Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2018-09-19
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



VIEWPOINT Will and Grace 2017: You Can't Go Home Again
by Max S. Gordon

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

The return of Will & Grace is a miracle of sorts, a pinch-me moment in the history of television. The #VoteHoney video, created to support Hillary Clinton's run for president and which led to the show's revival, reminded me again what I loved about the original show, and why with Mike Pence in the White House, as a gay man, I needed it now more than ever.

The fault in 2017 is not the talent; it's great to see Eric McCormack again bringing out the irony and passive aggressiveness in Will Truman's shady repartee. His performance goes deeper than a straight actor's impersonation of a gay man. Megan Mullally has a genius for line-readings as Karen. Sean Hayes still has the high voltage required to play Jack McFarland. And Debra Messing has a presence almost supernatural in its ability to reassure and a natural warmth—it's her greatest strength as a performer. With a narcissist in the White House who takes himself too seriously—we need an actress like Debra Messing on TV right now.

The first new episode, "11 Years Later," was criticized by some viewers as too political, too anti-Trump. The problem with the episode is not that it is anti-Trump; it is that it is slovenly written, like the rest of the episodes we've seen so far, and seemed stale on arrival. The re-boot feels soulless, while the original show had real pathos. I was amazed after watching an episode this season in which Grace has a cancer scare, and is reunited with her ex-husband, Leo—two potentially devastating plotlines—and I didn't feel a damn thing.

When it was announced that the show would return, fans were curious as to how the show's creators would deal with the series finale. They ditched it, resolved in a matter of minutes with the idea that Karen simply dreamt the whole thing.

Perhaps it would have been okay, after all, to pick the show up where the finale left off—to see Grace fight with her college-age daughter and find herself saying things that her mother would often say to her. (When Grace's daughter whines "Mom, that's not fair," she might reply, "Well, neither is my cottage-cheese ass" and then look at Will in horror.) Or maybe we finally get to see Karen in rehab, forced to get treatment because of a night in jail and a DUI conviction. Karen torments the staff while wearing a hospital gown from Hermes and offers to bribe her AA sponsor if he will lie and tell her probation officer that she's done the 12 steps.

The way the show is conceived now, Karen is still drunk and abusive, Jack is working temp jobs and still lying to himself, and Will seems to hover around offering support to Grace and Jack like a well-dressed fairy godfather, who smiles beatifically when his friends "see the light," while never leaving his apartment.

The world which Will, Grace, Karen and Jack now inhabit seems underwater—everyone talks to each other, but they don't seem to be in the same scene. It is unclear if Grace's new Puerto Rican assistant, Tony, is there to work for her or to be the new foil for Karen's racist Latino jokes. A bizarre scene between Grace and Tony borders on sexual harassment. In another, Karen assumes at first that Grace "bought" Tony for her, but then says, "Oh I see, you bought him for yourself."

The actors on the show deserve better than these antiquated "people-of-color-as-white-people's-playthings" scenes. In the episode "Grandpa Jack," Jack finds out he is a grandfather after being estranged from his son Elliot, and then attempts to remove his grandson from a gay conversion camp. When father and son unite at the show's conclusion, the audience very audibly says, "Awww." It's like an old episode of Silver Spoons—we've gone from Oscar Wilde to Oscar Mayer. Something is seriously wrong.

I guess what's most painful is that if this continues it may affect and erode our memories of a show that we once loved. Rather than sit and watch characters you love enduring situations you hate, you might want to see it cancelled. I would rather Will & Grace not have returned to TV than to see it like this, with one broken high heel, running mascara and its wig on crooked, hobbling to catch a cab in the rain.

I'm sure that there is someone who will read this and think: who cares, it's just a dumb TV show anyway. But Will & Grace mattered, because art matters and what art reveals to us about ourselves. And because I believe in Will & Grace, we can only hope that, in this case, "It Gets Better" doesn't refer to bullying but to bad writing.

I would be very happy to find out that none of what we are watching now actually happened, and that the original series finale was the real ending after all—that Karen, in a state of intoxication, invented the show's return. It would make sense. At this stage of the game, the new Will & Grace, with its lack of spirit and depth, is a show only a narcissistic addict could dream of. Now let's hope someone stages an intervention.

Max S. Gordon is a writer and performer. He has been published in the anthologies Inside Separate Worlds: Life Stories of Young Blacks, Jews and Latinos (University of Michigan Press, 1991), and Go the Way Your Blood Beats: An Anthology of African-American Lesbian and Gay Fiction (Henry Holt, 1996). His work has also appeared at The New Civil Rights Movement, openDemocracy, Democratic Underground and Truthout, in Z Magazine, Gay Times, Sapience, and other progressive online and print magazines in the U.S. and internationally. His published essays include, "Bill Cosby, Himself: Fame, Narcissism and Sexual Violence" and "Faggot as Footnote: On 'I Am Not Your Negro', 'Can I Get A Witness', and 'Moonlight.'"

The full essay is at

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

LETTER Calling out Kavanaugh 2018-09-19 - Open item from the National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund: It took courage for Professor Christine Blasey Ford to publicly come forward ...

Gay News

Reeling 2018 reviews 2018-09-19 - For complete festival information including locations, and to buy tickets, visit . Canary ( HHH ) ( Sept. 21, 7 p.m. ) ...

Gay News

'Maisel,' 'Thrones,' RuPaul rule Emmys 2018-09-18 - The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Game of Thrones and RuPaul's Drag Race were the big winners in the areas of comedy, drama and reality ...

Gay News

GLAAD celebrates LGBTQ-inclusive 70th Annual Emmy Awards 2018-09-17 - September 18, 2018, New York, NY — GLAAD today celebrated the LGBTQ-inclusive winners of the 70th Annual Emmy Awards, while encouraging greater diversity ...

Gay News

Challenges face the creators of Tootsie 2.0 2018-09-05 - In the 1982 hit movie Tootsie, Dustin Hoffman plays Michael Dorsey, an out-of-work actor who, in a fit of desperation, decides to audition ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Sia, Rain Dove, Justin Bieber, Grace Jones, Kathy Griffin 2018-09-04 - Australian singer Sia told Rolling Stone about that one time she refused to get her picture taken with Donald Trump, citing her queer ...

Gay News

MOMBIAN What's possible in LGBT-inclusive classrooms 2018-08-29 - As the hot days of August try to tempt us into laziness, another influence pulls at many of us parents—the increasingly loud voice ...

Gay News

GUEST COLUMN Religious Exemption Laws Put LGBT Elders at Risk 2018-08-29 - At a time when LGBT older adults are at their most vulnerable and in need, religious exemption laws threaten to jeopardize their security ...

Gay News

TV Choreographer-dancer Travis Wall on 'Dance' series, being out 2018-08-28 - It's hard to believe that the Fox show So You Think You Can Dance is about to end its 15th season. Travis Wall ...

Gay News

LETTER TO THE EDITOR As you are 2018-08-22 - Dear Editor, The Biden Foundation has launched "As You Are," a family and community acceptance campaign to raise awareness of the importance ...


Copyright © 2018 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.