Inside Marta Kauffman’s ‘Grace and Frankie’ Office

After years spent on such shows as “Friends” and “Related,” Marta Kauffman knows that idle hands are not conducive to her productivity. Her corner office on the Paramount lot, down the hall from the writers room for Howard J. Morris and her Netflix series “Grace and Frankie,” is filled with lots of fun stuff: snacks, drawers of Silly Putty and adult coloring books, comfy furniture, a bar, and even a broken exercise bike that she swears she’ll start using after her upcoming knee replacement surgery. “When you keep your hands busy doing something like this, I find it fuels your brain,” says Kauffman, who knitted 14 hats during her final two weeks on “Friends” — gifts she bestowed to those writers.

Home Away from Home

Plenty of people bring their work home with them, but Kauffman also did the opposite. The beach house that Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin’s titular heroines use in her show is modeled after Kauffman’s own Malibu retreat, except the fictional one is 15-percent bigger. A blueprint of the set is framed and hangs over her office’s couch. “Whenever I go home, I wonder why my house feels so small,” she jokes.

That’s no Phall-acy

The sketch isn’t the only “Grace and Frankie” memento in the room. There’s also a clapboard from the third season premiere, which celebrates Kauffman’s first time in the director’s chair. But the piece de resistance? An anatomical-themed ceramic fountain by artist Robb Bold that audiences may recall appearing in that same episode. “If someone makes this, you’ve got to have it,” Kauffman says. “This is not something that should go into some storage center.”

Finch and Twitch

An enormous framed poster for the film “To Kill a Mockingbird” hangs behind Kauffman’s desk. Originally a bat mitzvah gift for her daughter, Kauffman laid claim to it after the girl moved out. “’To Kill a Mockingbird’ is probably my favorite book of all time,” she says. “And, as far as movies made from books, I think it’s one of the better versions of that — if not one of the best.”  Below the poster is another prized possession: a signed headshot of “So You Think You Can Dance” star tWitch. During a major bout of depression, one of Kauffman’s writers brought him to her dance class for a birthday surprise.

Gnome, Gnome, Gnome

Plastic gnomes with their middle fingers extended periodically float around the production offices. All were gifts and Kauffman says that she feels “they express about two-thirds of every day. So I like to have them around.”

Barack the Vote

Kauffman, a vocal Democrat, is proud that she hosted a fundraiser for Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign at her Hancock Park-area house. Photos of the two of them from that night are displayed on her office’s desk and wall. Kauffman is also needle-pointing a sign for her home’s bathroom that reads “POTUS peed here.”

It’s 5 p.m. Somewhere

Underneath the Obama pictures on the wall is a cocktail area that Kauffman says production uses “for what we call Scotch o’clock” (i.e. whenever the workday is done). Kauffman is a fan of Sheep Dip Whisky, but the bar also includes a brand called Writers Tears. “It tastes like the deepest, darkest parts of you [have been] poured over ice,” she deadpans.

More TV

  • Hugh GRant photographed by Shayan Asgharnia

    Listen: Hugh Grant on Why He Would Kill Social Media if He Could

    Hugh Grant has been very active in U.K. press reform initiatives, but he knows the problem is even bigger than the media moguls who control the world’s major news outlets. That’s why Hacked Off, the campaign he’s involved with, is also expanding its scope to include the impact of online propaganda. “It’s particularly terrifying, the [...]

  • Veronica Mars -- "Heads You Lose"

    TV Review: 'Veronica Mars' Season 4

    “Veronica Mars” was a slap to the face of high school dramas when it premiered on UPN in 2004. Creator Rob Thomas took the well-worn “who killed the pretty teenager?” whodunnit and hard-boiled it, following a traumatized girl desperately trying to harden herself to the world’s harsh realities as she tried to solve the case. [...]

  • Norah O'Donnell Invokes Edward R. Murrow

    Norah O'Donnell Invokes Edward R. Murrow to Launch New Era at 'CBS Evening News'

    Though Norah O’Donnell had her first turn as anchor of “CBS Evening News” Monday night, she didn’t rely on any attention-grabbing tricks to carry the day. There was no flashy drawing board, no rattling off of unsettling, urgent headlines and no wrap-up of the day with a mawkish end segment calling up some element of [...]

  • Alton Brown

    TV News Roundup: Food Network Announces Premiere Date of 'Good Eats: The Return'

    In today’s roundup, Showtime releases a full-length trailer for “On Becoming a God in Central Florida” and Food Network announces the return of Alton Brown’s “Good Eats.”  DATES After taking a break from the series, Alton Brown will bring “Good Eats” back to Food Network’s primetime lineup with “Good Eats: The Return.”  In its first [...]

  • 9-1-1: Angela Bassett in the series

    Fox Sees Primetime, Sports Ad Gains As TV Upfront Wraps

    Fox Corporation is the latest to benefit from stronger-than-expected trends in TV ad spending, as the company notched strong gains in advertising commitments for its next cycle of programming – its first since selling off a large chunk of its media assets to Walt Disney. Ad demand was stronger than many executives anticipated, according to [...]

  • Charles Levin Obit

    Missing 'Seinfeld' Actor Charles Levin's Body Believed to be Found

    Oregon authorities believe they have found the body of the missing “Seinfeld” actor Charles Levin. He was 70 years old. According to Associated Press, Levin’s son reported the actor missing from Grants Pass on July 8. On July 12, search and rescue teams determined a search area in a remote area northeast of Selma with [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content