Ciara’s Top 5 Favorite Show: #3 – WILL & GRACE

Will & Grace cast

My #3 favorite television series of all time was exceptionally difficult to narrow down. Finding the first and second is easy. Like the books and movies I love, my first and second favourite television series changed my life, made me realize that television could be both entertaining and an art form. I can watch my first and second television series-and I have-six, seven times in a year and still never tire of them. I think of shows like My So-Called Life, Deadwood and Battlestar Galactica and lament that the list could not be longer. But even if this was a top ten list, I would still end up leaving shows I dearly love. In a month’s time I may look back on this list and slap my forehead, wondering how on earth I could have left out so-and-so or maybe why I listed such-and-such ahead of blah-di-blah.

Without further ado, let me tell you why my third favourite television series of all time is WILL & GRACE.

I did not expect it to be this show. It’s not a cathartic show, nor is it an artsy show. It’s not even a cult show. It is a hilarious show. It’s a show about four friends, two of whom happen to be gay. Will and Jack are not two gay men. They are two men who happen to be gay. Karen is a raving alcoholic, a little bisexual and utterly bonkers. Both Will and Grace are successful career-wise, both are in their thirties, both love each other dearly and the show follows their exploits, most hilarious, some sad, as they try to navigate their way through New York and love as a middle class white thirty-something.

There are some shows featuring characters that are defined by their sexuality. On Glee, for instance, Kurt Hummel’s storylines are centered around him trying to find love from his father (who is going to have to start learning to say “I love you no matter what your sexual orientation” in several more languages since Kurt clearly doesn’t understand it in English). Rarely were there such politics on Will & Grace, and the few times there were, they were handled with finesse:

Jack: You’re so generous. I swear, if you weren’t Jewish, you’d definitely go to heaven.
Grace: Thanks, Jack. And if you weren’t gay, you’d go there too.

Or:

[when Jack protests a gay kiss being pulled from an NBC show (Will & Grace was aired on NBC), being told the channel won’t promote that lifestyle]
Jack: It’s a gay network, for God’s sake, the symbol is a peacock!

The relationships were what made the show great. Will and Grace were soul mates, they just weren’t lovers. Jack and Karen were soul mates; they’d no desire to be lovers. Will and Grace often played the ‘serious man’ to Jack and Karen’s comic insanity, but the writers were wise; they knew that too much of ‘Just Jack’ or Karen squeakiness would irritate quickly. Will and Grace were the heart of the show, and Jack and Karen spiced it up.

Sure, quality dipped in the later years. But when it was good, it was great. For me personally, it was the last show I watched as ‘event television’. It ended in 2006 after 8 seasons. It ended just as the internet was beginning to pick up for me. I remember watching double bills of Will & Grace religiously once a week with the fambam, before I could TiVo shows or watch them online. Is it the third greatest show of all time? No. But I’m listing it here for my own selfish, nostalgic reasons. And whilst it wouldn’t top the list, filled with a stellar cast, excellent writing, hilarity and an endless supply of quotes, Will & Grace was one of the best show ever.

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