Even without the obvious LGBTQ relation, Will and Grace was, to me, a sitcom unlike most that came before it, which made the premise of the oft-teased reboot plans for the iconic series even more exciting once they began to roll out earlier this year, as reported by the Inquisitr.
Until today, that is.
On Wednesday, writers for TV Line confirmed through an interview with series creators Max Mutchnick and David Kohan that the events from the 2006 Will and Grace finale, aptly titled “The Finale,” would be completely redacted from the reboot, thereby retconning the two BFF’s epic fallout and tear-filled reunion 20 years later as parents and spouses (to other men).
“Kohan and Mutchnick [stated] to Entertainment Weekly that the original ending — in which Will and Grace lost touch as they started new families of their own with Vince (Bobby Cannavale) and Leo (Harry Connick Jr.), respectively — will be completely ignored when the revival premieres on Sept. 28 (NBC, 9/8c),” TV Line explains.
“We frankly did not want to see them being either good parents or bad parents,” Kohan expressed to EW about his and Mutchnick’s choice to omit those events.
“We wanted them to be Will and Grace.”
Except, they never were “just” Will and Grace. But, I digress.
For those who need a bit of a mental reboot to remember how things turned out for the pair in the final frames of “The Finale,” a mature-in-age Will (Eric McCormack) and Grace (Debra Messing), and to an extent, Jack (Sean Hayes) and a still youthful-looking Karen (goddess Megan Mullally), meet up at a dive bar to continue the main duo’s recent reunion at their kids’ shared college from earlier in the episode, which saw viewers introduced to Ben and Lila, Will’s son and Grace’s daughter.
A quick visual recap can be seen below.
And for the record, readers, yes, it is completely plausible for two people who were that close once upon a time in New York City to not see each other for that long. The city is quite huge, and furthermore, they never explained on Will and Grace if either Will or Grace moved from away from Manhattan during the split in their friendship, which is another completely realistic thing that people tend to do.
It’s television and the options are endless. Go with it.
As for Kohan’s “not wanting to see” Will and Grace be great or ghastly parents, here’s another interesting counterpoint to think of: If they kept the original canon, they wouldn’t have been; at least, not in the way Mr. Kohan appeared to have responded to the idea.
Again, Will and Grace’s children were in college when we were first introduced to them in “The Finale”; therefore, they were, by law or at least common expectancy, if you will, 18 years old, making them more adult-like, and also eradicating whether anyone would’ve had to write or sit through “been there, done that” scenes of watching Will or Grace hilariously changing their kids’ diapers, or Jack and Karen having to uncomfortably lessen their outrageous personalities to be more kid-friendly — which we wouldn’t have wanted.
In fact, nothing probably would’ve changed other than the actors who portrayed Will and Grace’s Ben (Ben Newmark) and Lila (Maria Thayer) in the finale not being the same ones who played them in the reboot. And since they were only onscreen in “The Finale” for less than 60 seconds, no one would’ve actually cared to see who would’ve stepped into those roles (other than maybe Mr. Newmark and Ms. Thayer).
Also, lest we forget, Jack’s son Elliot, portrayed by the still-active-in-entertainment Michael Angarano, could’ve easily been brought back into the fold to, essentially, use his character to build off the bond his TV dad has with the main characters through their similarly aged, and from a more inclusive standpoint, seemingly heterosexual children — unless Elliot had some sort of “awakening” in the time we last saw him, which could’ve led to the next generation of Will and Grace, if one connect the dots the right way.
If this all sounds way too feasible to connect and imagine from the mind of someone who is neither a writer, producer, or even an errand boy for the cast and crew of the original Will and Grace or its reboot, the reason is simple and, coincidentally, one of the strongest reasons why fans of the eight-season-long series are extremely excited for the reboot and want to see it go on for years to come.
From the very beginning, Will and Grace was not your average sitcom.
And the simplest piece of evidence comes from the proven notion, at least from this telling of things, that most Will and Grace viewers are just as incredibly familiar with everyone on Will and Grace who, ironically, are neither Will nor Grace.
Viewers know undoubtedly that Jack was a burgeoning actor and occasional Jennifer Lopez background dancer, who also had a son named Elliot who he didn’t know until Elliot was in his teen years. And stronger still, viewers actually cared enough to see them build a loving relationship as father and son (which they ultimately did).
They also were made fully aware that Karen, despite her boozy brashness and appreciation for things that cost more money than what she made annually at Grace Adler Designs (and nearly, once, bankrupted the company with by cashing her non-cashed checks in a moment of desperation in Season 2), would never let anyone outside of herself, Will, Grace, or Jack make fun of Will, Grace, or Jack.
And then, there was one of the most underrated characters in, perhaps, the history of television, Rosario Salazar (played by the amazing Shelley Morrison), Karen’s ready-to-go maid who was just as bold as brash as her boss, but was also someone who appeared to give unconditional love to someone who, despite Karen’s brashness, truly loved harder than any of her friends — no, family — ever realized and was just as important to the show as the Desperate Housewives-adjacent Karen Walker.
As was “just Jack.” And Will. And Grace. And maybe even Elliott (although we really didn’t know that much about him, other than his totally jelly reaction to Jack’s pitch-perfect tribute to *NSYNC’s “Pop” music video).
To wrap things up before I cancel out any real meaning here, the writers and producers of Will and Grace managed to do something that not many sitcoms of yesterday or today are capable of even coming close to: They made viewers genuinely care about the lives and experiences of supposed “secondary” characters by making them just as important as the primary focus for the entire eight seasons of the series, and that includes their children and lovers, past and previous (remember how long Woody Harrelson was on the show?).
As it now stands, as a longtime fan of Will and Grace and the deep-rooted connections they made through their characters, I will be tuning into the reboot, because of course, I’m still very much here for Jack and Karen.
But, truthfully, I was just as ready to get to know the rebooted forms of Will and Grace on the Will and Grace reboot as better and more mature versions of themselves, with their close friends and family members who also hopefully grew as people, and were thoughtfully fleshed out and crafted to imperfect human perfection by both Mr. Kohan and Mr. Mutchnick — but there’s always Season 2, I guess. Or 10, in this case.
[Featured Image by NBCUniversal Television Distribution/Facebook]