How Grace and Frankie, the longest-running sitcom on Netflix, encourages women to resume life socially and sexually

The final episode of the seventh season was released on Netflix on Friday 29th April 2022. (Photo credit: Instagram / @ graceandfrankieofficialfans)

The final episode of the seventh season was released on Netflix on Friday 29th April 2022. (Photo credit: Instagram / @ graceandfrankieofficialfans)

Written by Mandy Tregus

When it comes to the last 12 episodes Grace and Frankie Released, the show became the longest running television series on Netflix.

This unlikely hit went where more than 94 episodes and no other series captivated the audience: into the lives of older women who were forced to resume life socially and sexually after 40 years of marriage.

The revelation of their husbands that they have been lovers for 20 years and are now planning to marry each other throws the central characters apart in a San Diego beach house.

When launched in 2015, the show set a new turning point, not only for its vivid and fearless portrayal of old age, but also by the fact that its central characters were older women.

Older women are one of the most overlooked demographics on television, and it is still unusual to see them in front and in the middle.

The Golden Girls (1985-92) is the only real model Grace and FrankieAlthough the age of its characters is surprising in retrospect.

In the first season The Golden GirlsRoss 55, Dorothy 53, Blanche 47, Sofia 79. On reboot Sex and the city, Just like that …, Miranda and Charlotte are 54 years old and Carrie is 55 years old – they certainly are not portrayed as old.

But at the beginning of the series, Grace (Jane Fonda), Frankie (Lily Tomlin), their former partners Robert (Martin Sheen) and Soul (Sam Waterson) are in their 70s.

Difficulty with aging

The show covers many of the issues of aging from an older perspective. Discuss a wide range of health issues – gout, immobility, knee reconstruction, mini-strokes – as well as competing claims from children, grandchildren, lovers and friends.

In Season Four, he was the victim of a major scam following multiple health issues, Grace and Frankie Their children are being deceived into switching to geriatric care.

When they find that they are not allowed to run a business there – among other lost freedoms – they begin to try to escape, steal a golf cart and return to the beach house that was sold under them.

The problem of children choosing elderly parents against their will is rife. Elderly parents often need help from their children, but at the same time do not want to lose their autonomy. Children can jump in to solve problems regardless of the parent agency.

Here, at the expense of the geriatric care center, this stress is mostly a source of humor. But Grace and Frankie give a glimpse of how vulnerable people can be when they have health problems.

Let’s talk about sex

One of the most notable aspects of the show is its straightforward approach to sex. Part of this is the open acknowledgment that some sexual challenges occur with age.

In general, popular culture operates from the idea that older women have sex, especially if they do not conform to the dominant ideas about beauty.

Making a lubricant out of Frankie Cheney will directly address the problem that is often referred to as the “feminine drought” slant.

Grace and Frankie develop a vibrator that takes into account not only arthritic hands but also limited mobility.

While this gives rise to many misconceptions, their company “Vibrant” is ultimately a success, giving women of all ages exciting recognition for the product.

The show’s emphasis on empowering women to control their sexual needs.

Finding happiness

Bringing the challenges of Robert and Soul into mainstream programming in your 70s is also explosive. Elderly homosexuals are another group that is rarely seen on television.

Aspects of gay life – equal marriage, polygamy, prostitution, leather men, gay music theater, and obsessive dog ownership – are all portrayed as part of the new world into which Robert and Soul enter.

Coming out and leading the life they wanted is a challenge for both characters. This willingness to look at all issues with honesty and a sense of humor marked the approach of directors and writers Martha Kaufman and Howard J. Morris and made the show a success.

The main focus Grace and FrankieDespite many ups and downs in the lives of ex-husbands, new lovers, friends and children, Grace and Frankie have always been friends.

Their friendship is hard-won, hard-tested, and often seems to end completely – but it is the central romance in both women’s lives that enables them to move into old age with confidence, support and happiness.



Mandy Tragus is an Associate Professor in the Department of English, Creative Writing and Film at the University of Adelaide.

This article is republished under the Creative Commons license. Read the original article.


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