Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Why I love Grace and Frankie

For me, the Netflix has been the HBO of the 90's and the Television of internet for a time now. Netflix is doing what the local rental shops, and the TV should have been doing a long time ago. On a sidenote I have to say that it wasn't more than 20 years when we had to introduce ourselves over the phones, we couldn't see the calling number before hand, and we had to keep the phone plugged into the socket just in case. There were no myriad 'block this number', 'keep it on silent', and I miss those times only like once a year. Technology gap covered, move forward, yes please, and thank you sir, I will on the next chapter.

As it is pretty obvious from the first paragraph, I'm not a person who likes to go straight into business. With some sexual 70's innuendo -voice "ladies, please, I'm just a man". And with this side paragraph, which should have been edited away after proof reading - and here it's still - let's run into the business of writing.

When I was a reasonably young playwright - 20 something: I was writing some plays where most of the characters were ladies. I meant them to be without a gender, but with actors being around I really didn't have a choice. I had to genderize them for actors.

The nice part was that I didn't have trouble filling roles with female actors. Hard part was that there were not that many male actors. Before getting from this intro part to the actual point about the headline, I have to confess that I'm not an expert on Simone De Beauvoir's life, she only struck my mind with one sentence, and I'm paraphrasing now: ' the only reason that history doesn't recognize female writers or scientists, is because we were never given a chance." I don't know how to speak French, and somebody might translate it better. To me, it was something that needed to be recognized, I started writing fiction without gender. At least I tried.

For this part, it was a strike of luck that I was in theatre. For how would someone be able to imagine in groups that we should look past genders and to beyond, and not see our genders as cages that in so many ways might make us trapped in language.

So, Grace and Frankie starts. Season two now on Netflix. After the first episode my immediate response is to watch the next one. My spoiler free comment is that the atmosphere is the same as in the first one. There is the fragility of family relationships, and also the strength that comes with asking for forgiveness. If you've never seen the series, I'll just say that it starts with two couples, and in those two couples there were lovers, and the lovers were not always the ones inside those mentioned couples. Without the weirdness: there were GAYS! And two very old ladies. So old that even Jane Fonda (Who is actually older than the character she is playing [Ralph Macchio beaten]) can play a younger character.

Premise is two divorced ladies and their gay husbands. Do you want some slapstick humour with that one? You will not get it.

The show is just full of very written dialogue. It has the same kind of drama that I've seen in Frasier and The Oz (the jail series, not the fairy tale 'we're not in Kansas anymore'), and the same humour that I find in Archer (an animated series about chauvinist super-spy of ISIS (sic)) and Gilmore Girls.

In the end it is not just the wits. It's also about the roles, and the roles we think that don't need another look at at all. I gave the first season already a 5/5. How can I give the same for the second season after only watching the first two episodes?

To me, Frankie and Grace poses serious questions. Why do I enjoy watching these old people with children, who has more problems than they do, over a fast-action packed feature film featuring at least a very big guy, or a not so big of a guy, or a very very small guy, who is old, but doesn't smoke weed, and is terrified of hamsters?

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