Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Review: Grace and Frankie

Grace and Frankie is Netflix’s newest original series, starring Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. Frankie and Gracie’s husbands ( Sam Waterston and Martin Sheen ) leave the two women for each other, revealing they’ve had an off/on twenty year love affair.  Frankie and Gracie have never been two peas in a pod, but they co-own a beachfront house, an idea their husbands has suggested years ago ‘ for profit sharing. ‘ They move into the house together, and life happens. The real angle of this series? They are all in their early 70’s.

The whole thing could have gone kaput in a pot of lukewarm jokes about gay men and older women, but the writing is sharp and laugh out loud funny, and the characters are not rushed through plotlines where zany togetherness replaces real change. The women are crushed when their husbands leave, and there are moments of true poignancy. In one episode, the women attend the funeral of an old friend, and Jane Fonda’s character Grace is led through a series of conversations and confrontations. She ends up standing alone in the crowd, bewildered and scared look on her face as she realizes how much has been stripped from her in the wake of her husband’s betrayal.

Jane Fonda plays Grace with a touching vulnerability shimmering below the surface of her tightly constricted rules- she hasn’t had ice cream in nine years. Grace is the straight man to Lily Tomlin’s adorable, loveable Frankie who adopted two boys and named them Coyote and Nwabudike ‘ Bud ‘  and who in her distress immediately after being told of the news of her husband’s abandonment, smokes peyote and takes muscle relaxants on the beach, in order to take a spiritual journey. ‘ Prepare yourself, ‘ she tells Grace, who joins her on the beach and guzzles the peyote drink, believing it to be tea, ‘ for some light vomiting followed by life altering revelations. ‘ When Grace begins complaining, Frankie coos: ‘ Your anger is frightening the sand. ‘

Frankie’s husband Sol ( Sam Watertson ) and Grace’s husband Robert ( Martin Sheen ) are interesting and engaging in their own right. I’m a huge fan of both actors, who do a lovely job of illuminating why these two men were willing to give up so much to be together. As the show moves forward more is revealed about their long affair and it becomes obvious that real romantic love was not in the original marriages for any of these four. Frankie and Sol were best friends, though, and they suffer the worst pain at the overnight severing of the life they knew, all of it’s routines, rituals and comforts ripped away. One episode in particular, ‘ The Spelling Bee’ revolves around Frankie and Sol’s attempts to stay connected while slowly and painfully realizing they cannot.

All of the secondary characters add something bright to the ensemble- Robert and Grace’s daughter Brianna ( played by June Raphael ) is a stand out, sharp as hell, funny and tough, her blue eyes zing as she delivers one liners.  Brooklyn Decker plays Briana’s sister convincingly a little drowned in her life, spacey and yet focused. ‘OK no problem, ‘ she tells her mom as she rushes through a list of must-do’s,  ‘ I’m just going to feed the dog and do my kegels in the car.’

In the end it is Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda who are the successful heart of this show. I can’t think of another show about women in their 70’s that treated them as true invidual women in the thick of life without the constant focus on age- Golden Girls was hilarious and ground breaking, but the entire premise was a one liner ‘ look at the old lady being funny ‘ vibe, whereas Grace and Frankie ask us to see these women as they are- complicated, still seeking, learning, sometimes on the cutting edge of life naturally and easily ( as when Frankie teaches Grace about making homeade, organic lube from ‘the best organic tubers!’ ) sometimes hilariously fumbling their way through the modern world ( Frankie again, buying a computer and setting up a Twitter account, which you can visit now at twitter.com/suckitaynrand thanks to the crafty Social Media crew at Netflix ) Frankie’s observations on Twitter are spot on: ‘ Why watch alone when I can share the entire experience with millions of strangers!? ‘

Unlike CBS’s failed remake of ‘ Odd Couple ‘ Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin’s friendship in Grace and Frankie are an odd couple worth watching.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Best Daddy's Take Phone Calls

Ever calls Mr. Curry on the phone: ' Daddy? '

Mr. Curry: ' Ever sweetie, hi, what are you doing? '

Ever: ' Well I have poop in my vagina and Mommy said she'd wipe gently but I still won't let her get it out and I don't want her to. '

Mr. Curry: ' Sweetie that's not good for your vagina, you have to let Mommy get that out, OK? '

Ever: ' But I really just don't like it Daddy. '

Mr. Curry: ' I know sweetie you're OK, let Mommy take care of you. '

Ever: ' But Daddy I don't like it. But Mommy says she's gentle but I still don't like getting this poopy out of my vagina. '

Mr. Curry: ' OK sweetie, that's not good in there so let Mommy get it out, you're OK honey, all right? '

Ever: ' OK Daddy. '

Mr. Curry: ' I love you Ever. '

Ever: ' I love you Daddy. '

Friday, May 22, 2015

People In Your Neighborhood

take a seat and read!

Adrian McDonald's photos of Jamaican childhood are pure magic.

I often find these kinds of 'love your body' things unconvincing. But not this one. I'm watching with Lola.

Loving this poem by Morgan Parker: ALL THEY WANT IS MY MONEY MY PUSSY MY BLOOD

Like many people around the globe I have a fascination with the excavated site at Pompeii. Therefore, I found this fascinating.

Karrie Higgens is one of the top three most gifted writers I've come across on the internet, someone who isn't well known but whose talent and craft is undeniable. Read on the 35th anniversary of my suicide attempt

If you think your gallbladder is going bad, please read this: It Ain't Your Gallbladder

Oh I got that brain orgasmy feeling reading this because 1. it's about one of my top five favorite novels ever, Lolita, and 2. the intelligence and skill of the writer weaving backstory. Fascinating, and deeply sad. The Real Lolita, by Sarah Weinman

I stumbled across this old interview with Elizabeth Gilbert in The Rumpus.

I found this Justin Bieber car karaoke with James Cordon super entertaining. The Rubix Cube thing- who knew? ( and don't say who cares, you snark )

Thursday, May 21, 2015

I Don't Know

I don't understand this time of my life, what am I doing. It may strike you as remarkable that this is the first time in my life since the birth of Dakota that I have felt this way. At 19, I found the purpose of my life- loving him. Being a mother. You may wonder how, with four children, two at home, how is this different?

I don't know. 

I am different. Me. Not the circumstances. Not the love, the devotion, the loyalty. And my life is bigger, richer and more interesting in many ways, than it was for all those years. So why don't I feel enriched?

I don't know.

So if I am to write a list of things I do not know, we will be here for pages, hundreds of thousands of characters of Times New Roman. The things I do know comprise a short, essential list. 

I want to go home. I want to sit in a field of berries with my mouth stained, a touch of sunburn across my brow, squinting unattractively, watching my kids do what they do. I want to hear the drip of water from the trees after it rains. I want the wind in the bushes, rattling around like an old lady who lost her glasses: Ms. Whatsit, for example. I want to step back into my place in the river of ancestoral time, to feel the gravitational pull of the earth- does space scare you? It scares me.Where am I?

I don't know.

I feel lost. I only feel grounded when I'm in the tangle of my children in bed at night, their legs on my legs, or in Mr. Curry's arms, or when he holds my hand. Alone, I tend to hold my arms around myself, like I did in high school. Like I might fly apart, but very, very quietly... no one would even notice. They would still see me as here because how many people actually SEE YOU when they look at you?

I don't know.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Put Words In My Mouth

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Everkins - Kenny - Kinny-Kins

she's four and she always brings to mind the words life force
i always wanted a child with freckles
i always wanted a little girl with long waves of hair
i always wanted a baby with an oversized head and great big brains
i always wanted a little girl with an actual twinkle in her eye
i always wanted a daughter with a smile made from stardust and puppies and magic
i always wanted a kid with three nicknames
i always wanted an unstoppable energy force that brings to mind fast forward video footage of flowers unfolding from bud
i didn't know i did, but now it's so obvious.
that's love.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Saturday, May 16, 2015

People In Your Neighborhood

Creative Compulsive Disorder & Remembering Zina Nicole Lahr from Stormy Pyeatte on Vimeo.

Isabella Rossellini on who cares about aging. I'm becoming compulsive with collecting the quotes and ideas of women who instead of being honest about how aging is hard for women are really focused on how it's not. On how much more there is. We need their voices and their attitudes.

I told you about a friend's friend whose little girl drowned recently. This little girl, Kitty, was born in 2010, same as Ever. This is a remembrance of her with a beautiful poem. It made me cry hard. I think the first comment afterward is a little genius.

I really enjoyed this essay by Angela Flournoy on the recovery of her father and Detroit.

I can't wait to see this anime movie: Wolf Children

This short story on a moment in time on 9-11 is like glass in your hand: immediate and unforgettably cutting. September, by Anna Kovatcheva 

How the use of antibiotics in infancy is tied to illness in adulthood. Another example of the many I link here of the absolute importance of our guts to our entire health.

The combination of music, film and writing the NYT is using is brilliant. I could not pull myself away from this story.

Art is life.

Is Wifi Making Your Child Ill? There's a lot of conflicting opinions going around the scientific community, but I want to stay aware and do what I can to protect myself and my family.

Saul Bellow is an important author to me. My dad had his paperbacks and as a kid I read through them, often bewildered and lost, but totally compelled.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

time + love = eternity

Dakota Wolf and myself 2015, Dakota Wolf and myself 1996

time moves mysteriously and not the way we wrestle it into presentation: a clock face, rigid upright arrows, pointing directly at a fixed spot, which will predictably and irrevocably change to the next, predetermined spot. time means to me that this little boy and that young man above move in and out of each other's bodies like ghosts. the little blonde capped boy flickers across Dakota's face as he looks at me and when i close my eyes and press to kiss his cheek the rough stubble moves me suddenly into a room where my boy is rubbing his round cheeks and saying one day, he'll be a big boy and have hair face, momma, and his high giggle echoes as i open my eyes and look at the young man, still smiling at me, still in my belly, still in my arms, still in my lap, still clutching Pokemon figurines and carrying his card case, still furious and running from the house with his cell in one hand and shoes in the other, still yelling in the living room, eyes ablaze and hands trembling, still falling into my arms crying, still laughing in his bedroom with the door shut, still leaving and coming home, still home, always home, always my boy.