I remember watching the first episode of the original Will & Grace. I had recently come out as a gay father, wondering how I was going to fit into the world now that I was no longer "straight." Growing up there were no gay role models to aspire or relate to. So many of us were out there on our own. Even though I was in my 30's when I came out, I did so before Ellen and before Will & Grace. So the first run of the show was, well, liberating. Freeing. Exhilarating.
I watched every single episode the minute it came out. Finally, a gay male role model who I could relate to and, finally, pop culture acknowledging that gay people are active members of society. It was a moment and it lasted for many, many seasons. The show's couch and kitchen and work environments were emotionally like my own. I was home watching Will & Grace and it gave me great peace, and hope for the world to change it's view of gay people.
Now, flash forward nearly two decades from that first show to Will & Grace's return... with a vengeance. The thirty-minute premiere was jammed pack with the characters in full tilt, dealing with the issues we are all dealing with these days in our social, political, and economic culture. We are all wrestling with how we feel about the world in our collective moment, and we find ourselves grappling with how to balance our feelings and keep moving forward. We saw Will & Grace do that as well, on that same couch and in that same kitchen, and in our homes. Only now, it's not quite so radical to have a gay person in our home.
Social media lit up like a Christmas tree!
But in the end, the characters stayed true to themselves and made decisions based on their personal values despite being pulled in different directions. What's true of the characters is also true of the show. It stuck to its formula of comedy, drama, entertainment, and social commentary but simply placed within the context of today. Did it "go there?" Sure. Of course it did, thankfully, getting us toward peace and hope again.
I'm happy that the show stayed true to itself. It was there for me back then and it's here for me now again. I'll be watching every episode the minute it comes out.