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I’m probably not the right person to review season two of “Will and Grace”. Fans of the show will buy the disc, and enjoy it simply because they own it. So be warned, I am not a fan.
Until a few days ago, I couldn’t have even told you why I avoided Will & Grace. Generally, I just didn’t watch it. The commercials seemed silly, the characters more like caricatures than actual people. Then NBC’s Will & Grace Season 2 DVD set showed up in my mailbox, proudly emblazoned with the words “Loaded With Extra Features” and sporting contrived, magazine-layout-like pictures of the cast.
I was hesitant… but I watched.
No, I didn’t watch all 23 episodes. I apologize, for the best I could manage was half. Then again, isn’t one episode of “Will & Grace” pretty much the same as the next?
I’d say it is. The characters are broadly drawn characterizations, some of them gay, some of them really gay, some of them ditzy, some of them really ditzy. The cast is energetic, so at least you won’t fall asleep, but the writing is schmaltzy and cheap, going always for the lamest of one-liners, the easiest of comedic punches, the most obvious of gay jokes. It’s typical sitcom selling, with only the sexual orientation of its two male characters to differentiate it from the rest of the pack.
The cast itself is overrated. Debra Messing is an acting loser, who bounced from failed sitcom to failed movie, to failed sitcom before she landed on “Will & Grace”. Anyone remember “Ned & Stacy”? What about McHale’s Navy? No? You’re lucky. On “Will & Grace” she’s finally found her niche as Grace, a neurotic, gay-man groupie. She’s best friends with Will (Eric McCormack), an uptight homosexual lawyer (who as of season two lives next door). Will is a solid, positive, gay character who doesn’t flaunt his sexuality nor hide from it. If anything justifies the show’s continue existence, maybe it’s him.
But it is supporting cast mates Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally who’ve been the show’s breakouts. Hayes is Jack McFarland and he seems to be making up for Will’s normalcy by being the world’s biggest flamer. This is supposed to be funny, but I only found it annoying and contrived. Still, Hayes gets a lot of credit as some sort of comedic genius. You’ll see him showing up in a lot of movies as a result… most of them bad.
Mullally on the other hand is just another drunken rich friend. Season two never adequately addresses her origins. But then she’s not a clueless version of Superman, so I doubt they’re all that interesting. She shows up whenever they need someone to play a smart ass, or say something incredibly rude. Mullally’s great as a sarcastic wit, and out of everyone on the show is probably the only one who’ll ever deliver any genuine laughs.
I realize the show has its fans (probably also the same people buying the Queer as Folk box set), I just can’t count myself among them. If you already like the show, you’ll probably like what season two has to offer. If like me, you were indifferent or on the fence, watching a season full of episodes back-to-back probably won’t win you over.
“Loaded With Extra Features.” That’s what the bland, NBC stock packaging claims. I trolled through every disc, even the ones I didn’t have the fortitude to watch. I didn’t find them.
What Season 2 does have is something called “Themed Featurettes,” also known as “clips”. Yes, that’s right, the loads of extra features on these discs are in fact nothing but clips from the very episodes of the show you’re about to watch. What makes them special? They’re cleverly edited together and set to snappy music. The real irony here is that they’ve had the wherewithal to include a PLAY ALL function along with the “Themed Featurettes,” just in case you love the two sixty-second clip fests included on each disc so much, that you want to play them back to back.
Since there’s not much content included, Season 2’s menu screen is pretty simple. It just plays the same generic Will & Grace piano theme music over and over until you select an option. Choosing should be pretty easy, since as I already mentioned, there aren’t any features to pick from. Other than due to reflex crushing indecision, you won’t spend much time on the menu.
What Will & Grace can offer is simply four discs full of shows, which you may or may not want to watch. If that’s all you’re looking for, go ahead and pick it up. If you’re on the fence, don’t let that low low price tag fool you. I guess the show deserves some sort of credit for being on the cutting edge of the modern day deluge of gay entertainment. But the truth is that the show is cheap and bland and so is NBC’s DVD release.
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