I generally take a week to ten days to ‘semi-shotgun’ a new season of a show I like. A few episodes a day balancing the desire to take it all in at once with spreading out the joy of experiencing the entire season. I just finished watching Season 4 of G&F in a day and a half. No way to just do a few episodes of this after work each night. Without ignoring the show’s limitations, as I wrote after Season 3, this season has more than held up to my expectations.
This is at heart a sitcom. In many ways it reminds me of M*A*S*H and All In The Family. Plenty of laughs, but there’s more story and character depth than I find in most recent shows. Don’t get me wrong, I love the revived Will & Grace, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and The Goldbergs. Before Cable TV was sacrificed to balance the budget there were others that amused me. However this show speaks to me at a very deep and personal level.
Some of this may reflect my love for the cast; so many great performers having the time of their lives. And with this season more than any of the previous ones, the story lines. I previously wrote that I (apparently unlike many queer folk on social media) find Martin Sheen & Sam Waterston‘s portrayals of Robert & Sol’s relationship totally believable. The characters are newlyweds- but also newly out at age 70 after decades of hiding their relationship from their wives and their law firm. While many ‘baby gays’ (as in having recently Come Out) dive headfirst into ‘gay culture’ that tends to be those who are also still under50(ish). In one episode Robert says they need to decide just what aspects of modern gay culture they wish to adopt, or at least investigate. Very mature- very lawyerly.
As I approach a ‘new decade’ this summer, with clear signs of aging, and reflect on my own experience of ‘too many burials’ (see this blog post), this season’s focus on funerals and aging (not really a spoiler) speaks to me. Add in just how much Martin reminds me of Dad- another whole level of personal connexions and issues.
Obviously much of my reaction to the show, and this season, are personal. As the kids say (or has this expression already come and gone?) YMMV– your mileage may vary.
My Father, Martin and Gene;
Janis Ian, Mum, Sarah Partridge;