There's a lot to love about Grace and Frankie. The beloved sitcom ran for seven seasons and signed off this year as Netflix's longest-running original series, a record that'll be hard to beat. The show stars two titans of comedy, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, as the ultimate odd couple: Fonda's Grace is uptight and always put-together, and Tomlin's Frankie is as free spirited as they come. The duo wind up living together after their husbands, Robert (Martin Sheen) and Sol (Sam Waterston), tell them they've been having an affair with one another for 20 years, are in love, and want to get married.
They both have to reimagine their lives in their 70s, and these unexpected changes lead to the unlikeliest of friendships. But soon, Grace and Frankie can't imagine a life without one another, and they have each other's backs as they deal with their adult children, attempt to find love again (or, you know, just get laid), and yes, start their very own — very successful, might I add — sex toy company together. If you can't get enough of this best friend pairing and their shenanigans, here are similar shows you can stream right now that feature older women forging new lives, sweet comedies about family and friendship, and more.
Turn on the TV and the chances you'll see a show about an older woman reinventing herself are pretty much zero if it's not Grace and Frankie. You can change that zero to .01 with HBO Max's series Julia, a delightful comedy about Julia Child (played by the inimitable Sarah Lancashire) and her revolutionary television show The French Chef. The wholesome series looks at what an extraordinary figure Child was for women, the culinary industry, and television, while also examining a healthy marriage — David Hyde Pierce as Paul Child is fantastic — and the strong bonds of friendship. Like Grace and Frankie, it's a fun show about believing in yourself and not saying it's over just because everyone else says it is. -Tim Surette
There's an unfortunate dearth of content about people of a certain age — Grace and Frankie tackles this idea of being invisible repeatedly throughout its run — so if you are searching for more stories about people over 65, you'll want to check out The Kominsky Method. The three-season-long Netflix dramedy about acting coach Sandy Kominsky (Michael Douglas) and his agent Norman Newlander (Alan Arkin) is, indeed, a Chuck Lorre show, but it's a major departure from the Big Bang Theory creator's typical brand of humor. The show deals with aging and aging in Hollywood with both humor and pathos. While the kids in Sandy's acting class offer up some true, exasperating ridiculousness for Douglas to play off of, the major draw here is the relationship between Sandy and Norman. Whether playing for laughs or getting into something more heartfelt, the chemistry between Douglas and Arkin is top-notch.
This reimagining of the '70s sitcom of the same name focuses on Penelope Alvarez (a wonderful Justina Machado), a recently divorced single mother and army vet dealing with PTSD, her two teenage children Elena (Isabella Gomez) and Alex (Marcel Ruiz), and her live-in mother Lydia, played by Rita Moreno. That's right: More! Shows! About! Fabulous! Older! Women! Rita Moreno typically steals the show as the matriarch of the Alvarez family, who speaks her mind, has a robust romantic life, and loves her family fiercely, even if they may butt heads from time to time (and time again). The show is a balance of humor and heart (oh buddy, there are some episodes that'll make you weep), and it doesn't shy away from conversations about important topical subjects like immigration issues, racism the family faces as Cuban Americans, and gender identity. Note: Season 4, which aired on Pop TV after the series was saved following cancellation at Netflix, is available on demand.
Grace and Frankie's relationship might be the draw of Grace and Frankie, but you'll keep coming back to see the dynamics between Grace, Frankie, Sol, and Robert and their adult children. There's lots of humor and heart to mine in those relationships — Schitt's Creek knows this, too. If somehow you didn't give this little Canadian comedy-that-could a try as it swelled in popularity before sweeping the Emmys for its sixth and final season, you should give it a go. The series follows the Rose family — parents Moira (Catherine O'Hara) and Johnny (Eugene Levy) and their adult son David (Dan Levy) and daughter Alexis (Annie Murphy) — as they lose their fortune and are forced to move into a motel in Schitt's Creek, the small town Johnny bought for David as a joke when David was a teen. The show starts out relying on that fish-out-of-water element for humor but really gets going, both in comedic and heartfelt moments, when it focuses on this family unit finally beginning to bond after all these years. You'll laugh and you'll cry and you'll be singing "Simply the Best" for years to come.
Liza Miller (Sutton Foster) might only be 40, but she would have a lot to chat about with Grace and Frankie, not only about dealing with ageism but also starting over unexpectedly after a divorce. After her husband cheats on her and his gambling puts them in debt, Liza Miller finds herself single, without a job, and quickly learning that jumping back into the publishing industry — which she left years ago to raise her daughter — at her age is next to impossible. So she decides to pretend she's 26 to get a job at a publishing house. And it works. And then she's stuck trying to keep that lie a secret for way longer than you might think possible. Younger is a fun, frothy rom-com whose secret weapon is the fierce female friendships that anchor the show. Just maybe skip Season 7. Everyone regrets Season 7.
For another take on female best friends helping each other with unexpected life changes after divorce, try Playing House. Over three seasons, lifelong best friends Emma (Jessica St. Clair) and Maggie (Lennon Parham) take care of one another after Emma ditches her high-powered job and moves in when Maggie gets a sudden divorce just as she's about to have a baby. Tucked inside this show is a lovely little rom-com thanks to Emma running into her ex-boyfriend Mark (Keegan-Michael Key), but the real draw always remains watching Emma and Maggie get into and then out of trouble, all while supporting each other. The jokes are fast, the heart will be warmed, and the chemistry between St. Clair and Parham (real-life best friends) is a gorgeous thing to behold. Plus you'll learn a lot about one Mr. Kenny Loggins, so there's that.
Dial up the f-bombs and increase the murdering by 200%, and Grace and Frankie might look pretty similar to Netflix's dark buddy comedy Dead to Me. Free spirit Judy (Linda Cardellini) and tightly-wound Jen (Christina Applegate) start up an unlikely friendship under some surprising circumstances after the sudden death of Jen's husband. Yes, there are lots of thriller and mystery elements, and the show hasn't met a cliffhanger it didn't love, but mostly it is a series about processing grief, loss, and anger. Sounds like a real hoot, doesn't it? But here's the thing: It is a hoot. It really is. And that can be attributed to both the darkly comedic, smart writing and the fact that Applegate and Cardellini find the layers in every moment (Applegate has seriously never been better and deserves all the awards). The show is a fresh perspective on not just the grieving process but also a very (VERY) complicated female friendship. Oh, and James Marsden's performance in Season 2 will blow your mind.
If you think Grace and Frankie love their vibrators, oh wow, you should meet Ilana Wexler. That girl loves her vibrator. Although the tones of the two comedies are quite different, Broad City best friends Ilana and Abbi have a lot in common with our titular Grace and Frankie: First of all, they would do absolutely anything for each other. No really, the amount of love and support Ilana rains down on Abbi at all times is simultaneously lovely and alarming. The ladies, like Grace and Frankie, also know how to get into some real shenanigans. In fact, the premise of Broad City is pretty much "best friends Ilana and Abbi get into some real shenanigans in New York City." It may not sound like much on paper, but in the hands of creators and stars Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson it is funny and silly and super, super weird at times. They're having the most fun, and thanks to the wonders of streaming, you can too.
One may never truly be able to figure out how Frankie Bergstein became Frankie Bergstein (the woman is the truest unicorn), but if you're interested in learning about Lily Tomlin's origins, well, that we can do. Do yourself a favor and watch the sketch comedy show where Tomlin got her big break: Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In. The show ran for six seasons in the late 1960s and early '70s and was known for its vaudeville-esque format, rapid-fire jokes, and political satire. Tomlin joined the cast — which also included Goldie Hawn, Ruth Buzzi, and Judy Carne — in its third season and made her mark with recurring characters like Ernestine the telephone operator and Edith Ann, a 5-and-a-half-year-old. Watching the seminal series now offers up the opportunity to travel back in time and to get a glimpse at Tomlin first flexing those comedic muscles, and that's the truth.