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5 Ways To Make ‘Grace and Frankie’ Better In Season Two

5 Ways To Make 'Grace and Frankie' Better In Season Two

It’s been a week since Netflix debuted the 13 episode first season of “Grace and Frankie,” the Jane Fonda-Lily Tomlin buddy dramedy we’ve been dreaming of since birth. If you haven’t watched, you might want to steer clear of the rest of this post (though it’s not exactly a spoiler kind of show). We’ve definitely watched, and admit mild disappointment even if we realize our expectations were sky high. It’s overall a solid show (the fact that we watched it in basically one sitting attests to that), and one we definitely hope gets a second season to more fully realize it’s potential. But we also couldn’t help but feel like something was missing, so here’s a few recommendations if Netflix gives the show a sophomore go ahead:

1. More Grace and Frankie. This should pretty much go without saying. The show isn’t called “Grace and Frankie and Robert and Saul.”  While we appreciate the fact that the show gave solid screen time to two LGBT characters in their seventies (in case you’re unaware, Robert and Saul are the gay ex-husbands of Grace and Frankie, whose disclosure of their relationship is the catalyst of the whole series), Tomlin and Fonda absolutely carry the show and it falters whenever they aren’t on the screen. The evolution of their relationship from frenemies to BFFs offered the season’s best moments, both in terms of comedy and drama (we admit we even teared up a few times), and gave two incredible seventysomething actresses a rare showcase for their talent. More of this please!

2. Less about the kids. Robert and Saul occasionally held our attention and we’re fine with the occasional subplot focused exclusively on them, but one of the series’ primary weaknesses was giving the grown children of the primary quartet their own storylines.  No disrespect to the actors that play them (Brooklyn Decker, June Diane Raphael, Ethan Embry and Baron Vaughn), but we found it very difficult to give a shit about Coyote’s drug problem or Brianna’s man troubles (that episode with the dog, ugh). And these detours often came at the expense of developing each child’s relationships with Grace and Frankie, which is much more interesting to begin with. But this issue — and the one presented in the first point — could really just be solved with…

3. Better writing and more consistency.  So many subplots just seemed to come and go for no reason (remember Coyote was looking for his birth mother for ten seconds?). Maybe they were all meant to develop into something come next season, but a lot of them weren’t very interesting to begin with. Tomlin and Fonda have what it takes to rise above the content (though in the writers’ defence, did get quite a few awesome lines), but the rest of the cast doesn’t appear to. Creators Marta Kauffman and Howard J. Morris and their team need to seriously step things up next time around if they want this ship to stay afloat. It’s a scenario reminiscent of CBS sitcom “Mom,” which finds its uber talented leads Anna Faris and Allison Janney make the best of uneven scripts time and time again (though its latest season has definitely been an improvement). To be writing material for goddesses like Fonda and Tomlin is an incredible gift, folks… Step up to the plate!

4. Get out of the house(s). So much of the first season took place inside one of the many ridiculously gorgeous San Diego dwellings owned by the show’s characters.  Kind of like a Nancy Meyers movie spread over six and a half hours. And while some of the best conflict starts at home, the show had its best moments when it thought outside those million dollar boxes. Like when Grace and Frankie went to that gentrified bar and literally danced on it. The first season could have had nice kick in J. Crew pants had their been an episode entirely devoted to an outside setting. Like if Grace and Frankie went to visit their old friend played by you know who…

5. Creative guest stars. And we don’t necessarily just mean bringing in Fonda and Tomlin’s “9 to 5” co-star Dolly Parton (aka you know who). Besides one clever reference to “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,” Parton was nowhere to be seen in the show’s first season. We are all for her coming in next time around as third caballero to Fonda and Tomlin, but we’ll take a whole lot of folks over Craig T. Nelson’s boring love interest for Fonda. Mary Kay Place was a nice start towards the beginning of the season, and we would have loved to see her again. There’s enough men already to go around on the show (most of them rather uninteresting). What “Grace and Frankie” needs is a few more good women, contemporaries of its leads played by the scores of talented actresses Fonda or Tomlin could surely rope in for an episode or two. It doesn’t need to be stunt casting… It just needs to be good casting.

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