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Lulu Wang (The Farewell)
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Grace and Frankie S1:E3 "The Dinner"

Anne Marie here, taking over recap duties for an episode! In Episode 2, physical possessions were divvied up for the divorce (for now), so Episode 3 is when we focus on feelings and family. Grace and Frankie, suddenly devoid of social obligations and artistic inspiration, decide to combat their own sense of irrelevence by getting jobs. Grace returns to the beauty company she founded, now run by her daughter Brianna, only to discover that Brianna has steered the company in a new direction. 

Elsewhere, Frankie attempts to interview at an old folks home, but is mistaken for a potential client. For most of this epiosde, Grace & Frankie's storylines felt a bit too much like a B plot from Sutton Foster's age-and-cliche-obsessed show Younger on TVLand (is anybody else watching Younger?). But on the other hand, the episode does culminate in Grace having a meltdown in a supermarket and Frankie stealing a pack of cigarettes like a middle-aged Thelma & Louise.

Meanwhile, on our favorite Law & Order/The West Wing crossover fanfiction, Jed Bartlett & Jack McCoy Robert & Sol are enjoying the honeymoon phase of their incipient relationship. They're singing to each other, cuddling in bed, and getting ready for dinner with the kids. This is the episode where Robert & Sol's relationship really gels, and no matter how awkward or uncomfortable their situation has made their kids, it's really sweet to watch Sol light up like a kid on Christmas when he wakes up next to Robert.

However, the dinner with all four kids does not go as well as planned. Coyote and Mallory have history (which I wish I could care about, but I just don't), and Brianna and Nwabudike have beef with their dads. Cake and accusations are served. When the cake and a card appear a note at the beach house, it's pretty clear: the kids have chosen Grace and Frankie's side.

Best Jane Moment

Bean Bag Chair: 1 Jane: 0 

Best Lily Moment

"Oh my god! Do I look like I need a bed with a motor?"
"Well, people are taking really good care of themselves these days."
"No, no I have taken terrible care of myself! I am young!"

Best Background Phallic Symbol

This show has a fantastic production design team, and my favorite visual gag is a set of very phallic vases that somehow have managed to sneak into one scene in each episode, usually when "the boys" are being discussed. There's one at the Beach House, and one at Sol and Frankie's place. I imagine that Sol & Robert bought them together on a "business" vacation, but didn't tell their wives what or why.

Episode MVP

With so much family drama happening in such a short space of comedic time, our secondary characters suddenly had a lot of exposition and jokes to juggle. June Diane Raphael (Brianna) stood out as the strongest of the bunch, transitioning from "bitchy daughter" stereotype to real character. Raphael's early scene with Fonda delivered some solid laughs and sympathetic cringes. But Bri really shines during the dinner, where she finally says what everyone is thinking: are Sol and Robert getting a free pass on cheating because they're gay? It's a tough question to ask, an even tougher line to get a laugh from, but Raphael manages both.

Rating: B This was the episode we needed to finally flesh out the rest of the family, and it was a welcome opening! However, the plotlines for Fonda and Tomlin were both on the weaker side, and (other than the beanbag chair) didn't give our talented leading ladies much to do. Hopefully, the secondary characters continue to grow, preferably not at the expense of Lily and Jane.

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Reader Comments (6)

C'mon you had to leave out the "My joints are supple" part?

I love June Diane Raphael in this and could do without anything involving Ethan Embry.

May 11, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRyan

I had high expectations of this series but sad to say, they've all come crashing down. Apart from the pilot which was delightful, the rest of the episodes felt contrived and muddled. It's even more heartbreaking when I have nothing but admiration for the two veteran actresses.

May 11, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJans

The grocery store scene was hard to believe. It was played too broadly and simplistically. Older women are invisible thing was too on the nose. I think the part of the problem for the show is that there are too many self-indulgent scenes that don't fit with the overall tone the show is trying to achieve.

May 12, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterdela

"My joints are supple" was so great, as was Frankie's squat. Lily Tomlin is doing great work here!

May 12, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterGJP

From what I've seen, "Grace and Frankie" looks like a high-end version of TV Land's "Hot in Cleveland!"

May 12, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterrick gould

I want to like this more than I do. Lily Tomlin is great as always, rising above the material. And Sam Waterson is the more believable of "the boys." The idea that the two of them are mourning their lost friendship, whatever the circumstances, is very realistic.

Jane Fonda and Martin Sheen are formidable actors, but aren't given interesting characters. Obnoxious rich people getting divorced, how many times have we seen that before? I hope the characters deepen in future episodes.

Agree that June Diane Raphael is the MVP of the supporting cast, but I'd rather they devote more time to Jane and especially Lily.

May 13, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBiggs

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