Sunday, October 1, 2017

What I’m Watching: Will and Grace (Series Return)

Will and Grace: Season 9, Episode 1 “Eleven Years Later” (B+)

It’s a strange thing to see this show just pick up where it left off as if no time has passed eleven years after airing its series finale. In this age of incessant series reboots, I kept thinking that it was important to remember that this show had gone on way too long and passed its prime when it ended, and therefore just restarting it didn’t make all that much sense. Yet I found myself pleasantly surprised, since this show’s edginess and willingness to confront issues of the time in a mocking comedic context is indeed extraordinarily relevant today. I’m not sure there’s another show that could so smartly have one of its protagonists flirt with an elected official whose views he strongly opposed and have another literally hold up a Cheeto to the curtains in the Oval Office to ensure that her new color scheme would match its current occupant. Karen is a great stand-in for the deeply conservative viewpoint that the show wishes to mock, and Jack is just Jack (don’t tell him that), ready to inform the world that the whole Secret Service is gay (Kyle Bornheimer, recently of “Casual,” was a great choice to play Jack’s date). This episode also skillfully handled the fact that certain events of its previous finale are now invalid, described by Karen as a dream when we all know is was probably alcohol-induced delirium. I’m not sure whether this show can keep going like this, but this is a very promising and affirming new start.

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