‘Grace and Frankie’ make surprise return with new episodes Friday

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Netflix has released the first four episodes of the seventh and final season of “Grace and Frankie” ahead of the show’s formal return. The final 12 episodes of the season will air sometime in 2022.

“As you know, we’ve been filming the seventh and final season of ‘Grace and Frankie,'” said co-star Jane Fonda in a short clip announcing the release Friday morning.

“But don’t worry there’s plenty more to come,” Fonda said after Lily Tomlin announced the release of the first four episodes early. “We just wanted to give you something special until we finish the rest of the season.”

“It was between this and Del Taco gift cards,” Tomlin chimed in. “I wanted to go with the gift cards.”

The four episodes are the series’ first new ones in 19 months, the first after the 13-episode Season 6 hit Netflix on Jan. 15, 2020. These episodes were already filmed before the start of the coronavirus pandemic, which halted production.

The cast soon after held a table read of a Season 7 script in April 2020 to raise funds for seniors’ needs.

By the time the show wraps up next year, it will be Netflix’s longest-running original series. The series’ 16-episode order for its seventh season will bring the episode count to 94.

Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston appear in a scene from “Grace and Frankie.” The four episodes are the series’ first new ones in 19 months.
Alamy Stock Photo

Fonda, 83, and Tomlin, 81, star as the titular Grace and Frankie, respectively. After their husbands — played by Martin Sheen, 81, and Sam Waterston, 80 — reveal they are gay and leave them for each other, Grace and Frankie form a surprising but close bond. They embark on their unpredictable futures together, although Grace becomes a newly remarried woman in Season 6.

Co-stars Waterston, Sheen, June Diane Raphael, Brooklyn Decker, Baron Vaughn, Ethan Embry and Peter Gallagher are all back for the final season.

Marta Kauffman and Howard J. Morris will return as showrunners and executive producers of the seventh season, alongside executive producers Fonda, Tomlin, Paula Weinstein, Robbie Tollin and Skydance Television’s David Ellison, Dana Goldberg and Marcy Ross.

By the time the show wraps up next year, it will be Netflix’s longest-running original series.
By the time the show wraps up next year, it will be Netflix’s longest-running original series.
Melissa Moseley for Netflix

In an interview with The Wrap last year, Kauffman teased what to expect in the final season.

“Of course we are going to end with Grace and Frankie together in some form, of course we are,” she said at the time. “That’s what the show is about. As much as it’s about starting over, it’s about their friendship. But there is no fun in a friendship unless there is conflict. And this is a point where Grace and Frankie, after a year of Nick [Gallagher], finally get to be back together, the two of them. And Robert [Sheen] and Sol [Waterston] are there.”

Dolly Parton will also reunite with her “9 to 5” co-stars as a guest star on “Grace and Frankie.”

“We worked so well together on ‘9 to 5,’ it’s a crazy, wonderful show,” Parton said back in February. “We’ve been trying to write me in somehow. So when it’s safe for us to actually do a production when they’re back, I’ll probably get around to doing that.”

Fonda and Tomlin star as the titular Grace and Frankie, respectively.
Fonda and Tomlin star as the titular Grace and Frankie, respectively.
Photo by Karen Ballard/Netflix

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