I’m Selina, Awards Circuit’s queer Girl Friday for all things LGBTQIA+ on TV! This is the inaugural article in a weekly column, where I’ll take on TV’s biggest stories through the rainbow lenses. This week marked the return of most network TV shows, including Shonda Rhimes’ original hit “Grey’s Anatomy” and her legal drama “How To Get Away With Murder” (HTGAWM), which are known for their diverse, LGBTQIA+ friendly casts. But the true shining star was “Will & Grace,” which has come back from the grave to take on President Donald Trump.
“Will & Grace” started off with a bang, undoing the seemingly iron-clad series finale from over a decade ago. Karen is still rich, alcoholic and Republican, Jack’s back in the apartment across the hall, Grace is newly single (again) and Will is still a gay, single lawyer. The entire episode capitalizes on America’s political situation as Will and Grace struggle with balancing their desires over their beliefs. Will’s got his eye on a conservative congressman, while Karen’s gal-pal Melania hires Grace to redecorate the Oval Office.
The group ends up in the White House by the middle of the episode, where Jack catches up with an old flame in the Secret Service (they’re all gay y’know, they need to “know how to read a room”). Grace uses Cheetos to check if Trump’s skin tone will clash with the drapes as Will flirts in the Rose Garden. Everything comes to a head with a pillow fight in the Oval Office as Will and Grace call each other out on their own hypocrisy.
Mixed with a laundry list of Trump takedowns and quick quips is a clear message: despite the bull***t going down, LGBTQIA+ people are here, queer, and won’t be going anywhere. The only serious moment of the premiere was a push-in shot of the trademark Trump supporter red ballcap with a new slogan: Make America Gay Again.
On the dramatic side of primetime, “Grey’s Anatomy” has turned to a slightly lighter side. The show’s sole queer storyline during the premiere followed Arizona’s disastrous love life. Eliza Minnick, the doctor who caused utter mayhem for Grey Sloan’s training program, has “ghosted” the blonde pediatric surgeon. But Arizona doesn’t sulk for long, meeting a gorgeous Italian at Joe’s Bar (who just happens to be her roommate’s older sister). Carina turns out to be an OB-GYN (surprise surprise) running a study about the female orgasm with the help of sex toys and an MRI machine. Bailey approves Carina’s proposition to run her study with hospital staff, which ends up leading to a finale bombshell (a brain tumor for Amelia the neurosurgeon). We’ll have to wait and see if things continue to heat up between Arizona and the visiting doc.
The night closed out with HTGAWM, where Oliver attempts to convince freshly-sheared boyfriend Connor (that buzzcut is smokin’, Jack Falahee) that marriage isn’t just for straight people. A run-in with a drunk bridal party in a gay bar points out straight womens’ penchant for inhabiting spaces that aren’t for them, though Oliver does give the girls a break (“be nice Connor, in a gay bar they don’t have to worry about date rape”). Connor isn’t impressed, uncomfortable with the idea of conforming to heterosexual society’s rules on romantic relationships, an opinion many in the LGBTQIA+ community hold.
In the end, it all comes down to timing: Connor tells the elated Oliver he wants to marry him. However, he just doesn’t want to rush things, especially since the pair recently reconciled after a rocky Season 3. I hear wedding bells in their future, but it’ll be a while before anyone walks down the aisle (and knowing HTGAWM, somebody will bite the dust before the wedding reception). I appreciated the writer’s choice to keep the discussion going throughout the episode, which gave both characters the space to address the pros and cons of an institution the LGBTQIA+ just got legal access to. Here’s hoping the pair have an easier go of it for the upcoming season.