The Will & Grace Pilot Still Holds Up—Almost 20 Years Later
It seems that we’re living in the age of the TV show revival. First, Gilmore Girls came back for a much-anticipated reboot. Full House brought back its characters for another run. And now Will & Grace is making a go of it 11 years after it left the air, with new episodes hitting NBC this Thursday, Sept. 28.
So before we dug our teeth in to this new series to see how it compares to the original, we first had to revisit the pilot episode—almost 20 years later. And if we didn’t know better, the pilot could pass as the reboot’s first episode, crazy high Manhattan rent prices and all. Seriously, $2300 for a one-bedroom could pass in 2017 as well as it did in 1998.
Two decades later, we seem to have made a lot of social progress. TV shows are shamed if they don’t feature prominent gay characters. Lena Waithe just made Emmys history as the first African-American woman to win an award for comedy writing on TV (not to mention that she’s openly gay). And the LGBT community has added a few extra letters to its name.
So why does this 1998 episode of Will & Grace still feel so appropriate today? For one, it was way ahead of its time. And maybe, 19 years later, we haven’t made as much progress as we thought.
Enduring relevance aside, here are 6 things that totally caught us off guard about the OG Will & Grace pilot.
1. Wait, Will was closeted?
The pilot opens on Will and Grace presumably having phone sex until you realize that she’s in bed with another man—and that is so not the dynamic between these best friends.
2. Will’s hair is so long!
He’s rocking some ‘90s flow.
3. These BFFs didn’t always live together.
In fact, until the second episode, Will and Grace had never shared an apartment. In the pilot, Jack is coming to live with Will for a few days while his apartment floors are redone.
4. Karen’s voice was much lower.
In the pilot episode, Megan Mullally talks in her normal speaking voice, but as the episodes go on, she increases her pitch to reach the level we know and love.
5. Rosario doesn’t appear on the spinoff, but she’s already the best character.
The only mention of Rosario is in a phone call made by Karen to her nanny, whom she fails to speak Spanish to. Though we can’t hear Rosario’s responses on the other end, it’s easy to picture her eye-roll.
6. Grace’s “wedding dress” is actually trendy.
For her last-minute Town Hall wedding, Grace tied a full tulle skirt around a white minidress. When Will makes fun of it, she responds, “Oh give me a break, I had five minutes to prepare for this.” Time-crunched as she was, the look gave us major “Olivia Palermo on her wedding day” vibes.
Luckily, Grace didn’t go through with her wedding, and thus was born one of the most endearing roommate dynamics on television.
New episodes of Will & Grace air on Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.