With a recent continuous worldwide trend on Twitter, Will and Grace has really taken the internet by storm. Already a show with a large following due its normalization of a homosexual couple on TV and all its hilarity, it’s a perfect fit for all the hype. The revival episode was no exception to the show’s typical popularity, with its invocation of strong reactions amongst viewers. The return of Will and Grace, which aired on September 28, 2017, after a decade of being off air incorporated quite the abundance of jokes surrounding the current American political climate.
Some of these controversial jokes included a parody of Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America great again” turning it into, “Make America gay again.” Another one taking a jab at his orange skin. When Karen gets the opportunity to help design the Oval Office and brings Grace with her, there is a comedic reenactment of Trump’s advisor, Kellyanne Conway, kneeling on a couch in the Oval Office whilst on her phone. It seems that an anti-Trump joke was intentionally fit into nearly every crook and cranny of the episode.
The reaction, as expected, was big and emphatic. While many applauded and celebrated the show’s anti-Trump jokes, there were also those who were very displeased. One of the more popular arguments against the political humour was the show’s comedic indirection in that what should be a funny, lighthearted comedy meant to help people escape the realities of the current political state, only further integrated the political reality. To them, it’s become a form of left-winged propaganda, brimming with unoriginal jokes and hatred.
With the negative feedback of some, it leaves the question: To what extent should shows like Will and Grace and other comedies, include politics as a part of their comedic spectrum.
There seems to be irony in the anger directed towards the anti-Trump comedy, as Will and Grace is noted as an important and memorable show in part, due to its bold sociopolitical message. Through challenging heteronormativity and featuring two gay men as part of the main cast, Will and Grace from the get-go was not going to be a show that followed the usual formula for TV success. It was not going to conform to a sexual standard. Instead, it created conversation about the various issues that occur within relationships.
David Kohan, co-creator of the show, speaks on the political integration to Variety,
“I actually think that is what the appeal of what the show is right now, this whole sense of I want to be back on comfortable solid ground with characters that I’m familiar with, that I know, that I want to laugh with. Because I’m anxious right now. This is an anxious time. And this is an antidote to that.”
Despite some of the negative commentary, many were delighted and found much to laugh about in the political aspect of the comedy. To them, it was putting their political views and negative outlook on Trump and his team, into an engaging and fun dialogue.
For many, the concept of Trump as president is difficult to take in. His actions have not necessarily been deemed as beneficial to minorities- DACA repeal, desire to build a wall, travel ban, trans military ban, desire for an Obamacare repeal, and much more. For many living in America as minorities, his power is frightening. It is a reality that people live with every day that their president is only looking out for a highly exclusive group of people. No matter what TV show or movie they watch, the frightening reality of their country headed several years back, remains.
Will and Grace was not attempting to “ruin” the cheerful hilarity of their show through politics. It was a reflection of America’s political reality through a comedic lens. And for many, was a lighthearted portrayal of their reality. The episode was not meant to “spread hate” through a leftist agenda- there’s already been a lot of hate coming from a certain president. Simply, it was to use the show’s large platform to draw attention to the political conditions of America.
I’ll leave you with this: If a man who has little to no experience in the political field, who’s background primarily consists of business and reality TV and the occasional cameo in Hollywood movies, is voted into political power, then why can’t Will and Grace and other forms of pop culture media also have a say in politics?