Feb 5, 2012

[TV] Will & Grace: Season 7

It's somewhat scary to consider that I'm just one season away from having reviewed the entire run of Will & Grace. It's taken quite a while to get here given on again, off again viewing schedules for our DVD collection of the series, but as always it has been consistently entertaining from season to season.

And when I say consistently, it just means that I still find the show funny. I have to admit that the quality of the humor and the overall storyline did somewhat degrade given the changes behind the scenes and the natural "decay" that any show experiences after being on the air for so long.

One could argue that a sitcom doesn't need a larger meta-plot and should just focus on being funny. However that rarely works since people invest in the characters and expect logical growth and change as time passes. And while the show has done quite well over the years in giving their central cast a lot of interesting developments over the years, this particular season felt like a step backwards where a lot of the changes were undone and we were left largely with the initial status quo.

Will & Grace is an LGBT sitcom that ran from 1998-2006 on NBC. The show was created by David Kohan and Max Mutchnick and pretty much directed by James Burrows.

This season seemed to focus on resetting a lot of the things that the various characters had accomplished over the years, as I had mentioned before. At the end of the last season, we found out that Leo (Harry Connick, Jr.) had cheated on Grace (Debra Messing), thus prompting her to ask for a divorce. And while Will (Eric McCormack) was still involved with policeman Vince (Bobby Cannavale), it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that their chemistry was less than ideal.

It was interesting to see Jack (Sean Hates) hold a real job at a gay-centric television network, but it's clear that the writers felt this was the wrong way to go and that didn't exactly last either. And Karen (Megan Mullally) - well, she remains Karen. Thus she continues to drink her way to an early grave while being wonderfully hilarious while doing so.

Jeff Goldblum on Broadway in New York City
Image via Wikipedia
The weird element for this season beyond Will and Grace's relationship blues would be the odd need to introduce a new "arch-nemesis" for Karen in the form of Scott Woolley, as played by Jeff Goldblum. While I think Goldblum can be a decently funny actor in the right circumstances, his character just felt rather wrong to me and the whole thing just didn't really work. And why on earth they decided to drag this conflict on for so many episodes was beyond me.

Of all the characters, I felt Grace took the biggest leap backwards given she seems to have been reduced to a comedic spoil for Will, like in the first season. She spent the first half of the season trying to get over Leo, and the second half was just her trying to keep up with the rest of the action. As if it wasn't strange enough that to have Jack being more focused as a character, but to have Grace just totally lack drive and direction seemed really, really wrong to me.

Megan Mullally
Megan Mullally (Image via RottenTomatoes.com)
Thus I can see why there was so much talk about giving Jack and Karen their own spin-off series as Will & Grace wound down. They did carry most of the humor in these latter seasons and with Will & Grace just floundering around for the most part, someone had to keep the show afloat. Not that I think such a show would do well - the two are just a bit too crazy to be sustained on their own. They only really work because they have more logical and sensible characters to balance them out.

Will & Grace remains to be a great and funny show, but this season definitely wobbled a bit. I can totally understand why the 8th season turned out to be their last, but at least they went out with a bang. Thus season 7 still gets 3 funny one-liners from Vince as the "butch gay guy" out of a possible 5.

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