Grace and Frankie’s fourth season premieres January 19th on Netflix.
Lisa Kudrow helps kick off another season of Grace and Frankie with a multi-episode arch, and she disappears. Kudrow’s appearance and plot is an apt explanation for the elderly comedy overall; you’ll love seeing famous and talented actors play off one another, but the material isn’t anything special and the emotional moments don’t hit quite as hard as the creators think they do.
This season, we get more character development for the central duo than ever before. Well, Grace at least. I found myself finally understanding her personality and motivations. Frankie is still for the most part a kooky architype, but there are some good twists in store for her character this year that I don’t want to spoil.
The other characters are sort of shoehorned in this season. Brianna and the rest of the kids get their time in the spotlight, but the only side storyline that sticks is Bud and Alison preparing for their first baby and the aftermath of her birth. You can tell the writers kind of forgot to give Saul and Robert something to do during the first half of these 13 episodes, as the back half really accelerates with them exploring open relationships. Still, Sam Waterson and Martin Sheen really shine this season. Sheen in particular gets to do a bunch of musical performances on stage, which you can tell the actor enjoys.
That said, by far the best thing to come out of this season of Grace and Frankie was Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin’s press tour. The two living legends gave great interviews on the Today Show, AOL Build, and the late-night circuit. Just as they do on screen, the pair are able to humorously spar with each other in real life. The show might not be worth watching anymore, but the idea of Grace and Frankie – Fonda and Tomlin delighting you – still prevails.
I give Grace and Frankie Season 4 a B-.