Why The 'Will & Grace' Revival Needs Lorraine Finster

by S. Atkinson

Once upon a time, there was a supporting character who didn't seem terribly important. But, by the end of the show, she'd illustrated to us that Karen Walker did have a heart and that she also had a soulmate who wasn't her awful husband Stan. So thank goodness Minnie Driver wants to be in the Will & Grace revival, because the show would be nothing without her character Lorraine Finster.

Driver signaled her intention to be in TV's hottest revival by telling The Los Angeles Times, "I will die if I’m not in the ‘Will & Grace’ reboot. My head will explode in front of Universal Studios, which is an NBC [property].” Her and us both.

The actor is nothing if not as funny as her TV alter ego, so she continued:

“There’s nothing I wouldn’t do. I’d do anything… there’s nowhere Lorraine Finster couldn’t have gone. She could be marrying Prince Harry. Let’s say she’s marrying Prince Harry!”

This would make sense, to some extent. After all, the British royal already has a serious relationship with actor Meghan Markle, so I'm not sure he'd be free to fall in love with a whole new person. But, exaggeration and all, the British actor is completely right about one thing. The revival badly needs Stan's mistress back.

At first, it didn't seem like we should like her. After all, nobody's funnier than Karen, and so, despite her egotism and her amorality, we root for her. So when we learn that the wealthy Mrs. Walker's husband is carrying on an affair from within prison with a cafeteria worker there, we want to despise her.

The problem is that Stan's new lover is every bit as mean and funny as his wife. So if Karen is your favorite, then her younger, British rival probably becomes your favorite pretty quickly, too. The beauty of Lyle's daughter is that she's every bit as quick as the show's prime idle socialite when it comes to insults. "If there's one thing I will not tolerate, it's rhyming insults," says Lorraine's father, before Lorraine slyly says "Runt" and he breaks in before his alcoholic lover can rise to the bait.

But it's not just about the witty repartee and the joy of seeing Grace's acidic second-best-friend spar with an equal, someone who's as relentless and ruthless as herself. It's because, via the "slimey limey", we get to see the real Mrs. Walker. When Karen decides to avenge Lorraine's tryst with her husband via going to bed with the Brit's father, we think it's going to be a funny, spiteful revenge. But instead, to our surprise, we see her falling in love for real.

When she manages to set Lyle and his daughter against each other after Lorraine asks him to choose between her and Karen, and he opts for his lover over his daughter, she's not gleeful. She suddenly finds herself feeling morally queasy. Could it be possible? The dazzlingly zero f*cks giving multi-millionairess has an ethical compass? It appears so.

So I can't be alone in hoping that the show's joyful chorus member/prison cafeteria worker hybrid makes a reappearance. If you don't love her for her incandescent self, worship her for the way she gives us an insight into a softer, more nuanced Karen Walker.