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Grace and Frankie
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Grace and Frankie is a series about two women in their 70s who suddenly learn that their husbands are leaving them for each other. Though the characters are relatively realistic, the show is fun and doesn't take itself too seriously, Many plot points involve the consumption of substances: Characters take peyote on-screen and hallucinate; they take prescription pills and smoke pot and cigarettes. They also joke about oral sex, sexually transmitted diseases, and infidelity. There's some swearing, too: "f--k," "s--t," and "bitch."
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
GRACE AND FRANKIE never really liked each other all that much, but since Grace (Jane Fonda)'s husband Robert (Martin Sheen) ran a law firm with Frankie (Lily Tomlin)'s husband Sol (Sam Waterston), they had to have the occasional make-nice dinner. But what Grace and Frankie didn't realize was that Sol and Robert were partners in more than business: The two have been carrying on a secret affair for the last two decades. Now Sol and Robert have come out and told the world they intend to marry, leaving Frankie and Grace to pick up the pieces.
Is it any good?
Tomlin and Fonda still have comedy chops, and Grace and Frankie gives them, particularly Tomlin, killer lines to deliver (as one would expect from a comedy begat from the creator of Friends). "Wow, I must have half the beach in my vagina," says a game, underwear-less Frankie, straightening up from the peyote-laced beach-side dark night of the soul that takes up a delightful hunk of the first episode. Later, she interrogates a convenience-store clerk, demanding an impossibly specific cigarette recommendation: "What brand would you smoke if your husband turned out to be gay?" "Newports," he replies. "For twenty years?" says Frankie. "Luckies," the clerk corrects himself.
The tone can shift a little strangely from fast-paced one-liners to emotional fireworks, but it's easy to forgive with such appealing actors. Tomlin and Fonda are as wonderful as ever together, but Sheen shows a surprisingly deft hand with comedy, playing a restrained man who suddenly has a very public private life. Even the supporting players are choice: Ethan Embry as Frankie and Sol's newly sober disappointment of a son, and the veteran Mary Kay Place, who shows up as a friend of Frankie's. The show isn't perfect, but it's enjoyable, meaty stuff, ideal for watching with viewers who may have been laughing with Tomlin and Fonda for decades.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the characters' dynamics. How are they dealing with the circumstances? Do you think they could do better?
There aren't very many TV shows about older people. Why do you think this is?
Have you seen either of the other shows made by Grace and Frankie cocreators Marta Kaufman (Friends, Dream On) and Howard J. Morris (Home Improvement, The Starter Wife)? How are they alike or different from this show?
For kids who love classic comedy
Our editors recommend
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.