As gainful employment for some very talented actors in the autumn of their years Im glad for the existence of Grace and Frankie which begins its second season on Netflix today. As a sitcom its pretty much all situation its comedy is minimally effective. Its one of the few current shows of its kind that might actually be helped by a laugh track which would add jollity to punchlines that too often land as rueful observations about aging.
The new season begins with a marriage ceremony being planned by and for Robert Martin Sheen and Sol Sam Waterston. By the end of the first halfhour Robert is in the hospital with Grace Jane Fonda and Frankie Lily Tomlin hovering over him worried. Also hovering over them all is the moral sin committed by Sol and Frankie who had sex at the end of last season for which Sol feels terrible guilt and an urge to confess to Robert. Of course everyone thinks an honest confession would be a mistake.
Show creators Marta Kaufman and Howard J. Morris have done a good thing in lessening a lot of the conflict between Grace and Frankie — their constant seasonone squabbling over their different approaches to life was never going to make sense if stretched over the long haul. And so in its place is an increase in a generosity of spirit — toward each other toward Robert and Sol somewhat — the gals are still bonded in matrimonial betrayals and as Grace says to Robert I have 40 years of anger built up! and to their children and grandchildren.
Grace and Frankie has become therefore a show about letting go of grudges being more accepting and enjoying life — all very good sentiments that surface rarely in most other current sitcoms. Still theres the matter of actually being funny which the show is most of the time not. At its worst G&F goes for that most obvious of current sitcom clichés — white people using slang originating in black culture which is supposed to be inherently funny two words mic drop. Also the trailer shows that there will be a vibrator joke. Not if Im not around to hear it… Happy alreadyrenewedforathirdseason Grace and Frankie!