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Will & Grace‘s famous foursome is back for more laughs — and timely commentary — with the return of the NBC revival.
The comedy — which stars Debra Messing, Eric McCormack, Megan Mullally and Sean Hayes — was renewed for two more seasons (through 2020) after launching a successful revival season in 2017-18. After more than a decade off the air, Will & Grace had a lot to say in a divisive climate as it welcomed a revolving door of high-profile guest stars, some new and others returning, onto Will (McCormack) and Grace’s (Messing) apartment set for Thursday-night TV viewing.
The 18-episode second season of the revival — technically season 10 overall — debuted Oct. 4 on NBC. Here are all the updating details about the newest season of Will & Grace.
What Happened in the Finale
Will & Grace capped off season one of the revival with happy news all around — except for Will and Grace. The season-ender left best pals and roommates Will Truman and Grace Adler in existential crisis.
After coming to terms with their matching relationship status (single), everyone around the pair decided to make milestone decisions in hopes of not ending up like them. Grace and Will’s widowed parents (played by Robert Klein and Blythe Danner) announced a quickie engagement — meaning the starring duo are engaged to be step-siblings — and Jack McFarland (Hayes) also accepted his new boyfriend’s proposal. Meanwhile, Karen Walker (Mullally) called off her long-term affair with her lover (played by Alec Baldwin) to make her marriage a priority. Everyone harshly told Will and Grace that their choices were motivated by what they collectively deemed to be their unhealthy relationship.
Where Will and Grace — and Jack and Karen — Are Headed
Will and Grace, queasy over the idea of becoming siblings, were left questioning themselves and their life decisions in the final moments. When the show returns, Will & Grace co-creators and showrunners David Kohan and Max Mutchnick told The Hollywood Reporter that anything is on the table.
“They are thinking: ‘Everybody seems to be doing things in reaction to what our life is, maybe we are deluding ourselves,'” said Kohan of Will and Grace’s inner monologues. “So, who is going to take some kind of rash action? But it also seems at the point where you are middle-aged and thinking, ‘I want to do something. I want to leave my mark. If I’m not going to have kids, what am I going to do? It can’t just be inertia that takes me through the next 30 years. I need to make some kind of move here in my life and it has to happen soon.'”
The first clip (below) released from the new season shows how badly Will and Grace are handling the reality of becoming step-siblings, as the marriage between their parents does indeed happen. “Why did your mother throw her garter, and why am I still holding it?” a troubled Grace asks Will, as Jack and Karen delight in their discomfort.
RT to save a life. ??
— Will & Grace (@WillAndGrace) September 15, 2018
The realization spurs the pair to make some life changes, as Grace will enter politics and Will finds a new calling in teaching. But they also return to dating: Grace will be getting a new, recurring love interest (played by Friends alum David Schwimmer) and so will Will with Matt Bomer’s recurring character. The co-creators said that while the weddings, including Jack’s, were in motion, whether or not both make it the altar remains to be seen. But it’s Karen who will be upended by her finale decision when her never-seen husband, Stanley, divorces her when the show returns. “Stanley is divorcing her — it’s not Karen’s choice,” Mullally told THR, teasing what to expect from a single Karen. “Can you imagine? You think it’s bad now? Wait until she gets divorced, all hell breaks loose.”
The New Faces
From Jane Lynch and Andrew Rannells to Ben Platt, the first season of the revival was a who’s who of fresh-faced guest players, reliving the comedy’s heyday reputation for having the best talent roster in town. So far, the second season is shaping up to also not disappoint when it comes to starry surprises.
Schwimmer is returning to the Thursday NBC block — formerly known as “Must-See TV” — with his recurring role as Grace’s new romantic interest. “We just filmed our first episode, and I think we both were surprised at how much immediate chemistry we have,” Messing recently told THR of Schwimmer. “His character is as far away from Ross [Geller] as you could possibly get, and his character really pushes Grace’s buttons. It really brings out an energy that is new to the show, and that’s really fun.”
Joining Schwimmer, but in smaller appearances, are Jon Cryer and Olympic bronze medalist Adam Rippon, who will each be playing themselves in one-episode cameos. Cryer’s arc will be coinciding with an upcoming Karen and Jack storyline. Chelsea Handler will be popping in as a client of Grace’s who starts dating her sister (played by Mary McCormack). Bomer will also be joining the ranks for an expanded four-episode role as a smooth-talking TV news anchor who dates Will, McCoy Whitman.
Returning Guest Stars
The first season brought back familiar faces ranging from Baldwin and Blythe to Harry Connick Jr. (Grace’s ex-husband), Bobby Cannavale (former Will flame), McCormack and Sara Rue (Adler sisters), and Karen foes played by Minnie Driver and Molly Shannon. Already confirmed to reprise those roles once again are Baldwin, McCormack, Driver and Shannon.
Karen’s pending divorce gives Baldwin the opportunity to reprise his guest-starring role as her lover, Malcolm Widmark. The pair ended last season with a memorable no-contact sex scene, and he already returned to film his upcoming scenes. “I don’t know if that’s going to be a permanent deal, but Alec is at least coming back for a minute. I do happen to know that because we’re shooting that episode this week,” Mullally had told THR after her Emmy nomination earlier this summer. “Karen Walker and Malcolm Widmark are a great TV couple together — I also really, really love working with Alec. He’s a total pro and he’s the fucking funniest person. He’s only here for two days. So we rehearse one day and then we shoot it the next day.” The divorce storyline is also what will bring Driver back for an episode as Karen’s stepdaughter when Karen needs more money in her settlement.
The first season gave Shelley Morrison’s Rosario a proper goodbye and paid tribute to both the late Debbie Reynolds and Sydney Pollack, who played Grace’s mom and Will’s dad, respectively, during the original run. Though Danner and Klein (who replaced Alan Arkin in the role) have yet to be officially confirmed, the wedding storyline points to their likely return. Jordan Alvarez, who plays Jack’s fiance, will also return. “We always want these characters to live on,” Mutchnick said about the show’s guest stars when asked specifically about the engaged players. “Once they’re on the show and when they fit in as well as they do, we hope to see these people over and over again because we feel like the audience likes it as much as we do.”
Teaser for the Season
“Get ready for a Big Fat Gay Wedding”: The official promo for the season focuses on a wedding — but asks, who’s getting married this season? In the teaser, the foursome is ready to trample over guests to catch the bride’s bouquet and the text reads: Being single is so last season. Now that all four are set to have new or returning love interests, could Will, Grace or Karen be throwing their own ring in the pile, along with an engaged Jack, to be potentially wed?
The Future of the Revival
The Will & Grace revival has already been picked up for a third season, which is also set for 18 episodes. With the show already renewed for more, the writers have the opportunity to explore the complicated ways Will and Grace can justify their relationship — or not — as they each figure out how to leave their mark on the world. “Having two seasons is a really wonderful gift that NBC gave us and we get to relax — well, we’re never relaxed — but we get to open ourselves up because we know we’re going to be here,” Mutchnick said when heading into production the second season. “We want to try to tell the most interesting stories that we can about these characters.”
And if it’s up to Mullally, the show will go on beyond season three. “I’ve always been really open about that,” she said of the show’s longevity. “I want to run the show into the ground, to the point where when the show comes on, people are throwing things at the television. That’s how long I want to do it.”
Read a preview of the season from the co-creators here. Will & Grace airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on NBC.
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