Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 30th 2017 Contents B10 life
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Fonda and Tomlin savour
senioritis as Grace and Frankie
The message of Grace and Frankie is:
There's life after 70.
And also your own brand of vibrator, accord-
ing to this Netflix comedy's just-released new
Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin press on as the ti-
tle characters whose longtime husbands (played
by Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston) abruptly
left them for each other at the series' inception.
"When our law-partner husbands tell us
they've been having an affair for 20 years, we're
bereft and cast adrift," says Tomlin.
"What happens when you're in your late 70s
and the rug is pulled out from under you?" poses
The answer they and their show are promoting:
"There can be a third act that's pretty robust
and pretty fun," as Fonda puts it. "Don't write
us off just because we're over the hill. 'Cause
there's a lot of other hills still to come that are
As the third season begins, the often-frac-
tious friendship shared by uptight Grace and
free-spirited Frankie has steered them into mar-
keting a product designed to meet the special
needs of women of their vintage. It's a vibrator
with thoughtfully large-print directions and a
swivelling head that won't aggravate the user's
carpal tunnel syndrome or arthritis. Its brand
name: Menage a Moi.
Thus does Grace and Frankie, between gener-
ous laughs, continue to explore growing older
while thumbing its nose at Father Time.
Fonda and Tomlin (today hale and hearty at,
respectively, 79 and 77) are the best advertise-
ments for what the series is about. They first
worked together in a certain hit film nearly four
Fonda had attended a live performance by
Tomlin "and I fell in love with her. I was pre-
paring a movie called 9 to 5 that was kind of
serious. But after I saw her show, I thought,
'I CAN'T do a movie about secretaries if Lily
Tomlin isn't one of them.' And we had to totally
redo the movie so it was funny."
Tomlin says she came to the project "total-
ly in awe" of Fonda, and, referring to Fonda's
Oscar-winning performance in the 1971 thrill-
er Klute, confides, "I had already worn a Klute
hairdo for a couple of years."
With their on-screen reunion for Grace and
Frankie, Fonda says Tomlin, once again, is "good
for me to be around. I come from a long line of
depressed people, and Lily's humor is right close
to the surface. I tend to depression, and she finds
laughter in everything. We have fun together."
Even so, the series presents challenges.
In the first season, Fonda unexpectedly identi-
fied with the abandonment issues her character
was going through. "It kind of shatters" Grace,
she says, and "it did for me, Jane, as well. It
triggered something in me. It was really hard
to be playing somebody going through that."
Thinking back on it seems to bring Fonda to
the brink of tears.
Or not, she argues with a smile. "I just have
something in my eyes."
And there are other demands besides the
emotional. Like "working 16 hours a day when
you're almost 80," Fonda says. "And we have to
be learning our lines. Some of us," she adds with
a comically knowing eye in Tomlin's direction,
"have QUITE a challenge that way."
"I have NO problem learning lines!" Tomlin
chortles. "She is just so full of it!"
"Lily stumbles around and forgets her lines,"
persists Fonda, "then, when it's all put together,
it all turns out perfectly. She somehow makes
it seem so fresh. When I forget MY lines, I just
feel sort of like I'm a dud."
"This is just crazy talk," Tomlin counters, then
reports that, a few days before, she watched a
couple of episodes, "and --- oh, I'm sorry --- you're
"You think?" says Fonda, as if caught by sur-
"Oh, yes. Just terrific."
"Aw, thanks," says Fonda, clearly touched.
But it all begs the question: How do these
veteran actresses do it?
Fonda: "You've got to get enough sleep."
Tomlin: "You've got to squat."
Fonda: "Squat over WHAT?"
Tomlin: "Just squat. So that you stay flexible."
•Continues on Page B11
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