Critical Condition: Will & Grace

Will & Grace | TVNZ 2, 8.30 Monday

➢ “Beneath the pile of strenuously topical pop-culture references — Shonda Rhimes, Kellyanne Conway, Ryans Gosling and Reynolds — that fly like wigs in a Drag Race turf war, the DNA of the show remains essentially unchanged. Its loopy charm still rests on deft physical comedy, shrewdly cast guests (including Dear Evan Hansen’s delightful Ben Platt as the ADHD-riddled millennial so oblivious to gay history that he thinks Stonehenge is where the movement started), and, of course, the giddy push-me-pull-you chemistry between the original four.” — Entertainment Weekly.

➢ “The feeling of being frozen in time is harshly apparent in the premiere episode, which is essentially a longer version of the ‘get out the vote’ short the foursome made in 2016 that led to this reunion … As exhausting as the Trump focus is, the bigger issue is that it throws away the events of what fans thought was the series finale in a rushed opening that explains why Will and Grace are once again living together. However, the second and third episodes do a much better job re-introducing the characters.” — USA Today.

➢ “There is a whiff of nostalgia hanging over the first three installments of the show, which echo the taut rhythms and polished brightness of Must See TV from back in the day. The cast remains sharp and able to tackle physical and verbal humor with aplomb. But the first episode, in which the gang visits the Trump White House, reeks of the kind of smarmy self-congratulation that marred many otherwise decent comedies that came up around the same time as Will & Grace.” — Variety.

➢ “The premiere episode strains the hardest for relevance … The revival is steadier in the next two episodes, where it settles into its nimble mode of zingers, farce and slapstick. This is the sort of sitcom where, if two people walk into a fancy automated shower, you know they will get trapped in it. There’s a comfort in that. The show also retains its core dynamic, the hermetic, supportive-suffocating friendships among the quartet. It’s always been refreshingly willing to admit that its characters are pieces of work, yet their affection is as genuine as the insults.” — New York Times.

➢ “Late-season Will & Grace episodes were already a graveyard of overly telegraphed punchlines and overcompensating stars, and 11 years of evolution in sitcom vogue does not seem to have been acknowledged by the creative team here. The sensation remains that you’re watching a repeat that now includes references to Anderson Cooper and Amanda Bynes, but I truly feared worse.” — The Hollywood Reporter.

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