One in a series of evenings and special screenings presented as part of The Paley Center for Media's 36th William S. Paley Television Festival in Los Angeles. Held this year at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, the festival celebrates the excellence and diversity of American television and is dedicated to television's creative community. This PALEYFEST 2019 seminar honors "Grace and Frankie," the comedy series about two seventy-something women whose lives are thrown into chaos when their husbands announce that they have fallen in love with one another.

Host Maureen Reidy (president and CEO, The Paley Center for Media) offers opening remarks and welcomes Jim Halterman (West Coast Bureau Chief, TV Guide) to the stage. Halterman introduces the fifth season finale, "The Alternative," which is then screened in its entirety. (For synopsis and credits, see ACCNUM 135896.) After the screening, Halterman moderates the following panelists: executive producers/creators/writers Marta Kauffman and Howard J. Morris; and cast members Jane Fonda (Grace Hanson), Lily Tomlin (Frances 'Frankie' Bergstein), Sam Waterston (Sol Bergstein), Martin Sheen (Robert Hanson), Ethan Embry (Coyote Bergstein), June Diane Raphael (Brianna Hanson), and Baron Vaughn (Nwabudike 'Bud' Bergstein).

The panelists touch on such topics as: the misunderstanding that led to the idea of putting iconic actresses Tomlin and Fonda in a show together; Kauffman's daughter's idea for the unusual premise; why Kauffman enlisted the help of Morris, with whom she worked on the TV movies "Five" (2011) and "Call Me Crazy: A Five Film" (2013); the actors' interest in the show's concept and occasionally "risqué" plotlines; the importance of behind-the-camera diversity; the challenge of developing characters when jumping straight into a 13-season episode, rather than the traditional format of shooting a pilot first; Sheen's groundbreaking role as a gay man in 1972's "That Certain Summer," co-starring Hal Holbrook; why the "hammy" Sheen, who often sings on set, loves the show's community-theater subplots; Raphael's appreciation for her "unlikable" character and her many "battle scenes" with Grace and Frankie; Vaughn's love of Tomlin's classic series "Laugh-In" and his decision to mimic his on-screen adoptive father Sol's mannerisms for the character; his "surreal-ish" experience playing a character similar to himself, including his new role as a real-life dad; Embry's fondness for his unusually named "idiot" character; finding "human and real" levels of honesty amidst the comedy, and why comedy is far more challenging to perform than drama; hopes for a guest appearance from Dolly Parton, Fonda and Tomlin's co-star in the comedy "9 to 5" (1980); reactions and comments from fans; Tomlin's surprise at Waterston's friendly nature and dissimilarity to his hard-nosed "Law & Order" character, A.D.A. Jack McCoy; positive responses from younger viewers and why the show appeals to a wide audience; their interest in "disrupting and demystifying" stereotypes and myths about aging; the return of Peter Gallagher, who plays Grace's love interest, Nick Skolka, and of Ernie Hudson, who plays Lily's "electric" beau Jacob; hints about the upcoming sixth season, including a new business venture for the women; the pros and cons of the Netflix model in which entire seasons are released at once, as opposed to one episode per week; their hopes for their characters' futures, including a possible entry into the world of politics; praise for casting director Tracy Lilienfield and the show's many memorable guest stars, including Millicent Martin, who plays Joan-Margaret, and upcoming appearances by Michael McKean, Mary Steenburgen, Engelbert Humperdinck and more; and how the characters are created first and then evolve with the casting of the actor.

Questions from the audience then lead to a discussion of the following topics, among others: Fonda's life advice to "try to be our best selves"; Fonda and Tomlin's interesting methods for maintaining a high energy level on set; suspicions about the show's many references to Del Taco, a West Coast fast-food chain; why it is a sign of skillful acting if fans assume that the cast members are similar to their characters; hopes for a "9 to 5" sequel; and the panelists' favorite moments and lines from the show's five seasons.


  • DATE: 2:00 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 1:29:11
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: 135882
  • GENRE: Seminars


  • Maureen Reidy … Host
  • Jim Halterman … Moderator
  • Ethan Embry … Panelist
  • Baron Vaughn … Panelist
  • June Diane Raphael … Panelist
  • Martin Sheen … Panelist
  • Sam Waterston … Panelist
  • Lily Tomlin … Panelist
  • Jane Fonda … Panelist
  • Howard J. Morris … Panelist
  • Marta Kauffman … Panelist
  • Peter Gallagher
  • Ernie Hudson
  • Engelbert Humperdinck
  • Tracy Lilienfield
  • Millicent Martin
  • Michael McKean
  • Dolly Parton
  • Mary Steenburgen
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