If you haven’t been watching Netflix’s Grace and Frankie until now, I am so very sorry. Life is trying enough these days, but Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin have been the balm that makes our ever-persistent hellfire world a little more bearable. Their odd couple dynamic is a pure joy to watch, with hippy-dippy Frankie (Tomlin) testing the boundaries of fellow divorcee, the WASPy Grace (Fonda). Beyond their hijinks in business and love, it’s rewarding to watch them just vibing (sometimes literally, considering their sex toy company).
The sixth (and penultimate) season hit Netflix on January 15, and if you are still on the fence about joining this pair of seniors on their many misadventures, we’ve racked up a few reasons to hit play.
Fair warning: light spoilers ahead.
Tomlin’s comedic genius is the show’s cornerstone, keeping the laughs coming no matter how dire the situation. Any plot-heavy scene is brightened by her breezy one-liners about eating chili off the counter or which fondue pot is most likely to spark a love connection, and her antics keep the show from being bogged down by family drama. The writers clearly save their best jokes for Tomlin, and she delivers them in rapid-fire 30 Rock fashion.
Past seasons’ guest stars have included Ernie Hudson and Sam Elliott, and the sixth season keeps up the momentum with a whole new slew of beloved performers. Mary Steenburgen swans in as the ex-wife of Grace’s new husband Nick (Peter Gallagher, armed with a formidable head of hair). Elliott Gould appears as Dr. Rogers, Sol (Sam Waterston) and Robert’s (Martin Sheen) physician, and Engelbert Humperdinck even pops up as himself to sing at a very special event. Michael McKean plays a Deadhead who, unsurprisingly, falls for Frankie. And, to cap things off, eccentric employee Joan Margaret (Millicent Martin, best known as Daphne Moon’s crackpot mother on Frasier) is now a recurring character, giving Frankie even more chaos to feed off of.
For 14 weeks straight, through early January, Fonda held demonstrations outside the U.S. Capitol Building with fellow celebrities to demand action on climate change. Her Grace and Frankie co-stars Tomlin, Sheen and June Diane Raphel also joined her in civil disobedience. Comedy and politics have always been bedfellows, and it feels only right to support actors who use their clout for the common good.
Grace and Frankie may be the stars of the show, but Sol and Robert, whose romance kicks off the entire premise, are their own comedic brightspot. Their dynamic in many ways reflects that of their ex-wives, with soft-hearted Sol bringing his stodgier husband out of his shell, but the love story at its center makes their marriages one of the sweetest on TV. The ladies tend to get the zanier plotlines, while Sol and Robert find the funny in everyday moments.
In a post-Parks and Rec world, we were left adrift and bereft of our television version of vitamin D. Grace and Frankie more than delivers on this front, without going full-on saccharine. No matter what obstacle is put before the pair of friends, they charge ahead with unrelenting confidence (or, at least, Frankie does and Grace eventually sees the light). Sarcasm is easy, but humor with heart takes extra effort.
Grace and Frankie’s sixth season is now streaming on Netflix.
Clare Martin writes about comedy, music and more for Paste.