Reviews: Will And Grace

Despite myself - engaging nonsense

Channel 4 UK is currently showing the whole series on a never-ending loop, in its breakfast-time US Comedy slot. You get drawn in. Despite yourself. What can I say... ridiculous, over-glossy, suffers from all the minus points of American sitcom as seen from Britain. Slightly two-dimensional characters stepping forward to deliver well-scripted gags and punchlines in turn. trots out the stereotypes. Youngish people living in luxury accomodation that leaves you wondering how the Hell they manage it without doing anything illegal - "Friends" Rent Control in a big way. Impossibly and suspiciously glamorous. A lead actress with a hint of Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner about her - was she chosen for androgyniety? Two stereotypical gays and... a bitch. It sort of grows on you even though you realise how bloody ridiculuous it is. Lots of cameos from guest stars, which help to make the show.. Was there a period where Congress passed a law saying John Cleese had to be in EVERY American TV sitcom as a guest star? Usually playing a variation on a theme of "Otto", seemingly.

Likeable but silly.

And again from a British perspective: you can see exactly where the inspiration came from for Gimme Gimme Gimme and why it is such a skewering parody of W&G. This show HAD to be sent up.

Can't help reflecting that Ellen deGeneres' sitcom was a more accurate and realistic view of what it is to be gay and the USA - and in its way, as funny.

An Unqualified Opinion

Let me start by admitting that I am a straight, black woman and so my opinion is probably isn't the same as members of the gay community who have seen this show. But I still feel the need to provide a perspective on it if only because it seems like no one else will.

Will and Grace is by no means perfect. The longer the show continued, the more and more stereotypes were accidentally reinforced due to bad jokes and poorly written characters and I can see why this would make people dislike it because they seem to be misrepresenting a very large population of people. The worst offense for me was always Will's father and the way Will constantly bitched and moaned about his Dad not accepting him when in fact the man had no ill feelings towards his son's sexuality, but Will was such a selfish prick that he didn't see it, even when his father eventually dies, and Will refuses to forgive him despite the fact that his father did nothing wrong and it was all in his head. I felt that particular plotline was heinous, not only for the Character Derailment factor, but because it painted the picture of a truly selfish and ungrateful gay man on a show that is supposed to be about the importance of Nakama between the straight and gay communities.

However, despite the awful puns and Flanderization of the characters and the increasing dislikability of said characters, I think it's important to acknowledge that Will and Grace did do a lot of things right. It was (almost) always funny, the actors - both the regular cast and their forty million guest stars - were excellent, and while it became harder to see as the seasons went on, you could always tell that they loved each other. If you look at the show as a whole, it's better than the sum of its parts, in my unqualified opinion. It was a landmark sitcom, and while that doesn't excuse it from the problems it suffered from, it's still a pretty fun show if you can cut it some slack.

And, c'mon, admit it...Karen is totally worth all the insufferable puns this show put us through.