Will & Grace gets two new sea­sons

The Hamilton Spectator - - A&E - ROBERT BIANCO

BEV­ERLY HILLS— Will and Grace and Karen and Jack are back, and NBC has them.

Af­ter an eight-year run and an 11year ab­sence, the ground­break­ing hit sit­com re­turns to NBC for a 16episode run on Sept. 28, and a sec­ond, 13-episode sea­son. And it re­turns with its orig­i­nal stars — Eric McCor­mack, De­bra Mess­ing, Me­gan Mul­lally and Sean Hayes — and cre­ators Max Mutch­nick and David Ko­han.

If you saw the orig­i­nal se­ries fi­nale, you may re­mem­ber that it ended with Will and Grace hap­pily part­nered — Will with Vince, Grace with Leo — and rais­ing chil­dren. Well, when the show re­turns, the part­ners and the chil­dren will be for­got­ten.

“That was more or less a fan­tasy,” Ko­han says.

Adds Mutch­nick, “We never would have gone in that di­rec­tion if we weren’t end­ing the show.”

When Will & Grace first aired, NBC asked the writ­ers to stress the friend­ships among the char­ac­ters and down­play the fact that two of them, Will and Jack, were gay.

That’s all changed, says McCor­mack. “Now the mes­sage is ‘we are us,’ and we rep­re­sent a lot of peo­ple in the coun­try, gay and straight, and we’re not apol­o­giz­ing for who we are.”

It can be hard to try to re­cap­ture past glo­ries, but Hayes says the cast im­me­di­ately fell back into their old groove. “We’ve all be­come brothers and sis­ters and fam­ily. Mov­ing for­ward with the show, it fits like a glove.”

“When we sat down to­gether, it just came to life in ways I’d never seen be­fore or since,” says Mess­ing. “I think of com­edy as mu­sic, and each one of us is a dif­fer­ent in­stru­ment. And when we play to­gether, we’re at our best.”

There’s an­other dif­fer­ence: Hayes, who was in the closet when Will orig­i­nally aired, is now out. While he says he wishes he had come out ear­lier, he just wasn’t ready.

“At the time, I didn’t have the DNA to speak for a whole com­mu­nity. I didn’t have the words to do that, and I wish I did. But now I find that words come easier.”

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