After binge-watching the morbidly dark, buddy comedy Dead to Me in its entirety, I craved another strong female relationship, but without the homicidal subplot. Naturally, that desire led me to another Netflix original, Grace and Frankie. A striking similarity between the lead characters of both series made me wonder if Netflix is secretly making their own Marvel-esque universe. Certainly, Netflix has built a culture within its original content by recycling familiar actors in new releases, and even cross-promoting on shows (cue To All the Boys I've Loved Before star Lana Condor crashing an episode of Nailed It!). While it may seem far-fetched to link the happy-go-lucky lives of Grace and Frankie to Dead to Me's Jen and Judy, here are five reasons why it isn't totally impossible.
1. Identical Personalities
Jen (Christina Applegate) is a strong-willed, uneven-tempered blonde with killer looks. Grace (Jane Fonda) is exactly the same, plus a few decades. Both women have a sharp tongue used most often to criticize the hippie antics of their best friends. Jen and Grace both begrudgingly befriended a brunette flower child with a minor marijuana habit. Frankie (Lily Tomlin) and Judy (Linda Cardellini) follow their hearts, guided by spiritual connections to the universe and soul-soothing crystals. While Judy and Frankie's organic, quirky auras provide comic relief in each show, they also balance Grace and Jen's coarse personalities.
2. An Affinity For the Beach
Both shows make a point of flaunting the wealth of their locations and proximity to beach life. Jen and Judy call Laguna Beach home, but who's to say they didn't relocate to sunny San Diego years later, and change their names to Grace and Frankie? Jen built her career on selling multimillion-dollar beach homes, and Grace was very adamant about keeping the beach house after her divorce. One Reddit thread even noted that the shows may use the same sets. Coincidence? I think not.
3. Judy and Frankie's Infertility
A major plot line in Dead to Me's first season is Judy's struggle to conceive and carry a child to term. After experiencing five miscarriages, she had nearly given up her dream of becoming a mother. After an assumed pregnancy scare, Judy learns that she is no longer able to become pregnant. Frankie has two adopted sons, and also struggled to conceive with her ex-husband, Sol (Sam Waterston).
4. Grace and Jen's Unhealthy Relationships
Both Grace and Jen have a tendency to stay in unhappy relationships for far too long. Jen and her husband were at each other's throats constantly before he died, and it was later revealed that he had been having an affair for over a year. Grace's husband also had an affair for 20 years, citing her lack of love for him as a reason for straying. Grace admitted to never truly being happy with him, and Jen often berates herself for not leaving her husband when things got rough. If Grace is future Jen, it seems that some old habits don't die.
5. Connected by the Men in Their Lives
The death of Jen's husband brought her to Judy, and the death of Judy's ex-fiancée forever bonded her to Jen. Even when the two have a falling out, they are always brought back together by the secrets they share about their deceased partners. Grace and Frankie hated each other, only connected by their husbands' law partnership. When that law partnership blossomed into something more, the two women were forced together, inevitably falling into an enviable friendship. In both shows, the friends regularly swear each other off, only for their shared circumstances to push them back into each others' good graces by the next episode.
Well, thoughts on this theory?