A lot has changed in 11 years. But, also, not really that much. Will & Grace debuted its revival season on Sept. 28, meeting fans back at the apartment where they first met the two titular best friends. But where are the Will & Grace characters now? Turns out, they're almost right where fans left them.
When the Will & Grace series finale aired in 2006, audiences watched as their favorite characters were sent off into network TV oblivion with a bleak and underwhelming fate: Will and Grace, both married, had a falling out and stopped speaking to each other. There was a time jump to 20 years into the future, showing the former best friends bumping into each other as they settled their children into their freshmen college dorm rooms and (sort of) reconnecting. After eight seasons of two best friends trying to conquer adulthood one poorly planned and selfish shenanigan at a time, that’s the dismal reality that ended the series. That is, until now.
The Will & Grace revival presents a show that’s simultaneously exactly the same and very different. The first episode opens on Will’s iconic Upper West Side apartment, which is seemingly unchanged. Karen has an empty martini glass in her hands, Jack sits next to her with the legs of his perfectly creased trousers crossed, while Will and Grace stand in front of the fire place shouting game clues at each other. The finale is hand-waved away as a dream of Karen's. Within the first three minutes of the revival, Will & Grace shows fans that the show is just as campy and self-aware — and impossibly Will & Grace — as ever.
If you missed the premiere, here's where all your favorite characters are in their lives at the beginning of the new season:
Grace is single and staying with Will “until the dust settles” on her divorce from Leo. (Another breakup was also the reason she stayed with Will in the original pilot.) They never had a kid in this new reality. She still works in the same studio downtown, but now “Madame President” is written on her office door. Modesty has never been and will never be her thing. When Grace catches Will writing a letter to a Republican congressman, she talks about her want to be as “politically woke,” aiming for something “with the most impact but least amount of work.” She ends up getting a gig redecorating the Oval Office, thanks to Karen, and hides the job from Will. Grace knows he’ll mock her and tell her not to do it; how could she possibly redecorate the office of someone she politically and personally loathes? By holding up a Cheeto to a swatch to see if the president’s skin tone matches her preferred curtain color. Politically, morally, and business-wise, Grace is seems as unprincipled as ever. But she doesn't end up taking the job.
Still living in that famous Upper West Side apartment, Will is also single, divorced, and practicing law. He begins writing a Republican congressman who is trying to dismantle the EPA, in hopes of hooking up with him. Just like Grace, Will’s outward political stances vanish when money or sex are on the table. When he travels with Jack to Washington D.C. to see the congressman, he runs into Grace in the Oval Office. Instead of apologizing for or trying to rationalize their deceiving actions, the two get into a pillow fight and flood the room with feathers. His mind is also still mystifyingly linked with Grace’s. “Ugh, don’t even get me started,” Will says when he gets a new clue in charades, to which Grace replies, without taking a breath, “Jada Pinkett Smith!” The scene fits in seamlessly with game nights from past seasons, and their unquenchable thirst for competition hasn’t waned.
Jack is still single and boy crazy, but because it’s 2017, he scrolls through Grindr instead of picking up studs in bars. Or on the street. Or anywhere, really. Jack’s had a storied love life. His hit one-man variety show, “Just Jack,” is no more, with a long list of other failed and very ill-conceived business ventures. He accompanies Will to the White House and runs into a Secret Service agent with whom he had a fling years ago. Jack flirts and kicks up his leg and remains unapologetically, flamboyantly Jack. His classic, crisp khaki pants aesthetic also makes a full comeback in the revival.
Some of the most interesting, but not too shocking, character developments come from Karen. She’s still married to Stan, nauseatingly wealthy, and now also a staunch Trump supporter. Karen brags about her coziness with the First Family, and uses her friendship with "Melanio" to snag Grace a job redecorating the Oval Office. Her love for cocktails and pills is on full display and she still uses the alias Anastasia Beaverhausen. It will be interesting to see how she acts now that Rosario won’t be returning to the Will & Grace revival, but Karen still has copious amounts of gin and her complete disregard for others to keep her busy.
In true Will & Grace fashion, the characters constantly lie to each other and withhold information, only to be found out by the other in an embarrassing interaction at the end of the episode. Will, Grace, Jack, and Karen may be a little older now, but they're just as narcissistic and sharp and fabulous as they were 11 years ago. While circumstances and the world around these characters have changed, it's comforting to see them still be so unapologetically themselves.