Basic storyline of Grace and Frankie is that "Grace" and "Frankie" (Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, respectively) women in their 70s, have been long married to lawyers who are business partners, Robert (Martin Sheen) and Sol (Sam Waterston). The husbands announce to their wives, over a communal dinner, that they've been in love with each other for 20 years, and intend leaving their wives to set up home together and marry. The guys hope to live out the rest of their lives in tune with their natural instincts. Both couples have grown-up families, bringing in four more regular cast members.
Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin are probably the only two actresses, of the right age group, who could have carried off the parts of Grace and Frankie. They're a classic "odd couple" thrown together by circumstance. There are other, lesser known TV faces who could have played the parts of the husbands to much better effect though. Martin Sheen remains Jed Bartlett (West Wing) to me for all time. Sam Waterston's Law and Order character loomed large for me over his characterisation of an ultra-sensitive, soft and gentle gay guy.
The show did grow on me some during the 13 episodes of its first season. It still isn't, for me, what it ought to be, and could be. Maybe Season 2 will improve it still further. In any case, it is good to see another show with its focus on characters of an older generation, and not portraying them like doddering old fools. In tandem with its more mature characters the show approaches what had been "a sensitive subject": being married to a heterosexual partner while gay. For those factors alone I should give Grace and Frankie a gold star!
Another show we saw early on in our Roku-owning time, was Amazon's Transparent, starring Jeffrey Tambor as a guy who dared to came out as transgender in later life. I much preferred the general tenor of that series to that of Grace and Frankie. The humour was less forced, more natural; the characters warmer, and far more believable.
An excellent British TV drama series we found, I think also on Amazon Prime during our free month's trial a while back: Last Tango in Halifax. It's another drama mixing love stories of an elderly couple (played by Anne Reid and Derek Jacobi), with an interwoven theme of a lesbian relationship of one of their daughters (played by Sarah Lancashire). Characters in this series were totally believable; there was humour and pain mixed with delicate deftness, skilled writing and acting. Maybe I'm a wee bit prejudiced because the action took place in my native county of Yorkshire!
Thank goodness some writers and producers are at last cottoning on to the fact that there is an audience out here made up of more than teens, twenties, thirties and forty-somethings! We have time to watch too, and we have been starved of decent drama and comedy to which we can easily relate. I don't want to watch nothing but "oldie" stories, I enjoy films and shows featuring younger people, as long as their themes are interesting, funny, witty, clever or science-fiction related - so few of them are though. Writers of such shows will often throw in a token "oldie" to keep things, as Fox News puts it "fair and balanced", but those token characters are usually portrayed in such a way that is anything but fair and balanced - just like Fox News!