Will & Grace was one of my favorite sitcoms of all time. Once sharing a lineup with Friends and Fraiser, the show stood out in the entire television landscape not only because it was fun and hilarious but because it was something different. A network comedy that centered two gay men and two straight women was unheard of. Will & Grace made a cultural impact by beginning to normalize being gay in America, long before shows like Modern Family, Glee, and Orange is the New Black came along. The brilliance of it was that they did so without being preachy and going political. They did it effortlessly with the help of lovable characters. And for eight years, the Emmy-winning sitcom brought smiles and laughs to millions of homes across America.
Sadly, the lack of creativity in Hollywood and the utter hatred for President Trump birthed a revival that will likely poison the love and respect I had for the show.
During the election, ten years after Will & Grace ended the first time, the creators and the cast united for an 2016-themed episode that instantly went viral. And despite the clear attempt to urge its viewers to vote for Hillary Clinton, I still found it hilarious. The episode involved Will and Grace (Eric McCormack and Debra Messing) trying to convince Jack (Sean Hayes), an undecided voter, to vote for Clinton while Karen (Megan Mullally) was trying to convince him to vote for Trump. The 10-minute episode was filled with politically-charged one-liners that were actually funny. An entire decade had passed by and it was as if nothing has changed. So it was no surprise when NBC announced that they were reviving the series, especially since McCormack, Messing, Hayes, and Mullally never really struck gold with their careers since the show ended back in 2006.
When that announcement was made, I was worried that NBC was going to turn a wonderful, apolitical sitcom into yet another outlet for Hollywood to spout its anti-Trump sentiment. And sure enough, I was right.
Will & Grace officially returned to NBC on Thursday night and right out of the gate the premiere was plagued with politics. The episode had two storylines: one involving Karen helping Grace, an interior designer, land a gig redesigning the Oval Office and Will and Jack pursuing a congressman because he’s “gutting the EPA,” but Will gets distracted by the politician’s charm and good looks. Both storylines lead all four characters to the White House.
What’s so strange for me was that while I thought the election-themed episode from last year was funny, I thought this premiere was unfunny. It was as if the writers were so desperate to make every single line politically or culturally relevant from jabs at Newt Gingrich, Caitlyn Jenner, Melania Trump, Ronald Reagan, Kellyanne Conway, Trump supporters, and of course the president to making references to things like Grindr, the pussyhats worn at the Women’s March, and the terms “woke” and “fake news.” It’s reminds me of that often-used gif from 30 Rock of Steve Buscemi trying to act young and asking high schoolers “How do you do, fellow kids?”
I’m sure the Will & Grace fans who hate Trump as much as the show’s creators and cast enjoyed the episode, but what they don’t realize is that not all of their fans hate Trump. In fact, many voted for him. Between this, American Horror Story, and virtually every late-night talk show, it’s as if Hollywood only wants to cater to Clinton voters and alienate Trump voters instead of trying to pursue everyone. And I suspect this won’t be the last of the politicalization of Will & Grace since its creators have said there will be a socially-conscious focus on LGBT issues in future episodes. What Hollywood still doesn’t understand is that it was that condescension that was expressed by the liberal elites that motivated people to vote for Trump. And it seems to me that they’re doubling down on their failed strategy, which won’t be good for them come 2020.
There used to be a time when politics stayed in politics and didn’t taint every other aspect of our lives. From Hollywood to our favorite sports, we simply can’t escape the left’s constant emotional freakout from the results of the 2016 election. We are running out of things that are sacred, of things that actually unite us. If we allow our vitriol for those who disagree with us to consume our everyday lives, then such societal pessimism will become the norm and civility and respect we once had for one another will be replaced by hostility and bitterness.
It’s truly a shame that Will & Grace, a show I used to love, has become The Walking Dead to me.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.