FYC: Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin in ‘Grace and Frankie’

Jazz Tangcay makes a plea for Emmy to consider both Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin for their superb comedy work in Netflix’s Grace and Frankie.

Last year, Emmy recognized Netflix’s Grace and Frankie with one nomination for Lily Tomlin in Lead Comedy Actress. However, this season the Television Academy should be honoring it with far more. Comedy is quite a cramped category with Veep, Transparent, Silicon Valley and Modern Family predicted to receive multiple nominations.  In the Lead Comedy Actress category, it’s equally as crowded. However, the Television Academy should make room for veterans and Hollywood royalty, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin.

Tomlin is almost certain to be nominated, but what about Fonda? Both were stellar this season. Let’s be honest, we’d love to see both actresses receive a nod because can you imagine Grace without Frankie or vice versa? There’s an episode this season where Grace gets to meet some friends from days gone by, and by the end, she realizes how much her friendship with Frankie means.

Estelle Parsons, another veteran made an appearance this season. Her character plays Babe, Grace and Frankie’s neighbor who confesses she has terminal cancer and wants Grace and Frankie to throw the mother of all parties. Despite the subject matter, Parsons gave an outstanding performance, standing toe to toe with Fonda and Tomlin in delivering sassy one-liners and excelled in her episodes.  If anything, the Television Academy should reward her with a nomination for Best Guest Actress in a Comedy.

Comedy featuring female duos is at a high this season with plenty to offer from shows such as Broad City and Playing House. Then there’s Grace and Frankie, now in its second season and currently shooting its third season. In case you’ve not seen it, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin are back on the small screen together in Grace and Frankie. Brought to you by Marta Kauffman (Friends), the show follows two 70-year-old divorcees whose gay ex-husbands leave them for each other.

Season one spent much of the time developing this complex relationship between Grace (Fonda) and Frankie (Tomlin) as they dealt with the post-divorce fallout. Season two gives us more of the friendship between the superior actresses. They’re together. They’re besties.

Frankly, there’s nothing more rewarding than watching both Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin interact both on and off-screen. Watch this moment at a recent NY Times Look West Event. Watch as they bounce off each other, support each other, and how Fonda helps Tomlin with her necklace. Will this moment make it into season three?

An Interview with Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin

I recently paid a visit to Stage 24 on the Paramount lot where cast and crew are filming the third season and was able to speak to both Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin in their beach house.

AwardsDaily TV: What’s a typical working day like for both of you?

Lily Tomlin: A lot of it is busy work. We have to get our hair done. We have to do our make-up.

Jane Fonda: We run lines a lot.

LT: We run lines.

JF: Endlessly.

LT: She’s looking at dailies on her iPad. What am I doing? I’m not doing anything. I’m staring at the wall.

JF: I tell you what, neither one of us is reading a heavy book. Sam’s the only one that brings a book.

LT: Sam’s addicted to that Montaigne or whoever.

JF: I have a book with me at all times, but I’ve never read a book since we started.

LT: I have a book with me at all times, and I’ve never read it.

JF: [laughs]

ADTV: I think we all have that book just in case.

JF: Just in case.

ADTV: Was it as if no time had passed since 1980 when you did 9 to 5?

JF: I feel like it was a different lifetime. I feel like a different person.

LT: I feel like no time has passed. In terms of the real concept of time, there is no time.

JF: Cosmically.

LT: I was in my costume room the other day, and I saw several objects. It was silly things like a doll or a lamb that a friend had given me years ago. I quickly put two stuffed animals together so they could be friendly. [laughs].

JF: [Laughs] Did you really?

LT: Yes. I feel so goofy. I said, “Oh Lambie.” There was a little bear, and I put him next to the shelf so they could sit next to each other.

JF: You know what I found in storage the other day?

LT: What?

JF: A box of the rat poison. It’s the prop of the poison that she accidentally puts into the coffee.

LT: Oh, that’s going to be worth a fortune.

JF: My favorite line in the film is her line, “I killed the boss, you think they’re not going to fire me for that?”

LT: The boss was pretty great. We loved our boss. That Dabney Coleman.

JF: It does seem like a long time ago, that we did 9 to 5.

LT: It does. If you only had complete recall like Marilu Henner. You had to remember all those days, one after another. What you were wearing. Who you ate with. What you ate. It would just be mind-boggling.

JF: What does she have to do with it?

LT: She’s got that memory that she remembers the day she met you. She remembers every day isolated in her whole history. It would be great. Important days you do remember. I remember when you came backstage at the Ahmanson Theatre. You had a cape on. You were very glamorous and down to earth.

JF: Oh my gosh, I remember epiphanies. I have a good memory for those. So much has happened since 9 to 5. Wonderful and important things for me. Like On Golden Pond, and other life altering things.

ADTV: What’s it like being one of the few shows that represents women of your age on TV?

JF: It feels very good because older women are the fastest growing demographic globally. We live longer. There’s more of us in the world. It’s great to be doing a show that speaks to older women. But, it also speaks to young girls and that’s what’s so interesting. We didn’t expect that.

LT: It seems like so many young people really love the show. They stop me everywhere. They write on her blog.

ADTV: Lily, you talked about costumes earlier. Where does Frankie get her clothes from?

LT: There is a place by my house called Layers, and you really just find different items. Someone actually wrote to me telling me they had dressed up as Frankie for Halloween.

JF: [laughs]

LT: People like the look of Frankie… that’s part of her character.

JF: People write to me all the time asking where does she get her clothes and jewelry.

LT: People send us jewelry and contribute it.

ADTV: How has season two compared to season one?

LT: Season two starts out in that first episode where we’re plucking the hair out of each other. I say, “I’m going to be a new Frankie.I’m going to see what my life is like without Sol.” I think we were seeing what’s going to become of us. After we got over the shock of the separation, the second season dealt with us coming to terms with the fact that we were separate and alone.

JF : I think at the very end of season one, Grace began to realize that with all her oddities that Frankie has a gift that Grace needs. It’s a gift of openness, forgiveness, and flexibility. We come into season two ready to become friends, and we do. We end up in business together.

LT: [laughs] We could have done that in one episode.

ADTV: What lies ahead?

JF: Marta Kaufman sees the arc of season three as exploring their vulnerability.

LT: For everybody in the show really. They’re all coming to terms with their vulnerability, their weaknesses. Everyone is calling everyone on what they’ve put up with for years and how that needs to maybe looked at.

ADTV: How does the show continue to challenge you both as actresses?

JF: I just find it challenging to find the right line between comedy and drama. It’s challenging. I don’t want ot phone it in.

LT: We have to work at it every day. We’re doing it in thirty minutes, and we cover alot of ground. As Jane said, you have to bring a reality to it, and yet you have to have a light enough touch in that the comedy isn’t overwhelmed.

Grace and Frankie is now streaming on Netflix

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