Will & Grace Season 1, Episode 10
Posted by Sarah
In order to make the Will & Grace revival work, a few alterations to the original story’s final chapter had to be made. The kids that our title characters had were simply part of Karen’s martini-addled dreams. Karen’s divorce and the subsequent money woes that led Jack to succeed Benji as Beverley Leslie’s “business associate” never happened. And relationships had to end, for better (bye, Leo, don’t let the door hit you…or maybe let it hit you a little bit) or worse. I loved Will and Vince. If there was any kind of scenario where our leading guy could still share his life with his tiny eared vanilla Seinfeld, I would have been all over it. But alas, we can’t always get what we want. Just as Grace and Nathan’s breakup resulted in “Bed, Bath, and Beyond,” though, if they’re going to split up one of my favorite canon pairings, at least they’re nice enough to give me a great post-split episode as a consolation prize. And as we saw in “Emergency Contact” towards the beginning of this season, this show is really good at closure.
Even if you wish there were still a few more chapters to the story.
Grace and Jack are keeping Will company while he’s getting everything ready for his breakfast with Vince. Okay, yeah, they’re exes; according to Will, after five years together, “We reached an impasse. I wanted to move in, get married, but Vince has commitment issues” (maybe my mind is still filled with season eight storylines that are no longer in play, but that doesn’t quite link up with my memory of Vince. By all means, though, please proceed). But even after that heartache, the two remained pretty good friends. And once Vince arrives with a bar of his famous homemade soap for everyone like a goddamn gentleman, Grace and Jack see their cue to exit and give the guys some alone time. It seems that, in spite of it all, Will and Vince have a good friendship going. The conversation is flowing, and it isn’t awkward…until Vince tells Will that he has big news: he’s getting married to his boyfriend of nine months. And Will’s invited to the festivities. And despite Vince assuring him that if he didn’t want to come, it would be fine, Will RSVPs yes.
Look, when Will unravels, he unravels quickly. And it isn’t pretty (remember that acting exercise in “Prison Blues?”). Add to this the fact that aside from the seven years he was with Michael before the original pilot, Vince was Will’s most significant relationship that we know of, and you get the guarantee that he’s going to go from zero to crazy in .6 seconds. On the day of the wedding, he’s running on no sleep and caffeine from about eight thousand different sources. He spent the morning social media stalking Ryan, Vince’s husband-to-be, and critiquing him at every turn. He retweets everything, so he must not have an original thought in his head. He Instagrams his snacks. And by all accounts (well…by Will’s account), he’s boring. He can’t understand why Vince was able to get over his commitment issues with this guy, of all people, someone who—compared to Will—he’s spent so little time with, someone who retweets things like “I’ve got the brunchies” (okay, maybe he’s got a point with the puns, but still). And Will’s tailspin wouldn’t be complete without obsessively going over the last weeks of their relationship, looking for clues he wasn’t hip to back then, trying to figure out exactly why they couldn’t make it work. It’s enough to drive anyone insane. Luckily, Grace is there to try and stop him from spinning. She knows that nothing good will come from this, that any answer he finds to his questions will crush him. She pleads with him to stay home; the rest of the group will go in his stead while he saves himself from further heartache. Will acknowledges that she’s right, and swears he won’t go.
But, come on…we all know how this goes.
At the wedding reception, everyone is on a mission. Grace is providing an alibi for Will, since he said he wouldn’t go. Jack’s casing the joint for a good old-fashioned wedding hookup, even though the surplus of men in NYPD uniforms is throwing off his gaydar (“Is that guy standing like that because of his nightstick? Or his nightstick?”). Karen’s in the middle of a high stakes scavenger hunt with a prize of $40; she already found a monkey worth one hundred points, and conveniently needs an NYPD badge to put her over the top. And Will? Will crashed the wedding and is now on a mission for closure. All he wants is two minutes with Vince so he can get some answers, and Grace is not having it. Whenever he gets close, Grace crashes the party and tries to pull him back from the edge. And she’s successful, until Vince asks Will to get in on a photo. Oh, what an innocent request that is. It starts off well enough, but soon Will’s dictating how Vince should pose and trying to rid the table of anything that would result in a less than perfect shot, and by the time Will’s insisting on getting the gravy boat full of Green Goddess out of frame, Vince has reached his breaking point and lost his filter. He is so fed up because Will picks at everything, and he knew that today wouldn’t be any different. And it’s here that Will gets the answer he’s been waiting for: this habit of picking at everything is the reason Vince wanted out of the relationship. Or, as he so devastatingly put it, “You wanna know why I broke up with you, Will? Because you didn’t like me.”
I get that you have to get to a low point in order to build back up again, but that exchange hurt to watch. To know that Vince felt that Will was embarrassed of him, that he never lived up to Will’s expectations hurt. But you also get where he’s coming from, and I think that’s what packs the heaviest punch. Because Will DOES have a tendency to pick at things until they’re his version of perfect. It’s all over the original run, fueling storylines that eventually work themselves out in the end because sitcoms always work themselves out in the end. It’s even in the beginning of this episode; Will could not possibly let Vince reveal his big news until he made sure that speck of food is wiped away from Vince’s face. I know how that must have eaten at Vince’s self-esteem during their relationship, and it’s completely understandable that he couldn’t take it anymore. The thing about Will’s controlling side, though, is that it’s so well-intentioned that he doesn’t understand how he’s hurting the people he loves most when he does it. He honestly believes he’s helping; as Grace says in her first toast of the evening, “Of course you’re a little controlling, but that’s only because you want to bring out the best in people.” Which is what makes the cause of Will and Vince’s breakup that much more heartbreaking. It makes Will wonder why he sabotaged his relationship, so much so that he’s compelled to make a toast addressing that very issue.
And holy god, those toasts were so brilliant. It was one of those moments where you’re just in awe of both the writers and the cast for creating a perfect storm of comedic skill. It was kind of like Joe and Larry’s wedding in the original run, where Will and Grace made up post-argument-of-the-week during their reading. Because, like so many other things over the course of this series, Will and Grace end up making it all about themselves. Will’s initial toast turns into a self-deprecating rant, saying that he didn’t deserve Vince, which leads Grace to make a toast about how Will’s too hard on himself, which leads to a back and forth of toasts that don’t really have to do with the newlyweds except in postscript. Vince even gets in on it, apologizing and trying to reassure Will that he didn’t mean what he said, and that he’ll always consider Will the one that got away (WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO DO TO, DESTROY ME, D’ANGELO?). Because underneath Will’s well-intentioned picking and Vince’s understandable frustration, there was a lot of genuine love between them. It’s not quite the big closure moment those two deserve, but we’ll get to that in a second.
So, how did everyone do on their missions? Grace was out the second Will showed his face at the reception. Karen not only got her NYPD badge, but also swiped Ryan’s grandmother’s dentures from an Arby’s bag to give her that extra boost in the scavenger hunt. Jack hooked up with Officer Drew, the one cop in the place whose favorite show isn’t The Wire, before realizing that he’s closeted, never been with a man before, and married to Vince’s cousin, Angela. He got roped into a cabin vacation with Drew in the Poconos, and despite trying to distance himself from the lovesick cop, they sneak away for one more rendezvous in the bathroom. But Will was the one to come out on top. He not only got closure, he got the reassurance that his relationship with Vince truly meant something to his ex.
Vince catches Will in the bathroom, and he’s freaking out. Even though he made it through the ceremony and most of the reception just fine, he’s now starting to question whether this marriage is one big mistake. And he knows that if he goes to Will, his mind will be at ease, because “You always tell me when I’m doing something wrong.” If this had happened before the toasts and before Vince got fed up with the picking, while Will was still completely unraveled, sleep deprived and hopped up on caffeine, this would not have ended well; it likely would have been a very speedy reiteration of all the opinions Will had of Ryan after stalking his social media. But now, armed with answers and a clearer mind, he’s able to comfort Vince in a way that only he can. And Vince lets Will know just how important he is and always will be:
And really, that is why it stings that Will and Vince are no longer together. Even with the original run finale no longer in play, it still felt as though they had been married, to the point where when I heard about Will’s relationship status prior to the revival’s premiere, I kept referring to it as his divorce. I loved the idea of Will falling for the guy who was so outside his normal type that that’s what made it perfect. That’s what made it so fun to root for them. And that’s what made it so sad to realize that they had to be broken up in order for the revival to reach its full potential (I mean, if Will and Vince were still together, there would have been no Jackson Boudreaux…). But to see them end this episode on a good note feels like a win, even if they’re no longer together. It doesn’t taint any memories of happier times, and it opens the door for a lifelong friendship between them; to know that there’s no animosity means so much, and I am so glad they weren’t taken down an irredeemably bitter road. As much as I adored Will and Vince together, I can’t believe how not upset I am that their chapter has closed.
Take note, television: this is how you tie up a broken beloved romance.
Honey…What’s This? What’s Happening? What’s Going On?
- “Why is my head on Betsy DeVos’ neck?”
- Vince’s face after Will made the joke about Ryan being pregnant was so perfect, and dammit show, why do you have to keep reminding me how much I love him if we can’t keep him?
- Guys, I have been waiting for this monkey since before the revival premiered. Between that tiny bit of script Max Mutchnick leaked that said “Karen enters with a monkey” and Megan Mullally’s Instagram video, I was counting down the weeks. Petition for Karen to keep a monkey with her at all times. It’s not like it would be completely out of character.
- “It’s in the cupboard, Gay Gardens.” In case you doubted this show’s mastery of the one-liner.
- “Pushing me off on Aunt Rita was a dick move, but we are so going on a cruise.”
- “YOU’RE a tacky gravy boat of Green Goddess!” Good to know that after all these years, Vince’s comeback game is just as strong as it was when he first met Will. Seriously, can’t we just keep him?
- It took a couple of viewings, but I realized the song that was playing at the reception was “Love Will Keep Us Together,” and I already have so many emotions about that song because of the original run, why do they want to destroy me?
- “Is it illegal if you cut blow with aspirin?” Karen with the pressing questions.
- “Did you just steal a badge from a cop?” “Did you just eat an entire tray of sliders?” My entire heart always and forever will belong to Grace Adler and Karen Walker.
What did you think of “The Wedding?” Let’s talk in the comments!