Will & Grace was undeniably an innovative, groundbreaking show in its day. Premiering on NBC in 1998, this series airing alongside shows that primarily did not feature any LGBTQ+ characters - and definitely didn't feature LGBTQ+ characters as the leads.
From the beginning, Will & Grace creators had their work cut out for them, as it was immediately the general audience's instinct to turn against a show that attempted to tackle a remotely different concept. After facing a fair amount of backlash, Will & Grace went on to become a notably successful series.
It definitely has its place in television history and has not lost its relevance today. But no show can do everythin0 of the jokes from this series that have aged terribly.
10 GRACE IMPLYING THAT SHE SHOULD HAVE KNOWN A GUY WAS GAY BECAUSE OF HIS "FEMININE" INTERESTS
The 90s era of TV was perhaps one of the biggest offenders when it came to portraying LGBTQ+ people completely through offensive stereotypes. Being a'90s show - and considering its subject matter - Will & Grace was definitely not an exception to this.
This is especially emphasized in this quote from Grace, regarding the fact that she should have known a guy was gay because of the way he dressed and acted: "How could I not have known? He was Boy George for Halloween, he has a diffuser on his hairdryer, and he's prettier than me."
9 WILL'S VIEW ON PREFERENCE
In recent years, the world has certainly become more socially correct, and with it, TV has evolved - at least for the most part. Film and television have become much more aware and sensitive to people's sexualities and different ways of identifying, but in Will & Grace's primetime, this was not the case.
A scene that definitely dates Will & Grace terribly, is when Will comments, "pansexual? Isn't that just a rest stop on the road to homo?".
8 KAREN'S REMARK ON STATEN ISLAND
Karen is undeniably an iconic character, and that remains true to this day. But not every aspect of her personality has aged well - namely her views on people less rich than she is. Throughout the series, Karen was a source of a lot of offensive material, and she was never quiet on her opinion of "poor" people.
This quote from Karen basically sums up the show's general view on "poor" people: "Honey, when I agreed to drive you to the set, you didn't say it was on Staten Island. How the hell am I ever gonna get the stench of landfill and working-class families out of tropical lightweight wool?"
7 THE GENERAL PORTRAYAL OF JACK
Jack is a gay stereotype filled to the hilt of tired tropes and offensive cliches. It's not to say that his character isn't multidimensional and impressively fleshed out, and it's not to say that he wasn't completely lovable - but the portrayal of him was rather problematic nonetheless.
Portraying gay characters as completely flamboyant, vivacious individuals and having other characters make fun of them because of their feminity, isn't even a thing of the past. Modern Family has always portrayed both of its gay characters this way and has yet to cease.
6 "OLD GAY GUYS."
On top of Will & Grace's rather questionable portrayal of Jack and Will, the show didn't hold back from making offensive comments about gay people in general. Will & Grace did a lot for the portrayal of LGBTQ+ characters on television, and for that it always deserves praise.
However, the series was no stranger to derogatory stereotypes, and that's best captured by this particular line of Jack's: "there's always a lot of rich, old gay guys at those things looking for younger gay guys to take care of. You know, the way Dick Cheney takes care of George Bush".
Every character falls victim to stereotypes now and again. Hopefully, this is a trend that we can kill with socially correct and progressive modern TV. Shows like Stranger Things and Brooklyn Nine-Nine are already paving the way for a new trend of completely changing and breaking stereotypes.
In Will & Grace, stereotypes were bountiful for every character. Karen was the stereotypical rich girl, Grace was the stereotypical "pretty" girl, Jack was the stereotypical feminine gay guy, and Will was the stereotypical hot gay guy who doesn't "act gay" and people always think he's straight.
On the subject of the show's constant remarks about "poor" people, the characters also had their fair share of discriminatory comments to make about other countries, ethnicities, religions, or just different ways of life. In a particularly memorable and problematic instance, Karen's remark definitely proves that the show's view on some things was rather twisted.
“I love Chinatown. You can buy a bag of zippers this big for a dollar. I hand them out to poor kids. I love to watch the look on their little faces as they zip and unzip their new toy.”
3 JOKES ABOUT HOMELESS PEOPLE
As aforementioned, Will & Grace had a bad habit of making some less-than-flattering comments about poor or homeless people. For some reason, homeless people were a particular target for jokes - especially for Karen, who always took the opportunity to comment on the subject.
The amount of times the show has poked fun at homeless people is actually countless, and you wouldn't have to watch Will & Grace very long before coming across one of these jabs.
2 KAREN'S Drinking
Let's just get this out there: Karen was an alcoholic. Like most shows did in this era - and unfortunately, still do today - the show just poked fun at this and never really took it seriously.
Karen's brain was almost perpetually marinating in booze, and while this should have been an indicator that she had a real problem, it was only used as an opportunity to make her a "quirky", entertaining character.
1 JOKING ABOUT THE FACT THAT NO ONE WOULD EVER BELIEVE JACK WAS STRAIGHT
The line between straight people and gay people is not nearly as explicit and defined as TV would have us believe. The media's perception of gay people and their mannerisms and personality traits was problematic back in Will & Grace's age, and the sad thing is that it hasn't gotten all that better in modern times.
The portrayal and characterization of Jack is perhaps one of the most problematic things about Will & Grace. Sure, his personality is larger-than-life and lovable, and he's definitely a fan-favorite, but his demeanor does not need to be pigeon-holed by the fact that he acts stereotypically "gay" and "no one would believe he was straight in a thousand years".