“Will & Grace,” the hit NBC sitcom that ran from 1998to 2006, is back, picking up in the present day (ignoring that 20-years-forward series finale even exists). In the reboot, Will (Eric McCormack) still lives with his single interior designer BFF Grace (Debra Messing). Struggling actor neighbor Jack still bursts into the apartment sans knocking (and avoiding doorbells like the millennial he probably wants to be), and Karen still throws out those snarky observations and just-offensive-enough commentary.
“Well, well, well, look what the cat cleaned up, showered, exfoliated, powdered, lipsticked, Guccied and dragged in,” teased Karen Walker (the inimitable Megan Mullally and her high-pitched tone), during the third season of “Will & Grace.” You know, back in 2000, when Tom Ford was the Creative Director of the revered Italian fashion house and George W. Bush beat Al Gore in the presidential election. Now, 17 years later, with Alessandro Michele at the helm of Gucci — and one of Karen’s New York society friends as the current POTUS — the socialite/office assistant’s high-fashion-referencing squeaky banter fits right back into the conversation.
In its first run in the late ‘90s and early aughts, the series was celebrated as groundbreaking for bringing a positive and ultimately relatable portrayal of LGBTQ characters into America’s network TV-focused living room. Of course, that concept isn’t so envelope-pushing now (although two grown-ass professionals still needing to live with a roommate might be.)
Costume designer Lori Eskowitz-Carter has been with the series since the very beginning and even dressed the reunited cast — plus Rosario! — for the 2016 election special (sigh), which spurred the full revival. NBC has already given a second season a green light. Like the original series, the revival is filmed in front of a live studio audience, essentially the best way to see how the jokes land, especially ones written on the fly about Grace’s Reddi Wip-reminiscent ruffle-front shirts.
“I’ve worked on a million shows in my career and to have a show like ‘Will & Grace’ to dress the way they do — and producers appreciate it — is a really special fun thing,” she says. “They don’t care if my costumes steal focus from what the actors are saying.”