Thursday, May 18, 2017

Q Toon: Must've Déjà Vu TV

Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
✒May 18, 2017

NBC is indeed bringing back "Will & Grace" in the fall, resurrecting the 1998-2006 situation comedy, along with the network's 1980's slogan, "Must See TV."

"Will & Grace," in case you've forgotten, centered on Will, a gay lawyer; Grace, his best friend; Jack, his best gay friend; and Karen, an idle rich woman who hung around with them for no apparent reason. Together, they tossed bons mots about whatever was current in popular culture and ... well, I watched the show, and I guess they did sitcom stuff. Will and Grace had jobs and parents, Grace had boyfriends, Jack turned 30, and Karen could hold her liquor. That's pretty much the whole story.

Still, the show and each of its stars won Emmys the first time around. You can't knock success.

It was a groundbreaking show, in that a gay man was a central character. He wasn't closeted, and he wasn't insecure about it, even if he didn't get around to dating anyone until late in the series. The show wasn't about HIV/AIDS or hate crimes or antigay preachers or gays in the military or marriage equality, any of the Big Issues Of The Day. In a way, it was a show about nothing, although not quite as edgy as "Seinfeld." There definitely was no talk about who could be masters of their domain.

NBC executives obviously want to offer their audience something comfortable and familiar — and the fact that what was once groundbreaking is now comfortably familiar is something of an achievement in and of itself. But if the characters are still stuck exactly where they were in 2006, I doubt viewers will stick with the show.

Jack has hit 40, after all. The bloom is off the rose, and if he hasn't found independent means of support by now and is still leeching off of Will, there's no way Will can have held onto any self-respecting boyfriend this long. Karen may have hired Grace to remodel her office yet again (what ever does Karen do there?), but she's not a simpleton and would surely have become bored with Jack, if not Will and Grace as well.

Well, we'll leave it to the writers to figure that all out. This isn't Tristram Shandy, after all. There are plenty of fresh new pop cultural references with which to pepper their scripts.

If they are successful, we can look forward to the return of "Friends," "Malcolm in the Middle," "Desperate Housewives," and "Veronica's Closet."

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