'Will & Grace' Premiere: How the Revival Did Away With the 20-Year Series Finale Time Jump
By Liz Calvario
Warning: Spoiler alert! Do not proceed if you haven’t watched Thursday’s premiere of Will & Grace. Everyone else, you may proceed…
Honey… Will & Grace is back!
More than a decade after its finale, Debra Messing, Eric McCormick, Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally are reprising the beloved characters audiences first fell in love with in 1998. On Thursday, the NBC series returned to our TV screens with its season nine premiere, adequately titled “11 Years Later," and it's as if nothing has changed!
As the episode begins, one thing on everyone’s mind is how are they going to address the 2006 series finale, where Will and Grace had drifted apart, reuniting 20 years later after their kids go to college and move across the hall from each other. The former besties eventually became in-laws after Grace's daughter, Laila, and Will's son, Ben, get married.
The premiere begins with Grace and Will once again showing how in-tune they are while playing “Heads Up!” Meanwhile, Jack is trying to get a new Grindr profile pic and Karen is zoned out with her signature martini in hand.
"I had the craziest dream. You were there and you were there," Karen says after she gets snapped awake by Jack and looks at Will and Grace. She then turns to Jack and says, "You weren’t."
"In my dream, Will was living with a swarthy man in uniform and Grace was married to a Jew doctor," Karen continues, with Will replying, "Yeah, we were," referring to his apparently now-ex, Vince D'Angelo (Bobby Cannavale) and Grace's ex-husband, Leo Markus (Harry Connick, Jr.). "But we’re single now."
"That tracks," Karens jokingly says. "What happened to the children you had who grew up and got married to each other?"
"That never happened," Will replies.
"Ugh, what a relief. Nobody wants to see you two raise kids," she quips, looking to Jack, who echoes her sentiments. "Yeah, I mean, what would be funny about that?" he snaps back.
As Will informs Karen that Grace has just recently separated from Leo and has temporarily moved into his posh apartment -- which has some snazzy renovations -- Karen frantically asks if she’s still married to Stan and incredibly wealthy.
"You're rich, Stan is alive, and we're both single, no kids," Will reassures Karen.
And just like that the finale ending is brushed off like a kooky dream that never happened as Jack looks at the camera and says, "Got it?" which makes fans think he's breaking the fourth wall, but just turns out to be a pose that Grace snaps for his Grindr profile pic.
The rest of the episode centers around Karen being best buds with President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump, which she frequently reminds devoted Democrat Grace. But when Karen tells her that Melania wants her to redecorate the Oval Office, Grace finds it hard to say no and heads to the White House where the rest of the episode takes place.
Meanwhile, Will is attracted to a congressman who has opposite political views, yet doesn't mind flirting with him when Jack introduces them at an event in the Rose Garden. As far as Jack, he's still the same boy-crazy man who continues to live across the hall and is on a never-ending journey of self-discovery. He also hates to be reminded of his one-man show, "Just Jack."
With words like "woke," "fake news" and "pussyhat," the episode clearly lets viewers know that the main characters aren't thrilled to have Trump as commander in chief. Yet, by the end of the premiere, after Will and Grace get in a fight about working for Trump and flirting with the opposition, Grace acknowledges that they should just keep their political views to themselves moving forward.
Their witty one-liners, constant insults, cheeky puns and quick back-and-forth banter are reminiscent of the original series and -- all political jokes aside (well, for the most part) -- it’s like slipping back 11 years ago.
Will & Grace airs Thursday nights at 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.