When we said goodbye to Will Truman and Grace Adler in 2006, the pair had drifted apart and were living separate lives with their respective partners and their children, not exactly a strong premise upon which to base a revival of the series.
So when "Will and Grace" was revived by NBC last year, the somewhat depressing finale to the original series was explained away as a dream. It was lazy writing, but what the hey, it brought back "Will and Grace"—with the original cast intact—and that's worth rejoicing.
Also on hand are original creators and producers David Kohan and Max Mutchnick. James Burrows, who directed every episode of the series during its initial eight year run, has also returned to call the shots.
The first season of the new "Will and Grace" has just been released on DVD. The story picks up 11 years later, with older characters who are dealing with aging and loss of relationships, including a few deaths. But never fear, "Will and Grace" is still witty and funny as hell. It's fast paced, features hysterically written lines, and remains true to the series' rich history.
The revival begins with a screamingly funny bang. In "11 Years Later" Grace (Debra Messing) lands a job redecorating the Oval Office—she got the gig through Karen (Megan Mullally), who happens to be best buds with Melania Trump. The episode takes many laugh inducing jabs at the current president and his administration, most notably when Grace opens a bag of Cheetos chips which she holds up so she can color coordinate the room to the Commander In Chief's orange colored skin. The episode ends with a close-up of a hat on the president's desk with the words "Make America Gay Again" sewn on its front.
Supporting and guest characters from the series' original run are sprinkled throughout the revival's 16 episode freshman season. In "Grandpa Jack," the moving but still funny fourth episode, Jack (Sean Hayes) is reunited with his long estranged biological son Elliot (Michael Angarano). Jack also meets his young grandson Skip (Jet Jurgensmeyer), who is obviously gay.
To Jack's horror, Skip is sent to a conversion therapy camp—gay actors Jane Lynch and Andrew Rannells offer side-splitting performances as the camp counselors. But the episode takes a very serious turn when Jack sits down with Skip and tells him that he's OK just as he is.
"Grandpa Jack" is not the only episode which takes itself seriously. "Rosie's Quinceanera" sees Karen dealing with the death of Rosie, her beloved housekeeper. The episode also establishes the earlier death of Grace's mom, Bobbi Adler. A few episodes later Grace's dad and Will's mom become engaged on the same day that Jack becomes engaged to his new boyfriend.
Of course, Karen's arch-nemesis Beverley Leslie (the incomparable Leslie Jordan) is around, still a screaming queen, forever insisting that he's not a "homosexual" and that Benji is his "business associate."
The relationship between best friends Will and Grace remains intact. Both are as dysfunctional as ever, never finding lasting love, but always finding great love and comfort through each other.
"Will and Grace" is indeed back, as funny, as fresh, and as timely as it first was. It was brilliant when it began in 1998, and it remains brilliant now. The show is especially refreshing in this age of Trump and his virulently anti-LGBT policies—both Will and especially Jack are shamelessly and unabashedly gay, taking great pride in who they are.
They're surrounded by people who casually accept them without question. "Will and Grace" is a portrait of the America we'd all like to live in.
If you haven't seen "Will and Grace, The Revival" during its recent run on NBC then by all means watch it on disc. And be on the lookout for the upcoming seasons two and three—NBC is very much behind this series.