At long last! Will, Grace, Jack and Karen are back for not just one reunion season, but two, the first of which debuts Thursday night on NBC.
"Thank God these four held up," show producer Max Mutchnick quipped. Eric McCormack joked that if only one of them didn't age well, it would be quite the elephant in the room. So how has the show evolved? If Will and Grace's children are in the show, the show would be about Will and Grace as parents, producers said. If Will and Grace's children aren't in the show, the show would be about Will and Grace as bad parents. It'll be interesting to see how the writers weave in that component of the BFFs lives.
What time does Will and Grace air?
The groundbreaking sitcom returns to NBC at 9 p.m., taking on ABC's Scandal in the same time slot.
Viewers might think there is a laugh track, but the laughter you'll hear (besides your own) actually comes from a live studio audience. "We're that funny!" Sean Hayes joked.
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Will and Grace panel discussion at Tribeca TV Festival
At the Tribeca TV Festival on Saturday, show creators Mutchnick and David Kohen joined Debra Messing (Grace), Megan Mullally (Karen), Hayes (Jack) and McCormick (Will) for a talk after a special screening of the Will and Grace reunion (technically season nine) opener. In the new episode, the gang heads to the White House — President Trump's White House.
Checking in with Debra Messing
After 11 years and working on dramas, Messing told the audience at Cinépolis Chelsea that it took until about the third episode to feel like Grace was back. Her only request when shaping the evolution of Grace, was that "she be a feminist," Messing said.
"I asked that for Karen, too," Mullally deadpanned. "Political consciousness..." she continued, trailing off.
Checking in with Eric McCormack
In the new season, we meet up with Will and Grace, both divorced, who found each other again and are experiencing dating (younger men) in their 40s. McCormack said some fans of the first eight seasons (available to stream on Hulu or catch up on NBC's website) were disappointed Will never got laid. "Will had lots of sex off camera," McCormack explained. "It's a sitcom! I'm not going to take my d-ck out."
Checking in with Megan Mullally
When asked if there was anything she wanted to change about Karen Walker, Mullally immediately answered, "no," receiving applause. Of course, Karen is friends with the president and Melania Trump. "I helped him pick out Melania," Mullally said as Karen.
Mullally also told the audience to get ready for "very special episode moments coming up for Karen." Has our favorite pill-popping boozehound gotten soft?
Although Karen isn't exactly the greatest role model, Mullally admitted, she did say she was touched by all the fan mail during the original iteration of Will and Grace, especially when a young person who was considering suicide wrote in that the show gave hope.
The cast gave other examples of touching fan mail like the husband who went from "hating gays," according to his wife, to flourishing a "Just Jack!" around the house. Messing said a teen wrote in: "I just came out and my best friend won't talk to me anymore. I wish I had a Grace."
Another viewer wrote in to say that he was able to come out to his parents after they watched Will and Grace as a family.
Checking in with Sean Hayes
Fans might be dismayed to hear that Jack's signature "Just Jack" [imagine the hand flip] has been retired, but Will and Grace fans can look forward to some new businesses and ideas from Will's neighbor. Hayes called it an "honor and a privilege that people still do that," but said creatively, it's time for "a new thing." Mutchnick said he was sick of it for Hayes. Apparently, walking through a mall with Hayes is impossible without seeing "Just Jack" face frames from passersby. "Put your f--king hands down," Mutchnick joked.
Remembering Debbie Reynolds
The panel recalled working with Debbie Reynolds, who played Grace's mom during the original eight seasons. Reynolds passed away last year just after her daughter Carrie Fisher died. Mutchnick praised her memory calling her "an angel." "She was so not an angel," Kohen interjected. "She was a broad," Messing added.
Mutchnick recalled talking to Reynolds before her character appeared on the show. When asked if she'd dye her hair red, Mutchnick said her quick answer was, "I have two hairs on my body: one on my head and one on my p-ssy and they're both gray."
Reynolds ended up with a perfectly coiffed wig.