14 Things To Expect From The 'Will & Grace' Revival, According To The Cast & Creators
In 2017, all good things must come into a reboot, and the iconic sitcom Will & Grace is next up on the return train. At the Tribeca TV Festival on Sept. 23, new details about the Will & Grace revival were revealed by actors Debra Messing, Eric McCormack, Megan Mullally, and Sean Hayes along with creators Max Mutchnick and David Kohan. The Season 9 teases will have you anxious to see Will, Grace, Jack, and Karen again after an 11-year hiatus.
The 2016 Will & Grace election special reunion that started the fervor revealed that not only is Karen Walker a close personal friend of the President of the United States, but that she helped "Donnie," in her words, "pick out" his current wife and First Lady Melania. (Karen calls her "Melanio" in the revival, according to Mullally.) So the new episodes will likely touch upon Grace's assistant's Mar a Lago lifestyle.
It has also been previously announced that the writers are ignoring the season finale, which featured a flash forward to a time where Will and Grace had had a falling out after they stopped living together. As if! In the new episodes, their friendship is as solid as ever.
Other than that, here's what the Will & Grace team revealed about the upcoming season:
Speaking of that finale, Grace and Leo's future daughter Lila as well as Will and Vince's future son Ben are also cut from the series. The story has always been about the relationship between four characters, and the creators weren't interesting in telling the future set up in the series finale. "If the kids are present," said Kohan, "it’s about ‘Will and Grace are parents’ and if the kids are absent, it’s about ‘Will and Grace are bad parents.’"
2No "Just Jack"
Not every fan favorite element is coming back. The writers got sick of fans doing the "Just Jack" jazz hands at Hayes, though the actor himself said he is honored that people still do it. "As far as creatively," Hayes added, "we have to invent a new thing now."
3The Roommates Become Coworkers
"Will and Grace go into business together," said McCormack. He becomes Grace's lawyer, though other than that the panel did not reveal what the business would be.
4Divorce All Around
While there will be appearances by Harry Connick Jr. and Bobby Cannavale, who played Leo and Vince, neither Will nor Grace is still married to their respective former flames in the reboot.
5Grace Is A Feminist
This was per Messing's request, though it's not surprising for the character. Grace is a progressive business owner. "I asked that for Karen too," joked Mullally. When asked if she wanted to change anything about Karen, Mullally said, "No."
6Rosario Won't Return
For good reason — actor Shelley Morrison has retired.
7Karen Makes A Friend
She bonds with a young inner city girl, according to Mullally.
The writers didn't think much about potential stories after Will & Grace initially ended, with this exception. Mutchnick recalled having one regret on the night the show wrapped for the first time. "I couldn’t go to bed until I watched an I Love Lucy marathon," he said. "This episode comes on where Lucy and Ethel end up in the shower where the shower head breaks off and the two of them end up in this dunk tank. I watched this episode and I thought to myself, 'How could we not have done that? In eight years how could we not have put Grace and Karen into a tank of water?' So that’s what we do." Always good when a classic tips its hat at another classic.
9"Just the Tips"
Will and Grace aren't the only two in business together. Karen and Jack launch something called "Just the Tips," in which Jack teaches "Jacting," his new acting technique, and Karen gives lifestyle advice. "These are court ordered," according to Mullally.
10You, Will Truman, Be Found
Dear Evan Hansen star and Tony winner Ben Platt will appear as Will's younger boyfriend. McCormack also teased that all the characters will get to date some fun guest stars.
11There Is Laughter
But it's not a canned laugh track — the "track" is taken from a live studio audience. "The laugh tracks were introduced in the late '60s and a lot of shows have used it lately because they didn’t have an audience," said McCormack, "but our audience means something to us and their laughs matter." They're miked separately, and even the most obnoxious (yet authentic) laughs make the final product. The only time fake laughter is used on the show is for the rare exterior shot. Everything else is genuine, though certain reviews may question it. "Show up in our audience," added McCormack. "Nobody laughs 'dutifully.' They don’t have to."
12Karen's Frenemy May Return
"I've got her right here in my pocket," said Mullally about Leslie Jordan's character Beverly Leslie — who died in the series finale and left Jack his fortune.
13More Boundaries To Push
"The thing that I loved about the show from the very beginning," said Messing, "is that it was built into the DNA that within the comedy, we were shining a light on what’s happening in culture right now, in politics right now. Back then, we were "LGB." We stopped at the "B." Now, 11 years later, the conversation has expanded. There’s a "TAI," and gender fluidity and all these things that are now finally being celebrated in our culture. I think that the thing we all committed to one another is that we’re going to be the show we always were. We’re going to talk about what’s happening now."
14Remembering Debbie Reynolds
"She was a broad," said Messing at the panel. "She was so not an angel," said Hayes. The reboot will pay tribute to the late actor, who played Grace's mother Bobbi Adler.
All that can be expected along with all the gags and bawdy silliness that came to define the show. There may even be a discussion about the difference between a "twink" and a "twunk," just sayin'. In our time of need, Will & Grace is back, and with all this to look forward to, the revival couldn't be more exciting.
Additional reporting by Sage Young.