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Eight years of
great laughs

Eight years of
great laughs

962_will_grace

In a memorable 2002 episode of Will & Grace, Jack becomes Kevin Bacon's personal assistant, and his first task is to find Kevin's stalker--that is, himself. As a comedy writer who'd been hired to write the companion book to the landmark sitcom, I could identify; for years I'd been stalking the show's producers, hoping to get a job on one of the sharpest-written comedies of the decade. And as a gay man, I would have been honored to contribute to a true TV milestone: the first mainstream network program specifically created to have a gay lead character.

In that unfortunately brief, hopeful epoch between Ellen's coming-out and Janet's popping-out, when TV last dared to be daring, Will & Grace made history. For as many times as we'd seen sitcom permutations of straight family life--wait, in this one, he's the smart one and she's the slob!--it had taken nearly a half century of network broadcasting before TV brought us the first depiction of another age-old relationship, that of a gay man and his best straight girlfriend.

But being a pioneer can be a thankless task. Critics, many of them gay, have criticized Will & Grace for portraying a seemingly sexless Will and a flamboyant, flighty Jack, and for the negative messages these "exaggerated" characterizations must be sending to the straight world. Well, I don't know about you, but I'm often as square as Will and as airheaded as Jack all in the course of one afternoon, and I don't care if straight people know it. What I do know is, during the show's first season, my straight, blue-collar cousin told me during Thanksgiving dinner that he never missed an episode of Will & Grace, and for once we had something to talk about--even if we did have to share our favorite moments over the roar of some stupid football game.

Now that eight hilarious seasons have come and gone, I hate that we're saying goodbye to my (and my cousin's) favorite show, one of a dwindling few appointment-viewing half-hours. But I've decided to find consolation in the fact that Will & Grace will live on in constant rotation in local syndication, on Lifetime, and on DVD. And even if the show does fade from memory just a little bit, there is an upside. On those inevitable occasions when I steal one of Karen's put-downs and try to pass it off as my own off-the-cuff brilliance, I just might be able to get away with it.

30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff & Wayne Brady

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Jim Colucci