Will Grace More Accessible Homosexuality

RSS Author RSS     Views:N/A
Bookmark and Share          Republish
In September 1998, NBC launched Will & Grace. It was created by writers Max Mutchnick and David Kohan and directed by James Burrows, the program featured the first openly gay male character in a lead role on prime-time television. The move was risky, airing a program like Will & Grace so soon after Ellen crashed and burned could have plunged the show and the network into boundless controversy.

But NBC was confident that Will & Grace would be a more successful vehicle for an openly gay character for a few reasons. First, the show did not focus around a homosexual man’s coming out, but rather homosexuality as a way of life. There was no pilot episode that depicted Will coming to terms with his sexuality; although flashback episodes have explored this moment in Will’s life. Will’s homosexuality has been a given from the very beginning of the series. Additionally, the character of Will was not portrayed with any common stereotypical “gay” behavior. The final reason NBC could be more confident in the show’s success was that the producers threw a heterosexual woman into the mix.

The show revolves around Will Truman played by Eric McCormack, a young lawyer living in New York City who just ended a seven-year relationship with another man. His best friend, Grace Adler played by Debra Messing, is an interior designer who, in the pilot episode, leaves her fiancé at the altar. The two friends had dated in college, until Will revealed his sexuality to Grace, and they’d been the best of friends ever since.

The rapport between Will and Grace was based on the actual -life acquaintance between Mutchnick, who is himself openly gay, and his friend Janet, who is straight. Mutchnick and Kohan wanted to delve into the male-female relationship dynamic; however they also craved to present a more true to life depiction of a gay man in Will, who is handsome, successful and less effeminate than most pigeonholes.

They well-adjusted that depiction with the inclusion of Will’s friend Jack McFarland played by Sean Hayes, who is ostentatiously gay and serves as comic relief along with Grace’s assistant, Karen Walker portrayed by Megan Mullally. The combination of all four players created an aesthetically pleasing representation of single life in New York City, and resulted in a much less controversial success for NBC.

The show debuted in a Monday night timeslot, moved to Tuesdays after it showed promise and ended up in the coveted “Must See TV” line-up on Thursday night before its first season had even ended. It garnered critical praise from both mainstream sources and homosexual interest groups. GLAAD (the Gay and Lesbian Alliance against Defamation) hailed the show for its portrayal of two different representations of gay men. The Will & Grace show even found itself challenging for the same marketing dollars as ABC’s Dharma and Greg, a show based on the lives of a heterosexual couple. It seemed that mainstream society had grown to accept the gay community on its television programs.

By: Francis David

Francis helps people understand DISH Network TV Service and the DISH Network Channel Packages. He knows all of the DISH Network Promotions and Deals for new customers.

Report this article

Bookmark and Share

Ask a Question about this Article