It’s “11 Years Later” and Will & Grace hasn’t changed much. Will Truman (Eric McCormack), Grace Alder (Debra Messing), Karen Walker (Megan Mullaly), and Jack McFarland (Sean Hayes) are the same self-absorbed hypocrites they have always been.
Grace is still an interior designer. Will is still a lawyer. They are now divorced from their husbands, which provides the excuse for Grace to move back into the old apartment. As for Karen and Jack, Karen still works for Grace. And Jack. Well, no one knows what the hell Jack does, but it’s always changed every couple episodes.
Despite an 11-year absence from NBC’s Thursday lineup, the show returns more topical it used to be. It’s no longer shocking to have an intelligent successfully gay character on television, so the writer’s needed to find a way to make the show relevant again.
Unfortunately, they did it in the most heavy-handed way possible with Will wanting to hook up with a staunchly conservative congressman, who stand for everything Will is against, and Grace getting invited to decorate the Oval Office and hating herself for agreeing to do it, but doing it because it’s a huge opportunity.
As well-written as the first episode of the 9th season was, the jokes were way too on the nose. Half the episode was Trump cheap shots that we have all seen on the internet a million times — case in point, jokes about Trump’s orange-ness.” Will & Grace’s writers ran with this and had Grace pull out a bag of Cheetos so that she could match the curtains to Trump’s skin color.
Then the writers pile on by making Karen’s best friend Melania Trump. While this is completely in line with Karen’s personality, it gets annoying that she constantly rubs it in Graces face. For the most part, the jokes that don’t sound like they came from your Facebook feed are Will, Grace, Karen, and Jack being themselves.
Jack is convinced the entire Secret Service is gay. Of course its not, but a former boyfriend, who is a secret service agent, got Jack into a gathering in the rose garden because said agent finds Jack to be “a delicious piece of marzipan.” It’s a delightfully bizarre comment in the middle of a show bogged down in politically commentary. There are not enough moments like that in this version of Will & Grace because the writer’s settle for preaching to the choir.
Let’s be honest. If you’re sitting down to watch the 2017 revival of Will & Grace, you probably aren’t a Trump fan. The whole show exists because of a viral video of the cast explicitly asking fans to vote for Hillary, so while the premise may not alienate every Trump fan that fact probably will.
Remove all the Trump jokes and you’ll see Will & Grace has successfully been updated to the world of Grindr, Facebook, and Human Rights Campaign signs (which in a nice touch is proudly but silently displayed on Will’s door). It’s a shame the writers couldn’t lessen Trump’s influence on the show. It is possible to demonstrate the hypocrisy of self-absorbed white liberal New Yorkers, which every ironically liberal website calls Will & Grace gang. Someone just needs to tell the writers.
Instead of getting a socially conscious fluffy sitcom, NBC gave us a hyper-political show that doesn’t provide satisfying commentary. The only way for Will & Grace to retain viewers, since it’s already been renewed for another season, is to dial down the Trump jokes a notch.
We get that people think Trump acts like a child and placing a Russian-English dictionary and a fidget spinner on his desk was a clever reference to that, but the writers won’t be able to keep people interested based on Trump jokes and an occasional nod to the old show.
Rating: 8 out of 10
Will & Grace airs Thursday nights on NBC.