As I write this, I am about half way through Season 8 of Will & Grace. With the revival premiering tonight, I felt like I needed a refresher. Since the show has never been on a streaming service before it was a little difficult to watch. It's funny, because I thought I remembered everything. Turns out that I only remembered the first two seasons.
I had vague recollections of random story points that aren't in the first two seasons. But honestly, at this point? I’m not even sure how I've already sat through all of these seasons. Don't get me wrong, I still find the show entertaining, but I don't really remember any particular storyline standing out as character progression. The last three seasons have been just kind of a blob of random episodes.
Binge watching it like this presents problems in general. I've got all the episodes lined up in a queue, so unless it's a holiday episode I have no concept as to where I'm at in the series, numerically speaking. Storylines come and go seemingly forgotten. When you look at the show as a whole, it's excellent. The characters are well written and layered. The times when they forget those layers is a problem for me. Boyfriends and husbands are obtained and then barely mentioned or altogether forgotten for a few episodes. I can understand with some of the stunt casting they did, the actors they hired had other things to do and could be on the show full time. Or maybe they truly wanted to keep the main four the focus of the show.
One incredibly entertaining thing they did in season six was "hide" Debra Messing's pregnancy. Because the show constantly had the actors in motion, they did the standard hiding of the belly with baggy shirts and purses and pillows, etc. But there were times where they had her lounging and it was completely clear. Plus there were new jokes about how she never stopped eating and was too lazy to move.
I'm trying to imagine what it would be like to watch these storylines year after year and not binge them. I think I know why I stopped watching other than just my general busyness. There was an episode towards the beginning of the season where they discussed how network TV wasn't going to put two men kissing on the air. In the episode Jack and Will kiss on the Today show. Since then? I can't think of a single piece of affection that wasn't either hetero either naturally or visually. Running gags about how Will or Jack would grope or kiss or flirt with women are far more prevalent than anything related to homosexuality. They also seemed to be on a mission to take back the negative connotations of the words "fag" and "homo".
Don't get me wrong, the show helped usher in a new era of openness on TV. There were limitations then. 2004 doesn't seem all that long ago, but it really was. We've come so far with the LGBTQ rights movement in these last few short years, I am concerned that the revival won't have aged with the times. While I wouldn't want the character's main traits to have changed much I am a tad concerned that we're going to be treated to the 40/50 something year old characters acting in their 20/30 year old personalities. And that just won't do well.
I really do love this show, despite my critique. I'm looking at it with the eyes of a binge watcher after years of being away. If I hated it, I would have quit well before I got to season 7.
I am encouraged that they have already been renewed for a second season despite not even having filmed a single episode when that announcement was made. I can't wait for the stunt casting to continue and I am excited to see where these characters have been for the last decade. I really hope it doesn't suck.