“Will & Grace” is an American television sitcom that was originally broadcast on NBC from September 21, 1998 to May 18, 2006 (8 seasons) and a revival run from September 28, 2017 to April 23, 2020 (3 seasons), created by David Kohan and Max Mutchnick, and directed by James Burrows . The show takes place in New York City and focuses on Will Truman, a gay lawyer, and his best friend Grace Adler, a straight Jewish woman who runs her own interior design firm. Grace is engaged to a real jerk until the relationship falls apart and she moves in with Will. It’s supposed to be temporary, until Grace finds her own place, but more and more it looks like a permanent arrangement.
Also featured are their friends Karen Walker, a demonically alcoholic socialite, and Jack McFarland, a flamboyantly gay actor. The interplay of relationships features the trials and tribulations of dating, marriage, divorce, and casual sex; as well as comical key stereotypes of gay and Jewish culture.
A gay lawyer, he studied at Columbia University, where he met Grace. They have been best friends ever since. He has a very neurotic side, especially when it comes to cleaning. Several characters have commented that his relationship with Grace is more like that of a romantic couple than of two friends.
An interior designer with an apparent obsession with food, who has been Will’s best friend since college. Selfish, messy and neurotic, she often plays as a counter-balance for Will’s more uptight nature.
One of Will’s best friends, he is flamboyant and superficial. He plays a more stereotypical gay role than Will. Jack drifts from boyfriend to boyfriend and job to job, including struggling actor, retail associate and student nurse. Early on in the show he establishes a close friendship with Karen.
The wife of the wealthy (but never seen) Stan Walker. She “works” as Grace’s assistant making “Grace Adler Designs” more popular among her social contacts. Known for abusing alcohol and pills, she can be quite insensitive, but is close to Grace and Jack, and occasionally Will.
When the show came to TV screens in the mid-1990s it immediately challenged one of the last remaining taboos in American society: same sex relationships. Will was the first openly gay character on primetime television at a time when much of the country still held deeply conservative attitudes. The brilliance of the show’s writers was in their ability to tell his story in a way that challenged people’s perceptions of homosexuality. The Will & Grace show is a great example that has deservedly been credited as having had a profoundly positive impact on the American public’s attitude towards gay people.
Joe Biden, the new president of the USA this year, who had served as Obama’s Vice-President during his two terms, publicly commented that he believed the show to have done more than anything else to advance the cause of gay rights in America.
One of only three television series to win Emmys for all of their principal cast members. The others are All in the Family (1971) and The Golden Girls (1985), with all three shows featuring a regular cast of four. The Odd Couple’s Jack Klugman and Tony Randall both won Emmy Awards for their work on that show as well.
Amongst the four main cast members, Sean Hayes received most award recognition for his work, with a total of 44 nominations, Megan Mullaly achieved 40 nominations, Debra Messing got 36, and Eric McCormack received 28, during the original eight season run.
In a surprise announcement from NBC, this show returned to television after an eleven-year hiatus. What makes it all amazing is the show returned with the original cast, original director, original producers, and airing on the original network as well. The original announcement indicated there would be ten episodes, but NBC soon announced there would more coming.
Because of the show’s numerous pop culture references, many of the celebrity guests had already been mentioned on the show before their eventual guest appearances (for example, Alec Baldwin, Matt Damon, Madonna, Britney Spears, et cetera).
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History exhibits memorabilia from this show, as a part of documenting the history of LGBT Americans. Featured are original scripts, casting ideas, political memorabilia surrounding the show, and the season eight finale, plus network donated props, such as a sign from “Grace Adler Interior Design”, Will Truman’s framed college diploma, the portrait of a young man that hung in Will and Grace’s New York City apartment, as well as Karen Walker’s pill bottle and flask.