Grace And Frankie

Grace And Frankie portrays Grace and Frankie’s friendship as a relationship. They fight, but they always work through their shit and eventually make up. They drive each other mad, but they also need each other. When a detective called to investigate a break in at their beach house mistakes Grace and Frankie for wives, his assumption makes total sense. These two women have a complex and beautiful friendship that looks and feels quite like a romantic relationship. They go through some of the same emotional beats as Robert and Sol. “The Burglary” perfectly exemplifies how Grace And Frankie values friendship as a very real and meaningful relationship. It’s a show not only about late-in-life relationships but late-in-life friendships, too.

After a burglar breaks into their home, Frankie feels vulnerable and afraid. One of her solutions is to sleep in Grace’s bed, which Grace naturally hates (Frankie snores and talks in her sleep, reportedly saying things like “let’s get you out of that skin”). Hoping it’ll solve things, Grace signs herself and Frankie up for a crime prevention class for seniors. It’s not a self-defense class so much as a class where an officer tells a bunch of old people all the ways they’re vulnerable out in the world. The officer’s attitude smacks of the kind of everyday ageism the show often shines a light on. It also solves nothing. Frankie makes an elaborate mannequin that looks a lot like herself to leave in the living room so potential burglars think someone is there, and she puts pumps outside the front door (the officer suggested men’s boots to give the illusion that a man is present, but she found that too heteronormative). But she still wants to sleep in Grace’s bed. She still feels unsafe in her own home.

Grace points out all the ways in which Frankie has shown strength and overcome her fears. She’s partially just trying to get Frankie the hell out of her bed, but her pep talk is earnest, too, revealing how much Grace cares about her. Frankie drove on the freeway! She started a relationship with a new man! She started a goddamn business in her seventies! She’s doing incredible things. But Frankie quickly points out the throughline for all of those things: She did them with Grace. “I couldn’t have done any of that without you,” Frankie tells Grace. “You make me feel strong, Grace Hanson. Like I could do anything!” Grace And Frankie begins with Grace and Frankie losing their husbands of forty years, forcing them to rebuild their lives on their own. But they’re not really on their own. They’ve been on this journey together, and Grace And Frankie has made their relationship the foundation of the show, which has completely transcended its initial odd couple premise. Grace and Frankie have something real, something that’s constantly evolving. Grace gives Frankie a walkie-talkie so that they can always be together even when they’re not. It’s a truly touching moment. And then after hitting a warm and special spot in their friendship, everything comes crashing to a halt at the very end when Grace whips out her gun—a gun she promised Frankie she didn’t own—and shoots the mannequin, thinking it’s an intruder. Right after a high in their relationship, they hit a new low. Grace’s actions will no doubt have serious consequences for their friendship. But conflict in their relationship is as compelling as the more touching moments.

Robert and Sol also have a strong emotional narrative in the episode, which brings their past into the present. With Robert off socializing with his new theater friends, Sol starts to feel left out, so Robert invites his new pals over for drinks so Sol can be a part of the fun. But the simple tension caused by Sol’s FOMO turns into something bigger when he brings up their past to Robert’s new friends. Robert didn’t tell any of them he was married to a woman for decades or that he only just recently came out.

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In a way, it’s refreshing that Robert and Sol’s presence on the show doesn’t revolve entirely around their coming out narrative. In season two, the show finally started balancing heavier, more emotional storylines for Robert and Sol with lighter, more fun ones. But Robert and Sol coming out in their seventies and finally feeling free to be themselves is a huge thing that can’t and shouldn’t just be ignored. “The Burglary” sharply engages with some of the emotional ramifications for both men. Robert and Sol are thriving in this new stage of their life, but there are still challenges. It’s easy to see where both are coming from during their argument. Robert wanted to just feel like one of the gays in his new group of theater friends. He didn’t want to be defined by his past, by all those years of living in the closet. But Sol doesn’t want to participate in any kind of hiding. After all those years of pretending to be something he’s not, he’s done with lying about himself. Frankie is part of his past, but he doesn’t think the past should be ignored.

Both men come from an emotionally honest place, and no one is really at fault. Coming out in general is a hard and layered process that usually gets reduced to a neat and tidy narrative on television, but Grace And Frankie is finally digging into some of the nuances of Robert and Sol’s journey. The characters aren’t stuck in their pasts, but they are still connected to them. Their past has weight in the present, and like Grace and Frankie, they’re on this journey together, but they have different reactions and perspectives because of their starkly different personalities. Grace And Frankie tells the story of not just one but two complex, ever-evolving relationships between people in the later years of life.

Stray observations

  • Frankie describes Grace as a “dusty bag of elbows.”
  • Even though it was pretty obvious that Grace was lying about not owning a gun, I do kind of wish it wasn’t explicitly confirmed in her conversation with the officer. That ending would have hit even harder if we were kind of in the dark like Frankie.
  • I like that the writers seem to be aware of how useless Bud and Coyote are…they install Grace and Frankie’s television upside down.
  • That final scene is shot very well, bringing us into Grace’s head as she roams around the house. There’s a spooky feel to everything, and the upside-down TV adds to that.

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