“Will & Grace” has not been shy about diving into the current political landscape in its revival season, and the executive producers plan to continue the trend in their already picked-up second season.
“Dave would love to do a story about citizen Trump. That’s the story he wants to tell next year, but we’re not going to tell that story until we get to that point [in reality],” executive producer Max Mutchnick told Variety about his producing partner David Kohan at the Paley Center for Media’s PaleyFest panel for the NBC sitcom in Los Angeles on Saturday.
But just how political the show will get, “honestly depends on what is happening in the world,” said Mutchnick. “The world is very political right now, so those are the stories we’re telling because it’s what’s going on in the world.”
That said, Kohan added that they’re not going to “ratchet up the political stories” if what’s happening in the world doesn’t call for it.
Commenting on the world and pop culture, say the show’s stars, is what keeps it relevant all of these years after its original run.
“Sitcoms have always reflected the times we live in — always, always, always. That’s one of the great things that means ‘Will & Grace’ is relevant and will always be relevant,” said star Sean Hayes. “Under that umbrella of relevancy is pop culture, sex, politics. This is one of the few shows that the characters in it are living the same lives as the audience, and that adds to the relevance.”
Star Debra Messing acknowledged that while she feels they are doing the show they’ve always done by tackling “provocative” topics, “there’s just a lot more to comment on these days because it’s a very fertile time.”
“It’s been a very chaotic, stressful, confusing time in our country for over a year,” said Messing, “and so to be able to make people laugh, to give people a respite for a half-hour every week, gives us great joy.”
A prime example includes a recent episode about a bakery that doesn’t want to serve customers whose political beliefs they disagree with — in “Will & Grace’s” world, it was Megan Mullally’s Karen who wanted a MAGA cake. While Messing’s Grace doesn’t agree with Karen, she still fought for her right to be able to have her views expressed.
“I’m just very different from the whole character in every way, but I think the freeing thing is that she’s just so wrong and judgmental all the time. She says so many things you should never say out loud,” Mullally said.
Although Mullally points out the goal of “Will & Grace” is to “be entertaining first,” she admits that as they dive into next season, she “would like to address race a little bit more than we do.”
McCormack agrees that taking on issues is what makes the show succeed. “We’re older — the guys who write the show are older and have kids — and the world is different. Things matter more,” said star Eric McCormack. “And I think to just continually write jokes and not write what matters, we would be remiss. These characters, underneath all of the crazy, have depth, and when they’re allowed to express that, I think the show becomes so much richer.”
“Will & Grace” airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on NBC. The series has already been renewed for a second and third season.