WILL AND GRACE

THE FAB FOUR ARE BACK. WAS IT WORTH THE WAIT? ASKS RICK STEVEN­SON.

DNA Magazine - - CONTENT -

LIKE SLIP­PING into your favourite pair of box­ers or snug­gling up with An­der­son Cooper, the re­turn of Will And Grace is like catch­ing up with a breezy, com­fort­ing old friend. Once you ad­just to how ev­ery­one has weath­ered the in­ter­ven­ing 11 years (age­ing like a Twinkie?) and how lit­tle ev­ery­one’s apart­ments or sense of style has al­tered, you can re­lax into swift pop­u­lar cul­ture repar­tee, clumsy slap­stick and, in the first episode, clum­sier po­lit­i­cal com­ment.

Within the first few min­utes, the tit­u­lar power cou­ple of par­lour games name-check Cait­lyn Jen­ner, Grindr and Me­la­nia Trump to es­tab­lish their con­tem­po­rary cre­den­tials and pro­vide trig­ger warn­ings to any Trump sup­port­ers not fa­mil­iar with the 2016 on­line US elec­tion spe­cial that brought our Up­per East Side gang back to­gether.

In the same breath, the time­line of the last sea­son is suc­cess­fully swept away with Karen’s Dal­laslike

Play­ing to Mess­ing’s comic tal­ents, the se­cond episode pays homage to I Love Lucy in the flood­ing shower episode.

dream, leav­ing us with es­sen­tially the same char­ac­ters and set up we en­coun­tered at the start of sea­son one.

Karen con­tin­ues to own her dig­nity and in­dig­ni­ties even in the face of phys­i­cal and emo­tional mis­ad­ven­ture. With her un­wa­ver­ing pre­sump­tion of so­cial and fi­nan­cial su­pe­ri­or­ity, she hits the Patsy Stone comic but­tons for pill pop­ping, drink­ing with­out con­se­quences and ob­serv­ing the ridicu­lous in one-lin­ers. From “What’s with the Laura Bush pour, give me the full Pat Nixon” when served a drink in the Oval Of­fice, to en­joy­ing swim­ming like sperm in her flooded shower, Karen knows and shows no shame.

Grace and Jack con­tinue to lose con­trol and dig­nity. Jack, as be­fore, has no self-aware­ness, while Grace is all too aware. Jack in his peren­nial woollen vest combo, is still im­mersed in su­per­fi­cial trends of the non-cloth­ing va­ri­ety, and one-up­ping Will in terms of sex­ual ex­pe­ri­ences.

In the first episode Jack pro­vides, fright­en­ingly for sup­port­ers of hard line anti-ter­ror­ism mea­sures, a comic in­sight into the per­va­sive­ness of gays inside the se­cret ser­vice. Agent Lenny (Kyle Born­heimer) can’t re­sist his baby-blue eyes – un­miss­able as they are now seem­ingly fixed wide open – and de­liv­ers an on-screen kiss that, in ear­lier sea­sons, would’ve been a news story of its own.

With Grace, the show con­tin­ues to pay homage to I Love Lucy, play­ing to De­bra Mess­ing’s comic tal­ents. Her slap­stick ad­ven­tures – in the se­cond episode re-imag­in­ing the Lucy and Viv stuck in a flood­ing shower episode – po­si­tion­ing her as the earnest, fal­li­ble and most eas­ily mocked fix­ture of the four­some.

So far the new sea­son doesn’t ap­pear to re­flect the iden­tity pol­i­tics that has re­shaped the so­cial land­scape in the last decade, but it does prom­ise to pro­vide a re­flec­tion of an age­ing Gen­er­a­tion X. The new grey dad­dies – the an­chor men – the An­der­son Coop­ers.

While Jack’s at­tempts to sleep with a younger man in­volve the slap­stick tropes of try­ing to look younger, with the in­tro­duc­tion of scro­tox, neck mag­nets and com­pres­sion suits, Will’s date with a younger man re-es­tab­lishes his role as the ma­te­ri­ally suc­cess­ful but plea­sure-seek­ing con­ser­va­tive. Will would rather preach to 23-yearold Blake, played by Dear Evan Hansen’s Ben Platt, about the his­tory of gay po­lit­i­cal ac­ti­tivisim that has en­sured cur­rent free­doms, than have sex with him.

Like the orig­i­nal Will And Grace, the new sea­son cer­tainly wears its pop­u­lar cul­ture ref­er­ences on its sleeve. With a wink to the mod­ern world, its heart re­mains with an au­di­ence that uses Madonna as a barom­e­ter of age, Baby June Havoc and Iggy Pop as easy con­trasts and ex­pects a lec­ture to the young to be un­der­stood through the prism of a De­sign­ing Women catch­phrase.

A very com­fort­able pair of box­ers for any­one over

35 – An­der­son Cooper or not.

WILL AND GRACE (TOP) THE ORIG­I­NAL CAST RE­TURN AF­TER 11 YEARS. (ABOVE) WILL’S DADDY TO GUEST STAR, DEAR EVAN HANSEN’S

BEN PLATT.

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