I, as well as most women of my age, spent a lifetime watching reruns of “I Love Lucy”. Lucy and Ethel are the most iconic team in comedy.
I’m still enjoying these two!
Haven’t we all seen every episode at least twenty times over the decades? Haven’t we all aspired to work in a candy factory or sell Vitameatavegamin?
One of the funniest buddy scenes of all time!
Then, in the early to mid-sixties, when most of us were nearing the pre-teen years, we had another team to look up to. Patty and Cathy Lane. Who didn’t want to be one of Patty Duke’s twin cousins? Did we not learn how to speak with a British accent from imitating Cathy? I remember wanted to be just like Patty when I entered my teen years. This one-woman set of twins was a talented team to look up to.
I LIVED for this show. Sometimes I wanted to be Patty and other times I wanted to be Cathy. Oh wait. I’m Cathe!!
The 1970’s brought Mary and Rhoda. Two women in their thirties. The stereotype of the meek and mild and obedient woman was broken. Mary and Rhoda were their own women. Feminism brought on a new genre of TV character. It was A-OK to be single, career-minded, and independent. And the women had a great and strong friendship.
Empowering Mary and self-effacing Rhoda. They made a great team. And really, don’t we have a little of both these women in us?
The 1980’s into the early 90’s brought not a team, but a quintuplet of women living together. The Golden Girls. This show focused on a group of older women. Truth be told, I never cared for the show. I know. I know. I’m in the minority here.
But here’s the thing. Every episode I’ve ended up watching was dopey. I realize The Golden Girls was a comedy and was groundbreaking in the fact it was about older women, but it showed older women in every moronic stereotype known to man—from the top of their gray hair to the unstylish clothing they wore. I’m not kidding. I can’t even watch the reruns. It’s as though Hollywood was patronizing the older women.
Individually, I loved all of these women as actors. Together on this show, I couldn’t stand it. I really did not like this show. Let me know what you think? Did you like it?
Fear not, the early nineties into 2012 had us all laughing with guilt because we were able to relate in some way to Absolutely Fabulous’ Patsy and Eddie. Oh yes. The remarkable thing about Ab Fab was that it showcased the incredibly deliciously naughty behavior of two rather self-absorbed women of a certain age. They drank. The smoked. They took drugs. They were not nice–but I loved them! I will admit, Pasty Stone is my shoe icon! Patsy and Eddie were the bad girls in us!
Patsy and Eddie. Delightfully bad. I cannot get through an episode without laughing to the point where I need a Depends!
But there really hasn’t been a show about older women and their struggles both emotional and otherwise while adding a touch of humor.
The show is “Grace and Frankie”. The new female tag team is Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin.
Tomlin and Fonda are “absolutely fabulous” as Grace and Frankie!
Now in Season 3 on Netflix, I’m loving this show more and more. It’s been renewed for Season 4 and I am telling you that this is the one show every woman over 50 should—no, make that must be watching.
In case you are not familiar with this show, here’s a brief rundown.
Grace (Jane Fonda), was married to Robert (Martin Sheen). Frankie (Lily Tomlin), was married to Sol (Sam Waterston). Robert and Sol worked together as successful divorce attorneys. They worked together for many years.
The couples that work together…sometimes end up married to each other!
Robert and Sol fell in love, divorced themselves from Grace and Frankie, moved in together and got married.
Now—Grace and Frankie were not the best of friends. They are opposites. But because the women would not compromise on selling a jointly-owned beach house, both women found themselves as unlikely roommates.
Not only did Grace and Frankie marry well–but they divorced even better. What. A. House!
And the show is about their life together.
It’s funny. It is witty. It is charming. It is touching, and at times, a bit sad. It has a great cast. And it is not without fault.
But first, the greatness of it all.
The women are old. Not fake old—both women are in their seventies. It was mentioned in one episode that their combined age is 146. They have aged and they are well-aware of it.
Things didn’t turn out the way they thought things would turn out. Neither thought she would end up divorced, let alone have their husbands become husbands to each other!
They raised their kids. They are over that. Grace has grandchildren and she is not portrayed as the sweet, homespun, rocking chair granny who lives to dote on them.
And although Jane Fonda’s Grace may look perfect (Let’s face it, she still has a Barbarella body) she is not without fault. She is bossy. She is arrogant. She drinks too much. She is bitter and must be in control. She is stubborn.
She may drink too much, but her wardrobe is pretty darned chic. Jane Fonda is such an ice princess as Grace–but she’s so damned comedic too! In a classy way, of course!
Lily Tomlin’s Frankie is the old hippie. She hasn’t given up her liberal flower power ways. She smokes pot. She’s an artist. She is naïve. She is flaky. She’s a bit immature. She can’t focus at times. She is sweet and kind. She is stubborn.
…and Tomlin’s Frankie curses up a storm! You know I love that!
Their grown children are not without fault or issues. They are a dysfunctional group.
Left to Right. Brianna, Sol, Mallory, Bud and Coyote. A loveable and dysfunctional group!
Grace’s daughters, Brianna and Mallory are in dire need of therapy. Brianna, a successful business woman cannot commit to a relationship and acts out in slutty ways. Mallory is unhappily married with children and has a husband who is never around. He’s constantly working.
Frankie’s sons are not much better off. Coyote, an ex-druggie, is a man-child with no real ambition other than playing his guitar. But—he is sweet and a genuinely good guy. Nwabudike, Bud, Frankie’s adopted African son, is the more conservative of the family. He’s an attorney who is taking over Sol and Robert’s law practice. And his girlfriend is crazy AF.
But that’s the notable thing about the women’s grown children. They are far from perfect. They have issues. They are pretty much normal! They argue but there is a definite closeness and fondness for each other. Especially between Coyote and Mallory. They were together at some point.
Caressing the prototypes of their vibrators. The vibrators are arthritis friendly. It’s a hilarious subplot!
As two aging women who are looking for career moves in their lives, they form a company called “Vibrant”. Vibrant makes vibrators for “women of a certain age”. The idea of two women in their 70’s with a vibrator business as a start-up may seem far-fetched, but the approach is humorous without being patronizing or ridiculing the woman of a certain age. It brings to light that old women can be sexual. We aren’t a bunch of dried up raisins.
And look! Ernie Hudson, my favorite Ghostbuster, plays Jacob, Frankie’s boyfriend!! They are so adorable together!
And it is also sad and frustrating. The women go to see a banker to acquire a loan for the business. They are turned down. Not because of the nature of the business, but because of their ages. The fact each woman is 73 years old is too risky. And that’s the reality. Ageism hurts. And it is out there.
After leaving the bank without a loan, Frankie questioned why they didn’t get it. Grace turned to her and said “Because we’re OLD”–it was a sad moment. Sad but realistically true.
In another episode, Vibrant is almost acquired by an existing company. In the promo ads that have been created, Grace and Frankie have at least three decades airbrushed off their faces. Frankie is mortified about this. But in a fleeting moment, Grace looks at her photograph with an expression of complete melancholy. She loves the photograph and finds it tempting. But in the end—common sense and reality win out.
They were more airbrushed than this. And this is pretty much airbrushed!
Ahhh–the trials and tribulations of electronics when you reach a certain age!
I could go on and on but you get the gist. It’s a great show about aging and friendship and life in general.
We need more shows that stress friendships between women–especially as we age.
And that is what I absolutely love about this show.
What I’m not too fond of is an issue with many shows. Why do the women have to be in the one percent? It would have been a nice and more realistic touch if, instead of a shared beach house on a prime slice of real estate, the women were forced to live together in a home that could have been an investment property meant to flip. Perhaps in a more urban area?
Nuthin’ like having the beach as your backyard. This isn’t a reality for 99 percent of us!
And, at times, I feel Frankie’s flower child personality is a bit over-the-top, but it isn’t a deal breaker. I love Lily Tomlin and I find myself laughing out loud at her ability for physical comedy!
You know, there aren’t any shows about aging. There are no films out there. The fashion industry ignores us. The cosmetics industry focuses on “anti” aging when in fact, we age with every second.
Why not embrace the aging, older woman? Thank you, Netflix, for allowing us to see ourselves in a positive light!
Thank you Netflix! Thank you Jane! Thank you Lily! Thank you writers! Thank you for reading!
Let’s end this post with a song about Friendship—Carole King, you’ve got a friend!
I loved all those shows EXCEPT The Golden Girls as well! To be honest it used to make my skin crawl…my own grandmother disliked it and she was way older than those ladies. ( Yet she loved ‘Maude’ or as she called it ‘The Maud’) I think it’s because I KNEW that was NOT how older women behaved. I had some pretty wonderful wacky older ladies in my life when I was younger and not one of the resembled a ‘golden girl’. None of them were ‘ man crazy’ or ‘ditzy’ or walked around with their purse permantly attached to an arm. There was no artificial coyness in our group…they told it like it was.I remember my grandmother telling me how lucky I was to have BIRTH CONTROL PILLS!! And she was a devout Catholic.
Actually, Gracie and Frankie are more what women in my family were like as they aged. An aging hippie, check. A high maintenance blond with a fondness for martinis, check. A good laugh at a dirty joke, oh yeah! Aging was by turns, frustrating, liberating, scary but you put your best face out there, made sure you had your sterling silver rosary in your purse and seized the day!
Even with her body riddled with cancer my late aunt was giving last minute orders to my cousin over the phone…before she passed she gave me my grandma’s silver rosary with the instruction that she wanted to be ‘laid out with the bling’ but to make sure my cousin got it back from the funeral director and she would take a humbler wooden model to eternity!!!! I carry that silver rosary in my purse everyday. A souvenir of those sterling dames, I really miss them.
OMG.Momcat! THANK YOU!!!! Thank you for validating how I feel about Golden Girls. And like your grandmother, I loved “The Maude” TV show but couldn’t stomach Golden Girls. It was a downright insult to older women. My favorite aunt, Terry, sent me an email with her exact feelings!
I freakin’ love your family! XOXOXOXOXO!!!
I love all of the shows you list but ‘Grace and Frankie’ may be the best show of all time. I also suggest “Catastrophe” on Amazon Prime and the Australian sitcom “Offspring” on Netflix. If you like quirky humor, you will love these two shows.
LN. We don’t have Amazon Prime, but are getting closer and closer to getting it. I’ll have to check out “Offspring” because I do love quirky humor! I may check out Offspring after I shut down the computer for the evening!!! XOOXOXOXOXO!!!
I love G&F! Glad to hear it got approved for a fourth season. I think the writing is a bit twee at times, but how can you go wrong with Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin? And Martin Sheen really killed it this season – that scene where he comes out to his mother was truly heartbreaking and I feel he deserves an Emmy for how he handled that moment. I am not so much of a fan of some of the offspring’s stories (Bud and Coyote annoy me) but overall it is so great to see a show tackle issues you do not get to see anywhere else and to do so with just the right amount of drama and humor. although – I thought Lily’s beau was being a bit of a d*ck in those last few episodes…he went from saying ‘oh no rush, we’ll figure out the move later’ to ‘yyyyeah, I’m going to need you to decide tomorrowww…’ I also thought he was being too hard on Grace. But OK, this is not supposed to be a discussion of the entire series, so I will stop now LOL
Hey Cynthia! Oh. Martin Sheen’s scene with his mother was heartbreaking. I wanted to put my hand through the TV screen and bitch slap that old woman! I like his character a lot more than Sol. I think they wrote Sol’s character as a bit of a spineless person. But he’s sweet. Despite the faults, the show is epic because it addresses issues that older women have. The forgotten demographic and Fonda and Tomlin are epic!! XOXOXOXO!!!
I love G and F as well. So funny and bittersweet at the same time. Plus, I adore Jane Fonda’s wardrobe.
Jane. Fonda’s wardrobe is to die for–and she looks so damned good!!!! XOXOXOXO!!!
BTW. I forgot. Did your kids have Nancy Russo as a teacher at Pennington School? Oona, when she was in high school, used to babysit for her child.
I don’t know a Nancy Russo at Pennington but I do know the Spanish teacher named Jerry Russo and his wife Sue. Do you think that they are any relation?
I never really enjoyed The Golden Girls because they seemed too stereotypical. And why do all shows about women of any age always want to focus on them somehow finding a man? Drives me nuts.
I enjoy Grace and Frankie. I do wish they lived a more average life, and needed to find ways to keep going out of necessity, but I usually wish that, and don’t think it will happen anytime soon. I still prefer it to some sappy thing about the nobility of older women, etc.
Hi Bridget. Right???? That’s one of the things of Golden Girls that drove me nuts. Ugh. It was every stereotype rolled into one!
Oh…despite the fact G & F don’t live an “average” life, I totally get you on the sappy thing about the “nobility” of older women. It’s so pretentious at times!!! And despite the small faults of G & F, I love the realness of the two women!!! XOXOXOXO!!!
I. Adore. This . Show!!!!
I have to also call out the guys Martin and Sam they are a treat!
Hi Jane. Is the show not greatness??????? XOXOXOXO!!!
The only thing I liked about The Golden Girls was when Sophia would say “Sicily, 1921.” before she started her instructive story. In my job as a high school teacher, I started imitating her when I was going to say something important to my grade nine class. I’d hold my arm like I had a purse on it (in that way our mother’s held their purses) and say, “Sicily, 1921.” And the kids loved it. They’d always laugh and then listen up.
Susan–that’s pretty funny! I have to hand it to you. Creativity in education is the best. My daughter Still to this day figures out weird Math formulas from a song one of her math teachers made up to the theme of The Flintstones! Mrs. Mitchle. She was, hands down, the greatest Math teacher ever!
Thank you for being an educator who, I’m sure, was a blast to have!!! XOXOXOXO!!!
Catherine, I appreciate the review of this show. I loved all those old ones, except Golden Girls wasn’t my favorite either. I was wondering what the Grace and Frankie one was about. I love both of those actresses! I’ll have to watch it. Have a great weekend. – Amy
Hi Amy, I’m sure you will enjoy Grace and Frankie!!! I’m really amazed that so many of us were not fans of Golden Girls–I’m wondering what the heck kept it on TV for as long as it was on!!! XOXOXOXO!!!
I just about remember I Love Lucy, it was on when I was a kid but as I’m a skinflint and don’t have Netflix or any other paid channels I haven’t seen re-runs. The Golden Girls was shown here in the UK but can’t say I was keen on it and funnily enough I wasn’t mad about Ab Fab either. I think I went off it when all the gay stewards I worked with, repeated it verbatim and inserted all the catch phrases into their day to day dialogue. Do I sound like a misery? I’m not… really! x
Hi Fiona! Surprisingly, many of my friends feel the same way about AbFab as you do. No big deal, I still get the biggest laughs out of Patsy and Eddie.
NO–you aren’t a misery at all! Stop that!!!! That’s what is so great about everyone who comments. We are all here to voice our opinions and we all respect!!! XOXOXOXO!!!
This is on an unrelated topic – I follow Patti over at Notdeadyetstyle and I gave you a shout-out in the comments on this post. http://notdeadyetstyle.com/playing-with-add-on-hair-and-visible-monday-reminder#comment-158877
You would fit in perfectly with her Visible Monday linkups.
Hi Tami! WOW!! Thank you so much for the mention!!! I follow Patti but I should definitely do that Visible Monday linkup. Thanks again. I’m actually compiling bits and pieces for another fake hair post!!!! XOXOXOXOXOXO!!!
Hey there Catherine!
Obviously great minds–I watched every show you listed, with the exception of The GG, although I loved Bea Arthur’s character. ( Betty White’s spaced out character was too much for me to put up with for more than thirty seconds, and Blanche was too too predictable) I would proffer for your consideration “Murphy Brown” because there was a sassy formerly addicted single woman who was strong enough to come out against Dan Quayle and advance women’s rights in the media at the time. She took no sh*t. Also, the ensemble redefined “family” with Murphy’s work buddies and Eldon, of course . Grace and Frankie is a super show and I love it for all of the reasons you say. I’m glad that the women offer great role models to us older broads, and I love Sam Waterston and Martin Sheen. They redefine family relationships as well.
Great post–thanks! Have a good weekend.
Hi Nancy!! I interrupt this reply to tell you that I was a HUGE Murphy Brown fan. The only reason I didn’t mention the show was because I was writing about lady teams. But Eldon was one of my favorite TV characters of all time. I actually forgot how much I loved the show, Thank you for the reminder!
I’m also glad that Grace and Frankie is receiving a lot of love!! XOXOXOXO!!!
I loved I LOVE LUCY.
I loved PATTY DUKE.
I loved THE GOLDEN GIRLS………….YES I did!MAUD dressed the way I do TODAY!
As for FRANKIE & GRACIE saw it a couple times in the beginning and it did not GRAB ME!JANE looks fantastic…………
But what is REALLY FUNNY to me is JUST YESTERDAY I AWAKEN and both my eyelids had FALLEN!YES, you read that right……… FALLEN…………….NO NEED FOR EYESHADOW anymore!!!
MY GOD WHAT IS NEXT!!!!!!!!!!!!XOXOX
Elizabeth. I have to tell you–you dressed much better than Maud. And I LOVED the Maude TV show but was not a GG fan! Was Patty Duke not the greatest??
Wait!! My Best Friend had fallen eyelids and guess what??? It was a medical condition and she had an eyelift! She’s in ITALY now–La Dolce Vita–with her husband. I’ll be seeing her when she gets home and I’ll see her new eyelids too!!!! XOXOXOXO!!!
Oh Catherine…kindred souls we are…I Loved Lucy/Ethel and Patty Duke…hated Golden Girls…Loved Absolutely Fabulous…and then there’s Grace and Frankie…I have watched and re-watched the first show/first season many times…the opening scene is classic perfection. Binge watching is a must for this show for all 3 seasons. And then I realized…I get Grace, completely, I know Grace, totally,…shoot…I am Grace. 🙂 There’s worse things to be.
Hi Jeanne–we Long Island girls have the same taste!!! Oh. I agree with you. There are worse things to be than Grace. I’m so happy you are a fan!!! XOXOXOXO!!!
I found the dialogue of G&F trite and uninspiring. There is a new NBC show called Great News where Mom (the great Andrea Martin) gets a job as an intern at her daughter’s workplace, a TV news station. Mom’s worldview was so similar to mine and my sister’s that we were texting each other lines from the show…”No one fun to go to a funeral with…” several references to Chico’s..
There are so many zingers you really need to listen hard to keep up. I lol’d.
Hi Patricia! Hmmmm. Very interesting your thoughts on the dialogue of G & F. It’s great to get different views. But I actually saw a print ad for that show, Great News, and I was immediately drawn to the fact Andrea Martin is in it. I’ll have to On Demand it–I love her so much!! Thanks for the heads up!!!! XOXOXOXO!!!
As usual, my visit to your blog today made me smile for many reasons – the only one of the shows you mention that didn’t resonate with me completely was the Patty Duke Show (although she was wonderful, the plots were just a bit too much for me). I am following the advice of a friend to watch Grace and Frankie, and will also investigate Great News – such is how good information is spread among the elite . . .
Hi Marsha! Ahhh. Patty Duke. She left us too early!! But yeah, you definitely HAVE to check out G & F!!! And Great News–I’m going to On Demand it. I’m a huge fan of Andrea Martin. Oop la!!! XOXOXOXO!!!
I LOVE grace & Frankie so much. It’s fabulous and hilarious. The adult children are also wonderful actors. I disagree with you on the Golden Girls. I really think they were dressed to the nines as per the style of the early-mid 80’s. It was actually pretty good writing too. Women of that age and era were not the same as us…times have changed and I think we can’t compare Golden Girls to what we are (will be) like in our 60-70’s. Just my opinion. Also, don’t forget Designing Women. That was a late 80’s-early 90’s all female cast too. Great post, Catherine! Wonderful song choice too.
Hi Lisa! Disagree away–we have a respectful and open attitude here and your thoughts bring up a forgotten thought on my part. We did dress to excess during the time GG was on. I completely forgot about Designing Women–boy, I loved that show. Why can’t writing now be as good as it was back then? Network tv was so much better in the past then in the present! My favorite was Dixie Carter RIP. I loved her!! XOXOXOXO!!!
Yes, Dixie Carter was gorgeous. Sorry, I’m a little bossy today haha! I should have mentioned how much MTM meant to me as a young girl. I looked up to her character so much!
What a great post!!
Thoroughly enjoy watching Jane and Lily together!! Terrific show!!
I tend to love female leads in shows and in movies.
My daughter Samantha,(who has Down Syndrome) adores the Golden Girls and could watch them 24/7. So I still watch them once in awhile.
Betty White as Rose from St. Olaf, Minnesota is my favorite and she still is!!
Hi Robin!! Isn’t G & F a fantastic show??? Female leads are always the best. LOL–I forgot about Betty White as Rose from St. Olaf–that was a high point of the show!!! XOXOXOXO!!!
I don’t know if this will get shown in the UK I hope so as now Id love to watch it, but AbFab was a great show, hilarious – I guess it shows that despite being pretty dysfunctional these two women underneath really are fantastic friends and I guess i really like that message especially as relationships come and go for whatever reason but real female friendships last forever (I can vouch for that as my best bud I have known since I was 8 and she was 7 and we are still best buds 12000 miles apart). I vaguely recall a couple of others to add to the list Kate and Allie which always seemed blissful when I was young possibly because I don’t recall them living in boring-ville where I lived, and then there was Grace Under Fire – there was the odd good one liner but I think the show was a bit erm “variable” in output and posh she wasn’t!
You have just reminded me that Lucy was gorgeous – she could pull a face like anyone and she was hilarious, she certainly didn’t get by on being a pretty face (which she was – absolutely stunning when you go back and look at her). I just loved Lucy
Juliet. You are so right about Lucy’s beauty. She WAS a stunner but was also confident enough in herself that she didn’t mind contorting her face or making herself look silly. I loved that about her! I forgot about Kate and Allie-I loved that show!! But AbFab…Patsy and Eddie are so bad but they are just so great!!! XOXOXOXO!!!
Hi. I have just watched the first episode of G & F. I downloaded it for the flight to Toulouse and I loved it! Will now have to work way my way through the rest. I feel a binge session coming on!! Thanks for recommendation xxx
June. You will seriously be addicted. The show is fantastic! I’m thrilled you like it!! XOXOXOXOXO!!!
Loved Lucille Ball – fullstop. I watched I Love Lucy with my Nana (as we were not allowed to watch commercial television at home – only the ABC which is the Australian version of the BBC). Fortunately because I got to watch all the “commercial” tellie with my Nana and I Love Lucy was my absolute favourite – and the The Lucy Show and Here’s Lucy though I know your post is about female friends. I also liked Patty Duke – another banned show. Never watched Golden Girls but as you know my all time favourite is Ab Fab and can watch the first series ad nauseam. Been listening to Tapestry quite a bit lately on You Tube. Thanks for another fabulous post.
I LOVED Lucy when I was younger. I still know the words to “I am the Queen of the Gypsies”..and when Ethel sang “I’m Lilly of the Valley”. OMG. I watched every episode. And watched “Here’s Lucy” with my grandfather. Great memories.
Wow. I’m surprised that Patty Duke was a banned show. But Patsy and Eddie!!! I want to party with those women!!! XOXOXOXO!!!
OK, you’ve inspired me to watch G & F, as several friends have told me I’d enjoy it (although I still feel quite ‘young’ at only 50…!)
I’m glad I found your blog, thanks, gabrielle in Australia : )
Hi Gabrielle! I’m glad you found the blog!! But more glad that you will be watching G & F! Welcome to the neighborhood!! XOXOXOXO!!!
Totally hooked on this show! You hit all the ones I used to watch too.
If only Jane and Lilly hadn’t had cosmetic surgery….so many more of us could relate!!
But….I still love the show lol!!