Jul 18, 2010

[TV] Will & Grace: Season 2

Will & Grace: Season 2I've been enjoying the little cultural exchange programs that my partner and I go through as we share movies and TV shows that we like with one another. My sharing subjects tend to fall into two major categories - the geeky stuff and the gay stuff.

Obviously there's an overwhelming amount of geeky stuff for someone like me to share. On the other hand, there's also a good number of campy gay things to enjoy together. One of our recent pursuits is going through the various seasons of Will & Grace, which I'll always feel is one of the key shows in LGBT TV history. This is defintely one of those shows that works fairly well in a marathon situation - it's just laugh after laugh after laugh, quite frankly. You'll only end up stopping to take a break and if only to get the sound of Karen's insults out of your head or something.

Revisiting the show in this manner has also proven to be an interesting way to sort of relive the progress and evolution of the show. Knowing it lasted as long as it did, this helps one understand why the show worked and how it managed to survive for as long as it did.

The second season of Will & Grace started with a new status quo - Will (Eric McCormack) and Grace (Debra Messing) now living in separate apartments. Sure, they're still living across the hall from one another, and so it's not that radical a change, but it does represent their efforts to live separate lives. In other news, Jack (Sean Hayes) now lives with Karen (Megan Mullally) since he married her maid Rosario (Shelley Morrison) in order to get her a green card. Karen is still married to the unseen millionaire Stan. Will and Grace remain to be single...unless you count their sexless marriage as a significant enough relationship.

This season brought a number of changes to the lives of this quirky ensemble cast. There's Will nearly hitting the big time but eventually losing his practice entirely. Karen was in a porn video in her younger years. Jack was still straight was far as his parents were concerned. And Grace eventually finds a boyfriend who worships the ground that she walks on and allows her to see other men.

Naturally this meant a host of new characters joining the show. Beyond seeing a lot more of Rosario, we also got to meet Ben (Gregory Hines), who eventually becomes Will's new boss in a much larger law firm. There's Josh (Corey Parker), who becomes Grace's new age boyfriend in this season. We had fun cameos from Peter Paige (of Queer as Folk fame), Neil Patrick Harris and even Joan Collins! And fun returning characters like friends Rob (Tom Gallop) and Ellen (Leigh-Allyn Baker) and strange building neighbor Val Bassett (Molly Shannon).

The season had a lot of character growth for most of the cast and some fleshing out of their back stories. We met a lot more of most of their families save for Karen and there were definite attempts to give more of them either love prospects or at least relationships of significant importance. The Jack-Karen tandem remained to be one of the strong points of the show from a comedic perspective while Will and Grace struggled to redefine their relationship as friends. Given how close they are, I can totally get why they had such a hard time trying to set the appropriate limits and boundaries in terms of their friendship. So yeah, everyone got their turn at the plate, for the most part, and this led to a lot of good stories and more realistic personalization of the individuals.

The show also saw some budget improvements, mainly in the form of outdoor scenes and somewhat on-location shots. Plus the ever-changing wardrobe, expanded sets for certain characters and of course all the quirky guest stars. It's funny to consider Neil Patrick Harris appeared on the show well before he formally came out as a gay man. The wonders of this show never cease to amaze me.

Will & Grace: Season 2 is a must-see for any fans of the series in order to better understand a lot more about the characters' history and to make more sense of the references in future seasons. It gets 4.5 minutes of gay men kissing on screen out of a possible 5. This should sooo happen!
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