Will & Grace Premiere Review: Season 9 Episode 1 – 11 Years Later

After all these years, Will & Grace is back, but something feels a little off about its return.

Will & Grace Season 9 Episode 1

It feels almost like yesteryear with the return of Will & Grace. Eleven years ago, the show was a topical, politically-correct, and sometimes risqué half-hour of comedy for its target audience and eventual converts unbothered by its gay characters and themes. These many years later, the outside world has changed, and not for the best.

Will & Grace is a comedy about four friends who love each other, yet don’t always agree with each other’s choices, as in real life. The quartet’s bond is as strong as ever in this return episode. 

Karen is the obvious and oblivious one-percenter unaffected by the temporary government hijacking. Karen and the off-screen Stan are still married. Will and Jack continue to have different romantic success after Will’s divorce from Vince. Grace and Leo, too, have divorced without having had children.

The episode doesn’t venture from its usual shenanigans and social commentary about people and causes that matter. It’s no mistake that the season premiere refers to the current occupant in The White House, and then temporarily relocates the main characters to D.C. to act out their personal and political prejudices.

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I could have done without the laugh track, or if not laugh tracks, some of the intended jokes and jabs didn’t hit their mark with me. Having worked together for many years, the actors stepped back into familiar roles with evident ease.

Megan Mullally is back as the scary shrew that audiences love. Erick McCormack is entrenched in our minds as the older surrogate gay brother to heterosexuals and gays alike. Debra Messing’s Grace will always need Will Truman to help her navigate life. The show wouldn’t be the same without Sean Hayes’ sharp-tongued and perpetually-single Jack. Nothing significant has changed on the show, which is a good thing. Viewers would be disoriented if presented with unrealistic scenarios that might come across as forced or angry in order for the writers to prove a point.

The sometimes uncomfortable truth is the foundation of the best comedies and satires. The first episode will go down in the books as having made its political commentary in the wake of the November 2016 presidential election. Grace left her decorating mark in The Oval Office, and that’s sure to enrage the majority of mainstream conservative Republicans, should any of them dare to watch the show.

I imagine next week the show will return to the more familiar topics and situations that made it an eventual success the first time around.


3 out of 5