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TV Review: The Will and Grace Finale – Finally

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Will and Grace was a hit for one reason, and it had little to do with the show’s lofty intentions. It drew viewers in week after week because it was just funny: slapstick vaudeville naughty (but not too naughty) funny. It has been obvious the past couple of seasons, though, that the series was running out of steam. The spark was gone as the focus shifted into issues that are more “serious.”

Thursday’s finale reflected both the brightest and dimmest of Will and Grace. NBC, desperate for anything to pull it out of its slump, heralded it as a two-hour “event,” and promoted it as if the course of western civilization hinged upon its climax. The network’s webpage was laden with emails (presumably genuine) all saying how the respective writer would cry as the series ended.

Truth of the matter was the hype shamelessly oversold the show. It was far from an event, two hour or otherwise. It was two separate programs–one done quite well, the other – not so much.

The first program, “Say Goodnight, Gracie,” was a one-hour retrospective of the series eight season run, and it reminded us how hilarious Will and Grace could be, especially when it was Jack and Karen in the spotlight. Will and Grace themselves were too neurotic to be consistently funny, but Jack and Karen never strayed too far from loony land, and they were ultimately the glue that held the show together.

The highly trumpeted finale was a letdown, though. After a promising opening, a clever take-off of the dreaded dream ending, the episode drifted aimlessly through a series of predictable vignettes tracing the characters’ life paths over the next twenty years. It wasn’t so much that it was painful to watch but that it was drab and lifeless. If the series’ principals wanted to go out on a poignant note, they never quite made it.

Without giving away the ending, NBC did leave open the possibility of a spin-off–Will and Grace: The Next Generation perhaps?

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About Ray Ellis

  • Bliffle

    This was the first WG I watched all the way thru, and while it was amusing, especially the beginning with both WG old and deteriorated, it was hard to understand why so may saw the series as fun.

  • buttercookie

    couldn’t have been more disappointed. instead of going for the sentimental schlock, why din’t the writers go for their funniest show ever, to leave us with a strong final impression? The final episode of the mary tyler moore show is a comic classic; sadly the last episode of w&g is a classic mess. the most “poignant” thing they could have done was be really really funny on last time.

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    Bliff you didn’t see the first three seasons on DVD? It’s the funniest thing you’ll ever see. As for the epilogue, the pretty much slammed the door on a reunion show unless they’ll show up very old and gray.

  • Bliffle

    I’ve come across WG occasionally over the years, and even watched several minutes of it at a time, but was never compelled to seek it out.

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    There’s an episode where they find out that Karen had once done an X-rated movie that’ll have you falling off the couch laughing.

  • http://nicholasstixuncensored.blogspot.com/ Nicholas Stix

    I have to echo Bliffle. Lots of laugh track, no laughs. I tried watching it a few times years ago, but never lasted more than about five minutes for a given episode. And the jokes were built around the sort of flaming gay stereotypes that, if the show didn’t already have a “Gay-Friendly” Seal, would have issued in condemnation by GLAAD as “homophobic.”

    Another alleged comedy that, although it lacked the gay stereotypes of Will & Grace, I found equally laugh-track-heavy and unfunny, was Friends.

  • Bliffle

    “Friends” is dreadfully unfunny.

  • reggie von woic

    I’m gonna miss Karen’s high pitched voice.
    Any one know if there will be a re-run of the finale?

    Stix and Bliffle, it is “cool” or “the in thing” to say that good shows are bad? Surely we all have our tastes, but friends unfunny? COME ON!!!!

  • http://PB pcbaird

    Worst finale I ever saw. My daughter looked at me mid-way and said “this is boring.” I think that sums it up in a nutshell.

  • PB

    That was the worst season finale I’ve ever seen. My daughter said to me mid-way “this is boring”. I think that sums it up nicely.

  • Frank

    Friends SUCKS. Will and grace SUCKS. you all suck!

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Yes I do.

  • Marc

    The finale was a betrayal to fans of the series. To see Will & Grace, inseparable friends through eight years, suddenly “grow up” and move on made me feel like Bobby Ewing coming out of the shower in the dream episode of “Dallas.” I also didn’t want to know about the characters in the future, but was happy to live with my own ideas of their outcomes. So much for a reunion show, and so much for hoping the writers could have displayed some will and grace of their own.

  • http://gratefuldread.net NR Davis

    Silas Kain, you are bad!

    *giggle*

  • patricia

    I was highly dissappointed in the finale myself, I loved the show and was dreading it’s finale because I didnt want it to end, if I had known how the finale was going to be I would have dreaded it for two reasons, they totally ruined the whole concept of the show, unseperable best friends is what the show was always about and on the last episode they seperate them for twenty years, the worst part was after leading us on for 8 years that will and jack would end up together and then have will end up with vince and jack live with karen, why did they tease and lie to use for so long, i feel lied to, they had me anxiously awaiting will and jack’s coming together and it never happened, what a rip-off, i waited for it for years to happen and it never did and now never can. . good riddance will and grace!

  • Anthony

    I echo the above… I wanted to see Will and Grace end the series as friends, not spend 20 years apart. The show threw in so many “serious” agruments towards the last few shows as if they were trying to show case their range of skills for their next career move.

  • Peter

    I know I’m kinda late, but I’ve been a fan of Will & Grace for a very long time. It’s sad, I know, but half of my personality is not without help from that show. I own every episode and re-watch it all the time. I still find it funny. In fact, it is surely the funniest show I have ever seen or heard of.
    I burst into tears when they did their shots and turned young at the end… Couldn’t control it – just had to weep for a minute when it happened. I was sad to let go, because they had become real people to me, and they have literally become a part of my life.
    I was disappointed, as so many others, at the 20-year separation. I remember Will and Grace had a huge fight in season 4 or 5 when Grace met Leo and didn’t want to go through with the insemination. When she said: go to hell Will! and he said: you don’t live here anymore! I HATED that episode because of that one scene. Yes, it was maybe necessary, because real friends fight too. But Will and Grace were not like other real friends. They were dysfunctional inseparable. Remember? They friendship was supposed to be “ugly but permanent” like Grace’s elbow scar. And Will said it himself: “[they] will always be in each other’s lives.” So what happened? How can people who for 20 years were “joined at the unhip” all of a sudden become so awkward around each other, that they won’t care about each other’s existence for 20 whole years?! I don’t believe it. Not just because I don’t want to, but also because it is not possible; especially in a comedy show. I know that they perhaps tried “to get to the kiss” between Will and Grace, that they would never get to unless they created a straight version of the characters (Lila and Ben). And to get the kinds to end up together and marry each other perhaps wouldn’t have been possible without growing up apart.. I don’t know, I guess that’s what they were going for. But who cares about Lila and Ben? And btw, what happened with Lilly – the name Grace wanted to name her first daughter? We care about Will and Grace! We wanted them to be our inspiration for friendship and commitment without marriage. The ultimate “I will always be there for you”. It’s not true that they couldn’t have their friendship and relationships, because they did have that before. It wasn’t Grace’s fault that her marriage with Leo ended. She was as committed to him as she could be, even with Will around.
    So I say bullsh*t! I love-hated the final episode because it really was a betrayal. I know I will at one point re-watch it, but I can’t bring myself to do it yet. I would rather watch every other episode one million times, because that is how I remember Will and Grace.

  • Casey

    i thought the finale was amazing. i mean, im 13 and i loved every second of it. it had humor with a touch of seriousness. it really put me on the edge of my seat. im a HUGE fan of will&grace and i watch it ALOT, and when i watch the finale over and over again, i still get tears in my eyes because it really is emotional, but i think it ends as jack would say, “fabulously!”