"Will & Grace" presses the reset button as show returns to NBC after 11 years
NBC/Chris Haston(LOS ANGELES) — Remember the finale of Will & Grace back in 2006, where Will and Grace grew apart, only to reconnect when their grown children met in college and got married? Yeah, well, that never happened. At least, it didn’t according to “Eleven Years Later,” the first episode of the show’s reboot.
The episode opens with Will, Grace, Jack and Karen in Will’s apartment, playing Heads Up Charades. Karen is in a trance, frozen and holding a martini. When Jack rouses her by shaking a bottle of pills in her ear, she startles and says she had a crazy dream that both Will and Grace were married — Will to a “swarthy man in uniform” and Grace to a “Jew doctor.”
“Yeah, we were,” Will replies, acknowledging his marriage to Vince D’Angelo, played by Bobby Cannavale, and Grace’s marriage to Dr. Leo Markus, played by Harry Connick Jr. “But we’re single now.”
“That tracks,” Karen nods. Then she asks, “What happened to the children you had who grew up and got married to each other?” Will replies, “That never happened.”
“Ugh, what a relief. Nobody wants to see you two raise kids,” she says. Jack adds, “Yeah, I mean, what would be funny about that?”
And just like that, the reset button is pushed. Grace is staying with Will temporarily while waiting for her divorce to be finalized, but by the end of the episode, she’s back for good. Karen’s still a pill-popping rich alcoholic Republican, working as Grace’s assistant in her design firm. As for Jack, he’s failed at one business after another and is still mooching off Will.
The rest of the episode is focused on showing us that time has passed in the real world: Donald Trump is president, and a gloating Karen chats with her pal Melania Trump regularly, which leads her to land Grace the job of redesigning the Oval Office. Will, meanwhile, is flirting online with a handsome senator who is “gutting” the E.P.A.
Though they’re both disgusted with themselves, they both travel to Washington, D.C. — Will to hook up with the senator and Grace to pick out curtains that match the president’s “coloring.” She does this by holding up a swatch to a Cheeto.
The political jokes — along with references to modern trends like Grindr and being “woke” — come thick and fast, but the episode devolves into Will and Grace having a pillow fight in the Oval Office, both disappointed with each other’s inability to hold on to their beliefs in the face of temptation.
By the end of the episode, everyone’s back in New York, where Jack says he got Will and Grace off the hook for the pillow fight by providing sexual favors to a gay Secret Service officer.
As Karen laments the fact that Grace blew her opportunity to redecorate the Oval Office, she says she “did make one small change.” Cut to a shot of the Oval Office with a “Make America Great Again” cap on the desk chair. Except it doesn’t say that — it says “Make America Gay Again.”
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