Remember the “Will & Grace” finale that ran in May of 2006?
It ended 20-something years in the future, with the two title characters finally having reconciled after 20 years of not speaking. Their kids have even met and gotten married.
Okay, so forget all that. “Will & Grace” is back on NBC, and it’s like that finale didn’t happen.
“We would never have gone in that direction if we weren’t ending the show,” says Max Mutchnick, one of “Will & Grace’s” creators.
Along with “Friends,” the series had been part of NBC’s Must See TV Thursday night lineup. The comedy focused on Debra Messing’s Grace, a straight woman, rooming with her best friend, Eric McCormack’s Will, a gay man.
When it started in 1998, it was risky for a series to spotlight gay characters, but “Will & Grace” ran for eight years and developed a devoted following.
Last September, the cast, which includes Megan Mullally and Sean Hayes, reunited for a 10-minute get-out-the-vote special, which ran online. It proved to be a YouTube hit, and spurred an offer from Robert Greenblatt, chairman of NBC Entertainment, to Mutchnick and co-creator David Kohan to bring the series back.
It started with a 10-episode order, but the network saw an enthusiasm among its fans and increased it to 16. Now, “Will & Grace” has already been renewed for 13 more next year.
On the original show, Hayes played Will’s good friend Jack, an openly gay man. On the other hand, Will, an attorney in the corporate world, would sometimes try to hide his sexuality.
Mullally’s Karen worked for Grace, an interior designer. Both female characters were straight
“When we started, it was revolutionary to have two gay characters, so what we were able to address at the time was LGB,” says Messing. “We stopped at B, and my hope is that now we can finish the alphabet. And with gender identity, and there’s so many things that are being discussed in our culture now.”
Former Vice President Joe Biden has credited the show with doing more to educate the American public on LGBT issues “than almost anything anybody has ever done so far.”
But times have changed, and now the characters are middle-aged.
In the new incarnation, the writers are ignoring the finale. Will and Grace are like they were at the beginning – single and living together. Jack still drops in announced, and the politically…