Apr 10, 2011

[TV] Will & Grace: Season 5

Will & Grace: Season 5It's tricky to review a show season by season, especially for the ones that run of significant number of years. Of course this is nothing compared to actually writing for a successful TV show like this one, but I just thought it might be worth the time to mention this to start of this review. After reviewing four other seasons, you'd think that I would have run out of things to say by now.

But clearly I haven't or I wouldn't even bother trying to publish this review. If anything, this show has managed to present something new as the years progressed in its original lifespan and the fact that episodes remain as hilarious as ever even with repeat viewing is a bit of a testament to the quality of this show overall.

If anything, the biggest challenge is trying to figure out a fair rating for each individual season since all of them have their great moments amidst just "okay" episodes here and there. But by today's standards, even the okay episodes of this show remain far better than some of the sitcoms that we see on TV these days, at least from my perspective. And this season certainly stood out compared to some of the prior ones for a number of reasons.

Will & Grace was the eight season comedy series that remains as one of the most successful network televisions shows with gay principal characters. The show was created by executive producers David Kohan and Max Mutchnick.

Harry Connick, Jr.Cover of Harry Connick, Jr.This season introduced a pretty pivotal character that carried on for quite a while in the form of Dr. Leo Markus (Harry Connick, Jr.) as a new love interest for Grace (Debra Messing) just as she had committed to have a baby with the help of her best friend will (Eric McCormack) at the end of the last season. In the course of the season she eventually gives in to Leo's advances and surprisingly ends up marrying him less than halfway through the season.

Will's life isn't that much easier this time around when the other partner at Will's firm (as played by Gene Wilder) comes back into the picture to make some crazy new decisions at the office and eventually lean on Will for support. Further down the road, Will and Jack (Sean Hayes) end up "adopting" the newly out nephew of Karen (Megan Mullally), Barry (Dan Futterman) in an effort to make him into a "proper" gay man despite Will's initial dismissal of his attempts to woo him.

And Karen got some major plot points this time around given her struggle with her husband Stan being in prison while she continues to resist the temptation to cheat on her husband. And Jack remains Jack with such antics as stalking Kevin Bacon (why not, right?), starting his own acting class and a bunch of other good stuff.

I have to admit that at first, the introduction of Leo felt like too much of a gimmick given the fairly recognizable actor playing him. But as the season progressed, it was pretty clear that the writers were trying to get Grace's character to grow up a bit more by giving her an actual long-term relationship to handle. The whole marriage thing seemed like a pretty odd twist too, but in the end they managed to make this plot thread work, and quite effectively too.

Sadly, Will didn't fare too well in the relationship department once more, which really is a long term issue with the series as a whole. If anything, at least there was a modest attempt to make him a slightly less shallow character given the whole Barry story arc, although it did feel fitting in the end that even that didn't resolve in his favor.

I was surprised at the complexities of Karen's story in this season. As much as her behavior remained pretty crazy all throughout, you have to admit the events that took place were pretty serious when taken out of the humorous context. Her husband gets imprisoned, she is tempted to see other men (and with her husband's blessings) and the other twists and turns later in the season that I'm doing my best not to spoil for you. Yes, there's definitely a lot to be said by this season and how Mullaly handled the transitions in Karen's life while still remaining as hilariously evil as she has been since the start of the show.

Jack was really more just of background piece in this run through and he mainly played off other character and pivotal events without actually going anywhere in the long term. So yeah, it does make it look like the straight characters were the ones making progress while the gay ones just sort of remained as they were. Hmm, that seems more disappointing in hindsight.

However, the show remains undeniably funny despite this lack of true character growth for Will and Jack and is definitely worth seeing. I could go into detail in terms of all the crazy things that they end up doing together but I'd rather not spoil things further. If anything, you can look forward to a heck of a lot of interesting celebrity cameos that include Elton John, Demi Moore, Macauly Culkin, Minnie Driver and the patroness of many gay men around the world, Madonna Herself. Priceless.

Will & Grace: Season 5 marked an interesting turning point in the show, at the very least for Grace and did present a lot of interesting new ideas in how things were progressing. It gets 4.5 crazy acting tips Jack gives his new students out of a possible 5.

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  1. 4.5? If there's a 6 rating I would've rated it 6! :-)

    This review made me wanna put W&G season 5 disc on the player.

  2. You're such a Will & Grace fanboy, Nelson. And you're straight to boot! =D