Will & Grace gifted the world with four richly realized characters making their way through city life. As we got to know Will, Grace, Jack, and Karen better and better as the seasons went on, they went so far deeper than their surface. Each of the storylines on the show, no matter how crazy those sitcom antics got, made its audience more and more invested not only in these individual dynamic personalities, but also in the relationships they share with one another. Those four characters, as a unit, provide a fiercely close circle of friends that see each other through everything.
But, come on…we all know that there were really five main characters to this show.
Rosario Salazar is a force to be reckoned with, and just as richly realized as our other main characters. She has no problem stating her opinions, just as she has no problem saving your ass from whatever bind you’re in. She’s down for whatever you throw at her, from weddings to emergency post-breakup interventions and everything in between. She is the perfect person to round out an already stellar cast of characters. Because Shelley Morrison has retired from acting, we unfortunately won’t get to see Rosario in the revival (although surely, she’ll go the Stanley Walker route and gain mythical status). She was such a brilliant piece of the puzzle, and I’m so sad she won’t be on Will & Grace this time around. But she sure as hell left her mark on the series as a whole. Here are all the things that made her such a perfect addition to our Fab Four. And while I still wish there was some way we could get even a glimpse of her in the upcoming season (I know, I know, don’t hold my breath), at least we have a full original series’ worth of moments to look back on to make her absence a little easier to take.
She accepts Karen for who she is…
Look, we all want someone in our lives who loves us for everything that we are, the good and the bad, the pretty and the not so pretty. We all need at least one person we can be our true selves with, without having to keep up appearances or censor ourselves for anybody. And Rosario is that person for Karen. Rosario sees her at her worst and her best, and she sees who her boss really is without the masks she wears in public. Through all of that, Rosario knows exactly who Karen Walker is. And she wouldn’t want that to change. In fact, she refuses to accept that change.
So when Karen DOES make an effort to change for Rosario’s benefit, Rosario is having none of it. In “He’s Come Undone,” Jack tries to get Karen to treat Rosario a little better and not work her so hard, Karen complies to keep the peace between her and Jack. Rosario, however is more than a little freaked out, and when she finally learns that Karen decided to turn over a new leaf, she quits, saying “I didn’t sign on to work for a decent human being. I signed on to work for Miss Karen.” Sure, she’s blatantly calling Karen a terrible person, but the sentiment is there, all the same. You have to love that in Rosario…refusing to accept any other version of someone than their true self. Even if you’ve lost count of all the times you’ve had overlapping arguments with said someone before ultimately realizing how much you love them.
…But she’s not afraid to go toe to toe with her.
One of the things I love most about Rosario is that she’s incredibly and unapologetically blunt. She is not here to mince words, while I, on the other hand, am 100% here for it. Yes, she may work for Karen, but she’ll always try to get the last word in those moments where Karen thinks she’s got one up on her. And Karen is more than willing to play along. Like, for instance, when Karen gets Rosario out of bed to make cosmos for the Bronfmans:
OR when Karen criticized Rosario’s work in the bathroom:
And either Rosario learned it from Karen or Karen learned it from Rosario (personally, I think it would be amazing if it was the latter), but it wouldn’t be the Walker household without wardrobe critiques:
Of all the things I love about Rosario, I think I’ll miss her way with words most of all.
She leaned the hell into her marriage with Jack.
Sure, part of it was because she had to trick the INS into thinking the marriage was legit, but it’s not like they had to keep up appearances behind closed doors. Once Jack moves into Rosie’s room at the manse, they are all about that married life. They had mundane conversations in bed about what Jack needed from Costco in the morning. Jack was there to rub her feet after a long work day. And when they were trying to convince the INS that their marriage isn’t a sham (an uphill battle, seeing as how Jack once dated the agent doing the interview), Jack may have swooped in to save the day with a kiss, but Rosario’s into it.
Karen ships it.
Look, I know Karen’s hit on a lot of people; I mean, amidst all the Will/Grace/Leo/Diane drama, she still manages to make a pass at Diane, and exactly how many times has she made out with Grace during the show? So it’s only inevitable that, considering how close they’ve been all those years, and the fact that Rosario stuck by her even when Stan didn’t, the thought would cross her mind at least once. And if she tries more than just a dance move during Grace’s reception, so be it:
She will save your ass.
If you’re in a jam, you can always count on Rosario to bail you out. Let’s set the scene: you’re at the Sound of Music sing-a-long, and you’ve just polished off the last of the booze in the flask you brought to the movie (which is so classy, by the way). Clearly the next logical move is to chuck that flask off the balcony, but you manage to hit someone who has the audacity to report it to the movie theater. You land all of your friends in hot water (except the one who won’t stop singing…she can’t blame anyone but herself for this mess), and if they catch you, you’ll be under arrest. What do you do? You rely on the woman dressed as a nun to come to your rescue, stash you away in the closet until it’s safe to come out.
Or, if that’s not your bag, picture this: you’re out at sea, having a memorial for your husband, when all of a sudden, his mistress pushes you overboard. You end up on a cargo ship carrying 300,000 cases of vodka (don’t get sidetracked, Karen, don’t get sidetracked…). Who’s going to save you and bring you home? The one who IMMEDIATELY jumps overboard after you, helps you onto that cargo ship, and then steals the crew’s jet ski so the two of you can get back to your friends and, eventually, dry land. The one who will also dress like a nun and stow you away. The one who will stick by you no matter what.
Clearly, it will benefit you to have Rosario in your corner.
She’s incredibly loyal.
Rosario may like to see Karen squirm from time to time, but when it comes down to it, she will always stick by Karen’s side. Here’s the thing: Rosario could just as easily have stayed with Stan in the manse when Karen started divorce proceedings. But instead of taking what might have been the easier route at times, she decided to stick with her girl. Along with that came some bumps in the road…namely, the fact that Stan had frozen Karen’s assets early on in the proceedings, forcing her to live inside her limo with Rosario. Even before that, though, when she was moonlighting for Beverley Leslie behind Karen’s back and then quit on her, she eventually made her way back to the manse. If Karen and Rosario’s origin story is to be believed (and really, Karen has told so many versions of their origin story, I don’t think we can ever be truly certain of which one is the right one), they’ve been together since 1985 and, aside from the Beverley Leslie incident, Rosario never left. There’s a definite affection Rosario has for Karen underneath the verbal wars they wage on each other, and through the rougher times in Karen’s life, it’s obvious.
She looks out for the ones she loves.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: we can call this show so many things, but deep down, the heart of Will & Grace is the love and friendship each of its characters share with one another. And Rosario is no exception to that. She indulges Grace in her slide show as she grieves her breakup with Nathan, allowing her to deal with things the way she wants to, rather than forcing her to get through it in a way that doesn’t feel natural to her. She helps Jack in trying to assuage the guilt Karen felt when she wanted to marry Lyle (okay, they’re trying to make her believe that Stan is communicating with her from the other side, but whatever works, right?). She’s the one Karen will employ to completely destroy Leo if he ever hurts Grace during their marriage (which he totally did, so…where is that footage?). She was there to lend Will a hug during Grace’s wedding, and her marriage to Jack left them both with a unique and unbreakable bond. Not to mention all of the times she literally saved Karen’s life (aside from the yacht incident, at three different times in their relationship, she gave Karen the breath of life?). Just as Will, Grace, Jack, and Karen look out for each other, Rosario looks out for all of them, even when they don’t realize it. I am definitely going to miss her in the revival. She brought so many wonderful things to Will & Grace, and she truly was part of the group. She dished it out with the best of them, and she held her own, but she will have your back whenever you need it. The legacy she leaves behind is a great one, and I’m so happy we have eight seasons worth of this amazing character.
But seriously, I need her to have Stanley Walker mythical status for the revival. Please and thank you.
What are your favorite Rosario moments? Are you going to miss her just as much as I am? Let’s discuss in the comments!