The Grace and Frankie Ending (Spoilers)
Watching the end of Grace and Frankie is like being killed by a vibrator. A show that was supposed to be fun and empowering ends with a sexist, ageist move to a retirement home. (Oops…spoilers ahead!)
When Grace and Frankie began airing three years ago I was elated by a show that portrayed 70-year- old women as strong, funny, and yes, even sexy. Since my mother was 36-years- old when I was born I spent a lot of time with awesome, hippie, middle-aged women. The four main actors in the show were mainstays for us. This season’s culminating plotlines go like this: the two men are having marital problems, which are fixed by flirting with a younger man and having “a good romp in the hay.” The women, who do make a few mistakes, ones that much younger people could make, are sent off to a retirement home. Bear in mind that the men and women are the same age.
Grace needs to go to a home because she has a knee replacement. Weird… My mom had a hip replacement at 60 and was back to work in a few months. (Sorry to blow up your spot mom.) Frankie drives a bit too far with her granddaughter and doesn’t have her charger to call Bud. If that’s a reason for Frankie to be in a retirement home she would have been there at 40 since that’s been her M.O. all along.
The tub falls through the ceiling from water damage. Grace hires a contractor who scams her and steals the pipes. This means the women living in a house that’s falling apart. (Damn I better get that water stain on my ceiling looked at.) Frankie’s mini-stroke from the previous season becomes a reason that she can’t live alone. My god! What if it happens again? Wait! Didn’t Robert have heart surgery in an earlier season? Shouldn’t we be concerned that’s going to happen again too?
Positive from the previous two seasons include: Grace and Frankie start a very successful business on their own; Grace dates a younger, sexy man; Frankie moves to Santa Fe and back, and Frankie delivers her granddaughter and is the only person who can name her or put her to sleep. In other news, their four kids, who send them to the home, run Grace’s business into the ground, divorce, suffer addiction, live in a mini-house on someone else’s property, and have frequent anxiety attacks.
The show does end with Grace and Frankie breaking out of their retirement community in a golf cart, but the show should never put them there. Previous seasons have ended with the women deciding to start a business or flying in a hot air balloon. Grace and Frankie began with women aging in independent and empowered way that proved their wisdom and worth. Grace’s knee replacement could have shown the challenges of aging that can be overcome. Frankie’s lapse means only that she shouldn’t be driving her granddaughter around. Portraying the truth of aging needn’t include exiling two vybrant 74- year-old women to a nursing home.
The day after the kids suggested a nursing home our Grace would have had a contractor working on the house and Frankie would already be drafted into putting her granddaughter to sleep because she was the only one who could.