Grace and Frankie has a pretty great premise. Two women, who are quite literally the antithesis of one another, whose husbands are partners at a successful law firm, are thrown together when the aforementioned husbands leave them, not for other women, but for each other. Suddenly these women, played by heavy-hitting actresses Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, are left to piece their lives back together, and do so while living under the same roof.
Call it the modern-day Golden Girls, if you will. If the titular Golden Girls hated one another, that is. Unfortunately, however, the show appeared to run its course, and after six long seasons, Grace and Frankie was ultimately canceled by the powers that be. But with such a devoted following, many fans were left heartbroken and questioning just how Netflix could end the beloved sitcom. Here are some of the possible reasons why the popular show may have gotten the axe.
Perhaps money really is the root of all evil, or at least in the case of Netflix canceling Grace and Frankie. In 2015, it was initially reported that Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin were outraged after learning their male counterparts on the show, actors Sam Waterston and Martin Sheen, were being paid the same salary as them.
According to Vanity Fair, during a candid press conference, the leading ladies publicly vented their frustrations. Fonda reportedly said,
"[Lily Tomlin] found out [Sam Waterston and Martin Sheen] are getting the same salary that we are. [...] That doesn't make us happy."
However, shortly after the story broke, both Fonda and Tomlin issued a statement, revealing that the comment was just a joke that was taken out of context. The statement explained,
"We made a joke in an interview about our salaries which was taken out of context. This just reminds us to be mindful of how things come across in interviews. We appreciate everyone's support and the attention to this issue but the structure of Grace and Frankie is fair, and we couldn't be happier to work with Skydance, Netflix and the great cast of this show."
Of course, it's unclear whether Tomlin and Fonda's salary remarks impacted their show in any way. Another possible reason for Grace and Frankie's cancelation might have been the fact that their storyline was a little too close for comfort to that of the Amazon series, Transparent, a show in which the main character, an older transgender woman, comes out to her family and friends. An article in Salon alleged that many storylines in Grace and Frankie appeared to be strikingly similar to episodes of Transparent.
Another possible reason for the cancelation might be that some people found that the show's comedy fell flat, leaving viewers to scratch their heads at the intended punch lines. In fact, one Mic article suggested that many of the jokes related to the show's two male leads were potentially outdated and embarrassing. As Mic explained,
"The show's purpose is far simpler. Get four titans of screen together in a goofy comedy to have fun. On that level, it succeeds. But by including gay themes, Grace and Frankie has taken on the responsibility of being a queer show. On that level, it fails simply by not knowing what it's doing [...] And of course, there are bad [...] sex jokes. It's all so reductive. We don't need this."
It's possible, however, that the biggest problem with Grace and Frankie is the way that it seemingly pits two underrepresented demographics, gay men and aging women, against each other. It's no secret that viewers are expected to be sympathetic to the women who have had their lives essentially turned upside-down during what is supposed to be their "golden years." However, some critics have suggested that the series could be more sympathetic to the male counterparts who have lived most of their lives closeted.
Meanwhile, some have suggested that Grace and Frankie shows a cavalier disregard in the way it handles the topics of same-sex marriage and the act of coming out. As Salon reported,
"The premise is punchy, but that's almost all it is; the show's sympathies are so heavily slanted towards Grace [...] and Frankie [...] that it's hard to see the positivity in Sol and Robert's decision."
However, as Grace and Frankie has lasted for an impressive seven seasons, the series can hardly be called a failure.
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