Sometime in January, Netflix is scheduled to begin streaming the sixth season of Grace and Frankie, the wonderful comedy about two aging women whose husbands leave them for each other. While their husbands’ marriage to one another is certainly a part of the show’s narrative, it isn’t the driving story line. Instead, the program looks at two women facing the problems of aging. Frankie and Grace stars Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, and they play their respective parts spectacularly. It is fun to watch them struggle with technology and their frustrations about their grown children and real-life problems like not being able to walk fast enough across a street to beat the light before it changes.
It makes me happy to see that television might — just MIGHT — be starting to realize that Baby Boomers are aging, and if we can’t laugh about that fact, we will live our golden years mighty depressed.
Another Netflix program that deals with aging is The Kominsky Method, starring Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin. The Kominsky Method also looks at aging, but from a man’s perspective. Douglas plays Sandy Kominsky, a failed actor who now runs a respected acting school. Alan Arkin plays Norman Newlander, a successful agent who not only represented Sandy Kominsky, but is his best friend. The writing is very funny, and the situations the two men face — just like in Grace and Frankie — are realistic. Things like death of friends and loved ones, prostate issues, sex when you’re a senior citizen are all dealt with in a funny and way that hits home.
In the first episode of Season 2, the two men are driving in the car. Out of the blue, Norman asks Sandy, “Do you ever forget words?” Sandy agrees and tells a funny story of a situation in which he forgot a word. Throughout the rest of that episode, the men keep forgetting words.
Perhaps I find this especially funny because I am the Queen of Forgetting Words. I recently texted my son to ask him: What’s the word that means a team that was expected to lose actually wins? A few minutes or so later, my phone dings. Upset? Court asks me.
I’m pretty sure the reason it took so long for him to respond was because he took the time to look up nearby Memory Care facilities.
The other day Bec was visiting. The two of us sat out on our patio, each with a glass of wine (which Court would probably think I don’t really need). We talked about a variety of things from movies we liked to our favorite actors and so on. But much of our conversation consisted of both of us trying to come up with someone or something’s name. She couldn’t remember the name of one of her favorite Christmas movies (Deck the Halls). I couldn’t remember the name of one of my favorite Christmas movies (Love, Actually). Meg Ryan’s name escaped me. At one point, Bec and I were laughing so hard at ourselves, we were crying. “We need to use a sentence that has a direct object,” I said through my tears of laughter.
One of the critics from Rotten Tomatoes gave The Kominsky Method a pretty good review: Full of humor and heart, The Kominsky Method paints a surprisingly poignant — if a little paint-by-numbers — portrait of life and aging, elevated by two top-notch performances by legends Alan Arkin and Michael Douglas.
Can I just explain to this reviewer (who is probably 34 years old) that there is really no “paint-by-numbers” about their situation. That’s called Real Life.
And that’s why our children are already looking for rooms that will work for three…..