Will & Grace

Wayne State Univ. (TV Milestones Series). Sept. 2023. 123p. ISBN 9780814349069. pap. $19.99. TV
Pugh’s (English, Univ. of Central Florida; Queer Oz: L. Frank Baum’s Trans Tales) succinct book on the groundbreaking sitcom Will & Grace gives it some much-needed recognition. Within four brief but comprehensive chapters, the book examines how the show subverted the traditional sitcom format over eight seasons (1998–2006) by centering queer characters and humor. Pugh does an excellent job of charting how Will & Grace helped make portrayals of LGBTQIA+ characters a part of “must-see TV” for mainstream audiences. The book indicates that the show relied heavily on stereotypes and tropes, but many also viewed the show as a light-hearted balm during a fraught time for LGBTQIA+ rights. Pugh documents how viewers laughed along with the fictional foibles of Will and Grace and their friends, Jack and Karen, as landmark legal cases such as Lawrence v. Texas established a new era of queer rights in real life. Will & Grace returned to NBC in 2017 and ran until 2020.
VERDICT The author persuasively proves that Will & Grace deserves its reputation as a classic sitcom and a milestone for LGBTQIA+ representation.
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