Hey there! I'm Vivian. Sometimes I write about life and sometimes I write about teaching.

“Have you heard of Frankie Grace?” my 24-year-old stepson asked me.
“You mean Grace and Frankie?” I corrected, eyeing him with confusion.
“Yeah! Haven’t you heard of it?” He looked at me incredulously.
“I have. I love that show. How have you heard of it?”
“That sh** is funny as hell!”

I shook my head and laughed after this exchange with my stepson. My stepson who listens to death metal, skateboards, and plays video games–Grace and Frankie is now one of his favorite shows. This didn’t make sense to me in the moment. In case you haven’t seen this Netflix show, it stars Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin as two unlikely friends who bond after divorcing their husbands, who have left them for each other. It’s not a show I would expect to capture the attention of a 24-year-old. As I reflected on this later in the evening, I remembered how much I loved, no, love, The Golden Girls. I began watching that show at 14 and I will stop to watch it anytime it comes on the screen today. Why would I relate to four older women closer to my grandmother’s age as a 14-year-old? What was the appeal of this show?

What I realize now is that both of these shows tackle topics that have been considered taboo, topics that many people kept from the dinner table (some probably still do), and they do so with humor and honesty. That’s appealing to young people. They don’t want to be kept in the dark; they want to be told the truth. I’m also reminded that we shouldn’t underestimate the comedic talent and wisdom of women, especially older women. I wonder if I hone my comedic timing, my stepsons will listen more closely to my advice?

Me and my squad.

  1. I LOVE that show — but never connected it with Golden Girls. That is a show I haven’t really seen … maybe put it on my broken arms watchlist. My mother-in-law is coming to stay with us to help out … could be fun to watch one of these with her. Thanks for the recommendation.

  2. arjeha says:

    When I was a kid most of the sitcoms dealt with such thought provoking topics as how can I sneak a stray dog into the house? or what if I can’t find a date for the big dance. Dad always word a suit and mom was always in a dress and pearls. It is good to see shows that tackle issues with humor but also in a way that makes you think.

  3. I, too, love the Golden Girls, but I never once have thought that older women are “alluring”. Yet, I do appreciate that this allure is not physical, but instead intellectual and emotional. Wow. This is such a wonderful slice as we near International Women’s Day!

  4. britt says:

    I LOVE this post!!! I laughed so hard at your stepson’s love for the show – I binge watched those seasons. Also, I started watching Golden Girls when I was in middle school – it was an obsession. Your cup is awesome!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. As an alluring older woman, your title drew me in!! I love, love this analysis of why younger folks love these shows. I agree with your stepson, that Frankie and Grace- โ€œthat **** is funny as hell.โ€ And I love how you close out your piece with your mug! Fun yet insightful slice!

  6. I hadn’t ever thought of these shows in that way–“the allure of older women”. I love that perspective, and also the perspective that these kinds of shows are appealing because they show the truth. What a great last line! It made me chuckle, even as the rest of the piece made me think. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. evarkaplan says:

    You bring up so an interesting thought.: the importance of exposing younger generations to the thoughts and actions of older adults. There should be more movies and shows that capture this. Your title drew me in too, just like Fran! Getting older often feels to me like a societal taboo.

  8. amyilene says:

    I love this embrace of growing older….thank you

  9. glenda funk says:

    First, Iโ€™m 62 so I fall into this older woman demographic. Both shows depict powerful women who own their agency and sexuality. Theyโ€™re the generation of second wave feminists now living their hard-earned independence on their own terms. Both shows flip the narrative to show how needy and dependent men are on women. Women their age have the means to do their own thing. They reject social norms telling them they should sit in a retirement home and rot while the world worships youth. And these shows do this while making us laugh about the miseries of menopause, navigating a changing world, and facing predators who target older people. I think we often underestimate the appeal of older people to young ones. I worried my students would reject me as I aged and neared retirement, but the opposite happened. Now some of those young people are among my very good friends.

  10. JenniferM says:

    Ooh, how interesting! There is definitely something special in the wisdom of older women, especially to see them breaking down traditional conventions. I love that you thought about this!

  11. Lord, I’m with your step-son: That sh*t is funny!

    AND I love the Golden Girls! They were funny as h*ll, but more importantly, they spoke the truth on so many topics.

    >both of these shows tackle topics that have been considered taboo, topics that many people kept from the dinner table (some probably still do), and they do so with humor and honesty.<

    I loved this line in your blog because it's right. Both shows opened doors to topics that normally aren't talked about during dinnertime. Better yet, those conversations held are ones that should have been held years ago!

    I salute your step-son (and you!) for having great taste in shows! ๐Ÿ™‚



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