Will & Grace returned to the small screen this week after a gap of almost a decade, bringing back the core cast of Debra Messing (Grace), Eric McCormack (Will), Megan Mullally (Karen) and Sean Hayes (Jack). The show's revivial was a surprise to many, especially after the season 8 finale included a flash-forward that effectively wrapped up the characters' stories. However, the current vogue for TV revivials (Full House, Gilmore Girls, even Dynasty have now been given the revival treatment, and they aren't the only ones) means that any popular past series may be up for a new season.
It's already been explained that the new season will ignore the flash-forward ending of the original finale, although exactly how that would work wasn't fully explained. But with the new show already renewed for a second season (or a tenth, depending on how you look at it), it's clear that Will and Grace are going to remain single and childless for a little while longer.
Where Season 8 Left Off
Will, after much soul-searching and attempts at different career paths over the series, ends up back in corporate law for Doucette & Stein, but as a partner in the firm. His search for love is less successful than his career path, however, as he and Vince (Bobby Cannavale) broke up after Vince realized that he would always be second to Grace in Will's life. Grace, meanwhile, is pregnant with her ex-husband Leo's (Harry Connick Jr.) child. The pregnancy is the result of a one-night stand, and after Grace learned the Leo is engaged, she decides to raise the child with Will. However, in the finale, Leo returned to confess his love and propose to Grace, which she accepts. This drives a wedge between Will and Grace, who only reconcile many years later, after their children (Will's with Vince, after the two get back together) end up falling in love.
Meanwhile, Karen finally (truly) ends her marriage to Stan in the season eight finale, filing for divorce and struggling to cope with the loss of the man who has been a part of her life for so long. She doesn't lose her fortune for long, however, as she convinces Jack to become Beverley's (Leslie Jordan) lover in order to access his fortune. Jack isn't sure if he will go through with it, as he doesn't love Beverley, but the decision is happily taken out of his (jazz) hands when Beverley unexpectedly dies, and leaves all his money to Jack - who, of course, shares it with Karen.
11 Years Later
The season 8 finale is dealt with in a surprisingly trite manner, as the four lounge about in the same old apartment, only eleven years older. Karen pipes up to say that she had a crazy dream where Will and Grace stopped speaking for twenty years - which is, of course, exactly what happened in the original finale. Will laughs off the improbability of the dream, and the show moves on. This simple line wipes out a chunk of the final events, including Karen's divorce from Stan, Jack's new fortune thanks to Beverley, Will's reconciliation with Vince, and Grace's pregnancy and proposal. It needed to be done, of course, but pulling the 'it was all a dream' line may leave some shaking their heads.
Now that we know where the characters' stories officially left off, the show continues, filling in the gaps of the past eleven years, and addressing (among other things) how two divorced 40-somethings are still single and sharing an apartment.
Will and Grace
Not much has changed for Will and Grace - or if it has, it wasn't mentioned in the premiere. Grace still has her interior design business, which appears to still be doing well (especially with Karen's rich friends on the client list). She's also added an employee, one who doesn't bring in rich clients, but who also doesn't spend their days fondling the boss and drinking martinis. Tony (Anthony Ramos) appears to be some kind of assistant/intern/junior designer at the firm, as he is seen at the office working on designs for Grace. Other than that, she still has her business, and she's still getting Karen to pull in the super-rich clients.
She's also still living with Will - or back living with Will, to be more precise. Karen asks about their living situation, and Grace describes it as her 'staying' there until the 'dust settles from her divorce'. Who she is divorcing is not entirely clear - but Will does say that she showed up and asked to stay with him again, because she had nowhere else to go. Beyond Will's solo living situation (until the end of the episode, when he and Grace decide to officially move back in together), nothing is mentioned of his life over the past decade. Suited up, he's presumably still partner at the firm, but beyond that, it's yet to be explained.