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Grace and Frankie - Season 6 - Review: Sisters Before Misters

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It is not time to say goodbye to Grace and Frankie yet but knowing the penultimate season is upon us sure unleashes feelings of impending loss. That is not only because the show and its relatable characters will be dearly missed but especially because the Netflix production is one of a kind. Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin are not afraid to show what life looks like when one is in their 70s and 80s. They do not sugarcoat and address several issues head-on which most other TV shows would want to steer clear of. Grace and Frankie clarifies that being older does not disqualify you from the exciting things in life. There is no other show out there that deconstructs ageist stereotypes as fiercely and as consistently as Grace and Frankie does.

When one medical drama ends, three new ones have already started airing. Grace and Frankie, however, cannot be replaced as easily. A show with two female leads in their 80s is almost as rare as snowfall in Death Valley. And even though Grace and Frankie is still one of Netflix’s most beloved shows, chances are slim that another series will put their spotlight on two women born in or before the 1950s the way this production does. If Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin won’t sell vibrators for women with arthritis who will do it in their stead? Anyone? At least there is still an entire year to find a worthy successor. Provided, people in charge of the TV and streaming world even want to find one.

In season 6 Grace and Frankie’s life changes significantly once again when Grace announces she married Nick. This time it’s Frankie, though, who has a better grip on reality. Grace believes moving out and being married won’t change a thing about their friendship when in fact it changes everything. Grace moves into Nick’s penthouse and she and Frankie avoid each other for several days. That is until Grace gets stuck on the toilet. Literally. She does not manage to get up from the particularly low toilet seat in Nick’s bathroom and has to call Frankie for help. The woman hurries to her rescue and is beyond amused by her friend’s predicament. But that’s what best friends do, isn’t it? We laugh out loud while we do everything in our power to rescue our bestie.

Grace’s “stuck on the can” situation inspires Frankie to build a toilet that aids you when you have difficulties getting up by yourself. She wants to get Grace on board so Vybrant can be back in business with a brand-new product. Grace is skeptical at first but eventually realizes that she loves working with Frankie, as frustrating as it sometimes may be. However, it is rather difficult to find an investor for something as unglamorous as a toilet. The two women end up going to Shark Tank where the only person making them an offer is Cuban who is apparently Nick’s nemesis. Nick asks Grace not to do business with Cuban. So, Grace feels pressured to decline the man’s offer and thereby crushes her and Frankie’s dream. Her best friend is gutted. Why didn't Grace talk to her about the Nick-Cuban situation? By keeping it a secret she made the betrayl Frankie is feeling even worse.

Frankie: “You just threw away everything we worked for. You betrayed me. But you know who I feel worse for? You! Because you betrayed yourself. And now I‘m out.“

Both, Grace and Franke, are miserable after their fight. It does not improve the situation when Nick finally reveals why he did not want Grace to work with Cuban: Because the man is richer than him and he cannot stand that thought. This was about  Nick's pride all along, about some childish, ridiculous competition that was probably only happening in his head. Grace betrayed her friend for nothing! She is furious but does not have the time to argue with her husband as she gets a call from Joan-Margaret who is stuck at a restaurant together with Frankie and needs bailing out. Both women forgot their wallets and need someone to pay for their lunch. Now, at the end of the season, it is Grace who is coming to Frankie’s rescue. Grace apologizes wholeheartedly and admits to Frankie that with her actions she was just trying to be a good wife to Nick. A thought which, in retrospect, horrifies her. This marriage seemed so very different than the one with Robert and yet she caught herself doing exactly what she never wanted to do again: forgetting about herself, being the good little wife.

Grace: I really thought it would be different with Nick, but I lost me again. You know, the real me, the me I am with you.
Frankie: I like that you.
Grace: Yeah, me too. And no matter how sweet Nick is, you're always gonna be the first person I want to call.
Frankie: You're my first person, too.

Grace wonders if she made a mistake marrying Nick and so does the audience. The guy sure seemed perfect at first but the way he keeps dismissing Frankie, his wife’s best friend, is appalling. And expecting Grace to betray her friend and their shared business out of a hurt ego was probably the most idiotic, most selfish thing he could have done. Furhtermore, it is unfathomable to me why some men seem to get intimidated by their wife’s/girlfriend’s best friend. Being in a relationship with someone does not mean you have to drop your friends or reduce the time you spend with them. If this is what your partner expects from you better send them packing.

Thankfully, Nick seems to realize that making Grace choose between him and Frankie is a rather idiotic idea as her ultimate decision might not be in his favor. He apologizes right before the FBI barges into the penthouse to arrest him for tax evasion and securities fraud. The audience can assume his white-collar crimes are only one of many things he did not tell Grace about. Before the FBI takes Nick away he leaves Grace a clue that only Frankie recognizes as such. He has hidden money in the couch Grace despises. Enough money for Grace and Frankie to finance their toilet project!

Grace does not seem to be particularly worried about Nick. In fact, she and Frankie both seem somewhat relieved Nick’s isn't around. Now Grace can move back into the beach house and they can work on their business in peace. Their newfound peace lasts all of two seconds when Robert and Sol show up at the beach house to announce they are moving in. The toilet prototype Frankie gifted them has flooded their house and they now need a new residence.

The two men have gone through a few crises this season. And I was very glad none of them had to do with Robert acting on stage. This storyline was rather hard to get through last season. The community theater, however, is still a topic this time around. Robert donates 20k to the theater without telling Sol about it. He is hoping to get the money back from a fundraiser he organized but his plan does not quite work out. Robert decides to sell their fancy burial plots to put the money back on their bank account before his husband notices it is missing. Once Sol realizes what his husband has done, he decides to throw caution to the wind and spends an equally insane amount of money on a motorbike which he cannot even drive. What a revenge purchase! In the end, they both don’t have any funds left and cannot even afford a hotel room when their house gets flooded. I didn’t expect the two highly intelligent lawyers to make so many stupid financial decisions. However, it was rather hilarious to watch so they are forgiven.
In between the money drama, Sol was diagnosed with prostate cancer which was addressed only in a few episodes and then forgotten. Was the surgery successful? Is the cancer gone? Many unanswered questions.

For Brianna, this season brought along several challenges. Her boyfriend Barry decides to become the father of the baby of his two lesbian friends and realizes that he and Brianna actually do not have a single thing in common: He wants kids, she doesn’t. He wants to get married, she doesn’t. Barry decides to break up with her which hits the usually very tough woman quite hard. In this moment, it finally becomes clear how much Barry actually means to her. Brianna decides to go for a grand gesture and proposes to him. She still doesn’t actually want to get married but she wants to be engaged to him forever. That’s a rather huge step for Brianna and Barry knows that. He accepts her proposal and thereby makes her happier than we have ever seen her.

At some point in season 6 Say Grace has become part of a bigger company making Brianna’s role as the boss a lot less significant. Still, she ends up turning down a promotion as it would have meant to move to another city. She wants to be in LA with Barry. Instead, Mallory gets offered the job and suddenly becomes Brianna’s boss (should she accept the offer which we do not know for sure yet). This is quite a surprise to Brianna. She does not really seem to like the thought of her sister being her superior. Still, she does not seem to regret having declined the offer. Yet another big step for her character. Though, there is nothing wrong if a woman decides to choose her career over a relationship. If your job is what makes you happy people should support your decision to prioritize it.

While Brianna works through her issues, her step brother Bud meets the first person he is actually related to by blood and Coyote falls for a girl he might actually have a future with.

Not only Coyote's love life ignites but also Frankie’s. The woman falls for Jack, a sweet if somewhat weird guy, who turns out to be the ex-husband of a client of Robert and Sol’s. During Jack's divorce, the two lawyers represented his ex-wife and took him for everything he had. Jack has a panic attack when he realizes Frankie’s ex is the lawyer who destroyed his life. However, he soon decides to get over it. For Frankie. What he cannot accept though, is when Frankie also starts seeing her ex-boyfriend Jacob. He has no interest in sharing his partner with another man. Both, Jack and Jacob break up with Frankie. The woman, however, seemed more heartbroken when Grace moved out than she appeared to be about the breakups.

Season 6 showed a significant character development for Grace and Brianna. Both women left their comfort zone repeatedly out of love to another person. Grace for her friend Frankie and Brianna for Barry.

The season ended with several unanswered questions which hopefully will be addressed in the final season of the show. I am also hoping for some big surprises which the current season did not quite provide. It was entertaining, the actors were beyond outstanding but I was missing some elements of excitement.

How did you like season 6? What do you want to happen in the final season? Let us know in the comments!

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