After a first season made controversial by the mere presence of openly gay characters, Will & Grace returned triumphantly with renewed confidence and vigour. In their second season, sidekicks Jack and Karen (the very, very funny Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally) are more snide and gleefully obnoxious than ever; Will (Eric McCormack) has perfected his prickly panache; and in particular Grace (Debra Messing) has entered a whole new plane of sexy goofiness, diving even more headlong into physical comedy--such as the episode when, in order to woo a high school crush, she... gets a water-padded bra that springs a leak. The writing has also become tighter, grown more deft in its gay and pop culture references (which were often self-conscious in the first season) and at juggling sustained storylines, such as the Immigration department investigating Jack's marriage to Karen's Salvadorian maid Rosario (Shelley Morrison), Grace and Will struggling to become less emotionally incestuous, and Jack seeking his biological father. The show excels at tackling emotional subjects (like Will discovering that his father, who has accepted and even embraced his homosexuality at home, has told his co-workers that Will is married to Grace) with a sharp comic eye. Guest stars start to accumulate: Molly Shannon returns, Sydney Pollack and Debbie Reynolds play Will's dad and Grace's mom, Joan Collins appears as a rival designer, Neil Patrick Harris (Doogie Howser, MD) plays the leader of a going-straight support group, and Gregory Hines takes on a recurring role as Will's new boss, a high-powered lawyer who seduces Grace. Will & Grace mixes superb sitcom farce with sly sociopolitical commentary; the fusion is smart and consistently entertaining. --Bret Fetzer [show more]
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