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Case Number 05615

Buy Will And Grace: Season Three at Amazon

Will And Grace: Season Three

Lionsgate // 2000 // 530 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Elizabeth Skipper (Retired) // November 17th, 2004

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All Rise...

Judge Elizabeth Skipper appreciates a show in which "a gay old time" means exactly that. Unlike The Flintstones, in which Fred and Barney kept things on the down low.

Editor's Note

Our reviews of Will And Grace: Season One (published March 2nd, 2004), Will And Grace: Season Two (published May 13th, 2004), Will And Grace: Season Four (published August 22nd, 2005), Will And Grace: Season Seven (published February 6th, 2008), Will And Grace: Season Eight (published December 19th, 2008), and Will And Grace: Series Finale (published June 21st, 2006) are also available.

The Charge

"I do not know where you got the idea that I am your wife, but let me tell you something—if that's true, we've got big marital problems because Mrs. Truman's getting a lot of action on the side."

Opening Statement

The biggest complaint I've heard about Will & Grace is that it's not "gay" enough. And, sure, Will almost never dates and same-sex intimacy is rare, but if words were actions, W&G would be more flaming than Queer as Folk. They may not show much homosexuality, but they sure know how to write one-liners about it.

Facts of the Case

Season Three of Will & Grace takes place over 22 episodes:

• "New Will City"
Will comes back from a summer away and is jealous of Jack and Grace's new friendship. Rosario takes the fall for Karen's customs fraud.
Queer Quote of the Episode:
"You're into gay porn, right?"
"Who isn't?"

• "Fear and Clothing"
Grace's apartment is almost broken into, so she moves back in with Will and gives her apartment to Jack.
Queer Quote of the Episode:
"Oh my God, my own apartment…all it needs is a little gay spray and a half-dozen torso sculptures and I'm home!"

• "Husbands and Trophy Wives"
Will and Jack's party friends have all become parents. Karen worries that Stan doesn't find her attractive anymore.
Queer Quote of the Episode:
"Are you hitting on me?…You are…oh my God, you're a big lez! People have always said you were, but I said no, that's just the way she walks…Finally, an explanation for the chunky shoes and all the keys."

• "Girl Trouble"
Grace hires an intern (Natasha Lyonne, Slums of Beverly Hills) but she quickly latches on to Karen. Jack acts in a gay sensitivity skit that Will writes for the police department.
Queer Quote of the Episode:
"You haven't once called them by their names, preferring instead to address them as "mister" or "señor." You've mooed, you've sung 'The Lumberjack Song,' and then you told some joke about the Indigo Girls and a Mexican restaurant that I still don't understand. I could try to appeal to you as a thoughtful gay man, but, ironically, that would be fruitless."

• "Grace 0, Jack 2000"
Grace tries to break up with Ben (Gregory Hines), but he refuses. Jack starts his new one-man show, "Jack 2000," and discovers that telling Will's embarrassing stories gets laughs.
Queer Quote of the Episode:
"Will, what do you think, too gay?"
"Yeah, definitely. But the shirt's good."

• "Love Plus One"
Grace's ex-boyfriend visits with his new girlfriend, and they ask Grace to join them for a threesome. Jack gets a job at Banana Republic. Will meets a cute guy, Matt (Patrick Dempsey, Sweet Home Alabama).
Queer Quote of the Episode:
"Oh my God, I love TV. Buffy is my life! I'm so into Willow being a lez."

• "Gypsies, Tramps, & Weed"
A psychic tells Will he will spend the rest of his life with Jack. Grace's new office assistant is a drug dealer. Cher makes a cameo appearance.
Queer Quote of the Episode:
"How can I explain this? When two men are in love and committed and greased up like pigs at a county fair…"

• "Lows in the Mid-Eighties"
In the eighties, Will and Grace break up when he realizes he's gay. Martina Navratilova makes a cameo appearance, and Debbie Reynolds returns as Grace's mom.
Queer Quote of the Episode:
"You're in stage three. You've bought the short shorts, but you're afraid to put them on."

• "Three's a Crowd, Six is a Freak Show"
Grace finds out her date has six toes. Will and Jack date the same man.
Queer Quote of the Episode:
"Hey, he's looking at baseball gloves. What do you know, Grace, you bagged a straight one!"

• "Coffee & Commitment"
Jack tries to kick his coffee addiction. Will complains that Grace is a mooch.
Queer Quote of the Episode:
"How's the blushing bride?"
"Oh, pretty good, considering we don't know which one of us is the bride."

• "Swimmin' Pools…Movie Stars"
Will and Grace meet Sandra Bernhard when they tour her apartment. Karen attends her stepson's swim meet.
Queer Quote of the Episode:
"Let me give you a hint: You love her music, you've seen her cabaret a hundred times…"
"Sandra Bernhard."

• "Crazy in Love"
Grace decorates Jack's apartment. Will goes on a date with Matt.
Queer Quote of the Episode:
"It's time to put the sex back in homosexual, Will!"

• "Brothers, a Love Story"
Matt asks Will to keep their relationship secret. Karen discovers that Stan is planning to leave some of his money to charity.
Queer Quote of the Episode:
"I know the perfect place to take him…There's this fish restaurant in Queens, where all the gay guys take their closeted boyfriends. It's like a casual, sawdust-on-the-floor, hand-down-my-pants kind of place."

• "My Uncle the Car"
Grace regrets selling her late uncle's car to a nun (Ellen DeGeneres, Ellen). Karen learns that Rosario has been moonlighting.
Queer Quote of the Episode:
"She just asked a fairy an engine question. Oh my God, we're all gonna die in this car."

• "Cheaters"
Grace catches Will's dad on a date with another woman. Karen thinks Stan is cheating on her.
Queer Quote of the Episode:
"Excuse me, can you stop hitting on me? I'm sitting with my boyfriend."
"Oh, I am so sorry. I didn't mean to give you the wrong impression. I wasn't hitting on you, I was hitting on your boyfriend."
"You're unbelievable."
"I know, tell him that."

• "Mad Dogs and Average Men"
Will avoids breaking up with a guy because his dog is cute. Karen tries to stop Grace from dating her nephew.
Queer Quote of the Episode:
"The best part is that I know that this one is not gay. Please tell me that I'm right."
"Yes, you are. He's not gay."
"Yes! You see, all those years of dating losers and closeted gay guys and that drag queen and that one mousy good-looking girl was not for nothing. I have honed my instincts."

• "Poker? I Don't Even Like Her"
Will's poker buddies are annoyed by Grace. Karen considers plastic surgery.
Queer Quote of the Episode:
"Grace, you should know better. In this house, a queen beats a straight every time."

• "An Old Fashioned Piano Party"
Grace worries that Will will leave her, so she buys a piano. Jack writes a romance novel.
Queer Quote of the Episode:
"He moved to San Francisco a couple years ago, met a guy at a Pottery Barn, had a glass of Chardonnay, and poof…instant couple!"

• "The Young and the Tactless"
Karen abandons her mother-in-law with Will and Jack. Grace meets a rude neighbor, Nathan (Woody Harrelson, Cheers).
Queer Quote of the Episode:
"There's a roll of quarters in my top drawer, right beside my eye cream and my pedicure kit…wow, my dad would be so proud."

• "Alice Doesn't Lisp Here Anymore"
Jack receives an award for his one-man show. Grace drags Will to a funeral.
Queer Quote of the Episode:
" Hi, it's Jack. I'm out…since 1985. Kisses! "

• "Last of the Really Odd Lovers"
Will dates a young guy while Grace dates a rude one, but neither is willing to admit it. Val (Molly Shannon, Saturday Night Live) becomes Jack's biggest fan.
Queer Quote of the Episode:
"You look pretty today, Jack."
"Thank you, I was thinking the same thing myself."

• "Sons and Lovers"
Jack finds out his biological father is dead, but then gets even bigger news. Grace wants Will to like Nathan.
Queer Quote of the Episode:
"He's using my new Chantal sauté pan with a metal-edged spatula. There is no way a crêpe is ever going to slide off that again."
"Wow, you are more gay before 9 a.m. than most people are all day."

The Evidence

This season of Will & Grace is not much different than the second season, which was not much different than the first season. In fact, I've been watching the seventh season every Thursday night, and it's not much different either. Why mess with a good (enough) thing?

And that's exactly what W&G has always been to me: good enough. It's not the best sitcom I've ever seen, not even close, but it's much further away from being the worst I've ever seen. It consistently makes me laugh (even though I try not to out of a principled protest of the laugh track), and, at least while I'm watching, I actually care about the characters a little. I suppose what really keeps me coming back, though, is my own version of affirmative action. W&G is a "gay" show, and I'll always give those the benefit of the doubt. It may not be creatively groundbreaking in the way that, say, Scrubs is, but it's socially groundbreaking, which is just as important.

You might protest that W&G has become redundant in the wake of edgier dramas like Queer as Folk and The L Word, but those shows play a different role. W&G is not here to make us think or to tug at our heartstrings with alternating tragedy and romance; no, it's here to make us laugh. And, for the most part, it does its job successfully.

This third season steps up the show's use of the gimmick, started in Season One with Debbie Reynolds as Grace's mom, that W&G is now known for: the celebrity guest star. With appearances by Natasha Lyonne, Gregory Hines, Patrick Dempsey, Cher, Debbie Reynolds, Martina Navratilova, Sandra Bernhard, Ellen DeGeneres, Woody Harrelson, and Molly Shannon, it's obvious that W&G has found a formula that works. And while guest stars are always a little awkward on any show, they are somehow less so on W&G. Perhaps it's that the show is so campy and outrageous on its own that the addition of a campy and outrageous guest star doesn't seem as out of place as it does on other shows. Whatever the reason, W&G treats its guest stars well and makes them look good, so they keep coming back for more, to our benefit.

The Dolby Digital 2.0 audio and full-frame video are, as in the previous two seasons, much better than expected for a sitcom. Except for the laugh track, which I discussed in my review of Season One and which should be eliminated from the face of the earth, I am quite pleased.

Season Three continues another trend with its inclusion of 11 "themed featurettes." They are not actually featurettes at all, but merely minutes-long clip shows. They're cute, but a cop-out bonus feature. But this set, unlike the previous two, also includes the welcome addition of outtakes. Because they weren't included on the other sets, gag reels for all three seasons are offered here. I assume this means they'll be a regular feature on successive seasons, which still doesn't excuse a lack of commentaries, but it's a start. And a funny one at that.

The Rebuttal Witnesses

It's not gay enough. It's too gay. It doesn't accurately portray the lives of gay men. It's offensive. The characters are unrealistic caricatures. Jack is too flaming. Will is not flaming enough. The show increases awareness. The show gives homosexuality a bad name.

Did I miss anything?

Closing Statement

Even with the addition of outtakes, the extras on this set are meager enough that I wouldn't recommend that you buy it. You can watch the episodes in syndication, and DVD-quality transfers aren't really a selling point for a sitcom.

The Verdict

Lions Gate has learned slightly from its previous mistakes and included outtakes on this set, so I will waive the three strikes rule at this point. If it doesn't continue to make improvements, though, it will find itself back in my courtroom again next year.

Case adjourned.

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Scales of Justice

Video: 95
Audio: 86
Extras: 40
Acting: 95
Story: 90
Judgment: 94

Perp Profile

Studio: Lionsgate
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• None
Running Time: 530 Minutes
Release Year: 2000
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Comedy
• Gay
• Television

Distinguishing Marks

• Themed Featurettes: "Fashion Quips," "It Ain't Over 'Til the Fat Joke is Told," "With a Song in Our Hearts," "Out and About," "The Sounds of Comedy," "Everybody Dance," "A Rose by Any Other Name...," "Hugs & Kisses," "9 to 5ish," "Enter Stage Left," "The Little Voice in My Head"
• Outtakes from Seasons 1-3


• IMDb

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