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S04.E07: The Landline

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Frankie and Sol have a blast devising a plan to get Frankie declared legally alive again.  Grace faces some truths at a funeral she attends with Robert.

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“When I go to a funeral in a long black car, I won’t be returning.”

I find it odd Nick would assume he’d be accompanying Grace to the funeral, but whatever – she asked him not to.  It is not remotely charming (or whatever they’re going for) for him to ignore that and show up.  This is more of the same shit from when they met.

Yay, another appearance from Swoosie Kurtz.  Her character is awful, but I like seeing her.

I love watching Robert and Grace together, and I like him having her back when she spins her stupid water skiing story at the funeral.  I loved the talk between the two of them about Phil; the news that Phil died hitting Grace, when no one else standing there chattering about it knew what it meant to her, was nicely done.

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The premise of this episode struck me as very very realistic. Every time I talk to my parents they're going to another funeral. There's a certain point in life where that becomes a regular activity, and I'm sure it gets depressing and even numbing.

I can't stand Nick. If there's one thing I hate it's when a man ignores a woman's definite, unambiguous no. It was Grace's friend, so her call about whom to go to the funeral with.  The way the show is trying to make his behavior seem endearing annoys me. He's a jerk.

When Sol first said he was going on the folk music cruise without Robert, I sort of expected him to end up going with Frankie, so I felt gratified that it was at least brought up in this episode.

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At this point, all the scenes with the younger characters feel like filler to me, and not even the good kind of filler. The contrast in depth and quality between storylines is striking - we have characters dealing with Alzheimer's and the death of loved ones, and then we have a guy whose annoying girlfriend and underachieving brother don't get along (who cares?). It's as if they had the intern writers working on the latter.

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4 hours ago, Roccos Brother said:

At this point, all the scenes with the younger characters feel like filler to me, and not even the good kind of filler. The contrast in depth and quality between storylines is striking - we have characters dealing with Alzheimer's and the death of loved ones, and then we have a guy whose annoying girlfriend and underachieving brother don't get along (who cares?). It's as if they had the intern writers working on the latter.

I think what they were getting at was that Bud is not okay with loving everyone separately and doesn't feel like everything is really fine. That is his perspective on why Grace needs to be settled in a retirement community, not because he is a unfeeling son.

What I don't get is why someone as seemingly kind and charming as Coyote doesn't seem to actually get along with anyone but Bud and Mallory. They never imply that he has any kind of social life outside of his new girlfriend, Bud, and his Mom. Maybe because everyone else is wealthy and he is just a high school teacher makes people like Bud's girlfriend, Brianna, and Grace see him as not worth getting to know. 

It also shows that Bud and his girl are not really well suited for each other. Family is important to Bud and he is close to his brother, but his girl doesn't seem to see it as necessary to make any kind of effort.

All in all, they packed in a lot of information in the few minutes they were given. I would rather see Bud and Coyote then Robert and Sol any time. There scenes together are always well acted and serve a purpose to the story that is being told.

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8 hours ago, Roccos Brother said:

At this point, all the scenes with the younger characters feel like filler to me, and not even the good kind of filler. The contrast in depth and quality between storylines is striking - we have characters dealing with Alzheimer's and the death of loved ones, and then we have a guy whose annoying girlfriend and underachieving brother don't get along (who cares?). It's as if they had the intern writers working on the latter.

I think the show's creators are trying to appeal to a larger audience, and rightfully so.  If every scene is just Grace & Frankie, Grace & Frankie, Grace & Frankie the show's only audience would be middle-aged & older women.  By including the Robert & Sol storyline the show appeals to men (although gay mostly).  By including the siblings' storyline the show appeals to the younger sect. 

Every storyline is not going to be everybody's cup 'o tea, but it's a smart move by the show's creators to try and broaden their viewing demographic.

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If every scene is just Grace & Frankie, Grace & Frankie, Grace & Frankie the show's only audience would be middle-aged & older women.  By including the Robert & Sol storyline the show appeals to men (although gay mostly).  By including the siblings' storyline the show appeals to the younger sect. 

I'd like to think The Golden Girls long ago proved that demographic appeal is not that basic.  I do think there are times when it feels like the writers have no idea what to do with certain characters, and that is why we end up with weak storylines, like Coyote not getting along with Bud's girlfriend. 

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I am in the younger demographic, at least relatively (30s) and the Grace and Frankie storylines are by far my favorites. I do like the kids more than some, mostly Coyote (I have been an Ethan Embry fan since high school) and Bud, but I do think they sometimes shoehorn in plots that I don't care about (like Brianna being mean to everyone). I understand not getting to know more about what is going on in the lives of the kids outside of the family since it would take away from G&F but I do wish we knew a little more about how they got to where they are. I'd much prefer that over Sol and Robert having the same conversation again.

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6 hours ago, txhorns79 said:

I'd like to think The Golden Girls long ago proved that demographic appeal is not that basic. 

My thoughts exactly. I'm younger than the children on the show, and I certainly don't feel the need to see generic TV tropes about "younger" people when I can find that on countless other shows. I tune in to see stories about older people that I don't normally see on tv, and that includes portrayals of older gay men; which is even more rare.

On a random sidenote, how cruel was it that they decided to kill off Phil off-screen? His storyline was already sad enough with the way they had left it, and what will happen to his wife now?

Edited by Roccos Brother
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50 minutes ago, Roccos Brother said:

and what will happen to his wife now?

I wondered the same thing! I though Grace might check to make sure she had been put in a care home.

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Thank you for punctuating my point.  The show's creators need to reach beyond the Grace and Frankie storyline because people are complex.  Typically, younger viewers are more interested in watching people similar to themselves in age and status.  The same thing goes for older people.  Same goes for gay, straight...etc.   But since human beings are complicated and thereby do not all fit into a cookie cutter mold, the show's creators are smart to think dynamically and to incorporate storylines beyond just that of Grace and Frankie.

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(I had to go look up which episode this was in, because I forgot.) one of my favorite scenes this season was Brianna trying to push Mallory out the office door and Mallory going limp and flopping on the floor. Such a little sister thing for her to do! 

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On 1/23/2018 at 3:49 PM, ahisma said:

(I had to go look up which episode this was in, because I forgot.) one of my favorite scenes this season was Brianna trying to push Mallory out the office door and Mallory going limp and flopping on the floor. Such a little sister thing for her to do! 

I loved watching Mallory do that too! She perfectly did the toddler "jelly legs" and limp-noodle-body that prevents going anywhere! I was hoping Brianna would give her a great job, but she seemed fine with the unpaid position.

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On 1/22/2018 at 1:27 PM, Roccos Brother said:

My thoughts exactly. I'm younger than the children on the show, and I certainly don't feel the need to see generic TV tropes about "younger" people when I can find that on countless other shows. I tune in to see stories about older people that I don't normally see on tv, and that includes portrayals of older gay men; which is even more rare.

On a random sidenote, how cruel was it that they decided to kill off Phil off-screen? His storyline was already sad enough with the way they had left it, and what will happen to his wife now?

The actor who played Phil, Sam Shepherd, passed away IRL. I'm glad he received a mention on the show.

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9 minutes ago, Sandra Sue Abbott said:

The actor who played Phil, Sam Shepherd, passed away IRL. I'm glad he received a mention on the show.

Sam Shepherd did indeed pass away.  However, Sam Elliott, who played Phil, is still very much alive.

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I'm just now getting around to watching Season 4 and this is my favorite episode of the season, to date.

Main reason:  Very little of Robert and Sol together.  I've said this in threads from previous seasons, but Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston are just awful together.  I've always liked both of them so it is beyond my understanding that all of their scenes together should be this terrible.  I seriously wonder if the actors just don't like each other!  But this episode gave us plenty of crazy Sol and crazy Frankie scenes together, which are the best.  I loved the scene with the mobile over the crib that Frankie was "improving."  The scene in Chili's was also great.  I enjoyed the waitress who played right along with them.  "Hop this way." :-)  And then, the Martin Sheen I love shows up to play great scenes with Jane Fonda at the funeral.  Even his scenes with Peter Gallagher were very enjoyable, with the two of them commiserating over how difficult it is to get the lyrics to "Ya Got Trouble" from The Music Man correct.   I need more of MS with the other actors because SW/MS just doesn't work.

As for the "younger generation" scenes, I preferred this episode's with Mallory and Brianna to the last ep's Allison/Bud/Coyote scenes.  I truly dislike the Allison character.  

I was almost as upset as Grace was to hear that Phil had died.  Nooooo!  I've been secretly hoping that we would see that character again at some point.  I love Sam Elliott.

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This episode was my first noticing a discontinuity.  When Frankie and Sol are at the crib, and she cuts off the animals of the mobile which leaves the strings hanging, Sol makes a point about asking if the baby will just look up and see strings.  So Frankie pulls out the replacements she wants to hang, and when she goes to hang them, there are no strings anymore.

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