By Gina Duncan

What lies between heartbreak and where you are now?” This was the question posed by Lily Tomlin’s character, Frankie, in season one. 

We’ve all had our hearts broken at some point in our lives. No matter what age you are, detaching from someone you love hurts, leaving you with feelings of sadness, loneliness, and loss.

Figuring out how to move forward from that pain is challenging; it can feel impossible. Grace and Frankie is showing women of all ages how to cope, teaching them to live between heartbreak and what comes next. 

Beloved 70s superstar, Jane Fonda and 70s and 80s queen of comedy, Lily Tomlin are reunited on the screen for the first time since starring in the classic 80s hit movie, 9 to 5. Decades later, the pairing of Fonda and Tomlin as Grace and Frankie is still pure magic.

When we are first introduced to Grace and Frankie in season one, the women are confronted by their husbands of 20 years with a big secret. The men have been romantically involved with each other for the past decade and want a divorce from their wives so they can marry each other. Though the ladies have had a strained relationship with each other in the past, they rally together to cope with the circumstances and start over. A new friendship develops between the two of them as they start to figure out what the rest of their lives are going to look like.

Grace and Frankie is a Netflix Original American comedy series, and when it ends, it will have been the longest-running show in Netflix history. Since its premiere in 2015, it’s been funny, compelling, refreshing and not afraid to tackle some tough issues. It’s not just about heartache after a breakup, it’s also about friendship, empowerment, ageism, sex, and feminism. Grace and Frankie has been confirmed for its seventh and final season and here’s why we are celebrating.

We are encouraged that audiences have responded to the pairing of these two older women as leads and that alone is reason to celebrate. The world’s 65 and over population is growing at an unprecedented rate. Television producers are starting to realise that women in this age group want to turn on their televisions and see relatable characters. Besides Grace and Frankie, there are 10  other television shows on air right now with female-driven leads over the age of 50. Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Rita Moreno, Geena Davis, Viola Davis, Sarah Jessica Parker, and others join Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin in dominating television. 

Grace and Frankie’s long run proves that audiences respond to quality adult shows with strong female leads. Fonda’s Grace goes after what she wants with gusto and has no problem telling people what to do, especially her family and friends. Formally, the owner of a large cosmetics company that she gave to her older daughter, she finds it difficult to start over in her new business with Frankie. Tomlin is Frankie, a bit of a free spirit, a yam lube making, hippie child and an artist who leads with her emotions. The ladies, along with Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston,  playing their ex-husbands, and Brooklyn Decker, June Diane Raphael, Ethan Embry and Baron Vaughn, as their children, have made us laugh and cry with them all these years.

For five seasons, Fonda and Tomlin have obliterated ageism stereotypes and have positively represented the 65 plus age group. Storylines have seen them deal with the changes of menopause, becoming friends with adult children, navigating dating and sex after divorce, and being discriminated against because of age. 

We celebrate their quest to rediscover interests left dormant while raising a family, their renewed sense of sexuality, talking about their bodies and sex while embracing their womanhood — giving us permission to do the same. We love watching them redefine their friendship as they acclimate to their new normal. They have proven to us that you can start over at any age.

No matter your age, if you are transitioning from a relationship, let the characters Grace and Frankie be an inspiration to you for that next chapter of your life. You can go on; you are stronger than you think and you will discover more about yourself on the other side of heartbreak. 

For now, fans can’t get enough of this show. We are excited to see where Netflix takes these characters next as they continue this rare look into life after 65. Grace and Frankie will be back on Netflix for its sixth season in January 2020 and return for a final seventh season the following year. If you haven’t kept up to date, don’t worry. You can stream all five seasons of the show on Netflix and binge-watch it. 

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