‘Will & Grace’ makes an unfortunate return to TV

Will and Grace (and Jack) party like it’s 1999.

Two stars

Will & Grace Thursdays, 9 p.m., NBC. Season premieres September 28.

The revival of Will & Grace does not get off to a good start: A show returning to the air after 11 years, to a completely changed TV landscape, runs the risk of feeling like a musty relic, and creators David Kohan and Max Mutchnick overcompensate in the premiere with strained political commentary, having the characters make creaky jokes about Donald Trump’s skin tone while on a literal trip to the White House. Luckily, things calm down a bit after that, and the next two episodes settle into familiar territory, as best friends Will (Eric McCormack) and Grace (Debra Messing) are back to being single and living together in a New York City apartment.

Throwing out the continuity of the 2006 series finale, the show does its best to recapture the magic of the popular original series, but every element has been dialed up to 11, from the flamboyance of perpetually aspiring performer Jack (Sean Hayes) to the insensitivity of narcissistic socialite Karen (Megan Mullally) to the uproarious reactions of the studio audience. When it premiered in 1998, Will & Grace was groundbreaking for its matter-of-fact depiction of the friendship between a gay man and a straight woman, even if its sitcom rhythms were already somewhat played out. Those jokes and storylines have only gotten weaker with age, and what was once a trailblazer is now left far behind.

Tags: Film, Television
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