Will & Grace Season 3, Episode 3
“With Enemies Like These”
Posted by Sarah
Sports and I don’t mix. I refuse to play them, there’s a 90% chance I will fall asleep while watching them, and there’s a 100% chance I won’t follow anything you say when you talk to me about them. I was just not meant for anything athletic, and I was fine living my life like that. But then this week, Karen Walker won a sub-par minor league baseball team in an illegal poker game. And now all of a sudden, I care about baseball. Who knew?
Karen’s…um…victory?…came at the hands of a particularly close rival, and she wasn’t the only one waging war this week. Everyone seemed to be fighting everyone in one way or another, resulting in an episode that felt like classic Will & Grace to me. Between Will tricking Jack to get even with him for years of jokes, Grace going the extra mile just to try to get some damn pizza, and Karen going toe to toe with ex-family, this week hit so many of the right spots that it made me forget that I’m still conflicted as hell about the apparent trajectory of this final season.
Let’s break these battles down one by one, shall we?
Let’s start with Will, who’s fighting about twenty years’ worth of Jack’s bald jokes. After telling Jack that he and Grace are waiting for the results of DNA tests that will let them know what traits they’ll pass down to their children, Will is subjected yet again to comments about receding hairlines and premature baldness. Usually, Will’s able to brush this kind of thing off and go on his merry way; but between the jokes that have been snowballing for years and Grace chiming in to agree with Jack, he now feels like he has to do something about it. So he makes an appointment at a hair clinic, where Dr. DiLorenzo (hi, Chris Parnell!) encourages him to go through with treatment by showing him the array of photos from his most successful cases. And even though the identities of these men have been obscured, Will realizes that he knows one of the doctor’s former clients quite well.
Look, before he even started looking through the after photos, I knew Jack was going to be in that mix, because it was too perfect of an opportunity not to take. And I am so glad they took it. The fact that I completely expected it didn’t take away from how satisfying it was to know that after all these years of poking fun at Will’s hairline, Jack was the one to get Dr. DiLorenzo’s help on the sly. Will thinks it’s pretty satisfying, too, and is fully prepared to have a little fun of his own the next time he sees his friend.
Honestly, the way Will can get Jack to do these crazy things is magical. We saw it in last season’s premiere, when Jack was a little overzealous in applying that numbing cream and Will convinced him that eating a banana was the obvious solution. And this time is no different as he doesn’t tell Jack he knows his dirty little secret, but instead slowly tortures him by saying that everyone who had the procedure five years ago will experience hair loss, except for two little patches on top to make it look like hair horns. Which of course leads Will to pull Jack into a competition to see who looks better with a shaved head. The reveal is something to behold, from the hoodies to Jack laughing about how terrible Will looks to the (not really) plot twist that OOPS! Will took the bald cap route instead to finally stick it to Jack after years of constant jokes. It was such a fun way to show Jack that maybe he should cut down on the barbs about Will’s appearance, and I love when this show lets Eric McCormack and Sean Hayes play together like this.
So Jack’s bald now, but all will be well; you know he’s going to magically have all his hair next week like shaving his head never happened. Because continuity is but a fleeting notion for this revival, but we let it slide because we love it.
Meanwhile, Grace is going head to head with Mrs. Timmer in a fight that ranks up there with the great Happy Noodles debacle of 2004 (we all know how seriously Grace takes her food, but please see season six’s “A Gay/December Romance” for a refresher). In an effort to keep 155 Riverside Drive safe, Mrs. Timmer has put her President of the Tenant’s Board hat on and banned upstairs food delivery in the building. It’s bad enough that she sent away Grace’s egg rolls before Grace even realized her egg rolls were within reach (damn, lady…that’s cold); but when you add the stress of Grace’s dream about her mother telling her she can’t raise her baby on her own to the mix, Mrs. Timmer is basically declaring war. But since Grace can’t seem to muster up the courage to confront her neighbor directly, she decides to defy the building’s new restrictions and just keep living her life…even if she has to look over her shoulder to make sure her pizza ends up in the right hands.
Kids, I can not tell you how much I enjoyed Grace trying to pass off the pizza guy as her boyfriend once Mrs. Timmer caught her getting her delivery order; something about Grace trying to sell the fact that she and Mike M. are so happy together sent me (although, he’s a dude that will deliver pizza to you whenever you want it, how much of a stretch is it for Grace, really?). But Mrs. Timmer isn’t buying it, and rips the pizza from Grace’s grasp to take it with her into 9B, at which point I legitimately wrote “Let Grace Adler Have Her Pizza 2k19” in my notes for this episode. It’s clear to Grace now that no matter what she does, Mrs. Timmer is always going to catch her. But it isn’t until she gets the results of her DNA test back that she realizes exactly why she’s having such a hard time standing up to her: she and Mrs. Timmer are cousins, and dealing with family can be rough.
This development is…fine? Probably unnecessary? I’m not quite sure why we need this, because it’s not like Mrs. Timmer is that big of a part of the Will & Grace universe? Look, ultimately I’m indifferent to this, but it did lead to a lovely moment between the two women, so that’s something. Grace now believes that her mother wasn’t telling her that she couldn’t raise a baby without a man, but that she couldn’t do it without a mom, and now that she’s got family living next door, she’s golden. And once Mrs. Timmer realizes Grace is Bobbi Adler’s daughter, she seems to soften, willing to look out for Grace and share the pizza she recently came into (FINALLY, just let the woman enjoy her food). Will Mrs. Timmer relax the ban on upstairs delivery now? Maybe not. But will she let it slide the next time Grace is in the mood for some egg rolls? There’s probably a better chance now.
One final note about this storyline before I move on: it didn’t fully register until my rewatch that Mrs. Timmer told Grace she could still have food delivered, but she would have to meet the delivery guy in the lobby and Grace was still wasn’t having it, and that is just such a perfect encapsulation of Grace Adler to me? The fact that she would rather exert that much energy just so she doesn’t have to leave the apartment feels so right, and that right there is the woman I know and love.
And then there’s Karen, who is delighted by a surprise invitation to the no limit underground illegal poker game Stan used to take her to when they were together. But after grabbing enough funds from her cash stash at Grace Adler Designs, she walks into the poker game to discover that she’s been invited by none other than her ex-brother-in-law, Danley Walker (hi, Patton Oswalt!). And she knows she’s in for the game of her life.
Okay, can we just pause for a second to appreciate that this guy’s name is Danley Walker? Like…his parents decided that this name was the one that beat out all the other names in existence. AND his parents decided to rhyme their sons. They have children named Danley and Stanley. They did this to people they supposedly love. I will never be over it. It’s too great. Anyway…
It turns out, Danley decided he was going to pull a Scott Woolley (guys, remember how Jeff Goldblum’s stint on the original run was a thing?) and ruin Karen’s life with this poker game because he’s been in love with her all of these years; you see, he was there the night she met Stan, and even though he fell for her that night, Stan was the only one in her eyes. Since then, Danley has spent decades avoiding the manse because he never stopped being sweet on Karen. And kids, Patton Oswalt is so great in this role. He’s the perfect mix of hilarious and disgusting that makes you root for Karen’s victory as he tries to take her for everything she’s got (“Like a statue by Bernini that some kids have drawn huge gazongas on” was oddly inspired?). You could tell that he was so ready to play, and he genuinely felt so right as Stan’s brother. During the course of the game, the nameless mafia guys around them drop out until it’s just Karen and Danley going head to head, and Danley makes his wager: the deed to his house. And all Karen needs to bet is a date. Karen agrees, under one condition: Danley puts down the controlling interest in a professional baseball franchise he almost accidentally bet instead. He does, Karen wins, and all is well now. Right?
Nope. Because that professional baseball franchise turns out to be the Blattsville Millstones, a terrible minor league team that loses millions every year. And even though you could probably argue that since this is an illegal poker game, she has no real obligation to keep this team, Karen Walker doesn’t back out of a deal. So now she’s stuck with the responsibility of turning this crappy team around, and if I’m being completely honest with you, I can’t wait to see how it turns out. And if the fact that Karen refuses to let the team get dressed while giving the following heartfelt speech in the showers is any indication, I think we’re going to be in for a treat:
Karen: By the end of this season, you are going to hit and run and shoot and serve and dunk and skate better than any of the other baseball people, or my name isn’t Karen Walker.
God love my girl.
So maybe I don’t have to study up on baseball just yet…if Karen has the same handle on the sport that I do, maybe I’ll be just fine.
Honey…What’s This? What’s Happening? What’s Going On?
- “You’re trying to cook a baby in an old 1970’s Easy Bake, lady.”
- “Wait, those aren’t the lyrics” is literally what I said the second I heard Karen hum something that wasn’t “Ha ba da, bee ba da,” and I’m okay with being that person.
- As someone who realized she accidentally ordered delivery three times in the past week, when Grace said this is the lazy hungry person’s renaissance, I felt that.
- Using it:
- The fact that Karen thought to load the money chute with an “I hate what you’re wearing” note on the off chance Grace would ever try to use it makes me love her so much more than I already did.
- Years of religiously watching 30 Rock has ruined any sort of doctor role Chris Parnell will ever play for the rest of my life, because all I saw during this episode was Dr. Spaceman.
- Leave it to Jack to wear a “Jack McFarland Birthday Bash 2015” shirt to his anonymous after photo for the hair clinic.
- The password to the underground poker game is Dragon Penis. That’s it. That’s the bullet point.
- Okay, I let it slide before because it led to a nice moment for Grace, but am I missing the logic in this DNA test that was only supposed to tell her what traits she was going to pass down to her kid also telling her that she’s related to Mrs. Timmer? Do the writers not know how DNA tests work? Or do I not know how they work? Please advise in the comments.
- Bobbi used to give a 14-year-old Mrs. Timmer cigarettes at the public pool in Schenectady, and I just really miss her, you guys.
What did you think of “With Enemies Like These?” Let’s talk in the comments!