4:30 pm EDT, May 17, 2017

‘Will and Grace’ revival: How to make the series return worthwhile for fans

Will and Grace is officially returning for at least one more season. Here are a few fan requirements for the revival.

The most recent Will and Grace reunion, a video created to entice Americans to get out and vote on election day, lit a fuse in this long slumbering fandom. Amassing nearly seven million views on YouTube, the nine-minute short gave the people a taste of what they truly want in 2017 — more Will, Grace, Jack and Karen.

Can they pull it off? With the writing team back together, the only director the show ever had — Jimmy Burrows — in place, and the cast signed on for 12 episodes, the series is moving full steam ahead.

The latest trailer features the foursome in a musical about what it’s going to be like returning to apartment 9C all these years later. Will Jack’s rotating door of male suitors still be funny? Can Karen pull off popping pills and immortality once more? What are Will and Grace going to get into now that they are married and parents?

While my personal fears echo Grace’s initial uneasiness about the show coming back, the first few notes from the theme song following the nearly five-minute trailer shook me. But everything cannot be “As If We Never Said Goodbye.” The series ended. There was a final toast, a tour through the future.

Here are the items that I think will hit all the right notes for fans and open a door for the story to continue despite the future that already exists.

Reset the timeline of the fight

Resetting the timeline to end the fight in 2017 (and/or finding out what the fight of ’91 was about)

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When and where will the Will and Grace reboot take place? If the timeline remains true to the time-hopping series finale, the dynamic duo are not speaking in 2017. However, we are 10 years removed from the finale and fans want the gang back together in the apartment slinging insults and enjoying breakfasts prepared by Will.

will and grace drinks

So how can we do that? Easy. Just write it that way. The election special ignores the alternate universe of the series finale and places the gang right in the middle of current events. While that special is arguably not a true piece of the Will and Grace fabric, the series should take a cue from it.

Will and Grace thrives with its tongue in cheek humor. Pass off a one-liner, “What were fighting about again?” and move right into the new material.

Keep the funny, but don’t try too hard

Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and Air BnB (or Air BonB) already got call outs in the trailer. It’s a new world since the series’ finale in 2006. Will and Grace leans on pop culture for its jokes, which leaves some episodes feeling staler than others.

Will and Grace revival

It’s easy to want to bring these characters into 2017 and all the fads and phases that come with it. Spare us the Hamilton ticket jokes. Give Jack an online dating profile, but don’t rely on it for every episode.

The kids stay out of the picture

Let’s face it, Elliot is the only child fans have room for in Will and Grace. We made room for Jack’s son by going to soccer games, auditioning for the cheer squad, and heading off the basketball camp. Even the Walker step-children got Olivia and Mason, That’s enough. While there is a plethora of instances where Grace’s lack of grace could derail a PTA meeting, let’s keep the humor in or around the core four in 9C.

With only 12 episodes heading our way, there is little time to recapture lightning in the bottle. Bringing the kids in too much, especially if they are going to be Elliot’s exact age when the series returns, might lose the magic.

In the recent trailer for the series’ return, there are pictures on the fridge of children about Lila and Ben’s age. Is that all we will see of them?

Will and Grace revival kids

Husbands and other lovers

Leo Marcus and Vince D’Angelo, Harry Connick Jr. and Bobby Cannavale respectively, remain in the picture during the series’ finale timehop. After eight seasons of bad dates, on-again-off-again relationships, and a few marriages, both Will and Grace will be off the market. Or will they?

Personally, I’d like to keep them off the market. With only 12 episodes promised for now, that humor is better reserved for Jack, whose swipes left and right can be inconsequential or lead to something more serious. It already looks as if that is the path the creators will push Jack. Besides the Air BonB, the character also adds that he now pops a blue pill because he is in his forties.

Adventures with the dynamic duo(s)

will and grace reunion

Guest stars are almost as important to Will and Grace as the four leading stars. Throughout its run you never knew who was going to pop by for a surprise appearance. Michael Douglas played a cop who could not stand people with food in their teeth. Rosie O’Donnell stared as the lesbian who happened upon Jack’s sperm donation and bore his son Elliot. And Madonna rented out a room to Karen in her apartment.

The revival will likely feature recurring guest stars and some new faces, but the focus should be on Will, Grace, Jack and Karen. What would the show be without Karen financing one of Jack’s many ideas, or Will and Grace fighting over a pair of jeans on sale.

The moments that focus on their friendships, they way they orbit around one another, is where the heart of the show resides. If we can keep a finger on the pulse that drove the old series, surely the revival can overcome any awkward barriers in its way.

Will & Grace returns with 12 new episodes later this year.

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