Let the Gay Times Roll
Already, it's got the fact that it's a 90's sitcom (a LATE 90's sitcom) as a strike against it. The dialogue is comprised mostly of puns, pop culture references and not-so-subtle innuenedo. Three-quarters of the cast are trained in musical theater, and they DO NOT let you forget it. It's a silly, silly show.
It's also very important.
Hold up, a sitcom, important? Yes, dear readers, Will and Grace paved the way for many TV comedies that we know and love today. It didn't do so by turning the sitcom as a form of storytelling on its head. It didn't do so with particularly deep characters or clever writing. It did so by being there, and being queer so people could get used to it. Its mere presence set the stage for more well-written gay characters on television in the future.
Yes, it's as campy as Tim Curry in fishnets. But it's good camp. And MAN, is it fun to drink to.
"Will and Disgrace": The Rules
We honor their spirit. But we do not embody it. Not when a Goddess like Megan Mullaly is around, drinking anything she can get her hands on.
So for Karen Walker, we encourage a free-for-all, anything-goes kind of game.
1. Drink for title drops. For Easy Mode, that's every time someone says "Will and Grace".
2. Drink when they drink.
3. Drink for daddy issues. Sugar daddy issues are up for debate.
4. Drink when a celebrity name is dropped. These people love their pop culture.
5. Drink for singing, or anytime song lyrics are spoken.
6. Drink for any mention or allusion to a person being gay.
All the above rules apply. Also...
1. Drink for title drops. That's every time someone says "Will".
2. Drink when someone critisizes another person's appearence.
3. Drink when someone gets a fact about the world completely wrong. Karen and Jack both live in their own personal bubbles. Things are beautiful there.
4. Drink for celebrity cameos. That's every scene the celebrity appears in.
5. Drink for inner monologue. A classic 90's standby.
All the above rules apply. Also...
1. Drink for title drops. That's every time someone says "Grace".
2. Drink when you see one of the four main characters at work. Jack's job changes all the time, so try and keep up.
3. Drink when Will and Grace get in a fight.
4. Drink for kissing.
5. Drink for sexual innuendo.
Some Guy: Token straight man (Easy)
Big Moose: Watched football instead of this show growing up (Medium)
Levi: Watched this show instead of football growing up (Medium)
Pooh Daddy: Squealed during the finale (Medium)
Krissy Pappau: Learned a lot about...uh...interior design (Hard)
Seb: Writes "Decline to State" on all government forms (Medium)
Insert musical theater reference here! It's the Will and Grace drinking game!
In the first episode we watched, (Episode 0522, "May Divorce be With You"), one of the first scenes involves Will hard at work as a lawyer, defending Karen's husband Stan in their divorce settlement (gasp). About halfway through the conversation (before we got distracted by Maculay Culkin's guest appearence and oh by the way drink), Moose piped up with "Wait, HE'S gay?"
"Oh!" said Moose. "I thought he was her uptight straight friend!"
It's actually kind of cool that Moose made this mistake, as Will is not written to be a flamboyant gay man. No, Jack has that covered. Will Truman is one of the most successfully three-dimensional gay characters written for televison. He's confident in himself without being showy, he's down-to-earth, and he's far and away the most serious character on the show. The "straight man" if you will.
"So they're BOTH gay," Moose continued. "I understand this show now."
No. No, Moose. Grace is not gay.
Because Will and Grace are our main characters, already we're changing up the dynamic of a sitcom. Already the situations are different, because of two main reasons. First, Grace and Will have a strong, intimate, non-sexual relationship before the show begins. The situational comedy comes from a change in their existing relationship (now they have to live together), making Will and Grace the only true buddy comedy TV show to come out of the 90's. They are not aiming to change their relationship, but rather struggling to maintain what they already have through changing times. You could argue that other sitcoms do this, but Will and Grace acknowledges the difficulty involved with keeping a close bond intact. Everyone on Friends stayed friends with each other, no matter what went down. Will and Grace go long periods of time without speaking to each other.
Secondly, neither Will or Grace is the clown, or comedic foil. That honor goes to Jack and Karen, who often have their own side adventures with much lower stakes in every episode. If you removed Jack and Karen from the equation, you'd be left with a soap opera about Will and Grace's relationship; the two main characters take each other very seriously. And their commitment to their relationship is what elevates the show's plotlines from "drama" to "high-stakes issues".
Most of the time.
The Good, the Bad and the Nnnngh.
In the mid-90's, there was only so much the show could get away with in terms of its writing. Already the dialogue was as brazen as they could get without tripping the censor alarm. The characters were as frank about their sexual exploits as they could get without directly saying what they were doing, and the show made full use of heightened language and witty wordplay to get its point across. It wasn't subtle, but it fell just short of being entirely offensive.
Unlike many of its contemporaries, Will and Grace could only go surface deep when it came to representing certain lifestyles. In episode 0219 "An Affair to Forget", Jack is traumatized when he receives a lapdance from a stripper at his friend's bachelor party, and finds that he enjoyed it. After he struggles with his sexuality over the course of an episode, he is relieved to find that the stripper is actually a man in the process of transitioning from male to female.
This brings up a multitude of issues that I don't have the time or education to discuss properly, but the main thing we all noticed is that the actress they got to play the transexual stripper was a biological woman.
This kind of thing is difficult to analyze, because it brings up the question: are we thinking too hard about this? Jack certainly isn't. He's willing to let this brush with desire for a female body go, satisfied as long as there's a dick attached to it. He's not considering the implications of having sexual feelings for someone who wants to BE a woman. Should we, as viewers, take issue with this joke if we do?
Hey, let's get some more sex jokes up in here! Who's with me?
Will and Grace made the decision in prior episodes to raise Grace's baby together. However, this plan is dashed when Grace's ex-husband Leo arrives out of nowhere, telling her he wants to start over and have a family with her.
What follows is select scenes from the years following Grace's decision to reunite with her ex-husband, in which Grace and Will barely speak at all. At first it was because they were each traumatized by this dramatic turn of events, then because their lives had drifted apart to the point where they could no longer intersect. At the end of the episode they reuinte when their children meet in their first year at college, and resolve to begin their friendship anew.
The key fact that remains true during this decades long absence from each other's lives is that they still considered the other their best friend.
Earlier on in the night, Big Moose took issue with the fact that the core group on this show treats each other so badly. They do seem to fight with each other a lot more than other sitcom friend groups. They flake on each other, they tell each other white lies, sometimes they scam each other.
In one scene in "May Divorce be with You," Grace points an accusatory finger at Jack and tells him, "You're a bad friend!"
"You're a worse friend!" Jack replied.
They then look at each other, shrug, say "Eh, whaddya gonna do?" and embrace.
"That's why you have friends," said Some Guy. "They're people you can be mean to and it's okay."
Drink whenever a man is called by a girl's name
I guess you could drink for the other way around too, but the guys are usually on the receiving end of this joke.
Get your head out of the gutter.
Drink when Will and Grace play "Taboo" or any kind of improvisational party game
This mostly happens in earlier episodes, but this kind of sequence showed up in three out of five of the episodes we watched.
Drink when two people kiss.
Drink TWICE when two people of the same gender kiss.
For Your Inebriation is written by Krissy Pappau (Hollis Beck). Video footage is taken and edited by Seb (Amy Yourd). All "Will and Grace" related photos are owned by NBC and Lionsgate Entertainment.