If You Loved 9 To 5, Then Get Ready For The Reunion Of A Lifetime On Grace And Frankie

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It’s been a long time coming, but Dolly Parton is finally teaming back up with Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda. Sometimes it’s just meant to be. The trio is famous for their joint appearance in the 9 to 5 film, where they played three female employees who face off against their sexist, egotistical boss (Dabney Coleman). 

Parton will guest star in the final season of Grace and Frankie, which has already made a name for itself as the longest-running Netflix series to date. The award-winning series will close out with 94 episodes when the final season is released in 2022. 


Why 9 to 5 Was So Great

Jane Fonda was inspired by the 9 to 5 film after her friend launched Nine To Five, an organization of women office workers who talked about their experiences on the job. It was her idea to do the film, and it was her production company, so she was locked in for the part of Judy Bernly. But they wanted Dolly and Lily to take on the other two lead roles, as Doralee Rhodes and Violet Newstead respectively. 

Lily initially turned down the part because she was recovering from shooting The Incredible Shrinking Woman. She rescinded her resignation after talking with her partner, Jane. Lily says, “I am grateful that I did it. They became two of my good friends.”

The 9 to 5 film was compelling and memorable, with its trio of office workers looking to live out their fantasies of overthrowing the evil boss. The film also grossed nearly $104 million, which was the second highest grossing film in 1980, second only to The Empire Strikes Back. It also launched Dolly as a movie star — she was already a mega-star singer and songwriter. 

9 to 5 is ranked #74 on The American Film Institute’s “The 100 Funniest American Movies of All Time,” but Jane still saw it as a “labor film.” She did a lot of research on “office wives,” particularly those women who went to work later in life due to being widowed or divorced. So, when she discussed the screenplay with Colin Higgins, she said, “OK, what you have to do is write a screenplay which shows you can run an office without a boss, but you can’t run an office without the secretaries!” 

It could have been a feminist manifesto, particularly since Jane initially envisioned it as a drama. At once, the comedy slant made it more popular and accessible, while not being a soapbox lecture. As such, it reached the desired audiences, with women coming out to support the film. It was one of the first female empowerment movies. 

In an interview with Elle, Dolly says, “I think that brought so much stuff to the forefront that people had not been willing to look at, even though they knew it was happening.” She added, “At that time, we really hoped that it would make a bigger difference than it actually did. Although I do feel like it did open a lot of doors and a lot of eyes to a lot of problems that we’d been having since time began.”

After being such a hit at the box office, there’s been talk about a sequel for years, with the most recent blip being in 2019. Sometimes it’s just difficult to make all the pieces come together. Dolly Parton confirmed that the sequel was dropped in her interview with Entertainment Tonight, where she said, “I don’t think we’re going to do the sequel. We never could get the script where it was different enough from the first one, and that one turned out so good.”

With that news, we’ve been left with the highly anticipated reunion of the trio in some other way. Dolly did say: “We’re thinking we might do a completely different thing together, Jane, Lily and I.” So, it appears that Grace and Frankie is it. 

What’s The Big Deal with Grace And Frankie

While Dolly hasn’t joined them until now, Lily and Jane teamed up for the Grace and Frankie Netflix series in 2015. Grace (played by Jane) and Frankie (played by Lily) suddenly become the ex-wives of two divorce lawyers, Sol Bergstein (played by Sam Waterston) and Robert Hanson (played by Martin Sheen), who admit that they are gay and that they’ve been having a 30-year affair with one another while being married to these two women. 

It turns their lives upside down, sure; but their husbands’ revelations also give them a newfound freedom as they are forced to rethink everything. This unlikely duo evolved from something akin to acquaintances or rivals into best friends who live together at a beach house and who run a business together. Yep, they started Vybrant, a sex toy company for women over age 60. Combining their business savvy, they developed a vibrator for women with arthritic hands. It was such a great idea that another company stole it.

They are extraordinary in the way they are able to bring that comic twist to what could be a devastating reversal of fortunes. Their off-kilter adventures take them right on through medical troubles, family drama, and even romantic turmoil. Lily and Jane summed up their thoughts on the show’s ending: “We’re so grateful that our show has been able to deal with issues that have really connected to our grand generation. And their kids, and amazingly, their kids as well! We’ll miss these two old gals, Grace and Frankie, as much as many of their fans will, but we’ll still be around.”

While the Grace and Frankie series finished filming the final episodes last month, they’re not scheduled to air until 2022. That includes the already widely anticipated Dolly Parton episode, the gist of which has been kept under wraps except for a few rumors and hints. Dolly said, “I’ve been trying to do Grace and Frankie for years.” So, this is it. The long wait will soon be over.


What are your thoughts on Dolly Parton’s appearance on Grace and Frankie? Tell us in the comments below.

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