Will & Grace Falls Flat

As I was watching the Will & Grace episodes this week, while also reading the assigned chapter concerning its heteronormative settings, I really began to think again about this show’s intentions. I remember often seeing this sitcom on tv as I was growing up, because my older sister and parents often watched it. At the time, I obviously could not understand most of its sexual or inappropriate references, as they went right over my head. But I also began to consider why I never knew or realized the show was about displaying homosexuality in a new and unseen way. I know now that Will and Jack are gay men, but when I was younger, I can definitely say I had no idea this was the case. All I can really remember is thinking the show was primarily about the four characters friendships with one another. And because of this, I often considered it a sitcom very similar to Friends, as that was another show my sister and parents watched often.

I think it is not only interesting, but also alarming, that even as a kid I never knew what the show was truly about. That just reveals more about its heteronormative strategies that are discussed in the Sitcom Reader, because although its stated intention was to reveal homosexual lifestyles and relationships, this is something that must be searched for when watching the show. On the surface, it just appears as another sitcom about heteronormative relationships as well as friendships. Although I do think the show had beneficial intentions because it wanted to start discourse on an important subject, it needed to advertise these intentions much more than it actually did. If all viewers knew upfront that the show distinctly wanted to deal with this subject, then maybe young viewers like me could have learned and benefited more from it.

This problem with Will & Grace remains a good lesson for sitcoms today. If they have intentions of addressing a touchy societal subject, then they should advertise this and attempt to go all the way in each episode. When this is not achieved, then the important and necessary  lessons fall flat.

By: Lacey Worsham

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5 Responses to Will & Grace Falls Flat

  1. mediaphiles says:

    It is kinda frustrating, because Will represents a masculine, gender-conforming gay individual who can pass as straight. Jack is portrayed as effeminate, flamboyant, and obviously gay. The show represents two extremes of gay culture, what about everyday, average gay people? – Andrew Guido

  2. mediaphiles says:

    I think it is very disappointing that the show took on such heteronormative strategies. Although the show was a step in the right direction, I think we have to realize that the show took on these heteronormative strategies for specific reasons. The show wanted to be able to achieve a target audience and by using a heteronormative setting, it was able to do this. – Katie Thevenow

  3. mediaphiles says:

    I’d never seen the show before, only heard about it in passing and knew of its name. I honestly thought, before I saw the show, that it was about a couple–Will and Grace. From top to bottom this show packages homosexuality in a very problematic, heteronormative way. We need to strive to do better. Simply having gay characters is not enough if they are not given the right to engage in sexual acts or have successful romantic relationships. While this show is definitely an important first step, we have a long way to go. -Valerie Medoff

  4. mediaphiles says:

    I agree that Will and Grace could have pushed the envelope more with each episode. However, it’s sort of a catch twenty-two. The show did break boundaries by starting the conversations of gay characters but even this wasn’t enough, so in a sense they were damned if they did and damned if they didn’t. -Courtney Green

  5. mediaphiles says:

    I agree with you Lacey that Will and Grace should have just “gone all the way” with this taboo topic. I wonder though if they had if it would have been as successful as it was? People were not as comfortable with the topic of homosexuality ten years ago. What do you think? -Kelsey Sierra

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