Grace and Frankie Season 3 continues the senior-centric comedy. The show delivers, but acting giants Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin deserve better material.
As a comedy, Grace and Frankie does not exist for me, and I’m totally fine with that. With as many dry vagina jokes as pounds of wrinkle cream, Grace and Frankie Season 3 continues the prior seasons’ exploration of the senior set plight. Moving on from the gay husband drama, Grace and Frankie strive to make a life of their own. And by “a life of their own” I mean vibrators specifically made for the arthritic hand. Yup, folks. That’s how far we’ve devolved.
The first few episodes of Grace and Frankie Season 3 go down easily enough. Our two leads seek emotional separation from their ex-husbands. In some ways, even the show itself seems to put the men (Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston) on the back burner. And I’m totally fine with that. Their initial episodes deal with the purchase of house and with strained entanglements with their ex-wifes. And some bizarre subplot with Kenny Loggins that I apparently missed in Season 2. The actors deliver fine performances, but they’re effectively delivering the same notes beat after beat.
Jane Fonda and Lily Tomli elevate the material far higher than it truly deserves. Again, this isn’t a show written for men. Grace and Frankie exists to fill a market that’s consistently underserved like The Golden Girls before it, back in the day. Do I wish the material served Fonda and Tomlin better. Of course I do, but it’s not a bad show by any stretch.
Fonda gives great haughty as bank officers turn her down for loans due to her age. Tomlin’s fear over holding an art show feels real and broadly thematic. There are a few missteps here and there. A trip to a tech incubator looking for funding feels like a third-rate Silicon Valley knock-off – tired cliches and uninspired comedy. Still, through it all, the actresses give great performances. The writing just fails to deliver challenges worthy of their talents. No one else in the cast merits much mention save June Diane Raphael whose dry comedy chops deserve a show all on their own.
Grace and Frankie Season 3 won’t catapult the comedy into the Comedy Series Emmy race, but Tomlin and Fonda remain confident players. The show delivers on a certain level, and the time goes by quickly enough. Netflix ultimately becomes the ideal platform for such comedy. You can easily binge three or four episodes at your multitasking best. Is that damning Grace and Frankie with faint praise? Perhaps so, but I’m totally fine with that.
Grace and Frankie Season 3 premieres Friday on Netflix.