If you’re anything like me, you stayed up until 9 as a kid to watch Will and Grace – one of the most successful television shows with prominent LGBTQ+ characters. You indulged into the lives of Will Truman (Eric McCormack) – a gay lawyer, Grace Adler (Debra Messing) – a straight interior designer, Karen Walker (Megan Mullally) – Grace’s straight assistant, and Jack McFarland (Sean Hayes) – Will’s confident and free-spirited gay best friend since college. From the moment the show first aired on September 21, 1998, you were glued and you had no choice but to feel sad and neglected when the show ended on May 18, 2006, after 8 seasons.
But, in surprising and heartwarming news, after 11 years, THEY ARE BACK! Despite initially receiving an enormous amount of backlash and criticism when they aired for the very first time for its blatant representation of homosexual characters, it easily became a staple in the LGBTQ+ community and was the highest-rated sitcom amongst adults 18-49 from 2001-2005. In its previous eight-year run, Will & Grace was nominated for 83 Emmy nominations (won 16) and each of their main characters has an Emmy of their own.
It is impossible to deny the monumental effect the show has had in its 8-year past. In 2012, at Meet the Press, Vice President Joe Biden declared that Will & Grace “probably did more to educate the American public [on the LGBTQ+ community] than almost anything anybody’s ever done so far.” In 2014, the Smithsonian Institution added an LGBT history collection to their museum and it features items from the set of the show. Dwight Block Bowers, the custodian of the museum stated that the sitcom used “comedy to familiarize a mainstream audience with gay culture” that was “daring and broke ground” in American media.
Much of the questions that are circling the long-awaited return of the show consist of the direction and theme of the show. Debra Messing (Grace) gave everyone a little insight into what that may be during her acceptance speech for GLAAD’s Excellence in Media Award in May: “It’s a whole new world now where being gay and lesbian is not something that people are hiding like they did when we started almost 20 years ago. I think that there’s an opportunity to now celebrate all the other initials of LGBTQ. It will be great to come out of this next round and feel like we’re normalizing an even larger segment of underrepresented people on prime-time television.”
The 9th season of Will & Grace will premiere on September 28, 2017, at 9 p.m. (Eastern Time) on NBC. Check out the “Back This Fall” show teaser below: