A short reunion video endorsing Hillary Clinton lit up the internet last year and left fans begging for more. Now, beloved comedy Will & Grace is back with brand new episodes, more than a decade after the final series screened. TimeOut spoke to co-star Debra Messing about the show's return.
Did you wait to read scripts before you committed to returning?
Debra Messing: No we didn't read anything. We had done the political skit for the campaign, and doing that made us realise that there is a kind of magical synergy between the four of us that just is there. The writing was so smart and funny and relevant I think that gave us all the confidence to say "Will this work in everyone's lives? And if it does, then by all means, let's dive in together."
So we have the 2016 election to thank for the return of Will & Grace?
DM: The campaign season between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton absolutely was the catalyst for us coming back. If that catalyst had not happened, and it had been a different kind of campaign season, we would not be here right now.
Will the show continue the overt political commentary of the campaign short?
DM: That was the thing that made me want to come back. It's like, okay, if we can do what we did before, which was, first, to make people laugh out loud and maybe make them pee a little bit on the couch - that's number one. And number two, shine a light on what's happening today in our culture.
The show has been credited with helping to broaden public awareness of the LGBT community. How do you see that aspect playing out now?
When we started, it was revolutionary to have two gay characters, so what we were able to address at the time was LGB. We stopped at B, and my hope is that now we can finish the alphabet. And with gender identity, and there's so many things that are being discussed in our culture now.
What was it like getting back to physical comedy?
DM: Exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. I grew up on I Love Lucy and Carol Burnett and Julia Louis-Dreyfuss. Great physical comedians. And I've missed it desperately from the landscape of television for many years and to be able to have the opportunity to step back into that is just the greatest thrill. I'm ready to fall down and trip - and do all those things again.
Have the dynamics on set changed?
DM: It's absolutely the same, I mean, next year will be 20 years since the pilot and it is just like it was 11years ago [when the show ended]. We really are brothers and sisters. We can't keep our hands off of each other. We are happiest when we are totally inappropriate with each other.
Do you feel the pressure of expectations?
DM: I don't feel pressure because I've read the first episode. We walked away so proud of the eight years that we did and when it first came up, the idea of doing it again, it was like, "Wait a second!" We had to make sure there are stories to be told. We had to make sure that those comic voices would live again, and even louder.
Who: Debra Messing
What: The return of Will & Grace
When: Monday, 8.30pm
Also: TVNZ2 will screen the entire first season on Saturday from 10.30am
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