You may recall that around election time, the cast of “Will & Grace” was doing us all a giant favor and posting on social media pictures hinting that they miiiight be reuniting. And it’s true – they are! At first, it was rumored the gang was getting back together for just one episode, but when everyone freaked out (because why wouldn’t we?), they decided to come back for 10 WHOLE episodes!
Here’s the official statement:
“We’re thrilled that one of the smartest, funniest, and most defining comedies in NBC history is coming back,” said NBC entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt in a release. “This groundbreaking series for everything from gay rights to social and political commentary — all disguised as a high-speed train of witty pop culture — is coming back where it belongs.”
An official air date hasn’t been released yet, but I’m guessing it will be in the fall. Regardless, “Will & Grace” is by far my favorite TV show of all time, and I still watch the repeat episodes each week (WE TV has a “Will & Grace” binge-a-thon every Friday, FYI).
So, I got to thinking: what is my FAVORITE episode of “Will & Grace”? Uhh, this is just too difficult a question to answer, so my mom had the smart idea of figuring out which episode was the best, for each season. Yes! So that’s what we’re doing on this Monday, the first day of Spring! Here goes…
SEASON ONE (1998-1999)
Best Episode: “Secrets and Lays”. Grace organizes an apparently spontaneous weekend getaway for her, Will, Jack, and Karen to the mountains at Karen’s cabin, but the real reason is more emotional: the trip coincides with what would have been Will and Michael’s anniversary. Problems arise when Grace runs into an old friend named Campbell, and she finds herself torn between pursuing him and supporting Will, who eventually admits that he does still miss his ex-boyfriend. Seeing Karen attempt to cook, nonetheless survive without her staff, is what makes this my favorite of the season.
Runner-up: “Will On Ice”. It’s Will’s birthday, and everyone goes Champions on Ice–even though he doesn’t want to (but pretends that he is okay). Grace and Jack find a mutual interest in figure skating. I was OBSESSED with Champions on Ice, and Rudy Gallindo (spelling?) makes a guest appearance in this episode.
SEASON TWO (1999-2000)
Best Episode: “Acting Out”. When a scheduled kiss between two gay TV characters doesn’t happen, Jack gets very upset and convinces Will to protest at NBC with him. When they are rebuffed by the president’s office, they see Al Roker doing “The Today Show” on the streets of New York, and go to talk to him. When Al ignores Jack asking how long he will have to wait to see a gay kiss on TV, Will grabs Jack and kisses him. Grace can’t find a way to break up with her very sweet but very annoying boyfriend, Josh. She finally takes Karen’s advice and tells Josh that she’s in love with Will… right before they see Will kissing Jack on national television.
This episode is definitely meta, since it’s about two gay men kissing on prime time TV and that’s what we end up seeing – “Will & Grace” was the first network TV show to feature gay men as its main characters, so this was a monumental episode!
SEASON THREE (2000-2001)
Best Episode: “Husbands and Trophy Wives”. When Grace joins Ben at the yacht club and sees Karen there, she finds out from Rosario that Karen is insecure because she is reaching the age of Stan’s first wife. She tries complimenting Karen to boost her failing ego, but Karen just thinks Grace is a lesbian, so Grace asks Ben to flirt with Karen. Ben successfully does so, but when Stan sees him he gets jealous and has Ben thrown out of the yacht club. Will and Jack go to what they think is going to be a crazy gay weekend in the Hamptons, but what they find is that all of their crazy friends have settled down and are raising babies. Will volunteers himself and Jack to babysit for a night and is disappointed with the results, concluding that he’ll make a terrible father. Jack reassures Will that he’ll be a great father someday because he’s already a great father to Jack.
This episode is HILARIOUS. Karen is, by far, my favorite character, and her accusing Grace of being a lesbian is truly laugh-out-loud funny. Plus, I love Karen’s style when she’s at the yacht club.
SEASON FOUR (2001-2002)
Best Episode: “He Shoots, They Snore”. Jack is upset when Will takes Elliot to a basketball tournament in Connecticut and counsels him on what his first kiss means. Jack feels cheated out of a fatherly moment, but later on in the tournament Jack gets to help Elliot get over losing the game for his team. Meanwhile, Will becomes friends with three beefy dads who are fascinated to get to know a gay man. Grace teaches an interior design seminar at The New School and is a big boring flop. She gets her students to come back for a second day by promising them that they’ll get to visit a famous person’s apartment, and then tries to intimidate Karen into making her empty promise a reality. Karen tells her she’ll get her into Katie Couric’s apartment, but then double-crosses her and admits that she doesn’t even know Katie Couric. Grace’s disappointed students leave for good this time. Any scene with Jack and Elliot wins in my book – and this one is really funny.
Runner-up: “Fagel Attraction”. Will’s laptop is stolen from a coffee shop and a friendly detective, Gavin, is on the case. Gavin is also a member of Jack’s new gay therapy group, and he admits to the group that he’s nervous about asking out guys so he makes up stories to spend time with them. He also has a big problem when people have food stuck in their teeth. Gavin tells Will they have to go undercover to a gay club to bust the gay laptop stealing ring, and Will starts to catch on that something strange is going on. When Will runs into Jack who tells him all about Gavin, he then brings Gavin home and purposely gets food stuck in his teeth to wig him out. Will gets Gavin to admit the “undercover” scheme was a ploy to go on a date, and hopes Gavin will ask him out for real, but Gavin runs away because of the stuff still in Will’s teeth. Grace’s crazy neighbor Val tries to be friends with Grace again, but when Grace isn’t interested she tries to become a designer and steal both Grace’s ideas and Grace’s client. Michael Douglas guest stars. I love that this episode takes something semi-serious (a stolen laptop) and tackles it like a murder investigation.
SEASON FIVE (2002-2003)
Best Episode: “Bacon and Eggs”. Grace takes a pregnancy test and she and Will are disappointed when it comes out negative, but plan to try again in two weeks. Leo hunts Grace down at her office and continues to pursue her. Grace pushes him away because of her promise to Will. Karen sends Rosario to break up with Lionel for her, but Rosario is seduced by him as well. Karen finally gets up the nerve to break up with Lionel herself, and then Rosario comes back for round two. Jack stalks Kevin Bacon, and then accidentally gets hired as his assistant. Jack is sad when he finds out being Kevin’s assistant doesn’t mean he gets to dance with him, it actually means he has to hunt down his stalker. Jack brings Will stalking with him next time, and Kevin busts them. Jack fingers Will as the stalker and runs. It turns out that Kevin is actually excited to meet his stalker, because having a stalker means his career isn’t dead. Jack is horrified when he finds Kevin and Will dancing together. Grace finally gives in and calls Leo, leaving a message on his machine for him to call her.
Truthfully, season five is FULL of great episodes. The Kevin Bacon episode ranks near the very top (of all) for me, because, well, Kevin Bacon plays himself hilariously. And seeing Will dance with him is priceless.
Runner-up: “May Divorce Be With You.” When Karen finds out that Will is representing Stan in the divorce, she hires her own hotshot attorney, Jason Towne. Will worries about Karen’s judgment when Jason turns out to be a young snot-nosed kid that doesn’t know pro bono from a fidelity clause. Will tries to help Jason, and then advises Karen to get a new lawyer, but when Karen confronts Jason it turns out that he’s not as bumbling as he seemed, that it was all an act to make Will slip up. Jack brings in a new client for Grace, his latest boyfriend, Cam. Not only is Cam rich, but Grace loves his taste in home decor, and when Cam dumps Jack the next day, Grace is loath to give into Jack’s demands and drop Cam as a client. Grace goes to tell Cam she can’t work for him anymore, but Cam talks her into remodeling his enormous country house instead. Jack busts them and Grace finally quits entirely, valuing her friendship with Jack too much to betray him. Then, of course, Jack gets back together with Cam. Macaulay Culkin and Clark Gregg guest-star.
I love Macaulay Culkin. Period.
SEASON SIX (2003-2004)
Best Episode: “Me and Mr. Jones”. Jack gets a one-line part in an off-Broadway play starring James Earl Jones, but when the director likes Jack’s delivery better than James’s, James Earl Jones finds himself studying in Jack’s acting class. Grace trails after a woman and her trainer at the gym so that she can make use of the trainer without having to pay for it. Will and his mother are both sick of living together, but neither wants to say it to the other. Finally, they admit their feelings, and Marilyn decides to move back home that night, but in the process of moving she twists her ankle and Will finds himself having to care for his wheelchair-bound mother for a few more weeks. This episode involves a scene where James Earl Jones is acting a few lines from “Sex and the City” – worth every second.
Runner-up: “Fanilow”. Will is excited to be first in line for Barry Manilow tickets, and asks Grace to hold his place while he runs across the street to use the bathroom. Grace is shocked to see her mother, who cancelled their annual Hanukkah shopping trip, having dinner at a nearby restaurant with Jack. Grace calls Karen and gets her to hold Will’s place in line while she confronts her mother. Meanwhile, Will snubs a guy who is hitting on him only to later find out that he is Barry Manilow’s tour manager, and can get him backstage to meet the man himself. Will does some serious ass-kissing, and promises to go on a date with the guy in Philadelphia, in order to meet his idol. Grace realizes that she actually does want to spend time with her mother, and is jealous that her mother is choosing to spend time with Jack instead. Karen realizes she likes Barry Manilow’s music.
SEASON SEVEN (2004-2005)
Best Episode: “Back Up, Dancer”. Jack must compete in a dance-off so he can be a back-up singer for Janet Jackson. Meanwhile, Will has to decide whether to go out with his boyfriend or help Grace cope with her failed marriage. I know a lot of my favorite episodes involve guest celebs, but this one is quite funny. Janet Jackson plays herself – a huge diva, and a ridiculous dance off ensues.
Runner-up: “Queens for a Day”. As Thanksgiving approaches, and Will and Vince plan to bring together their respective “families” for the event, Vince warns Will that his mother never likes his boyfriends. To get a jump on Vince’s mom liking him, Will takes her out shopping, but accidentally causes her to break her toe while trying on some very high heels. To make it up to her, Will decides to cook her usual big Italian Thanksgiving dinner, even though she spends the entire time trying to put him down. Vince’s sister, Ro, admits to Jack that she’s a lesbian and wants to break up with her fiancé. Jack tells Ro she should come out at Thanksgiving dinner, but Will, wanting everything to be perfect, convinces her to wait. Karen and Grace, who have both been single for a while and haven’t had any recent sex, find themselves fighting over Vince’s hot cousin Sal—who they later find out is only 16 years old. Vince constantly feels put down by his dad, even though the slights are only imagined. Finally, as dinner is served and Will is giving the toast, he can’t take Vince’s mom’s bad-mouthing anymore, so he lets her have it, outing Ro and embarrassing Grace and Karen at the same time. He prepares to leave, but Vince’s mom realizes how much Will loves her son, and asks him to stay.
SEASON EIGHT (2005-2006)
Best Episode:”The Finale”. In the first part of the series finale, Grace and Leo have a baby girl, and Will and Vince have a baby boy. Grace has a weird dream about the gang’s future. Karen’s arch-enemy Beverly Leslie makes an offer to Jack that changes his life.
In the second part of the series finale, Will and Grace have a falling out that lasts for years. They eventually meet up when their children meet in college (who eventually get married) and make up.
But now we know that it wasn’t reeeaally the series finale since we’ve got more to come! are you a “Will & Grace” fan? I’d love to hear what episodes are your favorites.