“The fastest growing demographic in the world are older women,” Fonda told Variety. “I think it’s one of the reasons that the show is popular because Lily and I are old, and we show that it doesn’t have to be all bad.”
Tomlin joined Fonda and added, “Certainly not. Look at her.” “Look at her!” Fonda replied.
Both women addressed the season’s heightened topic of physical pains and changes that accompany aging. “One of the things people like about the show is that it’s funny, but it is also reality based.” Fonda said.
Tomlin said, “All these things could befall people of a lesser age, but it’s more fun when it befalls us.”
Show creators Howard J. Morris and Marta Kauffman wanted the theme of breaking down to be a focal point in fourth season because of the societal view of older people.
“There’s this constant sense that anybody who’s above a certain age is incapable,” Kauffman said.
Morris agreed adding, “We want to give voice to those people and that’s our show.”
Actors Peter Gallagher and Ernie Hudson, who play Grace and Frankie’s love interests respectively, commented on the significance of having a show starring older women.
“When I was younger, I used to love watching older actions,” Gallagher said. “I loved watching the lines in their faces and imagining where they’d been and their wisdom and all that life. Of course our cast has no lines on their faces, but they still have a lot of life. That is has less to do with age than lives well lived — lives and stories well told.
Hudson specifically spoke on the importance of the show given the current #MeToo and Time’s Up movements. “They say women have been disenfranchised for a while. Can you imagine older women?” Hudson said.
In the past, he added, his character would have made decisions without discussing it with his partner.
“These are older women who have power and who claim their power,” Hudson said. “They make their demands known, and they’re right to do and live is as important as mine. It is a little hard sometimes for men to accept that, but that’s life.”
Brooklyn Decker, who plays Fonda’s daughter, gave credit to the women on the show’s writing team for helping develop strong lead characters that experience multiple stages in life and display different layers.
“I think having a show that is written really heavily by females proves that women can do it and do it really well,” Decker said.
“Grace and Frankie” Season 4 premieres Jan. 19 on Netflix.