Will & Grace Season 3, Episode 8
“Lies & Whispers”
Posted by Sarah
I don’t intend on ever having children, but a co-worker of mine is expecting her first child in April, so I’ve been privy to bits and pieces of all her preparation. The other week, she was telling me about starting the process of picking a daycare center and how she was already late in applying for these places, some of which offered things like yoga and regular science experiments for a child that’s going to be four months old by the time they’ll be in the center’s care. It’s crazy to see the hoops people jump through to ensure their kid gets a good education, when that’s the kind of thing that should be easily accessible. So of course, now that Will and Grace both have babies on the way, the only natural course of action is for this little slice of parenting hell to get the Sitcom Land treatment. And honestly, this whole process is ridiculous enough to make perfect fodder for an arena like Will & Grace; throw someone as quirky as Larry in there to stoke the competitive fires, and you really can’t lose. It’s yet another example of the back and forth I should just give into already with this final season, where I can’t believe we’re doing the pregnancy thing again, but at least they’re diving into material they didn’t even consider the first time around.
In addition to this private school showdown, we got what is quite possibly my favorite Jack and Karen fight of all time thanks to some miscommunication and the ASMR trend, so let’s get to unpacking!
While Will and Grace are going over their list of things to do to prepare for the arrival of their kids, they realize that they’ve already done everything and have a chance to relax. But just as they’re patting themselves on the back for crushing the whole pregnancy thing, they get an unexpected visitor who’s about to pull them all the way back into reality by telling them how far behind they are in getting their kids into a good school. And I am so thrilled that it was Larry. He’s the best person to get Will and Grace worked up about all of this; he always says what’s on his mind, he’s constantly oversharing, and the smallest things seem to escalate so quickly when they come out of his mouth. So naturally, he’s going to freak Will and Grace out with his own experiences trying to get his daughter, Hannah, into school. Since he and Joe missed the window to get Hannah into a good elementary school, they couldn’t get her into a good high school, and now? Now, she’s a college dropout making green juice for dogs (what?), taking care of a brand new daughter named Wheat. It’s enough of a horror story to make Will and Grace immediately race to their dream school, Global Citizens Academy, and do their best to secure a spot for their kids come 2024.
And Global Citizens Academy is straight up BONKERS. With a student orchestra that sounds perfect in rehearsals for a concert that’s seven months away, a robotics lab that has literal children making advances in artificial intelligence, and a swarm of elementary-aged kids that instantly makes me question what I’m doing with my life, this is clearly the place to be if you want to give your kid the biggest leg up in the world you possibly can. The only problem is that there’s only one spot left for 2024 admission, and once Will and Grace realize that one of their kids will be left out in the cold, they decide that neither of them are going to try to get in. But we all know how this is going to play out, because we all know how Will and Grace operate. They let their competitive side get the better of them from time to time, but now they’ve got their children’s futures at stake. And they’re not going to let anything get in the way of coming out on top.
The way each of them tries to make their case to this school is so misguided in that delightful sitcom way, from Grace boasting that she has no idea who the father of her child is and therefore is the diversity Global Citizens Academy is looking for, to Will trying to make the case that his being gay can still hit that diversity sweet spot, to both of them being all too willing to resort to bribery, all leading to the inevitable moment when they run into each other at the school. And while I expected a few jabs here and there once they realized what the other was doing, I wasn’t expecting the low blow of Will essentially calling Grace dumb. I know part of the point of this storyline was to show how this process can bring out the worst in people, but this just felt extreme to lob at your best friend of 35 years. That mixed with Grace telling Will that nobody likes him basically turned what should have been a run of the mill Will and Grace argument into something with sharper edges. Even if it did lead to a lovely moment in the contrition cubby.
At the end of the day, they both realize what motivated them to betray their promise of sticking together. Grace owns up to her selfishness, while Will owns up to feeling like he’s already failing his kid by being a single parent, and not getting into the school would just be one more failure to add to the list. It’s definitely valid, feeling like you’re not going to be enough for your child on your own. But where the first time around had Will and Grace not speaking to each other as their children grew up, I feel safe to bet all my money this time on the fact that they’re going to be there for each other and their kids no matter what. Grace solidifies this in such a beautiful moment, telling Will, “There’s no part of this that I want to do without you.” And THAT’S the friendship I know and love shining through. In the grand scheme of things, the fanciest and most overachieving schools don’t matter as much that foundation of family that Will and Grace have always had together. There will be other schools. There will be other opportunities for your child to succeed. But the love and support they will be able to give their kids is what truly counts, and I’m so glad this is the note the episode ends on. And Larry’s glad, too; it gives him the perfect opportunity to swipe the final spot at Global Citizens Academy for his granddaughter.
Congratulations, Wheat. Your 2024 is looking intimidatingly bright.
I don’t fully get the whole ASMR video thing–it doesn’t really work on me the way I guess it’s supposed to – but I am 100% here for watching Jack and Jenny bond over creating them. Since Will is busy trying to get his kid’s foot in the door at Global Citizens Academy, Jack’s filling in for him up in Newburgh, helping Jenny make a little calm, over-enunciated cash. Again, I’m going to say that three episodes isn’t nearly enough for Demi Lovato this season, because she absolutely slays. I love seeing the way she’s gelled with most of our Fab Four so far, and I’m always wanting to see more of her. Jenny pulling Jack into her ASMR video created such a great environment for them to play in, and I could honestly watch them do this forever. There’s just one downside to Jack’s new side project: it gives him the perfect opportunity to mess up the connection Karen has going with Jenny’s brother.
See, while Jack and Jenny are doing their ASMR thing, Karen’s in the other room continuing her fling with Luke (oh cool, he has a name now). But their good times come to a crashing halt when Jack meets Luke and goes on and on about how great it is that he’s Karen’s booty call. It in no way surprises me that Jack’s the friend who encourages a post-divorce Karen to find someone who’s just there for sex. It also in no way surprises me that he’s eager to share this information. But it surprises the hell out of Luke, who had no idea what Karen’s intentions were, and decides to put an end to it the next day, just before Karen is supposed to help Jack and Jenny with their live broadcast.
Cue the thing that could actually get me to see the benefits of ASMR.
I’ve officially lost count of the number of times I’ve watched Jack and Karen’s fight since Thursday night. The whole thing was just so masterfully done. Whenever Jack and Karen normally get into it, you’re pretty much guaranteed a few laughs, some ridiculous back and forth, and maybe a good old-fashioned slap fight if you’re lucky. But making their argument play out in an arena where everything has to be calm and where everything you say needs to have a hushed tone to it somehow amps it all up, and by the time Karen’s measuredly detailing exactly what she’d like to do to Jack’s balls, I’ve full on lost it. Of course Jack never meant to ruin what Karen had with Luke; maybe he shouldn’t have kept going on the way he did, but Karen absolutely should have been clear with Luke about where she stands. And before she leaves, she resolves to make it right.
I know my girl has had it rough over the past year. The divorce from Stan definitely got ugly at times; lest we forget that the whole thing started with Karen running away because she was legitimately afraid for her life, thinking Stan sent someone after her only to find out that this person was trying to serve her divorce papers. And single life since then hasn’t exactly dealt her a winning hand; she had such a promising beginning with Nikki before the writers completely fucked it up harder than I ever thought it was possible for a queer show in 2019 to fuck something like that up, and they’re STILL not fixing it (and from the looks of the next episode’s synopsis, there’s a chance I’m going to have yet another reason to keep raging, but I’ll bite my tongue until I actually see it play out). So I absolutely get why Karen thinks all she can handle right now is a booty call; after all that heartbreak, it’s only natural to want to try and protect yourself from getting hurt yet again. But even as Luke tells her that he’s looking for something more than that, you can tell that she’s sad they’re over. You knew this wasn’t really a relationship that was built to last – if I’m being completely honest, I was surprised that it lasted past “Performance Anxiety” – but you also knew in this moment that it meant something to Karen, in spite of the effort to keep it just about the sex. And even though it ends as amicably as it could, with goodbye sex to boot, you can’t help but feel for her.
So right now, can we just resolve to let Karen Walker be happy by the end of this series? This woman has gone all the way through it lately; give her someone who’s not on a completely different page than she is. Someone who’s worthy of her. Someone who’s not an asshole. Someone who doesn’t make her question herself. Someone who doesn’t pull the shit just about everyone she’s ever been with has pulled. Because it’s about time she got a break. And it can’t honestly be that hard to give her one.
Honey…What’s This? What’s Happening? What’s Going On?
- “Northern Yonkers University. Their motto was, ‘Let’s call it a day.’”
- Bless Jack for having to take a beat to properly add 50 and 50 up in his head.
- Listen, I hate Stanley Walker with my whole being, but I have to hand it to him: the guy knows what’s up when it comes to the calming power of melting cheese.
- “Thank you for your service of my best friend.”
- Hi, yes, does anyone have a minute to talk about Karen’s sex toy picnic basket?
- “I finally got Wheat to sleep. And yes, it’s 11:45 in the morning, and I am having a drink. If I’m still awake in 20 minutes, I’m going to take a bath.” Seriously, give me all the Larry you have. He is a gift we do not deserve.
- Occasionally, Max Mutchnick will throw bits that didn’t make the episode up on Instagram, and while I get why this one was ultimately cut, I legitimately would have given anything for them to keep Karen shouting “Gimme your balls” in the ASMR fight. Enjoy:
- I mean, look, it’s not cool that Will and Grace went behind each other’s backs to try to snag the last spot at the school, but Grace recognizing how on brand that is for her is a level of self-awareness some of us only hope to achieve.
- Also on brand for Grace Adler: stealing crayons from children because office supplies are expensive.
- “This picnic’s not gonna spank itself” was a legitimate contender for the title of this recap, and part of me still wishes I had thrown it up there.
What did you think of “Lies & Whispers?” Let’s chat in the comments.
Featured Image Source: NBC