TV: Grace and Frankie (Season 3)

The third season of Netflix’s Grace and Frankie continues the show’s pleasant, unassuming mix of old-fashioned sitcom miscommunication and bawdy, contemporary subject matter. This year the primary arc involves the attempts of Grace (Jane Fonda) and Frankie (Lily Tomlin) to launch a new business selling vibrators to the elderly. It’s an amusing enterprise fraught with missteps, humiliating defeats, and family drama, and ultimately threatens to tear the unlikely best friends apart.

While the overall quality is perhaps a step back in season three, Grace and Frankie continues to be a pleasant, diverting watch, carried by the effortless rapport of Fonda and Tomlin and supported by increasingly comfortable ensemble chemistry from a talented cast that includes Sam Waterston, Martin Sheen, June Diane Raphael, Baron Vaughn, Ethan Embry, Brooklyn Decker, and Ernie Hudson. From time to time, the show plays up its characters’ conservative/liberal divide a bit too obviously, such as in a gun rights subplot that threatens to shatter the core friendship. But the characters continue to gain layers and nuance as the actors more thoroughly inhabit them over time, and the show continues to show plenty of comedic spark. Much like the product its heroes bring to market, Grace and Frankie continues to effectively service its niche. (Did I just say that?)

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