October 22nd: Will & Grace

The birth of Shu-Shu Fontana.

Another beloved institution, this is the story of a guy and a gal living together in the lap of some serious luxury. They both like men and they have some over-the-top friends who kind of make up for how unlikeable the title characters are as people. I'm of course talking about...

Will & Grace

It is strange to think that the man who once defined the directing of Cheers would go on to craft this puppy, but Jim Burrows will do as Jim Burrows will do - he did give us some classic Frasier eps, so he has carte blanche.

Having lived through this era of the late-90s, this is a little cringe-worthy to see. Here we see more and bottles of olive oil and wine appearing as set-fixtures, more and more $300 Chinese silk throw pillows piled-up, more and more charming nooks with leathered furniture that are worth more than my life, and lamped-up to within an inch of their own. This is not an apartment, it is a catalog of excess. To paraphrase a question I asked back in Belvedere, how many lamps does one space need!?

Let's find out.

Space: New York, NY
Time: October 26th, 1998
Episode: "Boo! Humbug" Season 1, Episode 5

Back in New York again, we look past Will and Grace to see that they have so much money! We can ignore the fact that they come off as wry grouches at all times because the candy-grab must be amazing here, so let's-


Oh, that's right, Will and Grace don't "do" Halloween. That's right, they are Halloween Scrooges, too busy with their curries and their Swedish films about the bleakness of all things to indulge such fantasies. As opposed to these guys:

These Jack and Karen kids are completely indulging their fantasies, and are headed downtown to the Village Halloween parade, where they shall be worshiped like Halloween stars. And good for them! That sounds so much better than what their friends have planned. Or, should I say, had planned?

That's right, their boring night-in is interrupted by Will's mega-client, Harlin Polk, and his two mute children, Nixon and Buzzy-Bee. It turns out he needs to seal a very serious business deal and felt like it would be totally normal to drop by, unannounced, to leave his heirs with these joykills.

And I swear to you, it is like pulling teeth to get Will and Grace to take these kids out trick-or-treating - Grace finally relents with a sigh that is typically reserved for agreeing to let your mother-in-law move in with you. IT'S JUST TRICK-OR-TREATING, CHILL OUT.

Fortunately for us, these two kids really give 'em hell throughout, throwing things, vomiting, ruining possible romantic opportunities - it is such a relief to see the wind taken out of their keepers' sails.

Thank goodness Karen and Jack are living it up downtown on their behalf, hanging with the queens and drinking beers from paper bags - now that is how you do a Halloween!

And as we wind down to an exhausting finale where everyone had plainly run out of ideas as to how to resolve any of Will and Grace's trials, we are confronted with some serious scene-padding in the form of silly-string.

I seriously doubt that interior designer Grace would have been as happy about that shit all over her pristine apartment in real life, but the point is that these two morose misers have allowed the blocks of ice around their hearts to melt, and have finally opened their hearts to the miracle that is Halloween. By which I mean, they would never commit to a full Halloween episode like this again.

Ah well, as Abraham Lincoln was once misquoted as saying, you can't win 'em all, but you can cast Gary Grubbs in a recurring role to save your bacon when the premise gets lean.