Thursday, October 11, 2018

REVIEW: 'Will & Grace' - Karen's Marriage Isn't as Stable as She Thought in 'Where in the World is Karen Walker?'

NBC's Will & Grace - Episode 10.02 "Where in the World is Karen Walker?"

Will, Grace and Jack are upset when they discover they've been too preoccupied with the changes in their own lives: Will teaching law at Columbia, Grace running for president of the New York Interior Designers Society and Jack's new relationship with Estefan to even notice Karen has not been seen in days - ever since her husband found out about her affair with Malcolm.

In 2018, it has become very difficult to keep up with every television show out there. It's even more difficult to provide adequate coverage on this site about the episodes that air every week. Not every show can get full coverage because of my busy and hectic viewing schedule. As such, some reviews will now be condensed to give only some summary thoughts. But it also affords a space for me to jot down my thoughts on the various episodes. And so, here are my thoughts on this week's episode of NBC's Will & Grace.

"Where in the World is Karen Walker?" was written by Adam Barr and directed by James Burrows

In hindsight, the grade for last week's season premiere should be significantly lower because there was absolutely no reason why it should have been the first episode of the tenth season. It wasn't even the first episode produced for this run of episodes either. It makes no sense. Apparently, the creative team or the network executives decided featuring David Schwimmer was more of an appeal for a premiere than ensuring that continuity was maintained through the new episodes. It's so strange and peculiar. It's abundantly clear that this episode should have been the premiere. It deals exactly with the story from the two-part finale in the spring. Will and Grace's parents have gotten married. Jack is planning his own wedding and Karen is dealing with her affair with Malcolm. Moreover, this episode features Will and Grace making big changes to their lives. Changes that were already playing out in last week's premiere. It's odd. The wedding takes place and then the story cuts ahead three months. That title card is still present even though the creative team knew that the episodes were airing in this specific order. It's after that cut that Grace makes a big deal about deciding to run for office. It once again highlights how she sees this as a vastly important position even though it really isn't in the grand scheme of things. That is consistent with this story. However, it could grow rather repetitive and annoying after awhile as well. This episode is all about the excitement that comes from her campaign and getting her first supporters. But the premiere already established that she was doing well and had a solid team of support. Meanwhile, Will's career change wasn't mentioned at all in the premiere. It's barely mentioned here too. He is now a professor of law. And yet, he spends the entire first class talking about himself and his new beard. His new facial hair doesn't look bad either. The show just plays it as him trying to cling onto his youth instead of embracing his true age. Again, that doesn't make a whole lot of sense following his pledge to age gracefully alongside Karen in the premiere. Things are more stable with Karen and Jack because the premiere didn't establish storylines of ongoing importance for them. Here, Jack is dealing with the reality of impulsively getting engaged to Estefan. He freaks out about it for a minute. Karen contributes to that feeling because of marriage being a pledge one makes forever. That's a tragic statement because her long-running marriage to Stan ends here. He learns about her affair with Malcolm and immediately files for divorce. It's definitely going to be fascinating to see Karen as a single woman. It's a change in her life that she doesn't want to embrace. She goes on the run after she learns of how much Stan knows about her recent actions. She is inspired to come back simply by talking things out with a woman on a Universal Studios tour. That's an unexpected place to find Karen even though she doesn't know how to act like a tourist. It's also inspiring that this isn't used as an excuse to officially put her together in a relationship with Malcolm. She deserves something better. He's just trying to win her with the show also thinking government surveillance is a good punchline. But as the premiere also showcased, Karen will still function as the vapid and vain friend that everyone else knows and loves.