THIS EPISODE OF CPU! WAS SPONSORED BY: HERITAGE THEATRE GROUP
Opening Tomorrow: “Assassins”
For more information, visit Heritage Theatre’s website!
Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie
Who: “Will & Grace,” a situation comedy that aired on NBC from 1998 to 2006 until it was revived on the same network in 2017.
What: Created by Max Mutchnick and David Kohan, Will & Grace focuses on the friendship between best friends Will Truman (Eric McCormack), a gay lawyer, and Grace Adler (Debra Messing), a straight interior designer.
Will & Grace is set in New York City and also features Will and Grace’s friends Karen Walker (Megan Mullally), an alcoholic socialite, and Jack McFarland (Sean Hayes), a flamboyantly gay actor. The continuing interplay of relationships features the trials and tribulations of dating, marriage, divorce, and casual sex as well as comical key stereotypes of gay and Jewish culture.
When: The first revival season, Season 9, aired from September 28, 2017, to April 5, 2018, Thursdays on NBC.
Where: The show is set in New York City, New York (mostly in Manhattan).
Why: Listen to the first podcast episode in this series for the panelists’ individual stories on how they found Will & Grace.
How – as in How Was It?! (THOUGHTS)
If you have not listened to the first episode in our “Will & Grace Revives Series,” click the embedded link below:
Looking Back at the Original “Will & Grace,” Seasons 1-8
Frequent CPU! contributors and panelists often suggest shows for CPU! to cover in our podcast episodes – loyal listeners should have picked up on this particular trend by now. Well, when the Peacock network decided to join the ranks of conglomerates reviving successful network properties from periods past, and Will & Grace became the chosen candidate for NBC’s latest revival featuring every member of the original cast except Shelley Morrison (Rosario), some of the CPU!ers became decidedly atwitter and began encouraging a W&G podcast series in short order.
Here at CPU!, then, we saw an opportunity for a new CPU! podcast series in which CPU! panelists could look back at the program that started it all while looking forward “around the water cooler” as new season(s) of the revival are released. Thus, herein we offer the second episode of our own miniseries covering the various versions of this popular, and frankly fabulous, sitcom, which we at CPU! are calling our “Will & Grace Revives” series.
Returning panelists Andrew, Jeremy, and Emily (D) join your Chief CP around the Water Cooler once again for this second episode of our “Will & Grace Revives” series. In this conversation, we discuss our favorite and least favorite moments from the first revival season, Season 9, of Will & Grace, as, after eleven years off the air, we return to the lives of Will, Grace, Jack, Karen, their friends, their neighbors, their families, and their rather copious respective lines of romantic partners. Oh, and about that original series finale? Fuggedaboutit! No, literally, forget about it. As it turns out, Karen was having some sort of drug-induced flight of fancy while taking a nap. Her dreams are weird!
This podcast was recorded in July 2018 and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as we cover major plot points throughout the Will & Grace series. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!
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Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly! Next Wednesday, our DCTU Series panel returns to the Water Cooler to begin the panel’s annual marathon of end of season coverage of the four Arrowverse shows. Our first episode in the coming series of four revisits those wacky but lovable (DC’s) Legends of Tomorrow, as our spicy superhero-loving panel discusses Season Three of the Arrowverse’s second spin-off. Stay tuned!
Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations
1) Will we see more Elliott (Michael Angarano) next season?
2) Can Rosie O’Donnell be brought back as Elliott’s biological mother, so that he will have to deal with his two gay biological parents despite his newfound religious conservatism?
3) Will there be any more musical episodes?
4) Will there be any more live episodes?
5) Will we see some of the more famous or infamous guest stars of the original run, such as the inimitable Cher?
6) How long will the relationship between Will’s mom (Blythe Danner) and Grace’s dad (Robert Klein) last?
7) How long will the business partnership between Will and Grace last?
8) Will Jack find his one and only true love? Is he truly ready for the dread C-word (“commitment”)?
9) Will we ever meet Stan, Karen’s rich husband, face to face?
10) Will we ever see Leo (Harry Connick, Jr.) or Vince (Bobby Cannavale), Grace and Will’s ex-husbands, respectively, again? Should we root for a reconciliation, at least for Will and Vince, since Leo has cheated on Grace more times than should really be forgivable? What do you think, listener?
Our panelists discussed a wide-ranging assortment of opinions about the first revival season of Will & Grace. One loved it, one claimed to hate it, and others expressed markedly mixed feelings about revisiting this show eleven years after it left the airwaves the first time around. In the end, though, everyone agreed that this initial revival season provided some fun escapist nostalgia and, even, the occasional reason to think. Several panelists, however, also declared that moments in the season felt forced – for laughs, for message-filled dialogue, and, at times, to reproduce the chemistry that was. In fact, the panel mostly agreed, with the notable exception of one panelist, that, though most of the cast managed to reclaim the characters that they had not played in eleven years with what seemed like ease, Grace’s own Debra Messing visibly struggled to find the core of the Grace character for a few episodes, whether due to a lack of confidence and/or potentially due to age, in that she seemed unable to engage in the physical comedy that she brought to the character previously. Plus, her comedic delivery frequently rang as “over the top,” though Ms. Messing eventually found a rhythm that resembled not only the younger version of the character, and of herself, but also reminded the viewer why Grace and Will have been such watchable and such lovably co-dependent roommates and friends for so many years.
Still, at times, some panelists also struggled with what appeared to be didactic dialogue about our political state of affairs while, at the same time, other panelists expressed being largely grateful that the writers and actors stayed true to the core characters they created, now 20 years ago, particularly the “in your face” antics of perennially drunk and often inappropriate socialite Karen. Additionally, a couple of panelists also criticized some of the more obvious nods to the original eight seasons, as the producers appeared to return to a perceived endless parade of guest stars, winks, and nods to the original run of the show, similar to what seemed to populate the last few seasons of Will & Grace prime. Yet, all panelists, even if one was begrudging, admitted to having fun while viewing this revival run – even if only for a few isolated episodes, jokes, moments, and particularly while watching the Jack and Karen characters. To wit, the panelists universally praised three specific episodes: the one in which Jack learned he had a grandson; the one in which Karen mourned the death of Rosario while throwing her a quinceanera; and the one in which Grace tried to help her dad following the loss of her mom, formerly played by the now deceased Debbie Reynolds (rest in peace).
Ultimately, the panelists universally recommend the revival season to long-time fans of the original series, particularly those who have some enthusiasm for those first eight seasons, as the panelists believe that new viewers watching only Season 9 for the first time would not be able to appreciate all of the inside jokes, winks, nods, and nudges to the tapestry of comedy woven by the first run of the show. Plus, if one enjoys humor with plenty of sass, one would be remiss not to at least check out the whole show, original and revival seasons together, as the four main characters and plenty of the supporting ones will surely meet any prescribed need for sass within minutes of the opening credits. Our panelists also advocate that Will & Grace has something to offer most everyone with an open mind and a willingness to see two sides of any coin – as well as a lot of spicy and sexy joke-telling. Don’t say we didn’t warn you, poodles.
Will & Grace was renewed for tenth and eleventh seasons by the Peacock network; Season 10 premieres on Thursday, October 4, 2018, at 9:00 PM. If you would like to catch up on any of Will & Grace, including the original eight seasons of the show, all seasons are currently available to stream on Hulu. In the meantime, our Will & Grace panel will next return to the Water Cooler following the airing of the tenth season finale, some time in 2019, as this panel will now be converted to one of our ongoing show panels (with two openings! Contact us if you would like to join the panel!). Until then!