The Third of July: “Revolution” vs. “Grace and Frankie”

Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin in “Grace and Frankie”

It is a hot, hot, hot Third of July.  Tonight and tomorrow sweaty people will watch fireworks in the parks. Not I!

I plan to watch Grace and Frankie, a Netflix  show starring Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Martin Sheen, and Sam Waterston.  With this line-up, how can it not be great? It centers on a divorce: when Grace (Fonda) and Frankie (Tomlin) learn that their husbands are gay and want a divorce, they freak out and separately take refuge  in the beach house they co-own. Frankie, an old hippie with long gray hair, meditates and chants, while Grace, an uptight trophy wife with a hint of OCD, relies on cups of tea and routine.  Will they drive each other crazy?

Rachel (Elizabeth Mitchell) and Miles (Billy
Burke) in “Revolution.”

Perhaps the best show for the Fourth of July is  Revolution, a science fiction series about a post-apocalyptic America without electricity.  Nobody knows why the power went out, or maybe a few do. Two brilliant scientists, Ben and Rachel Matheson (Juliet Mitchell), escape violent Chicago, where people now kill for food or  because they feel like it.  Rachel voluntarily becomes a hostage in the rogue Monroe Nation (who want her scientific skills) while Ben and their daughter, Charlie, and son, Danny, take refuge in a housing development/pioneer village in the middle of nowhere.   Years later, the army finds and kills Ben and kidnaps Danny, and Charlie (Tracy Spiridakos) resolves to get her brother back, with the help of friends and family.

The first season is a bit like Lord of the Rings, only set in America, with guerilla operations, sword fights, and a trip to the eerie power plant.  The characters are well-developed, and the dialogue is very witty.  Juliet Mitchell (from Lost and V) is stunning as Rachel Matheson, the brilliant scientist who may be able to turn the power back on.  And Billy Burke is superb as Miles Matheson, her brother-in-law, a cynical Iraq war vet who is “good at killing” and who left the Monroe Nation when it got too crazy.  His niece Charlie (Tracy Spiridakos) persuades him to quit tending bar in Chicago (by inadvertently blowing his cover) and help them find Danny.  Charlie is the moral compass, opposed to war and killing unless absolutely necessary.

Charlie (Tracy Spiridakos) in “Revolution”

In the second season, the focus of the show is Rachel’s idyllic hometown, Willoughby, Texas, for which the U.S. “patriots” have sinister plans And so the Mathesons must continue to resist.

Oh, dear, couldn’t NBC bring the show back?


After a death in the family, what do you bring home?

“Get something,” I begged my husband.  “You’ll regret it if you don’t.”

I know of what I speak.  After my mother’s death,  I took the photo albums and a small chest filled with obituaries.  A few years later, I was sorry I had left the large round carved oak table in the basement.  But how did they get it into the basement in the first place?

My husband came home with a plastic tray filled with Holy Cards and bookmarks.  Oh dear, we are so alike.

I am now using a holy card with a picture of the Pope as a bookmark in  Evelyn Waugh’s Sword of Honour.