The Karen Walker thread reminded me of how many great lines the writers crafted for her. The writing was excellent in general and had hilarious bitchy one-liners; and some episodes are certainly classics (like the spelling bee at the gay bar, or the final episode where Beverly Lesley dies by being blown off the balcony).\
But the Will character was so dislikeable and unpleasant. And though I like Sean Hayes, the Jack character, which could sometimes be very funny, was such a collection of nasty stereotypes about gay men.
No, it was contemporary.
It was hugely limited by the fact that the unpleasant Max Mutchnick based Will on himself and the other major characters except Karen on real people he knew. Karen was by far the funniest character since she was basically made up on the spot by Megan Mullaly (who has great comic timing and invention).
It was a sitcom about a gay man who''s emotional life revolves around...a woman. %0D\
Whatever the show''s intentions, the underlying theme of W&G wound up being "isn''t it just too bad he''s gay?" No wonder Republican women turned out to be big fans of the show.
Yes, "Will & Grace" is a classic sitcom. The show was also groundbreaking. Yes sure, there were other gay characters on television before W&G, but this show lasted a long time and had endearing, funny and memorable characters. Also, each of the four leads won an Emmy for their performancs--some even more than one Emmy. And I believe the show itself may have also won. Karen Walker is as memorable and funny as Suzanne and Julia Sugarbaker from "Designing Women"--another classic. %0D\
Even in reruns, "Will & Grace" is still one of the best writen comedies on television. I wish it were still on the air with new episodes.
I''m not sure why it ended. Ratings were decent. And it''s not like any of them shot to stardom afterwards.%0D\
Did the Fundie letter writing campaign finally wear NBC down?%0D\
Bet they''d like to have that couple extra season''s worth of money now, hmm?
R4 = Max Mutchnick
There were so many issues with the show, not the least of which was that it was written as if the characters were straight.
Yes, just like "Amos and Andy".
Jack was a minstrel show.
R5, it ended because the characters were, basically, played out. What else could have been done with them? The last couple of seasons were truly on autopilot but when the show was good, it was one of the funniest sitcoms on TV during its run.
The Karen character was funny, but she was really just a watered-down imitation of AbFab''s Patsy Stone.
Sadly, the lame, forgettable episodes far outweigh the classics. Too many guest-star cameos that added nothing, too much stunt-casting for love interests and family members, too much Rosario. One of those shows where the writing could be great yet no real memorable/classic episodes stand out. The Karen Walker thread is full of fantastic one-liners or exchanges but what episodes are they from?
Has not held up, except moments with Karen. R2 summarizes it''s problems very well.
It was probably the single most varied in quality series EVER.\
Some episodes were as funny as anything ever on TV, and some were so awful I couldn''t believe it.\
Peaked in Seasons 2-4.
I think the actors, although appealing and talented, were a little too old to start out. That made the producers feel the need to add the dreary Harry Connick (although I did feel Woody Harrelson was a good fit) for the aging Grace. He turded in every puchbowl.
For all its problems, it still holds up as very funny. And Karen was hysterical.
Who was that cunt?
Darfur orphan with eye-cancer
No, far from classic. They took a good premise, with a marginally talented (besides Megan Mullaly) cast but started too quickly to rely on stunt casting and plot devices that took away from the heart of the show. It had a ton of promise and had some really good episodes, but it will largely be forgotten in years to come. I don''t even think it''s playing in reruns anywhere, which is weird when you consider how many other shows of the time are!
Clever as hell, but not an ounce of genuine humanity to be found. It''ll be a footnote at best.
Bump. The show was referenced by the vice president of the United States. I think it's a classic. Nobody can deny how groundbreaking it was.
Dear OP. DISLIKEABLE is not a word. Unlikeable is. Please don't come here with your bullshit questions and made up words.
"Please don't come here with your bullshit questions and made up words."
Do you think he'll apolypsize?
Could not stand Messing and McCormick but LOVED Mullaley and Hayes...they were the only reason I watched it..
I'm on the fence about whether it's a classic, but it certainly had its moments. Megan Mullally was definitely the stand out due to both the way her character was written and her comedic delivery. Sean Hayes did a decent job as well. Will and Grace were just dull as dishwater. Love Deb Messing, especially on "Smash", but she's just not funny.
For the dislik(e)able poster posting bullshit at r20:
I think it deserves the classic label as much as any other recent series. There were shows that were funnier, and quirkier, but W&G was something new for the American audience.
Pretty much ignored Will and Grace, only watched it for Karen and Beverly Leslie. Because I reek of gin and desperation.
Appreciated it because it featured gay characters in primetime but the Grace character was so shrill and grated on my nerves.
[quote]No wonder Republican women turned out to be big fans of the show.
I get up early every weekday morning just so I can catch an hour of W&G reruns with my morning coffee.
Never watched it while it was in production, but love it now. Definitely a classic.
It's overdramatic, I know -- but I thought as this, in conjunction with "Queer Eye", as the day gays gave up on fighting the cliche. Maybe everyone was just too damn tired during the awful Bush years -- but I never knew why GLAAD existed anymore if this stereotype-driven show was deemed "progressive".
flamboyant Jack or neutured Will? which one you wanna be...
I think it's one of the 5 best sitcoms ever, together with Cheers, Frasier, Simpsons and Spin City. I even find it the 3rd best TV show, all genres combined.
[quote]I think it's one of the 5 best sitcoms ever, together with... Spin City.
I don't think I've ever cringed quite like I just cringed.
You have the worst taste ever.
I hated the show and didn't find it funny. However, I recognize its significance, and I would consider it classic TV.
I agree with the stunt casting, but the fact that really held it back is that the characters were so unpleasant to each other. I remember when it ended a reviewer said the show should have been more like Friends, but it became more like Seinfeld where all these damaged unlikeable people hung out with each other as no one else would.
I agree with the poster who said its quality was extremely varied. From one moment to the next, it could go from wickedly funny to cheesy, trite, and...just bad.
But there were also a few good-stupid moments.
"Oh, I dthon't dthrive. I keep on thakingh the thesth over and over, but I'm all...thisth isth hard!"
"Hurt so good! Come on, baby, make it hurt so good!"
It was an extremely mean-spirited show but without the intelligence of something like Absolutely Fabulous. So we were left with a bunch of unfunny, mediocre "talents" being nasty to each other.
I don't know squat but I could not abide 5 minutes of "Friends" yet found this show the funniest thing on TV at the time.
I was too young to watch it live, but I love it now. I find Friends horrible. But I actually record Fraser and Will & Grace eps. Both are better than any current sitcom, save Parks & Rec and (sometimes) Community.
I think Karen Walker is the best sitcom character ever and she makes the inconsistent Will, Grace, and "star" cameos tolerable.
I think I'm one of the only people who likes the later seasons more after Kohan and Mutchnick left. It became more surreal, over-the-top, and satiric. The characters of Will and Grace were much more palatable when they became parodies of their former selves and similar to Jack and Karen.
While I think the quality of the dialogue was some of the highest ever, the fact that the show was never really able to find a long-term storyline that worked may prevent it from being considered a classic.
It was groundbreaking though, maybe not for gay representation, but in changing straight people's opinions of gay people. And while many gay people may Jack offensive, he's the mainly the reason for this.
For what it's worth, an acquaintance of mine who's a regarded sitcom writer told me that he thinks that the first season of W&G was some of the best sitcom writing he's even seen.
R30 I totally agree, especially with "Queer Eye". It has never been given proper credit for introducing "gay" into a main stream audience. Despite what everyone on this board thinks, up to just a few short years ago, many people had not been exposed to gays in their everyday lives. Like all differences, what was not understood, was not accepted. It's wonderful to see that change. I give "Queer Eye" and W&G their props for being instrumental in the movement.
Thought is was bad. You lose me at "sitcom." The only intelligent sitcoms were Norman Lear sitcoms, and even those relied on a lot of hackneyed slap stick story lines. My mom used to say, rightly so, that most sitcoms ripped off I Love Lucy, and that Lucy herself ripped off Red Buttons, who was ripping off Buster Keaton, who probably ripped off some Vaudeville comedian. It's all old and stale and TV in general panders to the lowest common denominator of intelligence.
I find my friends who try to elevate television shows in honor of their camp value to be pretty apathetic and unintelligent for the most part, although I still accept them because I try to keep an open mind about stupidity even though my eyes glaze over when they discuss some stupid show that I just have to watch.
Pick up a damn book, people, and shut off the mind control machine!
What a load of pretentious twaddle, R43.
Lol, R44. The best part was when he said he had friends.
Extemely funny show! Yes, a classic! Still watch it in reruns and laugh my ass off. Great writing! Really great. And very ground breaking. I think it led to an acceptance of gay people in a big way.
I loved it, and my opinion is the only one that matters!
Not pretentious at all, just different from the mainstream, watered down, milquetoast view that popular culture means more than it does. Sure, I like popular culture as much as the next person, but please do not try to tell me that it is actual mental nutrition, it is not.
I have heretofore tolerated the dominant culture of anti-intellectualism that pervades the United States because I've always supported people's right to choose whatever they wished to entertain themselves.
Now that stupidity is the overwhelming attitude of the day, and people are becoming more and more illiterate and proud of it, I am actively combating it in my own quiet way, in my life and online. If you see this as pretentious, that is your choice. I was offering a different view point from the common one, I thought that was allowed here.
Will and Grace used stereotypes of gay culture to sell products, much as reality shows do. No, I was not fond of it, nor will I be fond of it in retrospect. I would like to set the bar higher in culture in general and not be happy to get mere crumbs from the establishment. I don't buy the argument that any representation is better than no representation at all, and I agree with the poster up thread who likened the show to Amos and Andy. Most of the gay people I know are fully rounded people with a wide variety of interests who just so happen to be gay also. Even the ones who have what could be called more stereotypical traits use those as a foil for commenting on gender and society. Will and Grace had no such self awareness.
OP lost me when he stated that he considered the episode where Beverly Leslie flew off the balcony to be a classic. One of the more stupid moments from, quite possibly, the worst season.
R48, there's a time for Proust and a time for harmless fun. Sitcoms, or whatever you'd like to call them, fall under the latter category. Unclench. Not everything we watch or enjoy has to be The Abyss or The Way of the Flesh.
All the shows were directed by James Burrows, who also co-created Cheers. There were also other people from Frasier and Cheers involved in the show, and I find it reaches a similar level. The three have also something of a trilogy.
I think I have read though that Eric McCormack has been in the book 'Room 23' by Diane Jenkins, not good.
r48 put me to sleep.
[quote]My mom used to say, rightly so, that most sitcoms ripped off I Love Lucy, and that Lucy herself ripped off Red Buttons...
Your mom needs to discover the facts that Red Buttons and Red Skelton are not the same person.
I took groups of paid audience members as a fundraiser for the LAGLC the first and second seasons of W&G. The tapings were done at the Radford studios in Studio City.
That is until they got really popular and stopped the non-profit buy-in. I wonder if they resumed the program when the writing wasn't on the wall...
"Will and Grace" was misogynistic and, in a weird sort of way, not terribly fond of gay people either.
"Will & Grace" only became popular because there was nothing else on television. Same goes for "Friends" which played second fiddle to "Seinfeld." Once "Seinfeld" was off the air, everyone watched these sitcoms like they did with the iconic, must-see "Seinfeld." "Friends" had a lot of viewers, but not the amount it drove up until "Seinfeld" was off the air. "Will & Grace" premiered soon after "Seinfeld" departed.
I wouldn't call it a classic. It was a show about two gay people and two straight people that was written for a straight audience. People who look like Will and are stable and successful are usually in a relationship. In eight seasons, Will had virtually no love life. The producers did everything to avoid showing two men expressing desire. In order to compensate for that, they turned Grace into a slut...she even had a sex scene with Woody Harleson. Grace simply wasn't a likeable character; she's far to irritating, shallow, and needy. Jack wears his sexuality on his sleeve and his entire identity seems to revolve around his sexuality. If a woman behaved they way he did, I'd find it tiresome. I found Karen to be the best actor of all four and the most entertaining. She's the archetypical mature rich bitch with a drug problem, an image that's very appealing to gay men everywhere. The show had its moments, and I do have all eight seasons on my hard drive; however, I'd watch Cheers, Taxi, and The Golden Girls before Will and Grace.
The worst part about this sitcom is that the people weren't real. To be a good sitcom it should involve realistic characters involved in realistic events. Why does everyone think a sitcom should be funny?
Oh, wait! Nevermind!
Why does season 8 freeze up on my DVD player?
Will and Grace is about the only sitcom I have liked. I loathed Friends yet loved this show.
R59, your DVD is trying to tell you that Season 8 has no redeeming qualities.
I like it but I can't really recall an episode that stood out or can be consider a classic.
Seinfeld has several of them. So does Golden Girls.
[quote]"Will and Grace" was misogynistic and, in a weird sort of way, not terribly fond of gay people either.
Kind of like DataLounge.
They peaked in Season 6. Every episode is good.
[quote]I can't really recall an episode that stood out
"The Sound of Music" episode was hilarious. I nearly fell off my chair when Ralph opened the closet and aimed his flashlight at them, just like Rolf did in the cemetery.
The episode with Chita Rivera and Michele Lee as lesbians was great, too. That also featured Leslie Jordan/Beverly Leslie (I forget which is his real name).
The quality of the show may have varied over the years, and the stereotypes and de-sexualization could be maddening, BUT no other television program has done more, over time, to make straight people less afraid of gay people.
From both sides of political spectrum -- Joe Biden and now Rick Santorum -- you'll hear that Will & Grace has been instrumental in moving forward acceptance of gay marriage. And its influence will continue.
Whether you enjoyed watching the show or not, it's still a pretty rare and impressive legacy for a sitcom.
I was always surprised that there didn't seem to be an attempt to do a Jack and Karen spin-off when the series ended.
Classic? No way. It could be funny sometimes but nothing great. I stopped watching it after season 4.
That's because neither Sean nor Megan wanted to be trapped forever (although that sort of happens anyway for sitcom actors) as Jack and Karen. They ALL were ready to MOVE ON.
I never liked this show. The only time I tuned in was when a celebrity I liked was going to be on (the numerous celeb guests were pretty much the only reason this show stayed on for so long).
They should have thought twice then. Especially Sean.
Not a classic at all. Jacks character fell right into every straight persons stereotype for gays. Will would have been coupled in real life. I thought it did no favors for the ay community as a show. Karen could be funny though. I agree that the last couple of seasons sucked out loud.
I enjoyed Will and Grace and Friends. Could not stand Seinfeld.
This show was almost like a variety show with the way they relied so heavily on celebrity guest stars - there was a guest star almost every week.
Ha, Sean is doing just fine. He starred last year on Broadway in Promises, Promises. He executive produces Hot in Cleveland. He is richer than shit. And he is pitching a new sitcom pilot for CBS with him in the lead role. He can leave Jack McFarland behind except for the occasional reunion, I am quite sure.
I'm with 73, I couldn't stand Seinfeld either. And actually quite liked Friends and Will & Grace. But the best sitcom of the 90's was Fraiser.
That being said, I actually think that the last few years have great Comedy series have been produced. I actually like Modern Family, Parks, Big Bang (it's first seasons were better), The Middle (yeah, I like that show, mostly because of the Children).
It took him five years after the show finished to really do/get anything. And I don't think he'll ever really be anything other than Jack to anyone.
Yeah and most of the stunt casting was just bad. I did love the Glenn Close episode though and the Michael Douglas one had some funny moments.
Sean Hayes was an embarrassment on SMASH. And while I give him credit for finally coming out, he wasn't very good in the PROMISES PROMISES revival. I'm glad he's moved into producing, and wish him well, but I think his days as a performer are behind him.
I liked the show in its initial run, with reservations. When I see the syndicated repeats, it feels 200 years old.
[quote][R30] I totally agree, especially with "Queer Eye". It has never been given proper credit for introducing "gay" into a main stream audience.
You do realize r30 was actually discrediting "Queer Eye" for perpetuating the male gay stereotype.
Although I don't agree with him that we gave up fighting more than we saw there was a wider range of homosexual representation in the media so that we could relax about this particular one.
However, W&G's constant reliance on fashion, grooming, and female icon jokes did grate on my nerves, not for the politics but for the lame, predictable humor.
Karen was a great character.Jack was a good character..Will was an ok character, but they never gave him anything to do. Until like the last season he never had a love life. Grace was the worst character in my opinion.
It wasn't. But it now is.
As most everyone has noted, the writing varied greatly but, when it was good, it was very good. My only problem was Will's love life. The producers obviously wanted Will not to have one and that lack of bravery will ruin the show in the long term. Will obviously would have been partnered in real life and would have made a relationship work. And then, if Will had more of a life, they could have toned down the worst part of the show: Grace's self-involved, pitiable "relationships" and "marriage." Every time she turned around there was another man in her life and each relationship was worse than the other.
No. Nor is Friends. If you watch old Seinfeld episodes, they're still really funny. Friend and W&G are not.
Karen Walker was a vicious stereotype of a New York socialite. I have dear friends on the Upper East Side who wouldn't watch the show for that reason. Did it never occur to the creators of Will & Grace that socialites are people too?
This thread has made me curious about the show...watched the first 2 seasons, then never could catch it regularly...where can one watch the entire series online? Netflix/xbox video/hulu doesn't seem to carry them
[quote]there's a time for Proust and a time for harmless fun. Sitcoms, or whatever you'd like to call them, fall under the latter category. Unclench. Not everything we watch or enjoy has to be The Abyss or The Way of the Flesh.
This is the truth. Some people do not seem to have the capability for harmless, meaningless fun. They are bores.
W&G had its moments sure, and Karen was wonderful, but other than that... I never cared for the characters and I guess that's why it was a show I only watched if I remembered or nothing else was on. For me it certainly wasn't something I'd watch every week, eventhough I really wanted to love it.
That being said, I think it was a classic sitcom in a way it had an ensemble cast and despite being groundbreaking at the time FOR the gay characters, it was still a very much a show that relied on classic tropes and what not.
"I think it's one of the 5 best sitcoms ever, together with Cheers, Frasier, Simpsons and Spin City."
Says r31, who has never seen "Taxi," "I Married Joan" (television didn't begin in the 1980's), "Dobie Gillis," or "The Honeymooners."
r85, your "dear friends" ARE stereotypes if they didn't howl over Karen Walker. People can have a sense of humor about themselves, you know. Humorless self-important cunts wouldn't watch Will and Grace, no.
I agree that it's brilliance is in it's one liners, not it's situations. The exact opposite of Frasier. Frasier's writers came up with hysterical scenarios, Will and Grace came up with great retorts.
Basically, in DL speak, Frasier writer's had great threads (Turkey Meatballs), Will and Grace's writers got W&Wed (the World Trade Center is an insatiable bottom).
Lifetime seems to have returned to showing a two-hour, four-episode block of Will and Grace, now from 11:00AM-1PM daily.
it was annoying to me that they gave Grace such an active love life, but couldn't do the same for Will. Wow how original, a straight women has alot of relationships..
Nathan was such an insensitive ass.
I'm rediscovering it. It's super loose with the F words. And mo and all the other slurs.
[quote]just like "Amos and Andy".
Whoa! I didn't know they were gay. Radio in that era must have really been out in front.
I loved the Sound of Music episode, especially the snack bar manger, Ralph/Rolf, shining his flashlight into the closet and finding them hiding there.
So, in retrospect, it's clear that this show was more popular with hags than it was with...well, you know.
W&G featured one of the only acting appearances by Madonna that I actually found funny. She was good enough for me to wish they would spin her off.
[quote] She was good enough for me to wish they would spin her off.
Really? I am no Madonna hater but she was so painfully unfunny that I find that episode virtually unwatchable. But, you could say that about most of the one-off guest stars that polluted the show in its later years.
I didn't see the Madonna episode. I loved the one with Patti LuPone. Ellen as a nun was the worst guest star ever.
Shut up, Patti LuPone!
Matt Damon sparring with Jack in the choral group was a great episode.
A lot of cameos by "gay icons" (Madonna, JLo, Elton John, Martina Navratilova,...) were largely pointless but the episode where Jack mistakes Cher for a drag queen impersonating Cher was hysterical.
The interactions of Grace and her mother Bobbi were always hysterical. The ep when Jack puts on a wig and tries to emulate Bobbi was only funny when Grace grabbed the wig off his head and started beating him with it. And any episode with Leslie Jordan as Beverly Leslie was always fun.
Will was the worst character. He turned out to be totally unlikeable.
[quote] Karen Walker was a vicious stereotype of a New York socialite.[/quote]
There wasn't much continuity as far as Karen's actual background.
IIRC, initially Karen was presented as coming from old money, but was working for Grace for 'something to do'. Then her background appeared to be that of a social climbing grifter type who married a very wealthy, but tremendously obese man. (Anyone know why we never got to see Stan?)
Remember the episode where Karen was supposed to do one last grift with her waitress mother, played by Suzanne Pleshette?
Let's not forget Karen's S&M film!
I thought Stan made her work and Grace put up with her for her connections to potential clients. I didn't remember the old money bit.
Not seeing Stan worked much better than any actor could hae. And Rosario functioned well as her husband of sorts when we needed to see Karen's home life.
I would say it was definitely ground-breaking, but not classic.
Like some others here, I loathed Seinfeld. Can't stand it. Liked Friends a lot and always watched Will & Grace. It was maddeningly uneven, but I do believe W&G is a classic and it's the one old sitcom I still watch in reruns.
Classic episodes include the ones with Cher, Matt Damon, Mira Sorvino (probably my all-time favorite, it's just hilarious start to finish), Patrick Dempsey (the one with Will telling Jack what to say over the headphones at Banana Republic), the Sound of Music one.
Karen Walker is, to me, the most quotable character ever on TV and M. Mullally was amazing in the part; Jack & Sean Hayes were not far behind. It's a shame Jack & Karen were written & performed so badly in the final few seasons and that Hayes & Mullally have never really caught on in anything else.
And as a gay lawyer in a LTR myself, I agree with the criticism that Will would have / should have had a white collar partner within a reasonable time after he was supposedly dumped before the series began.
[quote]I thought Stan made her work and Grace put up with her for her connections to potential clients. I didn't remember the old money bit.
Karen said things like: 'this was how it was done in the past', when talking about service people etc, she seemed to be referencing how old money did things compared to how the nouveau riche were presently doing things. She alluded to new money being gauche.
Then the next thing, she's revealed to have a grifting mother and she had made that S&M tape. Then there were the scenes of her social climbing days clubbing with celebs and scenesters. So, what was it, what was her back story?
I loved Karen, she had the best lines, unfortunately I found her back story to be very inconsistent.
I also didn't see Will as coming from money. The way his mother went on about 'poor people' was ridiculous, then again, look who portrayed his mother!
Seinfeld has aged badly, whereas W&G still seems fresh.
True, the fashions still seem current. Every once in awhile they'll make a weird pop culture reference and you're reminded how old it is.
Add James Earl Jones to the list of best guest actors. One of the funniest episodes I've seen on ANY series. Jack could annoy me every now and then (I know im in the minority, but I actually preferred Jack and Karen in smaller doses, before it became the Jack and Karen show. It thrw off the balance), but my favorite Jack scenes are easily when he's teaching his "Jack-ting" class. Love Emily Rutherford in that, too.
God I loved Karen and the shocking things she said about her step kids.
r107 We got to see what were supposed to be Stan's feet in one episode, when he and Karen shared a bubble bath. THAT was as close as we ever got to the big man himself.
Always wanted more of Rosario, they really sidelined her.
And those feet were all wrong - clearly the feet of a tall slim man. God, would it have been so hard to find a little fat guy?