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S10.E05: Grace's Secret

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While on a road trip with her father, Grace reveals a past secret, changing their relationship forever; legendary drag queen Miss Coco Peru emcees a lip-sync monologue throwdown to determine who will be Jack's best man, Will or Karen.

Air date: November 1, 2018

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Wow. That got awfully serious fast. Very emotional performance from Messing there. And I liked the shot of the gravesite at the end.

On a happier note, LOL at Will doing the whole "Leave Britney alone!" thing :D. And I loved Jack's big speech about marriage. 

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For an episode with some serious content, there sure were plenty of lol moments.  Favorite line from Grace’s father re: creepy Harry: “l never want to hear his name again, he’s dead to me.”

BTW, I can’t believe Megan Mullaly is 60 years old.  She looks fabulous!

Edited by TomGirl
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OK, so has every sitcom covered this topic?  

14 minutes ago, TomGirl said:

Favorite line from Grace’s father re: creepy Harry: “l never want to hear his name again, he’s dead to me.”

There were some good lines in the episode though.  

The "best man" thing didn't do much for me.

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36 minutes ago, Annber03 said:

Wow. That got awfully serious fast. Very emotional performance from Messing there. And I liked the shot of the gravesite at the end.

On a happier note, LOL at Will doing the whole "Leave Britney alone!" thing :D. And I loved Jack's big speech about marriage. 

Definitely. Really appreciated how they handled it.

Also loved Jack's marriage speech as well and the party as a whole.

This ep in my opinion is one of the best ones so far. Really liked it.

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I figured it was Me Too and was surprised it got so serious. Murphy Brown did it a couple of weeks ago. And I thought the person Grace told was Will. It was surprising and brought a depth to Grace.

And who could blame the drag queen's crush on Will? Eric McCormack just gets better looking with age. 

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I hated Grace's storyline. I don't think it fits with what we already know about Grace. Between this and the stuff last week about Will's letter to Grace back in college, the show is getting a bit too heavy. If they want me to enjoy watching 50-ish adults still living like they did in their early 30s, they need to keep it light. 

I'm not saying sitcoms can't have serious storylines, but it almost seems like they're trying to add drama because they're out of comedic storylines. Or as though they are trying to bring relevance to the show in the #MeToo era. It seems to me that if Grace were a childhood victim of sexual assault, we would have had at least a hint about it by now. (I don't mean she would have told people).

Edited by Jillybean
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Ok, gotta admit that I thought Miss Coco was Sean Hayes in drag...and that was a damn good jack impression at the end.

Lots of funny lines and as always, they push the line on what they can get away with...."are you talking a public Jack-off" is right up there with  "Jack, with you its always about the banana" from the first run. I thought the premise of the contest was good and they even did a pretty good rip off of the Friends episode with the contest....and Jack/Sean Hayes even played it like Ross/David Schwimmer in saying "and that is correct".

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I figured it was Me Too and was surprised it got so serious. Murphy Brown did it a couple of weeks ago.

As to Grace's story line, she was raped and there is no other term for it.....the guy should have gone to jail. and while I support the #MeToo movement, I question the impact when played out in a sitcom. Yes, it brings the topic in front of many people, but somehow takes out some of the seriousness

By the way, I watched that Murphy Brown episode, it was not out and out rape, yet still represented what that movement is about.

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I wish we would have had more of the game at the bar.  (My brain is failing me now on many levels, I can't remember the name of the game with the spinning wheel or the name of the bar either)>  

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9 hours ago, notcreative enough said:

So Grace needed an apology from her father who didn't know anything and not her mother that pretty much or shamed her into not saying anything because her father wouldn't  believe her. 

I felt like there were a lot of things the writers could have done to make the "dad needs to apologize" stuff make more sense.

Like maybe the father had good reason all along to know that Harry was generally a lech, but he just ignored it. Or maybe Grace told her father in the past, but he refused to listen.

But they never established either of those things. Instead, they made it seem like the father's big sin was that he failed to read Grace's mind. It was handled very strangely.

(And I could understand if the father felt the need to apologize just out of a general sense of guilt for allowing Harry into their lives, and for not noticing Grace's sadness after the incident, and for pushing her to visit his grave over the years. But the writers went further than that, and made him out to be an enabler, which seemed like a stretch.)

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2 hours ago, Jillybean said:

I hated Grace's storyline. I don't think it fits with what we already know about Grace. Between this and the stuff last week about Will's letter to Grace back in college, the show is getting a bit too heavy. If they want me to enjoy watching 50-ish adults still living like they did in their early 30s, they need to keep it light. 

I'm not saying sitcoms can't have serious storylines, but it almost seems like they're trying to add drama because they're out of comedic storylines. Or as though they are trying to bring relevance to the show in the #MeToo era. It seems to me that if Grace were a childhood victim of sexual assault, we would have had at least a hint about it by now. (I don't mean she would have told people).

The thing is that a lot of sitcoms are jumping on this bandwagon & as you said, it didn’t seem to fit here (or on Murphy Brown, for that matter).  Just waiting for the other shoe to drop on more shows.  How about a very special episode featuring Penny, on Big Bang Theory?   Just stop, already!

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Loved the games at the bar and Coco. Eric Mc really committed to that impression and the Freddie one a few weeks ago. I want to see him do the whole wheel. He's so damn cute. <3

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3 hours ago, Chicken Wing said:

How exactly does someone who was sexually assaulted as a teen act? Why would this not fit with what we already knew about Grace? What should we have been hinted about? This is exactly the point, it happens to a lot of people and you would never ever ever have any idea. Obviously this plot twist was meant to call attention to the #MeToo movement, but that doesn't mean it's contrived or unrealistic to the character. It's not like Grace ever specifically said that she had not ever been sexually assaulted. I will agree though that this storyline right after the college letter one last week is a lot of heavy material back to back.

 

I can't answer your first question. However, we've been shown that Grace was sexually aggressive with Will over Thanksgiving break in college, just a few years after she was sexually assaulted. She was always shown as being sexually confident IMO. And while sexual confidence isn't mutually exclusive with being a survivor, it just doesn't really add up in this particular case IMO. Also, she has also always been shown as having a loving yet very contentious relationship with her mother, with no sign of the kind of bond that keeping such confidence would almost certainly develop.  I guess we're supposed to assume that this was the real reason for their conflict and everything else we were shown was just window dressing?

Edited by Jillybean

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I can understand why people are upset by this ret-con of Grace's character. It goes against what we've known and learnt about her over the original series' run and the past season or so. But I agree with @Chicken Wing in that just because we never knew this about Grace doesn't mean it couldn't have happened. Do we wish it was addressed years ago? Well, I can't speak for you guys, but I am glad it wasn't. W&G is a sitcom. It's meant to be kept light-hearted, though I never laugh along with the audience. I watch it as more of a light-hearted drama, not heavy drama that we expect from shows such as Special Victims Unit.

What really bothers me about this whole rehashing of Will & Grace is that the show ended twelve or thirteen years ago (I know three of my favorite sit-coms ended three consecutive years: 2004, 2005, 2006. Always got W&G and ELR mixed up!) and we got our closure with these characters. Was I happy with the series finale? Hell, no. I wanted Will and Grace to start a modern family type of thing with Lila. I didn't want Grace to go back to Leo, that cheating douchebag. But she did and it ended that way.

When the show returned, they ret-conned all of season eight. No Lila, no pregnancy, no Vince or Leo. Just all these characters, now in their late 40s or early 50s, behaving just how they did twenty years ago. I can definitely see why the creators and EPs of another popular show from the 90s refuse to do a reunion movie or revive the series. Looking at this show, it's like... just doesn't sit well. It's too modern, but these characters behave like they did twenty years ago.

But back to the topic of this thread, I liked the Grace storyline despite it being an out-of-the-blue ret-con. Wasn't very fond of Will, Jack, and Karen plot. I think Will is extremely weak with Jack and Karen, and is strongest with Grace. The same can be said of Eric and Debra, I don't know what it is but they have amazing chemistry.

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They handled this beautifully, in my opinion. If you'd described the episode to me, I would have envisioned something much clunkier and/or over the top. But I felt they hit all the right notes, and both Messing and the wonderful Robert Klein nailed those scenes. 

As for why Grace blames her dad, she did say she kept telling him Harry was creepy. This is exactly what I'd expect from a 15-year-old girl who is uneasy around an older man (and something I experienced a number of times myself); the adults in the situation should listen and not turn a blind eye. The kid is not in a position to know where things will lead or how real the threat is. I thought it all tracked and paid off beautifully. And cheers to the funny actress who played Patty the waitress, and everybody in the Will/Karen/Jack story as well.

Post-show interview with the writers: https://variety.com/2018/tv/features/will-and-grace-me-too-episode-graces-secret-interview-1203016897/

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Didn't Alan Arkin play Grace's father in the original series? Is he just too big for this show now? Did Robert Klein play him last season too?

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I  don't see how this doesn't parse with what we know of Grace either. Many--if not most-- of the women I know have been sexually assaulted in some way, unfortunately. We don't all walk around looking damaged, acting out, hating sex, hating men, hating our parents, etc, or whatever a sexual abuse survivor might be supposed to look like.  Most of us look and behav like everybody else, which is, I think, the point. I get not liking the storyline ,and sure, this wasn't all planned out from the get-go by the show runners, but the point is that you never know who has been thru something like this. I'm not always a Debra Messing fan, but I thought she did a pretty great job here.

While I guessed right away that it wasn't will, but her mom, that Grace had told, it's weird that she WOULDN'T have ever told Will. Also, as ball buster-y as Grace's mom always was, it's a little hard to believe that she wouldn't have personally done something to confront and punish Harry, let alone that she put up with her husband remaining his friend.

I don't think it was necessarily supposed to be rational, adult Grace (well, if she's ever quite that) blaming her dad in some way. It was the 15 year old who got violated by her dad's best friend, and who expected him to know and protect her.

Eric McCormack is dreamy.

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That was... okay. They REALLY should've had a funnier lip sync for Karen than the Wicked Witch. That was weak, Mullaly is amazing and could've done something hilarious (though maybe they just wanted to let McCormack be the one to shine alone for once). And in superficial news... that severe hairdo on Grace is NOT flattering. With all the work Messing's had done on her face (and *particularly* those "always surprised!" intense eyebrows), she needs to stick with softer hair.

Edited by gesundheit
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19 hours ago, AriAu said:

Ok, gotta admit that I thought Miss Coco was Sean Hayes in drag...and that was a damn good jack impression at the end.

I thought that I recognized Miss Coco from an earlier episode, and it turns out that she was--though mostly out of drag.  At the beginning of the season 4 Thanksgiving episode, the characters are all shown in boxes as they talk on the phone and finalize plans for the holiday.  Jack is gossiping with a friend, who he puts on hold to talk to Will.  The friend remains onscreen in one of the boxes while getting into hair, makeup and costume as the others talk.  Eventually, the others hang up (including Jack, who has forgotten he was talking to someone besides Will) and Miss Coco is alone on the screen.  I think the doorbell rings and she yells, "Mother!  Can you get that?  I'm on the phone!"  The same actor is also credited for part two of the episode, but I think that was just for the "previously on Will & Grace" scenes.

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I liked how they introduced the character of Harry, which was by Grace's dad just mentioning his grave and her saying she didn't want to go, rather than him saying, "I want to visit the grave of my friend Harry from the army" or whatever (unless this did happen, and I missed it!).  I hate when characters explain things to each other that the other person already knows and wouldn't need explained.  Just let the viewer figure it out!

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I liked how Will held his phone out to read Grace's text when he didn't have his glasses on. That's what I have to do. I like the little touches like that.

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While handled well, this ep was too heavy for me. Messing did a great job for sure, and the storyline is sadly very true to life, but I don't exactly look to W&G for sobering #MeToo commentary. I felt very depressed after watching.

The best man B-Plot just dragged, no pun intended. I was surprised they didn't use it as a tool to further the implied romantic subtext between Will & Jack with a reference to their college years or something. I don't think the writers will ever go through with Jack's wedding and they already had a "regular" breakup so I won't be surprised if they start toying with tension between Will & Jack as the wedding approaches and then some kind of revelation happens at the wedding that leads Jack to call it off. The show doesn't take Estefan seriously and they wouldn't drop Will/Jack breadcrumbs if they had no intention of following through (although I know many are skeeved out at the possibility), so I'm morbidly curious to see where they take it, lol.

Edited by SnarkEnthusiast
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14 hours ago, SnarkEnthusiast said:

.....was surprised they didn't use it as a tool to further the implied romantic subtext between Will & Jack with a reference to their college years or something. I don't think the writers will ever go through with Jack's wedding and they already had a "regular" breakup so I won't be surprised if they start toying with tension between Will & Jack as the wedding approaches and then some kind of revelation happens at the wedding that leads Jack to call it off. The show doesn't take Estefan seriously and they wouldn't drop Will/Jack breadcrumbs if they had no intention of following through (although I know many are skeeved out at the possibility), so I'm morbidly curious to see where they take it, lol.

I am hoping the whole Jack+Will pairing was just a momentary lapse by the writers when they thought they were only going to produce 13 episodes and be done.

We already sorta know that Jack and Will sorta slept together -- they awoke naked in bed on Stan's yacht during a cliffhanger back in the day. OK, they were *drunk*, so it doesnt count (?).  Yeah right.  Most gay men in their 50s have dallied to some extent with their besties.  Usually it leads nowhere fast, as the friendship trumps the romantic. The show has already been renewed for next season, so the producers/writers know they have to spew out at least another 25 scripts.  Turning Will and Jack into potential mates is way too soon if that's the endgame (which I don't think is the case).

I hope they go ahead and marry off Jack.  His husband needn't carry the Leo Curse.  He can be off-screen and merely referenced.

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This ep was meh for me. The Grace #metoo was too heavy. The Jack, Karen and Will storyline had potential, but failed, IMO. Miss Coco's lines were the only LOL moments for me.

Will + glasses = SUPER FINE!

Edited by juliet73
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I admit, I'd rather see comedy from this show.  The occasional serious stuff is fine, but I want to laugh because sometimes that's what we need after a long day, illness, or other depressing real life situations.  Besides, Hollywood kept their mouths closed when Harvey and others were sexually abusing the celebrities, because  the stars were getting ahead in their careers.  I never look to celebrities to lecture me, I think they've shown they can be the most messed up people around.  Between the making of extremely violent movies by anorexic actresses, drop the social issues.  I don't need it.  I understand the need to get the message out, but I don't trust Hollywood's motives.

Eric and Megan look fabulous!!  I think Debra has had some work done, her eyebrows are way up there.  She's still quite pretty.  Sean still looks good too.  I'd love to see Will get back together with Karen's cousin.  I can't remember his name, but he was the one who needed lessons from Will and Jack on how to be gay.  I always liked him with Will.

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4 hours ago, watcherwoman said:

I'd love to see Will get back together with Karen's cousin.  I can't remember his name, but he was the one who needed lessons from Will and Jack on how to be gay.  I always liked him with Will.

Yeah, I liked him too.

 

When is Will gonna get a boyfriend? Karen had Malcolm, Grace has one and Jack's had two since they've come back. 

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I loved it and found it completely believable that Grace was assaulted by her dads friend, he didn't want to hear it / turned a blind eye to Graces complaints. I think these stories need to be told from a multitude of angles. Murphy Brown had a conversation between her and Avery that ended up with her confronting her professor. Grace shared with her dad decades later. I've never shared with my parents and I doubt I ever will for a variety of reasons.  Hopefully this episode makes parents look back on situations that their kids told them about and facilitates discussions within families about this type of assault.

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I would like to add that I was sexually assaulted when I was very young. I was a child at the time and it happened in a capacity in which I thought, at the time anyway, that my mom should have known. Although I never came right out and told her, I tried to give her "signs" that it had happened and, for years, held unresolved anger against her because I thought she'd been aware of it and had done nothing. All of what Grace said and did rang true to me. As what I think is a result, I spent many years chasing after men I couldn't have precisely because I KNEW I couldn't have them and they were therefore "safe." The one part of me wanted a sexual relationship, but the other part of me was too scared. The fact that Grace became aggressive with Will over that Thanksgiving break makes sense to me, as do some of her other relationship choices. 

 

The bitch royale was fantastic. I was happy to see the "night the lights went out in Georgia" speech from DESIGNING WOMEN was one of the choices on the wheel, as was Sally Fields' "You like me, you really like me" Oscar acceptance speech. 

Edited by mamadrama
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10 hours ago, mamadrama said:

I was happy to see the "night the lights went out in Georgia" speech from DESIGNING WOMEN was one of the choices on the wheel, as was Sally Fields' "You like me, you really like me" Oscar acceptance speech. 

Ha! I didn't catch those options! That's great.

I'm sorry about what you went through as a child. The part of your post about going after "safe" guys, and comparing it to what happened with Will, makes a lot of sense. 

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10 hours ago, Annber03 said:

Ha! I didn't catch those options! That's great.

I'm sorry about what you went through as a child. The part of your post about going after "safe" guys, and comparing it to what happened with Will, makes a lot of sense. 

Ha ha, yeah, I had to pause it a few times so that I could read them. I WOULD love to go to a Bitch Royale like that. It looked like a lot of fun! I wish there were some clips of them doing the rest of the speeches. 

And thank you. I realize that Grace's storyline wasn't part of the original run, but I think it could still fit into that narrative. I don't see it being totally out of place. Some women who were abused as young girls find themselves sexually aggressive while others go the opposite way. I think everyone kind of reacts in a different way. 

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On 11/2/2018 at 12:00 PM, Jillybean said:

I can't answer your first question. However, we've been shown that Grace was sexually aggressive with Will over Thanksgiving break in college, just a few years after she was sexually assaulted. She was always shown as being sexually confident IMO. And while sexual confidence isn't mutually exclusive with being a survivor, it just doesn't really add up in this particular case IMO. Also, she has also always been shown as having a loving yet very contentious relationship with her mother, with no sign of the kind of bond that keeping such confidence would almost certainly develop.  I guess we're supposed to assume that this was the real reason for their conflict and everything else we were shown was just window dressing?

She's in her 50s and has never really been in a healthy relationship. She had one marriage that lasted about 10 minutes and has spent her entire adult life in a codependent relationship with a gay man. That could certainly be a signal of someone who had issues stemming from something earlier on. 

She did say she was a virgin in the episode with the letter and some other 90s episodes, but they never said this guy actually raped her to the extent that she would no longer consider herself a virgin, did they? She didn't finish the story to her dad, it could have been digital penetration or some other violation. 

I thought this was Debra Messing's best acting by far in the reboot. I've been watching the old ones and she had some really stellar dramatic moments, like when she wants to try to get back with Leo after she's pregnant and Will is angry with her about it. Her comedic timing seems to have suffered with time, but she still does drama very well. 

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