I can’t help it. I’m obsessed with the show “Grace and Frankie.” Perhaps I shouldn’t admit it in such a public forum. Many would deem it embarrassing. Although why should it be? It’s a great show. Amazing actors, clever script, lots of references to geriatric vaginas…it’s something new, and, as an eventual old lady, I’m glad it exists.
But it gets no respect. At least not in this house. Last night my husband came home and, finding me watching yet another episode, said:
“Wow. ‘Golden Girls’ again?”
I mean, damn.
Aside from genuinely enjoying it, I’ve got a specific reason for watching this show right now. Call it research. I’ve started writing a book that might be called a feminist screed (if I didn’t deem myself unqualified to be called a feminist). I’m doing it because, among other things, I despise the way older women are portrayed in our culture. The stereotypes, the insults and the broad dismissals are all deeply troubling.
So I find it refreshing to see these 71-year-old characters painted with a full and textured brush. Sure, I wish Lily Tomlin had had a little less plastic surgery, and yeah, sometimes the show’s discussion of sex within the AARP crowd makes me cringe. But methinks that’s just fear and prejudice talking; after all, ageism is one of the most pervasive and tolerated biases left in this culture. It’d be a miracle if it hadn’t infected me a little, too.
But I’ve decided to fight it. Everyone should. I want to face the fact of aging, not shun it. So I’ll go on following the story of Frankie’s yam lube, and Grace’s affair with the elderly married hottie, (who actually is pretty hot). And when Mike comes in I’ll nod before he can even say a word.
“Yes,” I’ll say proudly. “Golden Girls again. Wanna join me, old man?”