This post reveals plot points about the Season 9 premiere of Will & Grace.
Earlier this year, the New York Times technology columnist Farhad Manjoo conducted an experiment. For a week, he tried to ignore news about Donald Trump. And for a week, he failed. He could find, Manjoo noted, “almost no Trump-free part of the press.” What he learned instead from his Trump-filled “Trump-free” period was that “coverage of Mr. Trump may eclipse that of any single human being ever”—and that the president is helped along in his osmotic form of fame by his apparent transcendence of politics themselves: Trump permeates the world’s events and the stories that are told about them, even when the stories are not about the workings of government. The 45th president, as a result, has become profoundly unavoidable, there even when he is not—“the ether,” Manjoo wrote, “through which all other stories flow.”
On Thursday evening, the ninth season of Will & Grace premiered on NBC after a more than decade-long hiatus—the latest show, in the manner of Gilmore Girls and Full House and Twin Peaks, both to foment and capitalize on nostalgia for the American ’90s and aughts. The reunion of Will (Eric McCormack), Grace (Debra Messing), Jack (Sean Hayes), and Karen (Megan Mullally) offered the irreverently slapstick comedy you’d likely expect, but also something you might not: more proof of Farhad Manjoo’s theory of Trumpeted media. The president is the uncredited cast member of this particular revival, not strictly there, but in another way osmotically omnipresent. Gathered within that casually immaculate apartment on the Upper West Side are Will and Grace and Jack and Karen, just as they were before, and also Donald.