Originally Published September 16th, 2013; Updated: June 24th, 2014
As a self-respecting gay man, and pop culture commentatór, naturally I have learned a lot from the oft-stereotypical, yet wildly forward-thinking-for-Network-TV-at-the-time Will & Grace.
And by learned a lot, I clearly mean it’s my bible.
For a very long time, it was my only real window into anything #gay. Like, you mean to tell me that Will is a lawyer, and the show half-revolves around him and his dating life and wait … he’s not like some big, flamboyant, effeminate, dying-of-AIDs #Rent type of gay? Mind:BLOWN. Especially for an eager-to-learn-but-not-practice-the-art-of-gay-because-gay-ain’t-the-way-yet pre-pubescent teen in 1998 when the show premiered.
It was my escape. And I pretty much wanted to be Will Truman.
I mean, just look at who Will ended up with:
But more to the point, Will & Grace taught me how to react in almost single life situation imaginable.
For instance, whenever I meet a new friend who is absolutely fabulous and I fall instantly in love with her (because, let’s face it, it’s almost always a her), I frequently say …
… pretty much JUST like Jack MacFarland. I’ve perfected that exact motion because when you just LOVE someone, you simply. Just. Love. Them.
Also, I’m about 99.9% sure that all of my cutting/biting sarcastic IRL [that’s “In Real Life,” in case you’re totes #2,000andLate with internet vernacular] humor stems from Jack.
I’ve also developed this weird sense of selfish attention-grabbing. I may or may not tend to make everything about me. Except, replace “may or may not” with “definitely.”
It also confirmed my
worst fears suspicions that you can’t REALLY know if you like yourself unless you’re well-liked. Popularity really IS the key to life.
Grace’s insecurities — and eventual growth, albeit stubborn — throughout the show was really just crying out to my inner insecure woman with commitment issues because, even as a 12 year old, I was acutely aware that nobody could/would ever love/like me because:
A) I was fat and NOBODY LOVES A FATTY
and B) I was gay, and like, so totally-not-in-the-know about that, but I knew that something was so atrociously fundamentally wrong with the feelings, so nobody would ever love me.
So when the episode with Guy Who Slept With Everyone And Caused The World To Think About The Idea of Humans Simply As Sexual Beings Regardless of Gender aired, I was TOTALLY all:
Although that would definitely explain my affinity for playing with boobs.
But then I would totally do things like this …
… in the privacy of my bedroom …
… and I definitely said things like:
And all of this would negate my whole, “I’m totes pansexual!” self-argument.
Maybe this is where I get my predilection towards ALL THINGS Pop Culture. Especially Britney Spears. Especially in relating pop culture icons to my every day life. I’d like to think that Will, Jack, and the gang really helped me through my formative years and guided me towards a healthy, self-loving life.
And then there was Karen Walker. Oh, Karen. I think that she’s really life’s greater teacher. Never afraid of controversy, or of drinking on the job, she was the
unoutspoken hero of that show.
She taught me how to speak my mind…and how to do so eloquently (see above for reference.)
Also, she’s my spirit animal. I know I say this about everyone — including but not limited to: Mariah Carey, Britney Spears, Lana Del Rey, Lady GaGa, Emma Stone, Rebel Wilson, Ari Graynor (notice how they’re all girls. Also notice Ari Graynor because she’s REALLY my spirit animal), etc. — but Karen Walker literally is my spirit animal. (See, I did it again.)
Do you know how often I long to do this:
Apparently it’s not kosher to just up and leave if you’re bored by your current company. Which is totally insane because Karen Walker also taught me that the world revolves around my schedule, my life, and generally my own personal agenda.
She’s also like, the queen of #fierce:
Plus, she knows how to connect with people on a basic human level.
… which, let me tell you: it’s FUCKING HARD to connect with people on any levels, let alone the basic human ones. Because, even if you find somebody who’s all “OMG BESTIES” with you, it’s really fucking hard to be like,
WHO HAS THAT CONFIDENCE?
But really, isn’t that what Will & Grace is really all about?
Confidence. It was a pioneer TV show of it’s time. It was the only show that actually took time to develop fully-realized, focused story lines centered around gay characters. Jack might have represented a well-worn stereotype, but Will was the everygayman. He was real at a time when TV comedies needed a bit more reality. It was a courageous show that did a lot for the gay community; if nothing else, it showed that gay men — and the occasional lesbian — were real people with real emotions and living real lives, just like everybody else.
If nothing else, it taught me the proper use of a pencil: