6 Questions Left Unanswered by the Premiere of Will and Grace
Originally published October 2, 2017
The reboot of the beloved show Will and Grace has recently premiered. And people cannot stop buzzing about it. Sure it is chock full of political jokes that many people find disagreeable, but putting some of that aside for the moment, it's also raised a ton of questions for the rest of the season and the future of the show. There's more mystery a-buzzing from this premiere than Prometheus. So journey with me through the fabulous yet controversial first episode, as we ponder what to anticipate next.
SPOILER ALERT. If you have not yet watched the premiere episode, then you need to get your life together at once, and click here. Then come back and read these to see if your questions match mine.
1. What's up with the bizarre exposition?
I personally adored the opening scene where the gang play Heads Up. I thought it was quick-paced, immediately funny, brought Will and Grace to modern day by making references to pop culture (Caitlin Jenner, Melania Trump, etc) and didn't spend time reintroducing the cast one by one or allowing the audience to clap for each person's appearance. They realized that while the show is called Will and Grace, all four of the main characters play an equal role in making the show what it is, and began the premiere beautifully by making us feel like things never changed between the characters, and thus nothing about them will change drastically for us.
However, I found the episode's exposition to be a bit sloppy and forced. When it's Karen and Jack's turn to play Heads Up, Karen is in a bit of a comatose state with a martini in her hand. Jack shakes a bottle of pills to wake her up, and she basically asks them all of the questions the audience has been wanting to know. Is Stan still alive and is Karen still rich? Yes and yes? Great. What happened to Will and Grace's men they ran off with at the end of the original show? Divorce? Um, ok. What happened to the plotline of their children getting together with each other? It was all a dream? Alrighty then, NBC.
This is by far not the first time a plotline has been extracted for convenience from a television show, but to me the explanation being done in a few seconds was a bit ridiculous.
I will admit, I did love how they broke the fourth wall in the intro. Karen basically tells the audience that they wouldn't have wanted to watch a show so involved with Will and Grace's kids and them raising them through the circumstances of the original show's ending. And she's right. Finally, Jack breaks the fourth wall while Grace takes a photo of him. After it's explained to the audience that they'll just have to accept the direction of the characters' new plots, he turns to the audience and asks "Got it?" Got it, Jack.
2. Who is Tony?
As Grace enters her studio, her new apprentice Tony is introduced. The context as to who he is and what kind of person he is is very clear. But in my opinion, it was left unclear as to whether this character would have any weight in future episodes.
Don't get me wrong, I don't think anyone could complain at looking at Tony on their TV screens more in the future, but I am curious as to the role he would play. He's a young Latino guy with a seemingly bright future in interior design based on Grace's compliments to him. But all he was asked was whether or not Karen or her politics offend him. Surprisingly enough, he confidently states that Karen's politics don't offend him. And then basically let's us know that it's in other ways that she offends him.
What I'm curious about is whether this character is going to be impactful in any way or if he's just going to be a character that shows up just to back up someone's point. The amount of time he was on screen and the types of lines he was given show me it could go either way. If Karen's politics don't bother him, what does? Her drinking? The things she says to/about Rosario? Maybe she's given his tooshie a friendly slap once or twice? Who knows...but I want to find out.
3. Why didn't anyone feel more empowered by Karen's friendship with Trump?
By empowered, I mean how could Grace, a staunch liberal and feminist not think to use Karen's connections to Donald Trump to influence him or challenge his views? This is exactly what I don't like about television shows writing such huge connections into a character's life.
When Karen claimed to be a Trump supporter in the mini episode that came out before the election, I found it hilarious and it could open up some hilarious dialogue (which it did.) But when they made her friends of Donald and Melania's, I got confused. I know it's only a show and they can write the characters however they want, but don't you think Will and Grace - as passionate they are about their political stances - would have leveraged their connections with him to express their views to him or have a discussion? I feel like the characters constantly writing to Congress and wearing feminist protest hats (as discussed in this episode) would do everything in their power to get close to Trump.
But who knows, maybe that's to come. I think it would have made more sense if Karen knew someone who knew someone who knew someone who knew Donald Trump, but that's just me nitpicking.
4. Do the introduction of Will and Jack's new conquests mean the whole season will be political?
The jury is still out on how things will go between Will and the congressman, and Jack and his friend from the Secret Service. Things are heating up rather than cooling down. And that could mean that as things progress, we'll be spending more time at the White House. Will the rest of the season be just as political as this first episode?
5. Have we reopened the discussion on Will and Grace's love?
This has always been a tough subject for me to associate with the show. The original series showed Will and Grace constantly getting into situations where their feelings for each other were questioned...even by them themselves.
I always found this bizarre as the show never painted Will as bisexual, and felt as though the point of the show was to depict the two as strong friends who could get through any fight. But audiences still love the "will they or won't they" aspect of the series. They are extremely cute together and do have fantastic chemistry.
But I always felt the point of this show was to give gay culture and gay humor a thoughtful voice. And to both allow a character like Jack to be over the top and totally himself, while also showing Will as a character with hardly any gay stereotypes about himself to give range to what America could identify as a gay man's behavior. So I never understood what giving sensual tension between Will and Grace would add to that accomplishment.
Either way, the ending scene with them in this episode and the fact that their prior relationships fell apart (something that the characters felt bittersweet about when they initially happened as it split them up,) tell us that the will they won't they aspect is back for those of you who are into it. What it means, who knows...
6. Will the MAGA hat become a new plotline?
After getting thrown out of the White House, Grace mentions she was able to make one small change while there. And the last frame of the episode shows that she left a MAGA hat on his chair with the wording changed to "Make America Gay Again."
This ending could mean one of two things:
- Maybe Trump (fictional Trump on the show that is) will have a response to that and we will finally get some of the interaction I thought Grace would be dying for with the president, which I brought up in point #2. And then the show would continue on with the political/White House theme. OR
- The hat is a symbol that the show is back, gay culture is here to stay, and that no matter what happen's during Trump's term, the human spirit won't be brought down.
Either way, I'm looking forward to the rest of the season and what they have in store for us. And I'd love to know what you guys thought of the new episode! Did it feel like Will, Grace, Jack and Karen never left your livingrooms? Was it too political? Do you want it to get more political? Let me know your thoughts. And don't forget to give me a Like on Facebook if you want to see more content like this!