Thursday, October 24, 2019

REVIEW: 'Will & Grace' - Will and Grace Both Have Big News About Their Futures in 'Eat, Pray, Love, Phone, Sex'

NBC's Will & Grace - Episode 11.01 "Eat, Pray, Love, Phone, Sex"

Grace returns from her European travels a new woman, but her elation is short-lived when she receives life-changing news. Karen teaches Will how to be better at phone sex, and inadvertently helps him admit he wants a family with McCoy. Jack has a yard sale to discreetly get rid of Estefan's annoying cuckoo clock.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the season premiere of NBC's Will & Grace.

"Eat, Pray, Love, Phone, Sex" was written by David Kohan, Max Mutchnick, Jon Kinnally & Tracy Poust and directed by James Burrows

When Will & Grace came back after eleven years, it had to undo the original ending that established the future lives of its characters. That original finale said that Will and Grace went their separate ways and started their own families. It was all written off as an elaborate dream. That way the new episodes could function the same way the show always had. It chose to examine how the same setup had changed simply because the characters were older now. It may actually be sad that Will and Grace continue to live with each other. And now, the show begins its final season with its characters in wildly different positions that promise a season full of significant developments for them. Will is engaged to McCoy and wants to begin planning for a family. Grace is unexpectedly pregnant. Jack and Estefan are happily married. And Karen is divorced from Stan. Those first two points definitely brings the conversation back to the way the original series concluded. It may feel as if the creators are trying to produce the same kind of ending since they know this is going to be the final season of the show. And so, Grace comes back from her European trip to discover that she is pregnant. Now, this development certainly comes with the need to suspend disbelief a little bit because of her age. Grace and everyone around her does talk about that. But mostly, it's the same conversation happening over and over again about how she is too old to realistically be pregnant. It's not really a nuanced conversation. It only really works during the final discussion she has with Will. Now, the two of them imagining a future in which their children are best friends is a reality the show has told before. Again, that previous ending has merit. It highlighted how some things don't always go according to plan. Grace is a single mother who doesn't know if she can handle all of the responsibilities. Meanwhile, Will and McCoy aren't living together. All they have are brief conversations when the time difference allows it. At first, it's all about intimacy. How can they keep the spark alive when they are on two separate continents now? Will reaches out to Karen for help with phone sex. She gets way into it when he doesn't even have to try. That is broad humor but it can be effective as well. But again, all of this pivots around the conversation Will wants to have about a family. The audience doesn't really see McCoy's reaction to that statement. It can only be inferred that he is onboard with this plan based on Will's later reaction when Grace returns to the apartment. In that moment, all of this is a celebration. They are happy to be thinking about their potential families. They don't want to worry about the math or if they'll be good parents. Sure, Karen walks in and immediately says that no one in this group of friends should be considering bringing a baby into this world. None of them could handle that responsibility. With Jack, he actually sees the error of his thinking. Sure, that cuts Estefan out of the decision entirely. It doesn't matter what his thoughts on the subject are. It was something that only Jack was thinking about for a moment. He does so because he enjoys the clarity that comes from him and Estefan being able to fight without it immediately leading to divorce. That is an insightful realization for him. But again, this premiere is mostly just establishing that things are about to change in a big way for these friends. They are making plans that may forever alter the friendships they have long relied on in their lives. It's just important for the show to highlight the ongoing struggles as it comes to Will and Grace chasing these new goals. It can certainly be a rewarding journey in the end. The show just has to put in the necessary work to make the audience care while highlighting the difficulties that must come up because of their respective ages.