Grace & Frankie & the Golden Girls: Thirty Years of Roommate Laughs

If a fly were to buzz around modern women’s book clubs, chances are the conversation may come up now and then about the idea of becoming old women and living together. The tribal nature buried deep within our DNA beckons a powerful longing for community living. And with more than 25% of marriages ending after age 50+ a hot new trend is on the rise; with modern and mature roommates shacking up, and having the time of their lives.

We all fell in love with Betty White and Bea Arthur in The Golden Girls, and today Amazon is offering a runaway hit called, “Grace and Frankie,” starring none other than the iconic Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. If you have some downtime this holiday season, be prepared to stay up all night binge watching one after another!

If you have forgotten, check out the incredible power and impact of the Golden Girls as one of the most influential television shows of all time- laying the groundwork for today’s modern remakes:goldengirls

The Golden Girls originally aired on NBC from 1985, to 1992, starring Beatrice Arthur, Betty White, Rue McClanahan, and Estelle Getty as Blanche, Rose, Dorothy and Sophia; four older women who shared a home in Miami, Florida. Even though it has been off the air for 24 years, it remains top of mind and is still on reruns. The series ranked among the top ten highest-rated programs for six out of its seven seasons, and in 2013, TV Guide ranked The Golden Girls number 54 on its list of the 60 Best Series of All Time.

The “Golden Girls” series has become so iconic it is used as an adjective – defining a dream for many women who anticipate being single later in life, and harboring a secret or not-so-secret plan to live their final chapters with their best friends. We loved their unapologetic and progressive approaches to often taboo subjects of sex after 50, race, feminism, same sex marriage, disabilities and living life on your own terms.

Jump ahead thirty years – out of the polyester outfits and teased up hair, and we find a modern roommate storyline with Grace and Frankie, starring Fonda and Tomlin. As different as two women can be, these fiercely independent rivals who are both in their 70’s end up sharing a co-owned beach house, after their husbands (and legal business partners) announce they are in love with each other, and plan to get married. Both have to start over after a 40 year marriage, and put up with each other along the way.

gracefrankie_3Can you think of two more iconic women to redefine a new era of life? Tomlin plays a free-spirited, hippie-style baby boomer who still smokes pot, conducts shamanic rituals on the beach, and makes her own yam lube. Truly brilliant. Fonda is in her element as a hyper corporate, conservative, wound up, socialite executive. As she approaches 80 years old, Fonda has never looked more hip, relaxed and beautiful.  Their masterful performances are so spot, on I was howling with laughter to the point of tears.

Their stories tap into hidden restrictions we have placed upon ourselves as we get older, and to confront hidden ageist paradigms that may be holding us back. Who says women well past sixty can’t wear skinny jeans, have hot affairs, or get stoned on the beach? And, who says men can’t divorce their wives, marry each other and have it all work out?

Jane Fonda has dedicated herself to the causes that best represent the ideals, drives and voices of the baby boomers. She risked her early success as an actress to stand up as an activist against the Vietnam War, continued into her thirties and forties an a powerfully sexy feminist, and became a fitness guru before there was such a thing.  Tomlin has been making our sides ache for as long as I can remember, and both are determined to redefine the third chapters of life, and guide their new show into uncharted waters.

How about you Silvernest readers?! Have you enjoyed watching the Golden Girls and Grace and Frankie? What were some of your favorite moments? How have they inspired you? Feel free to share on our Facebook page.

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