My Thoughts on the Revamped Will & Grace Thus Far

The original eight seasons of Will & Grace were a staple of my high school years. During my freshman year, my best friend showed me this beautiful, biting, and sometimes poignant show about four young adults—Will, Grace, Jack, and Karen—navigating their lives in New York City. The show was celebrated for being one of the first sitcoms to have LGBT characters in lead roles (both Will and Jack are gay), and it tackled a lot of important issues using the craft of comedy to fold it into the plot in a creative and inconspicuous way. When it was announced that NBC was bringing Will & Grace back to primetime television with a new season of episodes after eleven years of being off the air to say I was pumped would be an understatement. I was counting down the days. When premiere day came around and I got to watch the first episode my heart sank as minute after minute went by and I did not laugh once. Maybe it’ll get better, I thought, so I’ve been continuing to watch new episodes as they’ve come out, and I have to say my main reaction can be described in one word: meh.

Courtesy: TV Guide // The cast in the show’s original promotional photoshoot.

 

The new episodes of Will & Grace have been graced (no pun intended) with fairly positive reviews, and, yes, they are definitely more good than bad, but I don’t think these new episodes come anywhere close to the original magic of the series. To me personally, I feel like this new series is much more about the political stances the writers are trying to convey than the humor itself. Instead of the humor being a vehicle for a greater message, the message is the vehicle for the humor and it’s not nearly as successful. I think another reason the show may not be as on fire as it was in its original form—and this is not the show’s fault—is time.  We are in 2017. Over the eleven years since Will & Grace was last on television, LGBT+ inclusion into primetime television has become more and more commonplace. I am not saying that it’s perfect or where it should be, but having main characters being somewhere on the LGBT+ spectrum is no longer groundbreaking. Granted, Will and Jack’s sexualities were never super important to the plot; they dated and had significant others just like everyone else and the fact that they were gay was never made into a big deal. In the first few episodes of this new season, it seemed to me like it was a very big deal that they are gay and to me, that just doesn’t make sense. If it wasn’t a big deal then why is it a big deal now?

Since we are only five or six episodes into the new era, I am not in any way writing off Will & Grace as a show I no longer like or will no longer watch. My hope is that the show continues to get better as it goes along and it gets some of that old-school magic back. I can tell that it has all the opportunity to do what it once did before, and I am crossing my fingers that Will & Grace makes its return to from meh to the rip-roaring laugh fest I know it can be.