Netflix series’ third season returns with flair, heart

The highly-anticipated season three of Netflix’s original series “Grace and Frankie” was released on the online platform on March 24 to an eager audience of bingers. 

The show, a quirky take on the trials and tribulations of our golden years, had an overwhelmingly positive reaction to its first two seasons. There’s no doubt that the show has star power, with four huge Hollywood veterans taking center stage: none other than Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston play the series’ main characters. 

While a gang of older actors in modern and high energy plots is not completely unfamiliar, “Grace and Frankie” switches the script. The series’ titular characters, Grace and Frankie, have been left and divorced by their husbands, who have fallen in love with each other, leaving the two proud women to deal with each other.

The series’ first two seasons set the foundation of the show and dealt with reconciliation between all parties. By season three, Grace and Frankie no longer hate their husbands—or each other. Fonda’s uptight, organized martini-drinking Grace, and Tomlin’s artsy, down-to-earth pot-smoking Frankie have learned to appreciate each other, becoming best friends and confidants. And now Robert and Sol—played by Sheen and Waterston respectively—have settled into married life and patched up their families. 

In season three we see these hilariously charming characters grow beyond their archetypes as they encounter even more challenges. The usually proper Grace joins Frankie in launching a new business that sells vibrators designed for older women, and the usually stoic Robert retires and gets cast as the lead in a community musical. All the while Sol, a normally care-free spirit, has trouble leaving his law firm. 

These plotlines are veiled in comedy, yet do not fail to address the issues at their heart—the desexualizing of older women and fears of unfulfillment after retirement. While these issues seem to be geared toward older audiences—and they are, giving our grandparents the representation in media that they deserve—they are not issues that younger watchers cannot appreciate and learn from.

Aside from these important plotlines, season three serves up just as much comedy as before with genuinely funny dialogue and new characters. One episode features Grace and Frankie stuck on the floor for an entire day because “they’ve fallen and can’t get up,” and Frankie and Sol’s son Bud—played by Baron Vaughn—has a new girlfriend who has every allergy you can think of. 

While this season is not without its faults—the characters always seem to solve massive issues in tiny amounts of time—comedy is at its heart. With Netflix continually rolling out new original series, it’s easy for some to get lost in the crowd. 

“Grace and Frankie,” however, is clearly a standout. It’s funny without being cheesy, heartfelt without being soppy and proves that our older generations are just as young as they used to be. Fans are already waiting for season four.