Will and (dis)Grace

 
Quite by chance, I caught the Will & Grace finale on Channel 4. I say ‘by chance’ because that is exactly how it happened. I was zapping, stopped on Channel 4, heard the announcer refer to ‘the penultimate episode of Will & Grace’, picked my jaw up from the floor, then decided to watch. I am struggling to recall promotional trailers for the last episode. Maybe some were scheduled and I managed to miss them despite watching the likes of The Simpsons, Smallville, Jamie At Home, 10 Years Younger, Without A Trace, Ugly Betty…all Channel 4 shows. For most of the 8th series run, Will & Grace has been shunted around the red-eye shift: start times of 12.35am, 12.05am, 12:30am and 1.05am became the norm. The penultimate instalment was at 12.05am with the finale following at 12.40am. I couldn’t believe it – 12.40am for a show that was once a permanent primetime fixture! Talk about a fall from grace…
 
For the uninitiated, gay lawyer Will (played by straight actor Eric McCormack) and interior designer Grace (Debra Messing) have an enduring friendship and were (supposed to be) the centre of the series. But that didn’t stop Will’s unapologetically gay mate Jack (Sean Hayes) and Grace’s alcoholic assistant Karen (Megan Mullally) from stealing the show week after week. In America, Will & Grace caused a primetime stir at first because of the gay factor. The first three or four seasons had smart writing, top-notch performances and cool cameos – it was in vogue, darling. How could anyone resist all the neuroses and bitchiness…and that’s just Jack (‘just Jack!’ Geddit? Oh well. Hardcore fans will). 
 
The finale, like so many others I’ve sat through, was ultimately disappointing. Would Will and Grace raise a child together? Would Jack meet anyone who could love him as much as he loved himself? Would Karen ever find true happiness outside of a bottle of vodka? Would I find it in me to care? Not even the presence of Harry Connick Jr and Kevin Bacon could lift the farewell above ‘average’. Much of the panache and wit that characterised the first few seasons was absent, daft scenarios dragged on waaaay too long and certain plotlines stretched credibility further than the casting of Kevin Costner as Robin Hood.
 
I’ll be the first to admit Will & Grace ran out of steam a couple of years ago. Funnily enough, that accusation can be levelled at many TV shows. I’ve lost count of the number that continued when they should’ve done a Fawlty Towers or The Sweeney and gone out at their best. Off the top of my head, Beverly Hills 90210 should’ve definitely called it a day after the gang graduated from College. My beloved Dallas was never the same after Pam’s infamous ‘dream’. The A Team’s final fifth season, in which the gang end up working for the government, is an embarrassment. CHiPs went downhill after season 5; Erik Estrada (Ponch) was occasionally replaced by Bruce Jenner and in season 6, Larry Wilcox exited stage left. Instead of ending the show, they struggled on with Tom Reilly. Happy Days, credited with spawning the Jump The Shark website, limped on for years after Ron Howard and Don Most’s departure (big mistake). Do I even need to mention the infamous and inferior Coy and Vance Duke seasons on the Dukes Of Hazzard? Probably not.
 
And so Will & Grace depart to sitcom heaven and endless repeats, joining the likes of Cheers, Fawlty Towers, Friends, Frasier, Only Fools & Horses, Rising Damp, Till Death Us Do Part et al. Although I’d personally never put it in the same class as any of the aforementioned, it had its moments.
 
*Message for (no name) who left a comment on 11 October at 13:12 asking about the times for House. Assuming that you are in the UK, you will find this excellent series weekdays on Five US at 9pm.
 
Today I am mostly lovin’ – ITV4 for its Sweeney night starring the late John Thaw and Dennis Waterman. "Get your trousers on, you’re nicked!" "Shut it!" "We’re The Sweeney son, and we haven’t had any dinner!" – brilliant. 
 
Today I am mostly hatin’ – A terrible casting decision on The Tudors, the BBC’s period romp. Steven Waddington, the actor who played the Duke Of Buckingham, is a big, strapping, handsome man with red hair. His Duke Of Buckingham displayed flashes of the mercurial temper Henry VIII was renowned for. It’s glaringly obvious that he should’ve been cast as the young King. Why wasn’t he? My guess is that despite his role in the wonderful Last Of The Mohicans, he’s largely unknown to the American market…unlike Jonathan Rhys Meyers. Cynical. Very cynical.
 
MSN Editor Coops
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44 Responses to Will and (dis)Grace

  1. Bryan says:

    dang ive missed the whole last series of Will & grace then damn channel 4 and shifting it to that time… i wonder if they will rerun it on sunday afternoons or something like that thye are showing old episodes at 930 in the mornin each day ! grrr…

  2. Ceriann says:

    i missed the whole last series aswell but to be honest it got a bit c*** at the end, the final was all wrong.it finished ages ago anyway

  3. Ben says:

    What is it with TV Stations who dump shows by hiding them? 
     
    It stinks!

  4. Sinead says:

    It drives me crazy when a TV station starts showing a really good show and you get really into it, only for them to start moving it to a really obscure timeslot after two or three seasons.  RTE in Ireland have done that loads of times.  I loved Boston Public and it used to be on at 10pm on Sunday nights which was great and now it\’s on at something like 3.30am sometime during the week I think.  I\’ve lost track.

  5. Ashley says:

    id just like to say that the Tudors may meant to be historically correct (which it isnt) i dont think that people would watch it if jonathan Rhys Meyers wasnt the King.i know as a history student that i should be watching it for the content but as a 21year old girl i watch it mainly for him! please dont slag jonathan i think he is amazing and i dont think he is well known in america since his only known for his role in the movie bend it like beckham.

  6. Coops - says:

    In response to (no name)\’s comment left on 19 October at 23:19 – You\’re quite incorrect to state that Jonathan Rhys Meyers is only known in America for his role in Bend It Like Beckham. I\’d be surprised if the average Brit remembers him in that, never mind the average American. Our cousins across the pond are far more likely to know him from his Golden Globe-winning, Emmy-nominated performance as another King – Elvis. He played Elvis in an eponymously-titled mini-series. In addition, he made a notable appearance in Mission: Impossible III. Of course you\’re watching The Tudors mainly for sexy Jonathan Rhys Meyers; that\’s one of the reasons why he was cast. That and the fact that he\’s a more recognised actor. It certainly wasn\’t for verisimilitude as the role clearly would\’ve gone to Steven Waddington if that were a prime concern. Still, even I can\’t ruin Jonathan Rhys Meyers\’ sexy body so don\’t mind me. 🙂

  7. chris says:

    Interesting – but just who should Jack be apologising to for being gay?  Homophobes in the audience or journalistic ones writing on the internet?

  8. jackie says:

    msn editor coops i totally agree with you,i also enjoy the sweeney,they don`t make them like they used to do they.
    but there are some good  programmes now on tv.at the moment i enjoy watching re-runs of bless this house,robin`s nest man about the house over on paramount comedy on sky.

  9. Coops - says:

    To (no name) who left a comment here on 22 October at 17:10, I should\’ve better clarified my observation about Jack. My summary of the show was, as I stated, for the uninitiated so I felt the need to add a positive facet: Jack\’s celebration of his lifestyle. Like it or not, there are some people out there who still feel that gay people should apologise for their lifestyle – but I\’m not one of them. Live and let live is my motto as you\’ll see from my response to a homophobe in an earlier blog entry of mine. Thanks for your comment.

  10. Anya says:

    I am very rude, but did that girl say she was a history student? With writing like that I\’m surprised she passed must be going to edge hill…
     
    Bitchy but true, that was completely incoherent.

  11. Kirsty says:

    I completely agree with you about Steven Waddington – he is one of my favourite actors and would have made a great Henry.  Not that I\’m complaining about looking at Jonathan Rhys Meyers, but it would have been good to see Steven in a role where he doesn\’t die horribly for a change!

  12. Claire says:

    Problem I have with the Will and Grace write up, is that if that was the penultimate episode, then there was one more to come, as penultimate means "Last but One", can\’t fault you about the casting re the Tudors, I just hate the shameless pandering to the US market and their cultural values.
     

  13. Coops - says:

    (no name) who left a comment here on  27 October at 15:52 – I\’m puzzled by your comment mate. I thought I\’d made it clear in the entry what happened that night: the announcer stated that the penultimate episode was coming next, with the finale following at 12.40am. You\’ve lost me….However, I\’m glad I\’m not the only person waving the flag for Steven Waddington.

  14. Brian says:

    Are there no gay actors who could have played the part of Will?

  15. Coops - says:

    (no name) who left a comment here on 27 October at 23:41: you asked "Are there no gay actors who could have played the part of Will?" Irony of ironies, John Barrowman, the gay star of Doctor Who and Torchwood, auditioned for the part of Will, but was told he was "too straight". My own personal view is that equality should run both ways. A straight actor should be cast in a gay role if he or she is the best person for that part…and vice versa.

  16. Brian says:

    I think your wrong about equality as regards a gay actor for will and grace.I dont believe an openly gay man would be convincing in a serious dramatic leading man role.In a comedy perhaps.Rock Hudson was one actor who remained in the closet as his homosexuality would not convince anyone he was in the right part.What gay leading man actors are there?

  17. Coops - says:

    Mindset is a weird thing. Tom Hanks isn\’t gay, but he won an Oscar for playing a gay man dying from AIDS in Philadelphia. William Hurt isn\’t gay either, but guess what? He also won an Oscar for playing a gay guy. In an ideal world, an openly gay actor should be cast in a role if he/she is the best person for the job. I realise that this isn\’t always the case, but Dan Butler, the womanising DJ Bob \’Bulldog\’ Briscoe on Frasier, is openly gay and I can\’t imagine anyone else who could\’ve played that role better. I never looked at him and saw a \’gay\’ man first – I saw an actor.

  18. Gareth says:

    Hiya Coops,
    Please, please tell me that \’no name\’ who posted @ 14.40 on the 29th was being ironic!
     

  19. Coops - says:

    Hiya in return Gareth mate! I am assuming the comment is serious with no irony intended. But to be fair, many people share views along those lines. When Will and Grace started, a number of gay forums buzzed with posters annoyed that a straight actor had been cast in the role. But I think Eric McCormack did very well. And I don\’t have to mention Brokeback Mountain, do I? Or do I?

  20. Brian says:

    Well you have not answered my question.What leading dramatic actor is gay?I mean someone who could play a romantic lead and convince the female audience.You mentioned Dan Butler but he was a supporting actor.I know Ian Mckellan is homosexual but he is not leading man material.Can you tell me of any openly gay actor who could convincingly play the role of a romantic leading man opposite any of the current female sex symbols?Which openly gay actor could give such a good performance that women would find him credible?

  21. Coops - says:

    (no name), please appreciate that there are comparatively few openly gay leading actors currently plying their trade. However, Rupert Everett definitely springs to mind as an actor who has played romantic roles opposite women. He did so in Oscar Wilde\’s An Ideal Husband and Oscar Wilde\’s The Importance of Being Earnest (there\’s irony for ya…) And I bought him 100% in both roles. 1960s and 1970s heartthrob Richard Chamberlain came out a few years ago, but I had long suspected he was gay. That didn\’t stop me drooling over him as a youngster (The Thorn Birds! Dr Kildare! The Three Musketeers!) and he was very convincing playing opposite numerous women.

  22. Tim says:

     bad will and grace ep is better than just about every uk comedy in the last 2 years!

  23. Brian says:

    Well you certainly know how to dodge a question.Your Rupert  Everett answer is laughable.Richard Chamberlain was in the closet.When a straight actor plays the part of a gay the public know he is pretending and accept this.A gay actor playing a gay part would be said to be playing to type.If an OPENLY gay leading man were to play a romantic lead he would not be believable.I dont know of any gay actor who has managed to convince me he is not gay when playing opposite a leading lady.Therefore your argument regarding equality in acting does not stand up.Most gay characters on tv are comical and effeminate so are not taken seriously.They are characters to be laughed at.To my knowledge no openly gay actor has the ability to play the romantic lead.What is really ironic is that a closseted gay actor could and have done it previously.There ability to hide there homosexuality to play leading men is part of the actors craft.

  24. Coops - says:

    Mate, I haven\’t dodged your question – I\’ve answered it. There isn\’t exactly a massive pool of openly gay actors to choose from, is there? I have given you an answer that will not get me sued for defamation. As I said originally, and still say: "In an ideal world, an openly gay actor should be cast in a role if he/she is the best person for the job. I realise that this isn\’t always the case…"

  25. never you mind says:

    Trying not to use all the insulting words I would like to, I\’d like to address \’noname\’s comments on openly gay actors. I think perhaps what you are trying to say is that you personally find it difficult to see past a person\’s sexuality when you know it, not that an openly gay actor can\’t play straight. An \’openly\’ gay actor has the same skills as a closeted one, they aren\’t any different! True, someone who is open about their sexuality will probably have to work harder to overcome people\’s perceptions and expectations, but that doesn\’t mean that hiding their sexuality makes them a better actor and frankly that statement is verging on being extremely offensive.
     
    Also "Most gay characters on tv are comical and effeminate so are not taken seriously.They are characters to be laughed at" – so this is the actors fault? I\’m confused. Yes, writers often make gay characters humourous, but how many of them are played by straight actors, and it certainly doesn\’t mean that gay actors can\’t play serious parts!
     
    Yes, it\’s harder for an openly gay actor to succeed in a world where many of the better roles are straight (often romantic) leads, but this has nothing to do with the quality of the acting, it\’s people\’s perceptions that change when an actor comes out, not the actor.
     
     

  26. Tom says:

    The \’ gay\’ thing surely can\’t be an issue any more as gay and lesbian artists have been frequenting entertainment and indeed society, since the dawn of time.
     
    The issue here is that Will and Grace did pass it\’s best many moons ago and like a dead horse, it should of been put out of it\’s misery quickly.
     
    Have to agree about the Sweeney, it is timeless excellence…..and as for the Tudors, it seems highly entertaining, but very unrealistic, it was obviously cast for U.S tv and not authenticity…………….T

  27. Brian says:

    This is for coops.Wouldnt a gay actor be the best person for the job e.g. Brokeback mountain?Amy if you wish to insult me go ahead.Peoples peceptions do change e.g.O.J.SIMPSON ;MICHAEL JACKSON;GARY GLITTER.If a gay actor leaves the closet i am not questioning his ability but the publics perception would change.I guarantee it.For years Rock Hudson hid his sexuality and women swooned over him.Since he came out and died from aids i have never heard anyone speak up for his acting ability.Quite the reverse.I have heard lots of women say they felt let down and embarrased because they liked him.Any entertainer in show business is affected by his real personal life in some way.e.g.Michael Barrymore.That is why a gay actor would not be convincing playing the romantic lead unless he is still in the closet.

  28. Sian says:

    James dean was one of the biggest heart throbs in hollywood history. The lead in highly memorablr films such as "East of Eden" and "the rebel without a cause" and was convincing hetrosexual. Gays can play straight leads, they just arent given the chance.

  29. Brian says:

    SIAN James Dean wasnt outed till after his death.There are others we know but not before the fact.If a director is casting a film for a leading man there are more non gays to choose from.I may be wrong as i dont know who is gay or not but i repeat once more that an openly gay actor will not be convincing in a romantic lead role.If you know of any please let me know.There are actors who are rumoured to be gay but i cant speculate on that.I dont know of any overtly gays except one.Pam st clement the lesbian played a good part as Pat Butcher in east enders.

  30. jj says:

     
    i think this is a little harsh about the enduring appeal of Will & Grace.    I think oyu have to know New York, its social life and a little bit about the culture to get many of the in-jokes, which are well observed.    Will & GRace was always something of an acquired taste for the english (UK) audiences, and okay the last show was not up to the sharp standard we have come to expect, but hey it was the end; so where\’s the incentive to be creative?.   W&G has earned its stripes.   

  31. Tom says:

    Although I can\’t recall a time when I had the stamina to sit through a whole painful episode of Will and Grace, I can distinctly remember how unfunny it was. The characters were more like characutures, over the top sketches of what real people were like. It was as if the actors had been told to go home, watch too much Friends, and try and act like \’them\’ but in a more camp, smutty and emphatic way. Will and Grace just wasn\’t funny and I hope that it is rarely dug out of the TV cemetary for repeats.

  32. Joshwa says:

    I think to say Will and Grace was "unfunny" absolutely ridiculous. Yes, it was an aquired taste but why on Gods earth did you sit through it all if you weren\’t enjoying it? I personally think W&G is amazing and find it realy really funny. I agree the end series was not at its best but finding a way to bring the show to an end must have been difficult as its not youre regular sitcom. I also find F.R.I.E.D.S really funny but in different ways. I don\’t think WAG copied or the writers went out of their way to make it similar as WAG was wlways in a league of its own.
     
    I find it disappointing that people with critical views can\’t find a more appropriate way to display their opinion. In my book; You don\’t enjoy it…. Turn it off!
     
    Don\’t watch it and then complain. If i did that i would want the, what seems, trillions of hours back iv wasted watching stupid English programs with actors/actresses trying their best when its quite simple that the English cannot act … FULL STOP. Only a hand full can and they are still borderline crap. I am saying this as an English man myself, Leave the acting to professionals who know what their doing… Any actor/actress that isn\’t english.

  33. Unknown says:

    Firstly, i\’m angry at the person who said the Brits can\’t act. World of their own springs to mind and stupid to boot. As to Will and Grace i found it funny from the start but thats my opinion. Saying an openly gay actor couldn\’t play a leading role is ridiculous. Whatever sexual orientation you are, if you\’re a good actor you should be able to play a part and make it believable otherwise, i\’m afraid, to most people your acting is poor.
    Sean Hayes (Jack in W&G) said it all when asked if he was gay. He said \’When i\’m playing a gay part i\’m gay and when i\’m playing a straight part i\’m straight. Thats called good acting.

  34. Coops - says:

    Josh, Josh, Josh! How can you say that Brits can\’t act and expect to be taken seriously? I\’ve sat through loads of films and TV shows in which American actors have murdered British accents. The successes – Renée Zellweger, Gwyneth Paltrow and the Spinal Tap-pers: Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Harry Shearer, to name a few – are rare, vastly outweighed by the disasters. These days, far more Brits have to affect American accents in order to get work. Have you seen Hugh Laurie in House? Marianne Jean-Baptiste in Without A Trace? Michelle Ryan (EastEnders!!!) in Bionic Woman? Anna Friel in Pushing Daisies? Ian McShane in Deadwood? Damian Lewis in Journeyman? Minnie Driver in The Riches? Gary Oldman? Tim Roth? Daniel Day Lewis? We Brits are bloody brilliant.
     
    On the subject of Will and Grace – oh, how the mighty are fallen. I\’ve never seen Channel 4 show such disdain to one of its premier US imports. Cheers started off in the Friday 10pm slot before being moved earlier, but not later. Roseanne, Frasier, The Golden Girls, Friends, The Cosby Show etc all in decent time slots. To take Will and Grace and shove it well after midnight is simply astonishing.

  35. rachael says:

    i love will and grace its so funny and witty i just wish there was more out there

  36. Jayanta says:

    A one joke show- let us laugh about being gay and make as many jokes as possible time after time- and I hate all that inane music. in the UK we love Frasier…

  37. Adelah says:

    personally, i love will and grace i can just sit there and watch repeats for hours and hours. However, i think the show has become less funny every season. The show should totally be called \’JACK and KAREn\’ because those two are absolutely hilarious.
    as for britcoms, please they are dry and so not funny, the best one was only fools and horses but it years old now.
    i wish producers could invent a Funny britcom without using rude, explicit or racist jokes. That\’ll be a huge challenge!
     
     

  38. sharon says:

    i really like will and grace and wasnt disappointed with the ending, it was nice to have something different to watch even though i love friends too wag is a different kind of humour which we need more of in this world (jack 2000!!!!) it demonstrates throughout all the series that even the closest people in your life arent always perfect and sometimes things will happen that make you think about certain actions.  It isnt for everybody but i personally think its really funny and was a nice change to see a tv show approaching issues some people wont show! 

  39. Mark says:

    At last a poor programme of the telly. Just hope the replays aren\’t hammered now!! Get some proper TV\’s replayed rather than this american trash!!!

  40. gloria says:

    I enjoyed the first few series of will and grace very much but it was gay humour. The actor that played will is hetrosexual but was believable as a gay man, but he didnt play a camp gay man. Would he be as believable if he would of played Jack?

  41. David says:

    Will and Grace was an awesome series at its best but unfortunately dragged on too long. Glad it is finally laid to rest – but still enjoy the early re-runs.

  42. Joshwa says:

    Making a return after a long time to . . . appologise.
     
    Ok . . some elgish actors and actresses are good, i think i just got a bit carried away. I stick by my guns when saying the americans are generally better but a few brits can give them a run for their money. There were obvious exceptions that i managed to overlook while in my little rage :]
     
    Apology excepted?

  43. Joshwa says:

    Making a return after a long time to . . . appologise.
     
    Ok . . some elgish actors and actresses are good, i think i just got a bit carried away. I stick by my guns when saying the americans are generally better but a few brits can give them a run for their money. There were obvious exceptions that i managed to overlook while in my little rage :]
     
    Apology excepted?

  44. toyin says:

    I remember when it first came on channel 4 like 2 years ago or something there was loads of adverts for the last show……..but now their dong re-run on channel 4 and not alot people watch it so there really no point…. in all the adverts…

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