Grace and Frankie Recap: The Return of Yam Lube

Grace and Frankie

The Negotiation
Season 2 Episode 3
Editor’s Rating *****
Lily Tomlin as Frankie, Jane Fonda as Grace.
Lily Tomlin as Frankie, Jane Fonda as Grace.

Three episodes in, it’s clear to me now: The second season of Grace and Frankie is about how people move on when their lives are turned upside down. Also, yam lube.

As “The Negotiation” opens, Grace loses her cell phone and Frankie attempts to balance her checkbook for the first time in half a century. Balancing her checkbook was Sol’s task — Frankie always used her check stubs to make flipbooks of squirrels bowing to each other. Meanwhile, Grace is searching for her cell phone to call Mallory back to get the news everyone else has already received. Mallory tells her that she’s been put on bed rest, but not to worry about it or come over or do anything really.

Meanwhile, Robert is bonding with his new nurse, Jojo, played by “Culture Vulture” Jai Rodriguez, who represents young cool gay men in the Grace and Frankie universe. Sol is a liiiiiiittle jealous of Robert’s newfound friend and comfort with gay culture.

Brianna shows up to the beach house to give Frankie some great news while Frankie is making a smoothie in their purloined blender. Oh wow, Grace is going to sell Frankie’s yam lube! Remember that plotline? Woo-hoo! Frankie immediately asks for $9 million. I know business doesn’t work that way, but I really wish it would. Grace asks if Brianna knew that Mallory was pregnant and Brianna says, “It’s kinda her thing.” I can’t wait for an Empire/Grace and Frankie crossover so Cookie and Brianna can trade barbs. Grace knows that Mallory needs her; everybody’s eyes rolled so hard that they saw into the past. Frankie won’t be distracted by the happenings in Mallory’s uterus and tells Brianna that she has an idea and someone wants it. Therefore … bidding war, power lunch, thank-you sharks. Frankie counters her own offer with $9 million and an Orvis gift card and pulls a power smoothie move.

When Grace heads over to Mallory’s house to help out, she’s greeted by Grandma Jean, the physical and emotional opposite of Grace. Grandma Jean is running a kids’ car wash and was invited to come help while their mother is on bed rest because her houseplants are plastic and her husband is dead. Grandma Jean is living the goddamn dream. Grace didn’t come empty-handed, of course, and offers Mallory a luxury manicure kit and some Downton Abbey DVDs. Unfortunately, her daughter tells her that Grace doesn’t really like children when they … act like children. Grace having rigid and impossible standards for behavior? Now I’ve heard everything!

While Grace tries on the role of “engaged grandmother,” Frankie tries on a fabulous hat for mixing business with pleasure when she visits her Yam Man. Aww yeah, baby, the Yam Man. Frankie spills a little too much about what’s happening in her life since their smooch and asks if he’ll always be her Yam Man. He kisses her on the cheek and says, “I hope this is how all of our business meetings end.” Aww yeah, baby, that’s how the Yam Man does business.

Grace is sipping a martini from a teacup, while watching Grandma Jean build a fort. Forts are for peasants. Forts are gauche. She’s reluctantly welcomed into the fort, only to scare her grandson by playing a clown instead of a Depression-era orphan. She thinks her grandchildren’s favorite show is Trapper John, M.D. I don’t want to say Grace is a bad grandma, but she’s certainly a hilarious one. Unfortunately, her grandkids give her lice so they’re bad too. It evens out. While Frankie combs out nits, Grace screams that children are dumb. Okay, maybe she’s a bad grandma …

Frankie reminds her that some grandmothers are cuddly and fun, while others are hamsters that teach their offspring not to eat their offspring. Frankie shifts gears to her kiss with her Yam Man. Grace tells her to know where you want to end up and not to start there. Wise, Grace. Wise.

Apparently Sol is not cool with Jojo showing Robert pictures of spankings and drag queens on his phone. Jojo wants to take Robert to drag-queen bingo and Sol says they’re not that kind of gays. Whoa. Um, yikes. Robert is pissed that Sol would shut down new potential friendships and connections to the gay community, as fabulous and flamboyant as they may be. Sol insists that this is about Robert wanting to be gayer because Sol is the gayer one in the relationship. I realize part of this is about people finding themselves, but damn, did Sol have to find himself saying this? Especially when one piece of evidence is that he would wear a man purse. Robert had lots of opinions about Cher’s Oscar dress. Bob Mackie deserved an Oscar for that dress alone! They’re out and they’re gonna stay out!

Frankie goes to Brianna’s office with Bud in tow as her legal counsel. It’s Brianna-donna Ding Dong vs. Budless and Frankie. It’s on. Frankie isn’t hugging and she’s not sitting down first. She’s still demanding $9 million. Frankie knows she wants more, but doesn’t know what that entails.

Grace stumbles upon her grandson spraying Mallory’s bedroom door with clown spray (or clown-repellant spray, depending on whom you ask) and she finds out that Grandma Jean told him a cutesy story about a baby in a tummy and that mommy is sick. Grace calmly explains that mommy isn’t sick, there’s nothing to be scared about, and takes vicious pleasure in telling him that Grandma Jean was wrong.

Frankie finally comes up with what she wants from Brianna: 6 percent of the gross, her art on the box, and for Brianna to take her seriously. Brianna accepts and Frankie drops her “businesslike” demeanor and plants a big kiss on Brianna’s forehead. She also takes a sandwich for the road.

Sol invites drag-queen bingo to the hospital. One day he’s threatening to sue, the next he’s inviting a noisy activity into someone’s room. They must hate him there. Sol apologizes to Robert and Jojo and playfully calls everyone bitch. Progress?

Grace finally confronts Mallory about how long it took to share the pregnancy news. Mallory remembers a painful moment when Grace told her not to have any more children so that her life could begin. Whoa. Um, yikes. Grace apologizes for being so horrible and admits she doesn’t even know who she was when she was married to Robert. I guess being married to a closeted gay man is hard on everybody. Who’da thunk?

Grace and Frankie brainstorm yam lube names, which include “Men-Applause” and my personal favorite, “Yam Bam Thank You Ma’am.” Frankie paints her vagina for the box. Oh! The box! Get it? That’s fun. Grace heads to bed and warns Frankie that she might end up being recognized.

Grace and Frankie Recap: The Return of Yam Lube