June Diane Raphael stars as Brianna in episode 2 of GRACE AND FRANKIE, season 7.

June Diane Raphael Wrote a Spinoff Series for Her ‘Grace and Frankie’ Character

More Brianna please!
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Netflix’s longest running series, Grace and Frankie, ends its epic run this weekend with the premiere of part 2 of the seventh season. The series has seen its titular duo (Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin) become best friends (and soul mates?) after their husbands (Martin Sheen, Sam Waterston) leave them for each other. Over the years we’ve seen Grace and Frankie fall in love, start a business, and discover all that’s in store in their second act. The breakout series saw massive success, a rarity for a series focused on two older women (which are rare enough as it is). While we’re sad to see the hilarious and heartwarming series say goodbye, there is still much to look forward in these final episodes. Most notably, Dolly Parton will rejoin her 9 to 5 co-stars Fonda and Tomlin for a long-awaited cameo appearance.

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But while Grace and Frankie is ending, there are still stories left to tell about the Hanson and Bergstein clans. June Diane Raphael, who plays Grace’s acerbic daughter Brianna, has written and developed a spinoff pilot with series co-creator Howard Morris that follows her character after the series ends. “Fans will see that the way the show ends, there’s more to say about Brianna’s story — in the same way that the original tackles what it means to be in your 70s and 80s, I think exploring what it means to be a middle-aged woman [like Brianna] without children or a husband is equally exciting,” says Raphael. 

Raphael continued, “It was actually around season four or five that I started thinking of these other stories for Brianna and really itching for more. I felt like I had more to say, and that I wanted to sink my teeth in in a bigger way. I’m so happy with everything I got to do on Grace and Frankie, but I just kept thinking that her story wouldn’t be done. There’s still a stigma around women who do not have kids and it brings up a lot for people.”

Raphael described the process of developing the spinoff with Morris in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, saying “We spent months, honestly, just talking through the idea that women’s currency is devalued to our culture as we get older, and a lot of times it’s the opposite for men. And we talked about what Brianna is potentially losing and gaining as she ages alone, and how a woman who is alone can create a deep fear in so many people. Once we felt we had the pilot story, we spent the next few months writing it.”

The series has yet to be greenlit, but we’re hoping to see more of Raphael’s Brianna in the future. In the meantime, the final season of Grace and Frankie premieres on Netflix on April 29. If you want more Raphael, you should check out her hilarious Earwolf podcast with fellow comedian Jessica St. Clair, The Deep Dive. And of course, Raphael continues to host Earwolf’s award-winning podcast How Did This Get Made? with her husband Paul Scheer and Jason Mantzoukas.

(via THR, image: Saeed Adyani/©NETFLIX 2021)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.