7 Reasons The New “Will & Grace” Is Even Better Than The Original

Older and wiser, the show—and the cast—is better than ever.

When the news broke that Will & Grace was returning after more than 10 years off the air, I was nervous. Would it hold up?

Five episodes in, I’d argue it’s actually surpassed the original eight seasons. Like love in middle age, it’s a deeper, more nuanced experience that offers unexpected rewards.

Wait, wait—let me explain.

  1. It’s got bigger balls.

    Chris Haston/NBC

    A gay lead was pretty risky when W&G debuted in 1998, so the show was a tad, well, sexless. Now we’ve got Jack on Grindr, Will on Grindr, and the “ho” back in homosexual. (Will’s kiss with Reggie, the ex-gay camp counselor, was hotter than anything we saw in eight seasons.)

    But it’s not just the sex: I feel like Max Mutchnick and David Kohan weren’t going to go back to the well if they couldn’t bring something new—now the show isn’t afraid to make the kind of bold political statements it generally avoided the first time around.

  2. It’s grown up.

    Chris Haston/NBC

    Zany hijinks about bed-hopping and money woes are great when you’re young, but a little sad when you’re in you’re 40s and 50s. (Watch later seasons of Friends if you don’t believe me.)

    The show fully acknowledges the cast isn’t kids anymore—from Grace’s cancer scare to Jack’s compression garment—and manages to mine comedy gold from real adult situations.

  3. But not too much.

    When Will & Grace debuted, multi-camera sitcoms were pretty common. So were workplace comedies and episodic television in general. Now you have to watch three seasons of Modern Family just to understand what’s going on.

    It’s just damn refreshing to turn on the TV at 9pm on Thursdays and not have to know anything beforehand—or remember anything afterwards.

  4. It’s more topical.

    Chris Haston/NBC

    Barely a week after the headlines break, Will & Grace is incorporating gags about Trump tossing paper towels and Harvey Weinstein being “not such a nice guy.”

    Those poor editors must be chained to their desks. #worthit.

  5. We finally got some color.

    Chris Haston/NBC

    Like most early 2000s sitcoms, W&G was mighty white aside from Rosario. (And a loudmouth Latina maid isn’t exactlu going to win you any awards.)

    In its new incarnation, the show has added Jordan Julian as Tasha and Hamilton’s Anthony Ramos as Grace’s junior designer, Tony. Let’s hope these new additions have some room to blossom.

  6. It’s found its heart.

    When Jack realized his grandson was being carted off to ex-gay camp, he didn’t just whisk Skip away a la Auntie Mame. Instead, in a scene that had us bawling like babies, he pleaded with Skip to stay strong in the face of hatred and remember that he would be there for him in any way he could.

    If there’s any justice, Sean Hayes will be be looking at another Emmy nomination next year.

  7. Because we NEED it to be, damn it.

    Let’s face it, the world has become a colder and crueler place. When Will & Grace went off the air in 2006, it felt like an old friend. Now it feels like a lifeline.

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.