Apr 8, 2012

[TV] Will & Grace: Season 8

Wow, and we finally come to the end of another series of blog reviews here on the Geeky Guide. And the fact that I'm posting a review of this final season of Will & Grace means that I've actually watched (and often re-watched) the entire series run in order to get to this point.

I'll always look at Will & Grace as a landmark piece in US network television history since it was the first show to prominently feature LGBT characters in primary roles. Sure we had those ambiguously gay characters on the side before - the ones limited to functions liek comic relief and so on. But in this case we had lead characters who were gay and of course a wide range of supporting characters of a similar nature all dealing with LGBT culture and related issues. How can this not be an important moment in gay history?

And beyond the function it served, it was also a highly successful series - it did reach 8 full seasons after all. And I can't see a reason for people not to want to revisit this series regardless of your sexual orientation.

At the end of the day, Will & Grace was one funny show and it certainly tried to end things on a high note.

Will & Grace is a US network television sitcom created by David Kohan and Max Mutchnick. It ran from 1998-2006 on NBC and it has now been broadcast in over 60 countries.

Megan Mullally at the 2011 Comic Con in San Diego
Megan Mullally at the 2011 Comic Con in San Diego (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This final season began with a live episode - a first in the show's history. And that particular show tackled a fairly major plot point in the series as well - the revelation that Stan, Karen Walker's (Megan Mullally) husband was actually alive and in witness protection. And thus the season opened with the quirky crew trying to come to terms with this fact and what it means for their new status quo since then.

The season also dangled a few old flames for some of the characters, perhaps to provide more closure or just to see how things might go. On the one hand we had Grace (Debra Messing) re-encountering her ex-husband Leo (Harry Connick, Jr.) and Will (Eric McCormack) bumping into his former partner Vince (Bobby Cannavale).

And of course there was the biggest story arc that carries the season until the end of the show - Grace discovering she's pregnant. And how she deals with this fact, Leo being the father and of course what this means for her life in general really shape the final stories.

I'm not quite sure if I liked the actual series finale, mind you. The decision to jump forward in time is a classic storytelling trope and it can be effective, I must admit. But at the same time, this particular resolution to things did feel a tad forced in some ways, or perhaps I've come to get used to a more gradual development of story given the overall pacing of this series in general. And some plot threads didn't quite get resolved - I just found it weird that we didn't get to see Jack's (Sean Hayes) biological son Elliot (Michael Angarano) all that much towards the end of things. And yes, I acknowledge he left for college, but this too seemed like a convenient trope that didn't quite resolve things from a storytelling perspective.

On the whole though, the season wasn't too bad, but it definitely it wasn't quite the worst of things. I felt at times there was a distinct effort to return things to their original status quo like how Will eventually becomes a big time lawyer again or how Jack loses his OutTV job only to find a way to return to his original love for acting. But then what can you do, right? This sort of a set up did sort of help things along in preparation for the ultimate end of things.

Should the show have gone on longer? It could have, but it was probably for the best that it didn't. As much as it remained generally funny over the years, I did feel that the quality of the long-term story arcs and the overall sense of creative direction and control was slowly being lost. And that can't be helped sometimes - you just run out of stories when you run with a show this long. But compared to other television sitcoms that lasted around this long, I'd like to think that they maintained a rather respectable level of quality all throughout.

Will & Grace: Season 8 remains a good end to a great series and one that I still enjoyed a lot. Thus the season rates a respectable 4 moments of Beverly Leslie walking into the scene saying "Well, well, well..." out of a possible 5.

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  1. I remember I was looking for a "Will & Grace" review when I stumbled upon your site. I was really emotional when I watched the season finale (read: teary-eyed emotional) and I loved how it ended (yes, even the song number Jack and Karen did was amazing) and the final scene where they show them in a bar just old times...okay..*remembers and picks up tissue*...I'm going to stop now...

    Always an insightful and concise review

  2. Hehe, you Will & Grace sap you...