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Spoilers for the most recent episode of Will and Grace.
Last night's new Will and Grace was a doozy. Because while the episode contained tons of laughs and cartoonish physical comedy, "Rosario's Quinceanera" also gave Megan Mullally's Karen Walker the chance to show some vulnerability. Her maid and life partner Rosario has been noticeably missing from the new season, and now Will and Grace has found a way to write her off. You guessed it: Rosario got killed off, breaking all of our hearts in the process. Creator Max Mutchnick has since revealed how Shelley Morrison's retirement helped inspire the writers room to explore this plot line.
We knew that we weren't going to have Shelley [Morrison] anymore and so the character wasn't going to be on the show. As writers, it just presented us with a situation that was too interesting to not explore and to write.
Shelley Morrison is just about the only original Will and Grace star who isn't set to reprise her role in the new season. And according to Max Mutchnick's comments to THR, the writers took this as a chance to craft an interesting story. While Morrison had a cut role in the group's internet short in 2016, she is now into her 80s and has retired from the business known as show. And considering what a major force she was in the original series, Will and Grace needed to address why she and Karen weren't trading insults in the new season.
Prior to Rosie's offscreen death in the last episode, she was briefly mentioned in an earlier episode. In the second episode, Karen's new Irish maid mentioned that Rosario didn't feel like climbing up the stairs to help Karen in her bedroom. This confirmed she was a live and well, which made the gut punch of her sudden death feel all the more dramatic. It should be interesting to see if the Irish maid ends up being a larger role in the series moving forward. Because if Karen isn't terrorizing her staff, is she even Karen at all?
While Shelley Morrison wasn't present in Rosario's final episode, there were two surprise returns. The most obvious was Minnie Driver, who reprised her role as Lorraine Finster at Rosario's funeral services. But the second guest was a bit more subtle for the more hardcore Will and Grace fans. Because when Karen fled Rosie's services to drink her feelings away, she was waited on by her regular bartender Smitty. Smitty made six appearances during the show's original run, attempting to give Karen some context about her first world problems by telling her a harrowing story from his past... which usually makes Karen crack up.
Rosario's surprise death also gave Megan Mullally the chance to do some dramatic acting in the episode. Karen's vulnerability is shown few and far between, but it always packs an emotional punch when it happens. Seeing Karen say goodbye to Rosie was an emotional experience, although there is comfort is knowing that Shelley Morrison is alive and well IRL.
Will and Grace airs new episodes Thursdays on NBC. Check out our fall premiere list to plan your next binge watch.