1 9 9 8 – 2 0 0 6 (USA)
2 0 1 8 – 2 0 2 0 (USA)
246 x 60 minute episodes
Lawyer Will Truman (Eric McCormack) and Jewish interior designer Grace Adler (Debra Messing) are best friends. They share Apartment 9C at 155 Riverside Drive in Manhattan.
Will attended New York University and is a highly charged negotiator when it comes to money matters. He is controlling and uncompromising. He was originally a private practice attorney then a lawyer for the firm of Doucette and Stein.
He loves to cook and embroider and first discovered he was gay when, as Grace says, “he put his hand on my boob and said is that a cashmere sweater?” He frequents gay bars such as The Tight End, Ada’s Bar and Crisco Disco.
Grace owns Grace Adler Designs. She is a beautiful woman but sensitive to the fact that she has small breasts. She attended Hawthorne High School and New York University (where she met Will). She next attended the Fashion Institute then started her own business.
She was married to a doctor called Leo (Harry Connick Jr.) for a short time but the marriage ended when he abandoned her.
Grace’s assistant, Karen Walker (Megan Mullally), is a self-centred alcoholic socialite who loves to show cleavage and does not know how to work a computer, fax or phone. But she certainly knows people and always gets what she wants. She also gets back from lunch just in time for dinner.
Karen is married to Stanley Walker, her (unseen) second husband, who is grossly overweight but rich. Her life changes overnight when Stanley is arrested for tax evasion and dies shortly after from a heart attack. Karen becomes the head of Stanley’s company, Walker Inc and next falls in love with – and later marries – Lyle Finster (John Cleese), a man who sells rat traps to breweries.
Karen’s maid is Rosario (Shelley Morrison), a Salvadoran woman who has the nerve to stand up to Karen but also takes constant verbal abuse from her.
“I’m here and I’m queer. Get used to it” is the oath Jack McFarland (Sean Hayes) “took in front of God and my mother.” Flamboyantly gay Jack is a hopeful playwright and is a good friend of Will and Grace.
Jack did a one-man show called Just Jack and wrote a Caribbean fantasy called Love Among the Coconuts (which he changed to Untitled Jack when Karen told him his play stank). Jack later works as a backup dancer for Jennifer Lopez, then for Janet Jackson. He later acquires a job as the host of a talk show (Jack Talk) for Out TV, a gay cable network.
Other regular characters included Jack’s mother, Marilyn (Blythe Danner); Grace’s mother, Bobbi (Debbie Reynolds); Will’s lover, Vince (Bobby Cannavale); and Will’s boss, Ben Doucette (Gregory Hines).
Guest stars during the eight seasons included Lesley Ann Warren, Rip Torn, Sharon Stone, Jeff Goldblum, Suzanne Pleshette, Gene Wilder, Demi Moore, Alan Arkin, Sandra Bernhard, Rosanna Arquette, Lily Tomlin, Tim Curry, Katie Couric, Matt Lauer, Geena Davis, Beau Bridges, Cher, Kevin Bacon, Joan Collins, Janet Jackson, Glenn Close, Michael Douglas, Candice Bergen, James Earl Jones, Madonna, Barry Manilow, Hal Linden, Richard Chamberlain, Stacy Keach, Ellen DeGeneres, Elton John, Tracy Nelson, Rosie O’Donnell, Macaulay Culkin, Martina Navratilova, Traci Lords and Tracey Ullman.
Despite initial criticism for its stereotypical portrayal of gay characters, the show was broadcast on NBC from 21 September 1998 to 18 May 2006, receiving continued critical acclaim and earning 18 Primetime Emmy Awards and 83 nominations.
It returned on 28 September 2017 for another run which went until April 2020. Where the original run of the show ended with both Will and Grace estranged and separately married with children, the revival series brought the two back together and ignored the fact that that ever happened. Episode one of the revival series explained the rewrite away with Karen saying, “I had the craziest dream”.