If you laugh your ass off at Will and Grace 
May 17, 2006, 5:40 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

“If you laugh your ass off at WILL AND GRACE, and don’t support gay marriage, then f#!# you!”
-Margaret Cho

So there’s a lot of talk out there about how special a show WILL AND GRACE has been. Will, Grace, Karen, Jack have according to many “opened straight hearts and minds” one joke at a time. When the show started in 1998, on the heels of a failed ELLEN, nobody thought it would make it. The show soon became a ratings darling and everyone was laughing their asses off at Jack’s antics, Grace’s ungraceful charm, Karen’s blunt potty mouth and Will’s…okay, so Will was never that funny.

Yet, despite the many hearts and minds the show softened to the challenges faced by gay and lesbian people every day in this country, the jury is still out on the sum total of good will generated by WILL AND GRACE to gays and lesbians.

There has been a long and painful history in this country of popular culture supporting – not subverting – mainstream mores, despite appearances to the contrary. The same white audiences who loved Stepin Fetchit upheld segregation and worse.

Characters like Jack (and Carson from QUEER EYE for that matter) occupy a curious cultural location, simultaneously enforcing and breaking down stereotypes. Arguably, such characters are popular because they invite people to laugh at them or with them, leaving the balance of power up to the viewer. Like Burger King, you can have it your way.

But let this FYI not stop the teary, heartfelt goodbyes to such a well-written, successful show with not one but two gay characters. WILL AND GRACE has changed television history and fingers crossed, the hearts and minds of some straight Americans.

“Will & Grace” Shocked and Charmed Us. And it’s Amazing What the Writers Got Away With.


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