Running for 246 episodes, not one episode repeats the same story, or tells the same joke.
Over time, NBC’s hit 90’s sitcom has unfortunately been overlooked and forgotten. As a fan of this hilarious American comedy, I thought I should bring it back up to the surface of popular culture as a ‘Hidden Gem’ of TV.
Set in New York City, ‘Will & Grace’ is a sit-com about old college friends Will Truman, a proud homosexual lawyer and Grace Adler, a straight, clumsy (and slightly desperate) interior designer. These two are best friends with Karen Walker, a filthy-rich alcoholic, and Jack McFarland, who is a fabulously camp and flamboyant - but nevertheless unsuccessful - actor. The programme begins with Grace (Debra Messing) moving in temporarily with Will (Eric McCormack) after her marriage falls apart, but they end up becoming permanent roommates. In the show’s 11 seasons, we watch how the lives of this entertaining group pan out, and how their relationships with one another grow.
Due to the talents of its creators Max Mutchnick and David Kohan as well as the show’s amazing cast, ‘Will & Grace’ is able to address current issues like the rife presence of sexism and homophobia in the United States, but still maintains its comedic charm whilst doing so. However, ‘Will & Grace’ doesn’t just deal with big issues: the show’s chaotic energy even makes the characters’ handling of day-to-day conundrums hilarious. I think that ‘Will and Grace’ remains extremely relevant, quotable and educational today - the makings of an absolute classic.
My favorite character is Karen, played perfectly by Megan Mullally. Her character is extremely well written, having many complicated layers that are revealed as the programme goes on. The episode that best showcases Karen’s character for me is in season 5, ‘Boardroom and a Parked Place’: Karen, having some tricky relationship issues with her husband, moves out of her mansion and ends up living in her limousine with her maid, Rosario, (another hilarious addition to the cast). Karen, an emotionally hardened character, acts as if everything is fine, but gradually this façade drops, as it is revealed that she is actually heart-broken and feels like she has nowhere to turn. But of course, her friends (and the brilliant Rosario) are there to help her get back on her feet again.
‘Will and Grace’ is also very well written: its scripts flow effortlessly and include many moments reminiscent of classic comedy. Indeed, Sean Hayes’ use of physical comedy in his portrayal of Jack, as he dramatically prances into Will’s flat, taking over each scene he is in, is a great example of this. Although the show first aired in September 1998, its comedy has not aged. Furthermore, its costuming is effectively and smartly used, complementing the characters’ personalities. For example, Grace frequently turns up to work in a meticulously put together extravagant outfit, highlighting her flamboyant and artistic nature, which Karen, being as sarcastic as she is, playfully insults.
Despite running for 246 episodes, it is incredible that not one episode repeats the same story, or tells the same joke; in fact, all of the series intertwine beautifully with each other. This is rare in television nowadays: after a few seasons, writers tend to run out of fresh ideas, repeating the same gags over and over, or simply lose their audience as new programmes come along. In this way, ‘Will and Grace’ truly stands out from the crowd in the sit-com genre. President-Elect Joe Biden even commented on ‘Will & Grace’ in 2012 saying that it: “probably did more to educate the American public (on LGBT issues) than almost anybody has ever done”. This achievement, on top of the comedic genius of the show, shows that ‘Will & Grace’ is indeed a gem, but one that should no longer be hidden. ‘Will & Grace’ deserves to take its place as one of the best modern comedies, as it remains relevant and loved to this day.