their husbands are gay and have been enjoying an affair. As Grace and Frankie deal with the shock of the situation, they find themselves pulled closer together and their relationship begins to change in surprising ways.
Grace and Frankie is a Netflix Original series that has already been renewed for a second season. Created by Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman and Howard J. Morris, the first season of the comedy drama features 13 episodes. My hopes were really high for the series due to the fantastic cast and the talent involved in creating the show. Unfortunately it’s not as good as it should be and the premise, while initially intriguing, soon gets bogged down with clichés.
On paper the show should be hilarious but it isn’t actually that funny at all. Despite the best efforts of Fonda and Tomlin, Grace and Frankie is more of a straightforward drama that is trying to be a sitcom and it doesn’t really work. The jokes (the few of them there are) are too obvious, the set-ups similar to a bog standard US sitcom and the plot developments lack any sense of surprise.
The performances of the cast are worth mentioning. Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin are both excellent, as you would expect, and they are much better than the tepid material they are given to work with here. Their chemistry is undeniable but their characters don’t get all that much to do. Similarly the star-studded support cast including Martin Sheen, Sam Waterston and Brooklyn Decker don’t get a whole lot to do either.
Grace and Frankie is a wasted opportunity and not as great a show as it should have been. Clearly it found enough of an audience to warrant a second season, and perhaps it will find its feet then, but this first season isn’t great. I really wanted to love the show but sadly it’s not very good.
Cast: Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Martin Sheen, Lily Tomlin, Brooklyn Decker Released By: Lionsgate UK Certificate: 15 Duration: 390 mins (approx) Release Date: 18th April 2016