There are two key components that make Netflix's Grace and Frankie the rousing delight it is. First and foremost, it caters to the seniors' demographic, which has been criminally under-served—though improving in recent years with fare like The Kominsky Method and Book Club. Second, Grace and Frankie is of the ever-popular buddy comedy genre. Its titular characters are polar opposites—Grace is a vodka-swilling WASP and Frankie is a pot-smoking hippie—who are thrown together when their husbands leave them for each other.
Initially, Grace Hanson is a cold and emotionally withdrawn person. The collapse of her marriage pales in comparison to having to share a beach house with Frankie. They clash like oil and water—or cannabis oil and vodka. Grace finds Frankie to be an oversharing slob, but over time and many, many cocktails, begins to appreciate Frankie's positive qualities. As this odd couple works through their pain, a real friendship forms. However, as Grace and Frankie learn, life is messy and their friendship has plenty of setbacks. Here's a look at Grace and Frankie: 6 Times Grace Was A Good Friend (And 4 She Wasn't).
While Frankie may become Grace's best friend, there are plenty of times Grace wants to strangle Frankie with her mala necklace. Grace finds herself yearning to spend time with friends she has more in common with. She calls up her old girlfriends in an attempt to reconnect.
Over an excruciating afternoon of Wii bowling, Grace discovers she has outgrown her image-conscious pals. First of all, they completely disappeared when Grace was going through her rough time, post-divorce. Then they make disparaging comments about Frankie. There was a time when Grace would be tossing out the harshest zingers of all, but now she knows what true friendship is. She calls out her "friends" on their rude comments and leaves them in her dust. Grace would rather bowl with real balls.
Grace doesn't like to talk about feelings. Instead, she drowns them in an industrial-sized martini. But when Grace reconnects with an old flame, she decides to go against her better judgment and lay her heart on the line. The relationship turns out to be tragically short-lived, so Grace goes on a bender. While numbing your pain with booze isn't the healthiest course of action, nobody's lining up to wag their finger at Grace for doing it.
But then, in her stupor, Grace completely intrudes on a nice get-together Frankie had planned with her boyfriend and sons. Then, Grace proceeds to verbally attack Frankie in the lowest way possible, claiming she would be better off without her, and calling Frankie a failure. In vino veritas. In wine there is truth...but not always great decision-making.
Robert and Sol really put their ex-wives through the ringer. Eventually, everyone was able to bury the hatchet but that doesn't mean family get-togethers were free of screaming matches. One instance saw Frankie taking the opportunity to air her dirty laundry to Sol and her family. Grace stood right by her bestie's side, chewing out Sol and co. for their actions.
This verbal deluge lead to the women revealing that they're starting a company called Vybrant, to sell vibrators to older women. The revelation invites a horrified outcry from their families. Sure, it may make children, even adult ones, uncomfortable hearing about their parents' bedroom lives, solo or otherwise. But the kids' disgust points to a larger societal reaction of being grossed out at the idea of seniors having sexual needs. Grace and Frankie were never more united as they stood arm in arthritis-inflamed arm.
Being a mother is very different from being a friend, but Grace is a woman who forgets the names of her own grandchildren, so when it comes to her daughters, she's closer to the latter. She even becomes their co-worker when asked to come back onboard the cosmetics company she founded, Say Grace. Grace finds the demands of her new job, combined with her responsibilities at Vybrant and relationship with Nick, to be overwhelming. Enter, Adderall.
Grace should have learned her lesson, that she's not her best self when under the effects of substances. While hopped up on Adderall, Grace gives an interview to a reporter in which she proceeds to trash her daughters. Grace reveals that Brianna almost ran Say Grace into the ground—true, but it doesn't need to be shared with the press—and insults Mallory's intelligence. Maybe instead of Say Grace, Grace should adapt the motto, "Say Nothing".
Brianna and Mallory are rightfully angry after Grace's harsh words in the interview. They call her out, both on her comments and her Adderall usage. The old Grace would have rolled her eyes and told her daughters to grow a pair. Not new Grace. She instantly realizes her grievous mistake and apologizes. Grace wanted to prove that even at eighty, she could still do it all. It's a losing battle, with her daughters as casualties. Even though it may be scary, Grace makes the right move and officially passes the baton—and her Adderall. Her daughters are left stupefied as it slowly dawns on them that Grace is both a loving mom and friend.
Even if two roommates are the best of friends, arguments are bound to erupt every now and then. Cleanliness, noise levels, temperature settings. These are all garden-variety conflicts that are completely solvable. Keeping a gun in the house is a whole other kettle of fish.
After Grace and Frankie are victims of a break-in, Grace reveals that she has a gun when she shoots what turns out to be a dummy Frankie made of herself. While (real) Frankie's reaction is beyond immature, she has a right to be upset. Upon living together, Grace should have told Frankie about the gun. While it may make Grace feel safe, it makes anti-gun Frankie feel the opposite. Grace agrees to get rid of it, rather than fire another round into their friendship.
Babe is the only real mutual friend Grace and Frankie had before living together. Always the life of the party, Babe's vivaciousness appeals to both women. Their worlds are shattered when Babe reveals that she's terminally ill. Rather than go through the arduous pain of trying to prolong the inevitable, Babe says she wants to end her life after throwing the party to end all parties.
Frankie is instantly supportive, but Grace recoils. She thinks that Babe should be a fighter and is so opposed to Babe's choice, she can't bring herself to go to the party. But after a heart-to-heart with Brianna, Grace realizes that any efforts to change Babe's mind are futile. Grace attends the party and is even with Babe at the end. Babe died knowing what a real friend Grace is.
Frankie is a terrible business partner. At Vybrant, Grace does almost all the heavy lifting—and light lifting too. When Frankie makes a costly blunder involving free donuts and vibrators—what startup hasn't hit that roadblock?—Grace is irate. Instead of picking up the pieces like she always does, Grace takes off on vacation and leaves Frankie to clean up her own mess.
This is the best thing for Frankie, who actually rises to the occasion and rights her wrongs. However, upon Grace's return, she completely ignores Frankie's accomplishments. On Bud's wedding day, Grace just assumes Frankie's plans will lead to disaster and takes over everything...only to end up with major egg on her face when Frankie pulls the wedding off, complete with wedding cake-yata. Even if she's more madness than method, Frankie deserves some credit.
Grace is a fiercely self-reliant woman who refuses to sacrifice her independence for anyone—except her best friend. When the kids sit Grace down and confess they think Frankie belongs in a retirement home, Grace can see their point. But the thought of leaving Frankie there by herself, and losing her as a roommate, is too much for Grace to bear. She makes the ultimate sacrifice and moves to the home with Frankie. Grace hates every minute of living there, from the forced mealtimes to the demeaning rule that forbids her from running her business. She and Frankie decide to escape back to the beach house in a touching buddy moment that included a stolen golf cart.
This alone is enough to light Frankie's fire, but Grace's gesture is so much more than a balloon ride. Frankie's boyfriend Jacob invited her to move to Sante Fe with him, and Grace proceeded to do everything in her power to convince Frankie not to go. Yes, Grace had some legitimate concerns about Frankie's health but underneath it all, Grace just didn't want to lose her. This is sweet, and speaks to Grace's enormous personal growth, but she's ultimately holding Frankie back. This finally clicks in for Grace and she's able to do the bravest thing a friend can: let Frankie go.