Here’s What Critics Are Saying About the Very Political Return of ‘Will & Grace’
Last night, we witnessed the Will & Grace return to television.
The very politicized episode brought Will, Grace, Jack and Karen to Trump’s White House in Washington, D.C.
For us, the episode was a win. The fast-paced and witty repartee between the fab foursome was hard to keep up with at times, as the gay men we watched with were often loudly laughing at the last joke as the next one hit. The political nature of the episode was the perfect way to begin the season, landing a lot of laughs at the expense of our current administration.
While the predictable Cheeto jokes gave us a giggle, we’re looking forward to the show finding humor in other facets of LGBTQ life later this season, as the Trump thing will surely become a bore sooner rather than later.
But don’t take our word for it.
Here’s what some critics had to say about the Will & Grace return below:
Once this James Burrows-directed revival gets some Donald Trump outrage out of the way, the new Will & Grace comfortably slips back into the relentless and tapered wordplay that characterized the best of the show in the past. Of course, being that it is 2017 there are Melania Trump night terrors, Shonda Rhimes wisecracks, smartphones and dating apps in the mix. There also a swiping dismissal right off the top of what was thought to be the series finale at the end of Season 8 in 2006. Add to that Hayes being in top form as the still-acting, fame-seeking Jack, and you have the whole sparkling enchilada… In an age when Big 4 sitcoms often seem intent on self-propelled extinction, there is also a charm to the returning Will & Grace that shows the new kids and the hangers-on how to do it right.
What ultimately remains unchanged – and ensures the revival, which has already been picked up for a second season, will be a surefire success – is the camaraderie between Hayes, Mullally, Eric McCormack and Debra Messing. It’s a tall task asking viewers to pretend Will and Grace never went their separate ways or had kids, and surely there were ways the creators, David Kohan and Max Mutchnick, could have stuck to their original finale and still produced a fitting revival.
But it works mainly because the foursome is as sprightly and dynamic as ever, especially when onscreen together, exchanging wisecracks and wordplay. If the first episode is everything you wished the reboot wouldn’t be, give it some time. After all, even classics like Will & Grace need some time to shake off the rust.
If you’re an American comedy in 2017 with ambitions to take on the current administration, you’re automatically at the tail-end of a very, very long and angry queue. You should spend your time sharpening your claws and your teeth for the kill. In this episode, “Will & Grace” did the exact opposite. A toothless start doesn’t immediately doom the entire comeback. And anyway, the majority of the audience will be tuning in because of their affection for the characters. If you thought they were adorbs then, you’ll think they’re adorbs now.
“Will & Grace” tries to navigate a delicate line, seeking to be topical and relevant — almost 20 years after its premiere, and more than a decade since its end — while still maintaining its broad comedic signature. For the most part, the revival pulls that off, returning to NBC in the equivalent of midseason form.
Fans should be able to slide right back in — a lot fewer of them than during the show’s “Must-See TV” heyday, almost surely, yet enough that NBC’s pre-premiere Season 2 renewal doesn’t seem quite so much like a premature declaration of victory.
Beneath the pile of strenuously topical pop-culture references — Shonda Rhimes, Kellyanne Conway, Ryans Gosling and Reynolds — that fly like wigs in a Drag Race turf war, the DNA of the show remains essentially unchanged. Its loopy charm still rests on deft physical comedy, shrewdly cast guests (including Dear Evan Hansen’s delightful Ben Platt as the ADHD-riddled millennial so oblivious to gay history that he thinks Stonehenge is where the movement started), and, of course, the giddy push-me-pull-you chemistry between the original four.
The appeal of this weekly semi-sexually fluid rom-com has nothing to do with what really happens in the lives of actual gay and straight New Yorkers. It was and is about spending time in this utterly silly, farcical corner of fantasy Manhattan, with these particular dysfunctional gay and straight people. Maybe we don’t need them to take on Trump, but right now, a lot of Americans may need the refreshing break from reality that Will, Grace, Jack, and Karen provide. It’s nice to have them with us again.
In the end, “Will & Grace” doesn’t necessarily need to be woke if it can demonstrate that it knows as much. The 2017 edition can still have Will, Grace, Jack, and Karen leaning on each other and cracking the jokes that made the original show successful. But if it’s going to work once the initial excitement of having this cast back together wears off, what it can’t do is pretend that absolutely nothing has changed.