I’m Selina, Awards Circuit’s queer Girl Friday for everything LGBTQIA+ on film and TV! Wedding bells were ringing Thursday night, as Jack (Sean Hayes) and Estefan (Brian Jordan Alvarez) of “Will & Grace” finally tied the knot after a season of wedding plans and misadventures. For most of the season finale, aptly titled “Jack’s Big Gay Wedding,” I was enjoying the mix of new freedoms (marriage equality, finally!) and guest stars Matt Bomer (Will’s boyfriend McCoy) and Samira Wiley (Karen’s girlfriend Nikki). But I guess us bisexuals just can’t catch a break, because Karen (Megan Mullally), the chaotic bisexual icon of TV history, is “straight,” again.
The Positives: Miss Coco Peru & Jack McFarland’s Happily Ever After
So here’s the good thing about the season finale: Jack finally ties the knot with fiance Estefan, albeit in an airport terminal after their flights are cancelled. Apparently you need to fly to your destination wedding early, or you’ll end up eating white castle burgers at your reception!
But jokes aside, this moment was a long time coming for one of the gayest sitcoms to ever hit the airwaves. “Will & Grace” is a cultural phenomenon, becoming one of the very few shows back in the ’90s to regularly feature gay characters happily living their lives. “Will & Grace” was part of the larger push for LGBTQIA+ visibility and equality when “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was still the rule and marriage equality was a far off pipe dream. “Will & Grace’s” return gave us a chance to see Jack happily (and legally) marry the love of his life, and that’s something to raise a glass to.
Oh, and we can’t forget that appearance from the lovely Miss Coco Peru! The famous drag queen, who’s appeared in “To Wong Foo” and “Girls Will Be Girls” along with multiple episodes of “Will & Grace,” returned to marry the lovebirds. I’m always here for Miss Coco (who hasn’t aged a day, by the way), and thought the cameo was a great touch.
The Shrugs of The Finale: Will & Grace’s Love Lives
Don’t get me wrong, seeing Bomer play a vapid, crying reporter who falls hard for Will (Eric McCormack) has been a fun plotline. But are we really supposed to believe Bomer will be joining the show as a series regular? Nah. Therefore, this relationship will tank and will do so probably early on next season. The “Will & Grace” writers have already introduced his exit (that super-awesome job, far away from Will’s life in NYC), so the proposal during Jack’s nuptials doesn’t have a real impact on loyal “Will & Grace” viewers. Why get invested when we all know this will end in tears and a move back to Will’s NYC apartment?
The same can be said about Grace (Debra Messing) and Noah (David Schwimmer), whose season-long relationship has been sinking since its launch. We know they’re going to break up, because Noah is just Get-Off-My-Lawn Ross and it’s boring and there’s no way Schwimmer is joining as a series regular. So, they peaked when they moved in together and now Grace is tired of Get-Off-My-Lawn Ross. So she falls for a dashing airport patron (Reid Scott) who also loves airport food (?) and runs off with him because we need a fun final sendoff for Grace that also ends the boring saga of the West Side Curmudgeon. Again: loyal viewers aren’t fooled, because these kinds of whirlwind (even the running off to faraway lands) have happened for Will and Grace before, and nothing ever truly changes.
On The Gayest Sitcom of TV History, Why Can’t Karen Walker Be Bisexual?
I had such high hopes after the past few episodes. Finally, Karen Walker followed up on all those bisexual hints, nudges and quips of the past 10 seasons and was dating Wiley’s Nikki, who was ready to have a serious relationship with the socialite. It seemed like Karen might finally get to explore her sexual orientation, maybe find her own place in the LGBTQIA+ community. Sexual orientation labels have evolved quite a bit since the ’90s, and I’ve always been of the opinion that Karen is a bisexual or pansexual lady, here to steal your guys, gals, and non-binary pals. And sure, we got a little exploration with Karen trying to be butch in the previous episode “The Things We Do For Love,” though it was fairly brief.
But instead of exploring more modern labels for Karen’s fluid sexuality, “Will & Grace” writers Alex Herschlag and Suzanne Martin wrote off Karen’s attraction to Nikki as a passing dalliance, a mistake made by a woman who’s feeling lost and disconnected after her divorce. It hurt, even more, to see Karen and Nikki’s breakup done in an homage to “The Puppy Episode,” where Ellen Degeneres came out on her sitcom and to the world at large. Y’all took a great queer TV moment and killed my bisexual dreams with it.
BISEXUALS EXIST. Bi erasure is still a very real problem, and it was one of the main reasons I stayed in the closet until college. How can you come out, when the label that fits you best is a point of contention? One of the reasons I identify as queer because honestly, I don’t want to deal with arguments about whether or not bisexuals are real. To straight people, bisexuals are secretly confused, and to gay people, bisexuals are just not ready to step out of the closet. And this episode plays right into that stereotype.
Karen Walker does not have to pick a label to have a serious relationship with Nikki, and the idea that she’s not “all in” with Nikki because this is her first gay relationship is an insulting and outdated view. Life is a journey, and every relationship will teach you more about yourself. So sure, Karen could stand for some downtime and self-reflection: after a divorce, who doesn’t? But to make her suddenly shift gears, to brush aside the lust and love she felt for Nikki just because she’s only seriously dated men is a lazy ending to an interesting relationship. You sure ignored the B in LGBTQIA+, “Will & Grace,” and Karen Walker deserved better than this.