So far, the reboot of Will & Grace has been a perfect example of why old shows should remain a part of history — the plot lines have been contrived, the show has no meaningful message, and worst of all, the actors seem detached from the parts they are playing. As an opinion piece by this author at the Inquisitr pointed out last week, Will & Grace seemed to be on its deathbed. It relied on several tired tricks and negative stereotypes about gay men. Luckily, in the latest episode, “Grandpa Jack,” the writing is at least decent. Best of all, the latest episode can’t be considered a disaster.
Unlike previous episodes this season, the message of “Grandpa Jack” is clear: The world is not post-gay yet. After the first segment, that included the usual stereotypical stuff that makes the LGBT community look desperate, Jack meets his grandson, Skip. Jack has disowned Skip’s father, Elliot, from his life because he went all right wing Christian on him and moved to Texas after marrying a conservative woman. But things get interesting when Jack discovers that Skip is actually a “friend of Dorothy’s.” Suddenly, Jack has a huge interest in the young teenage Skip, who is in town to attend a camp that supposedly makes gay kids straight again.
Jack awkwardly meets Elliot and his wife, who arrive to take Skip to Straighten Arrow Camp. Then, the episode turns pretty serious, although there are some attempted comic riffs in between. Jane Lynch and Andrew Rannells try their best to play the lead counselors of the camp, but they come across as unpolished and unfunny. But the viewer still feels for Skip, and Jack gets a very serious scene when talking to Elliot about the mistake he is making with Skip, who argues unconvincingly with Jack about people being able to have their own opinions, even if they are bigoted.
At the end of the episode, Elliot apologizes to Jack. It is a very touching moment — one that helps make you forget about the mediocre subplot with Grace, Karen, and the handsome Puerto Rican assistant, who scores with Grace. Perhaps the recent events surrounding Harvey Weinstein have made this part uncomfortable. However, even more uncomfortable is the fact that Debra Messing and Meghan Mullally still seem to be phoning in their parts. There is one good scene with a roll of paper towels that throws reference to Donald Trump.
Overall, the great message and touching moments of “Grandpa Jack” are still outdone by the unfocused directing, bad acting, and the show’s attempt to be “down with the cool gay kids.” But make no mistake about it, Will & Grace is improving, and it can only keep getting better.
[Featured Image by Christopher Smith/AP Images]