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Will & Grace is an Americanmarker television sitcom that was originally broadcast on NBC from 1998 to 2006. The show takes place in New York Citymarker 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. Also featured are their friends Karen Walker, a rich socialite, and Jack McFarland, a struggling gay actor/singer/dancer who also has had brief careers as an acting teacher, back-up dancer, cater-waiter, talk-show host and nurse.

Will & Grace is the most successful series portraying gay principal characters, despite initial criticism for its particular portrayal of gay people, as it went on to become a staple of NBC's Must See TV Thursday night lineup, where it was ensconced in the Nielsen Top 20 for half of its network run. Throughout its eight-year run, Will & Grace earned 16 Emmy Awards, and 83 nominations.

Will & Grace was filmed in front of a live studio audience (most episodes and scenes) on Tuesday nights, at Stage 17 in CBS Studio Centermarker, a space that totals 14,000 sq. ft. Will and Grace's apartment is on display at the Emerson Collegemarker Library, having been donated by series creator Max Mutchnick.

Cast and crew

Principal characters

A lawyer, Grace's former boyfriend and fiancé of about 30 minutes before admitting he was a homosexual. After being estranged for a year or so, they bumped into each other again and have remained best friends 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.
A Jewish interior designer with an apparent obsession with food, who has been Will's best friend since college. Will and Grace were a couple in Will's last attempt at a straight relationship as he believes that if he can't make it work with Grace he can't make it work with any woman.
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. She can be quite insensitive, but is close to Grace and Jack, and occasionally Will.
One of Will's best friends, he is flamboyant and superficial, Also he a secret crush on 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 strikes up a close friendship with Karen.
Karen's maid, Rosario was working as a cigarette lady when Karen hired her in 1985. She was briefly married to Jack so she would not be deported. Rosario was a recurring character for the first two seasons and was promoted to a main character from the beginning of season three.

In the opening credits, McCormack and Messing are billed together, with top billing alternating between episodes. Morrison is only billed in the episodes she appears in.

Principal recurring characters

See Supporting characters on Will & Grace for complete list of recurring characters and guest stars.

  • Beverley Leslie (Leslie Jordan) - a closeted, staunchly Republican, very short and very wealthy socialite whose relationship with Karen changes rapidly from friend to enemy and back
  • Dr. Marvin "Leo" Markus (Harry Connick, Jr.) - Grace's boyfriend (starting in season five) and eventual husband; their marriage ended (season seven) after he cheated on her. He is also the father of her child (season eight) and in the series finale they are raising their daughter, Lilah
  • Val Bassett (Molly Shannon) - a slightly crazy, alcoholic, divorced woman who lives in the same building as Will, Grace, and Jack; Val tends to get into fights with Grace, and has been known to stalk Jack
  • Vince D'Angelo (Bobby Cannavale) - Will's first long-term boyfriend (after Michael)(Seasons 6-8), with whom he eventually raises his son, Ben (end of Season 8)
  • Ben Doucette (Gregory Hines) - Will's boss at the law firm Doucette and Stein, who briefly dates Grace
  • Mr. Stein (Gene Wilder) - Will's neurotic other boss at Doucette and Stein after Ben Doucette leaves the firm


Story and episodes

Will & Grace's early relationship

Will and Grace first met at Columbia University in 1985, living across the hall from one another in a co-ed dorm. They instantly connected and soon began dating. Will then threw a Dorm Party which Jack crashed, and after the party was over Jack accused Will of being in denial about his sexual orientation. After proposing marriage to Grace (as a way to postpone sleeping with her) Will finally came out to her. Grace threw him out of her family's house and they did not speak for a year (Grace having moved off campus), but they accidentally ran into each other again on Thanksgiving the following year (1986) at D'Agostino's supermarket. This meeting spurred a reconciliation and they became best friends. (These events are seen as flashbacks during the third season of the show).

As roommates

In the pilot episode of the show, Grace was about to get married to her boyfriend Danny. When Will disapproved, she became angry and planned to get married secretly anyway. However on the way to the wedding she realizes that Will was right, and she leaves Danny. Needing an apartment, she moved in with Will in his apartment on the Upper West Sidemarker. Will and Grace spend a lot of time with one another as well as with friends Jack McFarland and Karen Walker. Jack is a flamboyant, gay, struggling stage actor-singer-dancer who, over the course of the show, has a range of jobs including cater waiter, acting teacher, student nurse, retail sales (working for Banana Republic and Barneys), back-up dancer for singers such as Jennifer Lopez and Janet Jackson and TV producer. Karen, an alcoholic multimillionaire, works as Grace's assistant, a job she took to have time away from the home she shares with her husband Stan and his kids, Mason and Olivia. Another character who factored into the early episodes of Will & Grace was Will's client Harlin Polk, played by Gary Grubbs. At first he was given billing in the opening credits with the other four cast members, but interest in his storyline waned, and he was written out of the show early in the second season (Harlin, rather reluctantly, fired Will and hired another lawyer).

The show follows both Will and Grace's attempts to establish romantic relationships without sacrificing their often co-dependent reliance on one another for emotional support. A common joke finds Jack and Karen referring to Will and Grace as married, "non-romantic life partners", or "sexless lovers." At the beginning of the second season Grace moved into her own apartment (across the hall from Will's) in an attempt to put some distance between herself and Will, but then ended up moving back at the beginning of the third season. She moved out again after getting married early in the fifth season, but she moved back in with Will after separating from her husband during Season 6.


Grace had several lovers on the show, portrayed by actors such as Woody Harrelson and Edward Burns. Frequently, her lovers feel frustrated by her relationship with Will, jealous of their closeness, personal jokes, and ability to finish each other's sentences. Eventually she married Leo, played by musician and actor Harry Connick, Jr.. Leo was unusual in that Grace's friendship with Will seemed not to bother him; at one point, when Grace was extremely upset about Leo's upcoming six-month absence, she asked if Will could sleep (platonically) with them, and Leo responded with good humor, saying, "I knew this was going to happen one day." They split in the finale of the show's sixth season after Grace discovered that Leo had had an adulterous affair while working with Doctors Without Borders in Cambodiamarker. In the final season, on a flight to London, Grace meets Leo on the plane where they have sex, resulting in Grace becoming pregnant, which she keeps a secret from him. In the series finale (May 2006), however, Leo tells a heavily pregnant Grace that he loves her. They subsequently raise their daughter, Laila, together.

Will was usually less successful romantically. This eventually drew some criticism from those who noted that Grace was often shown being affectionate with her dates and boyfriends, while Will rarely was. In the first season, it is mentioned that Will had a seven-year relationship with a man named Michael, but this partnership ended before the series began. Will does not have any more serious long-term love interests until the spring of 2004 when the character of Vince, an Italian American New York City Police Department officer played by Bobby Cannavale, was introduced. Their relationship lasted until the spring of 2005, when Vince lost his job and the two decided to "take a break." Will met James, supposedly by fate, at a movie theater and again in Los Angelesmarker. Just as they started to get close, however, James discovered he was going to be deported. In order to give Will and James a chance, Grace agreed to marry James in order to help him avoid deportation. This plan, along with James' relationship with Will, was short-lived when it was revealed he was a major jerk. He was played by Rent star Taye Diggs. However in the final season, Will was reunited with Vince, and the two would eventually get married and raise a son together, named Ben.

Jack, whose floundering one-person show and acting career has been established as a hopeless dream, eventually finds work in retail sales and married (and later divorced) Karen's maid and longtime friend Rosario Salazar in order to help her gain U.S. residency (green card). It was also revealed that he had a teenage biological son named Elliott, played by Michael Angarano. Elliott was conceived through artificial insemination and mothered by Bonnie, a lesbian played by Rosie O'Donnell. Jack's longest relationship is with Stuart Lamarack (Dave Foley), which lasts several months during the sixth season, during which Jack sees him at the movies with another man and assumes that Stuart is cheating on him. Jack finds out later that the other man was actually Stuart's son. Ironically, their relationship ends when Jack cheats on Stuart, who is not seen again.

Karen's husband, Stanley Walker, is described as an extremely wealthy and overweight man with some unusual sexual tastes, who gives a lot of business to Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. Jailed during season four for tax fraud, Stan was released in season five, but Karen soon caught him sleeping with his Britishmarker mistress Lorraine Finster (played by Minnie Driver), whom he met when she worked in the prison cafeteria. During Stan and Karen's divorce proceedings at the end of season five, Stan dropped dead, and season six saw Karen begin dating again, culminating in her 20-minute-long marriage to Lorraine's father, Lyle (played by John Cleese, who went uncredited). At the end of the seventh season, it was revealed that Stan faked his death, and, in season eight, he and Karen reconciled after she had a brief affair with a government agent (played by Alec Baldwin). However, by the end of the show, Karen leaves Stan for good, at which point it is revealed that everything he owned was on loan, rendering Karen's huge divorce settlement worthless.


In season five, Will and Grace experience their first big fight since the series began. Will and Grace decided to have a child together via artificial insemination. However, she meets and falls in love with Dr. Leo Markus and becomes unsure about continuing with the plan. Will and Grace argue about if she still wants to have the baby and she eventually decides she is against the idea. Will then accuses Grace of being a flake. They go two days without speaking until Karen and Jack come up with a scheme to make Will and Grace friends again. In season eight, Grace decides to remarry Leo. The two argue heatedly, deciding to end their friendship. Eventually they reconcile, but being too busy raising their children, they find it hard to find time for one another.


Critical reactions

The show garnered a fair amount of criticism and negative reviews upon its debut in 1998, most of which compared the show to the recently canceled ABC sitcom Ellen. One such review said, "If Will & Grace can somehow survive a brutal time period opposite football and Ally McBeal, it could grow into a reasonably entertaining little anomaly-- that is, a series about a man and a woman who have no sexual interest in one another. But don't bet on it. If it's doomed relationships viewers want, they'll probably opt for Ally." Ally McBeal had its final episode in 2002, four years before Will & Grace ended. As much as the show's eventual appeal disproved much of its initial criticism, the show continually dealt with the criticism for having a limited view of the gay community and for reinforcing stereotypes when some felt it should have torn them down.

The series finale was heavily promoted by NBC, and McCormack, Messing, Mullally and Hayes appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show and The Today Show to bid farewell, on May 10 and May 18, respectively. NBC devoted a two-hour block in its primetime schedule on May 18, 2006, for the Will & Grace send-off. An hour-long series retrospective, "Say Goodnight, Gracie", featuring interviews with the cast, crew, and guest stars, preceded the hour-long series finale. Series creators and executive producers Kohan and Mutchnick, who had not served as writers since the season 4 finale, penned the script for "The Finale." Regarding the finale, Mutchnick stated, "We wrote about what you want to have happen with people you love... All the things that matter in life, they end up having."

Awards and nominations

Will & Grace had been nominated for 83 and won 16 Emmys. From 2001-2005, Will & Grace was the highest-rated sitcom among adults 18-49. It has also been heralded as responsible for opening the door to a string of gay-themed television programs, such as Queer as Folk, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and Boy Meets Boy. Will & Grace has won several GLAAD Media Awards for its advocacy of the gay community. Despite more than two dozen nominations, Will & Grace never won a Golden Globe Award.

In the summer of 2005, Will & Grace was nominated for 15 Emmys, tied with Desperate Housewives as the series receiving the most nominations. This was almost an all time record, the two shows were second behind The Larry Sanders Show, with 16 nominations in 1996. Unlike Housewives, however, Will & Grace received many of its nominations during the 2004-2005 season for its guest actors and actresses. From these nominations, the series won two awards for the season. One of the two awards was for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series, won by Bobby Cannavale for his role as Vince, Will's boyfriend. For almost every season, Will & Grace was the most nominated Comedy Series at the Emmys.

In the summer of 2006, Will & Grace was nominated for 10 Emmys for its final season, including a nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress for Debra Messing, Outstanding Supporting Actor for Sean Hayes, and Outstanding Supporting Actress for Megan Mullally. Mullally won the award for her category (her second win out of seven nominations), and Leslie Jordan won the award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for his recurring role as Beverley Leslie. For the second-time, the show wasn't nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series (the first in 1999 for season 1) after 6 consecutive years of nominations.

Will & Grace is one of only three sitcoms in which all actors playing the main characters (McCormack, Messing, Hayes, and Mullally) have each won at least one acting Emmy. The other two sitcoms to have achieved the same feat are All in the Family and The Golden Girls.

Each with three awards, both Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally hold the record of winning the most Screen Actors Guild Awards for the categories Best Performance by an Actor in a Comedy Series and Best Performance by an Actress in a Comedy Series, respectively, for their roles in Will & Grace.

Ratings/NBC broadcast history

The show debuted on Mondays beginning on September 21, 1998 and steadily gained in popularity, culminating when it moved to Thursday night as part of NBC's Must See TV line-up. The show ultimately became a highly rated television show in the United States, earning a top-twenty rating during four of its eight seasons, including one season at # 9. However, when the show lost Friends as its lead-in after the 2003-04 season, gained the disappointing Friends spin-off Joey as its lead-in, and competition from CBS's Thursday night line-up increased, Will & Grace began shedding viewers and slipped out of the top 20 during its last two seasons.

"The Finale" drew over 18 million viewers, ranking # 8 for the week, easily making it the most watched episode of the final two seasons. While the series finale is considered a ratings success, it is far from being the most watched episode of Will & Grace—that accolade remains with the season four episode "A Chorus Lie", which aired on February 7, 2002 and ranked #8 for the week. When the show was at the height of its popularity (seasons 3-5), ranking in the Top 10 was a common occurrence, but the finale's Top 10 rank was the only such rank for season 8 and the first such rank since the season 7 premiere "FYI: I Hurt, Too".

Seasonal rankings (based on average total viewers per episode) of Will & Grace on NBC.

Note: Each U.S. network television season starts in late September and ends in late May, which coincides with the completion of May sweeps. All times listed are Eastern Time Zone.

Season Time slot Premiere Finale TV season Season
1 Monday 9:30 P.M. (September 21, 1998 - November 30, 1998)
Tuesday 9:30 P.M.

(December 15, 1998 - March 23, 1999)
Thursday 8:30 P.M.

(April 8, 1999 - May 13, 1999)

September 21, 1998 May 13, 1999 1998-1999 #40 12.3
2 Tuesday 9:00 P.M. September 21, 1999 May 23, 2000 1999-2000 #44 12.0
3 Thursday 9:00 P.M. October 12, 2000 May 17, 2001 2000-2001 #14 17.3
4 September 27, 2001 May 16, 2002 2001-2002 #9 17.3
5 September 26, 2002 May 15, 2003 2002-2003 #11 16.8
6 Thursday 9:00 P.M. (September 25, 2003 - January 22, 2004)
Thursday 8:32 P.M.

(February 10, 2004 - April 8, 2004)
Thursday 9:00 P.M.

(April 22, 2004 - April 29, 2004)

September 25, 2003 April 29, 2004 2003-2004 #16 15.2
7 Thursday 8:30 P.M. September 16, 2004 May 19, 2005 2004-2005 #44 10.0
8 Thursday 8:30 P.M. (September 29, 2005 - December 8, 2005)
Thursday 8:00 P.M.

(January 5, 2006 - May 18, 2006)
September 29, 2005 May 18, 2006 2005-2006 #61 8.7


Karen: The Musical

It has been announced that Megan Mullally will be starring in a new Broadway musical entitled Karen: The Musical. This musical will have Mullally reprising her role of Karen Walker. She stated in an interview that the show may also involve recurring guest star Leslie Jordan in his role as Beverley Leslie.


There had been talk in 2008 that a spinoff was being planned by NBC entitled Jack and Karen featuring Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally reprising their roles. The production had been thought of back in 2006 but put off due to the failure of Matt Le Blanc's spinoff from Friends, Joey as well as other scheduling circumstances. After time passed however, the ideas came back to life and it was rumored the series could start in the fall of 2009. There was no further mention of the idea after that point.


In December 2003, in the midst of the series' sixth season, executive producers and creators David Kohan and Max Mutchnick sued NBC and NBC studios. Alleging that the network sold the rights to the series in an attempt to keep profits within the NBC family, Kohan and Mutchnick felt that they were cheated out of considerable profits by the network's shopping of the show to the highest bidder. Another allegation against the network was that during the first four seasons of the series, the studio licensed the rights for amounts that were insufficient for covering production costs, thus leading to extraordinarily large production deficits. Three months later, NBC filed a countersuit against Kohan and Mutchnick stating that the co-creators were expected to act as an independent third party in the negotiations between NBC and its subsidiary, NBC Studios.

With a pending lawsuit and production beginning on other projects, Kohan and Mutchnick were absent on the Will & Grace set for most of its final seasons. They wrote the season 4 episode, "A Buncha White Chicks Sittin' Around Talkin'" and did not return to the writers' seat until the series finale four years later. Three years after NBC's countersuit and one year after the series ended, the legal battle between NBC and Kohan and Mutchnick ended in 2007 when all parties agreed on a settlement, with the series creators being awarded $49 million, of their original $65 million lawsuit.


DVD releases

Lionsgate Home Entertainment has released all 8 seasons of Will & Grace on DVD in Region 1.

Season Ep# Discs Release dates (by region) Notes (Region 1)
1 2 4
1 22 4 August 12, 2003 August 30, 2004 September 5, 2007 All 22 episodes included in their entirety.
2 24 4 March 23, 2004 August 30, 2004 September 5, 2007
  • "Ben?Her?" appears as the syndicated version
  • Episode listing on box does not match episode listing on discs
  • Episodes on the fourth disc appear out of sequence
3 25 4 September 7, 2004 August 30, 2004 October 3, 2007
  • The "super-size" episode, "Cheaters", appears as the original version, without the extra footage later added for syndication
  • "Cheaters" is incorrectly labeled as "Cheaters, part 1"
4 27 4 August 16, 2005 August 30, 2004 October 3, 2007 All 27 episodes included in their entirety.
5 24 4 August 29, 2006 March 7, 2005 October 3, 2007
  • The "super-size" episode, "Board Room and a Parked Place," and the one-hour 100th episode, "Marry Me a Little, Marry Me a Little More" appear as the full versions
  • The "super-size" episodes, "Women and Children First", "Dolls and Dolls", "May Divorce Be With You", "23", and the season finale "24", appear as the syndicated versions
6 24 4 May 1, 2007 August 15, 2005 November 21, 2007
  • The "super-size" episodes, "Dames at Sea" and "Ice Cream Balls", appear as the syndicated versions
7 24 4 December 4, 2007 January 30, 2006 November 21, 2007 All 24 episodes included in their entirety.
8 24 4 September 16, 2008 August 7, 2006 November 21, 2007 All 24 episodes included in their entirety.
Finale 1 1 May 30, 2006 One-hour series finale included in its entirety.
1-8 194 33 September 16, 2008 August 7, 2006 April 30, 2008 Re-packaged discs from the previous releases with a bonus disk containing:
  • A re-hashing of season 8's themed featurettes
  • Eric's favorite episode with commentary by him and Debra Messing
  • Debra's favorite episode with commentary by her and Eric McCormack
  • The Pilot Episode with commentary by Max Mutchinck, David Kohan, and James Burrows
  • A slideshow of stills from over the series' run.

Note: Episode count is based on the format in which episodes originally aired. One-hour episodes are counted as one episode, as per the numbering system used by NBC.


All DVDs are in English. The Region 1 Season 1 DVD is dubbed in Spanish which sounds Mexican accented. Season 2 has English audio and subtitled Spanish only. Seasons 3-7 do not have subtitles at all and have audio in English.The first three seasons are also available in a German dubbed/English language version with optional German and English subtitles(Region 2 DVD).

Running gags

  • Before a short argument starts, both Will and Grace will simultaneously say the same words.
  • Will and Grace being referred to as "married."
  • Other characters and even Grace herself implying that she has a thing for gay men or at least subconsciously attracted to gay men.
  • Grace would claim that she has a striking resemblance to certain red-haired celebrities, such as Julia Roberts, Rita Hayworth, and Nicole Kidman.
  • Karen continually mocks Grace's sense of style (e.g., "Grace, that blouse hurts like a hangover.").
  • Will and Grace often ignore Jack and Karen's ridiculous and stupid questions and statements.
  • Many characters, mostly Karen, mocking or mentioning Grace's small chest.
  • Karen claims that scenes from movies (e.g., Speed; To Sir, with Love; Norma Rae) or literature (e.g., Heidi) are her own experiences.
  • Jack constantly makes jokes about Will's hair loss and obesity (even though Will is clearly neither fat nor losing his hair).
  • Karen and Rosario always get into short, heated arguments, with one talking over the other. The argument always ends with both compromising and hugging while confessing their love for each other.
  • Whenever Rosario is not in an episode, Karen often mentions doing demeaning things to her or having her do demeaning things in an offhand way, such as having her maced and decorating a birthday cake with her teeth marks.
  • Will is borderline obsessive-compulsive, often being referred to as something clever like "Anal Annie" or mocked for the fact that he often follows people around his apartment with a mini-vac.
  • Whenever Karen is at a bar and in need of advice, the bartender "Smitty" (as Karen calls him) would always reply with a sad story of loss in his own life. When he finishes his stories, Karen always laughs heartily and tells Smitty that he's always there to cheer her up.
  • Karen has a "secret" alias, Anastasia Beaverhausen, which she often uses while "slumming" in a place where she'd prefer not to be identified.
  • When fighting with Beverley Leslie (Leslie Jordan), Karen makes mocking references to his size, calling him names such as "Baby Gap," "Seed of Chucky," "Teacup Poodle," "Thumbelina," "Angry Inch," or "Keebler Elf."
  • When ever there was a conversation involing something short, Beverley Leslie (Leslie Jordan), would enter the room. Who ever heard of pickled shirmp, or There's no such thing as a gay penguin!
  • The uncertainty about Karen's age, especially when she makes comments such as about the "firing Picasso" and "The Great Depression."
  • Karen's unwillingness to do actual work at Grace's office, despite being her assistant. (Karen does not even cash her paychecks.)
  • Grace singing, despite her terrible singing voice.
  • Karen often claims friendship or mutual understanding between herself and God or the Devil: "I'm gonna live forever. That's the deal isn't it Red?" or "What the hell did I do to deserve this?...Oh, that's right, you got me there!"
  • Will and Grace often make ridiculous and embarrassing messages for their answering machine, such as: (To the sound of The Brady Bunch theme song) "This is the story... of a lovely lady (Grace: That's me!) who was living with a very lovely girl (Will: That's me!). Leave a message!"
  • Jack being hetero-phobic and claiming anything between a man and a woman is inappropriate.
  • Jack's dislike for lesbians.
  • More prominently in the sixth and seventh series' there is often a confusion between two characters after they send text messages to each other. For example, Karen:"Honey,I couldn't understand your message! Some Mary needs a line of blow?" Grace:"...I'm in line for Barry Manilow"

See also



External links

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