‘Will & Grace’ Reboot: Episode 1 Was Not A Flop [Opinion]

There have been mixed reviews of NBC’s Will & Grace revival. One of the main criticisms is that the first episode is too anti-Trump. The Daily Mail has the news.

“Viewers slammed the premiere episode of NBC’s Will & Grace revival that aired on Thursday for being too anti-Trump,” writes columnist Mary Kekatos, adding that conservative viewers planned to stop watching the show because the show insults their presidential hero.

Given that the show is one of the most prominent LGBT shows in history, some were shocked that conservatives even watched the show or were surprised at the anti-Trump jokes, especially given that he hasn’t been as gay-friendly as some have hoped. But criticism isn’t just coming from conservatives. The New York Times said the first episode is “painful,” even though critic James Poniewozik says the second one is much better. The consensus among other critics is that the show tries too hard to be funny.

However, the reboot’s early critics are misguided. The characters always made fun of George W. Bush during Will & Grace’s peak in popularity, so what’s so shocking about them criticizing Donald Trump? And if someone wants to talk about trying too hard, they would be correct if they were talking about the 2005 an 2006 seasons of Will & Grace, when the characters and writers felt like they were basically phoning it in.

The most important thing that the first episode of the Will & Grace reboot provides is a fresh shot in the arm to the characters and writing. Jack, Will, Grace, and Karen actually have chemistry again. And the jokes, for the most part, are good. The writers have brilliantly updated the humor to reflect current times. The jokes purposely make the viewers realize how much times have changed in only 10 years.

The “Jada Pinkett Smith” joke at the very beginning of the episode is relevant in that 10 years ago, they wouldn’t have made a joke that would possibly “out” someone. These days, nobody cares. The joke about the gay dating app Grindr turning so skanky that Jack could get finger herpes by scrolling is also relevant in that it has become acceptable for gay people to use dating apps. Ten years ago, using the internet to “meet” other men was considered downright sleazy, even by other gay men.

Will & Grace with Megan Mullally
Megyn Mullally's performance as Karen Walker is as good as ever. [Image by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images]

In fact, some would argue that there is no need for a Will & Grace reboot because gay rights have become mainstream. However, the writers use this fact to make the show even more funny and relevant. As the last scene of the show shows a hat that reads “Make America Gay again,” it’s obvious that Trump’s presidency and his perceived anti-LGBT agenda have made the show a necessity again — at least that’s what the writers and producers want you to think.

If there is one thing that falls flat on Episode 1, it’s the overuse of canned laughter. It feels as if they press “Play” on the laugh track every five seconds, and the laughter sometimes doesn’t fit the scene. However, according to Refinery29, executive producer Max Mutchnick claims that the laughs are indeed live. If this is really the case, one wonders whether or not the audience is being forced to laugh at certain times.

Reviving an old television show for the sake of nostalgia usually ends up in disaster (see Twin Peaks revival). However, this isn’t the case with Will & Grace. The revival is done so well that you forget the show has been off the air for 11 years. If you still don’t feel this way after watching the first new episode, give the second one a chance this coming Thursday evening.

[Featured Image by Cindy Ord/Getty Images]