Adam Dupuis's picture

Do We Need 'Will & Grace' To Do More This Time Around?

I sat down yesterday and fired up the DVR to watch the latest installment of 'Will and Grace' 2.0 .  The critics stated that the first handful of episodes were good, but the actors and writers hit their stride by the third an fourth.  I liked the new season it from day and episode one.

I was excited to see how Jack reacted to being a grandfather, the quick responses and funny physical acting was perfect. But my heart sunk when his grandson mentioned the camp's name as the elevator doors closed. Yes, I knew what the camp was for as soon as he said the word camp.  It was so clear what it was about, but it still hurt when those doors closed.

The episode goes on and yes, the grandson is told he needs to be himself, life will be tough, and he is removed from the camp.  Happy ending in 30 minutes or less and laughs abound.

'Will & Grace' has mentioned many issues in the past and they will in the future.  There are some that believe the show needs to do more than mention the issues, but instead tackle them.  Is the show afraid of an unhappy ending? Does everything need to be wrapped up in a beautiful rainbow bow before the final credits run?

This week’s episode of NBC’s Will & Grace got big laughs by having the grandson of Jack (Sean Hayes) attend a gay conversion camp run by guest stars Jane Lynch and Andrew Rannells.

But leaders of a campaign to regulate these camps want people to know that smiling “counselors” leading kids to sing silly religious camp tunes, where parents are welcome to visit, is a far cry from the reality.  

In real life, these camps are part of a largely unregulated industry that’s notorious for abusing young people and for harming LGBT youth, sometimes resulting in death, while trying to change their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“It’s interesting that they chose conversion camps as a topic for the show and it’s very relevant, because the issue needs to be discussed, but the reality is that the camp represented in the show bares no resemblance to reality,” said Jodi Hobbs, executive director of Survivors of Institutional Abuse (SIA). - vanguardnow.com

I remember as a kid, NBC had a campaign called The More You Know. Instead of wrapping up the 'gay conversion therapy camps are bad' message in an easy digestible form, maybe we need the return of The More You Know.

Why did 'Will & Grace' return? Was it because we needed gay people to be on tv telling anti-Trump jokes? Did they return to give us a laugh and make people aware that homos are sapiens, too? We did all of that before and it was great, and it still is. Is it fair to ask them to do a little more?

How much more could they do? The show did something by talking about gay conversion therapy camps and it's making us talk about it here and now. We want more. It made vanguardnow.com come out and say they want more.

There is the side of gay conversion therapy that we did not see.  The beatings, abuse, the mistreatment, the deaths that have occured at such camps.  It would have been hard to work that into a comedy, but people need to be aware that these cams are more than just adorkable conversionsist singing and playing the guitar (for more head over to vanguardnow.com). But bravo to NBC for making people think about these kinds of horrible places.

Could that be what 'Will & Grace' have always been?  That spark to get us talking? The actors and writers only have a half an hour minus commercial breaks to come into our homes and go all rainbow through our television sets.  It might be up to us to take that spark, that catalyst and run with it.

So let's run!

“The alarming reality is that many of these camps attempt to covert LGBT kids through abuse and torture, sometimes resulting in death,” said Jim Key, chief marketing officer at the Los Angeles LGBT Center. “And it’s not just LGBT kids who suffer this treatment, it’s any kid who a parent considers to be ‘troubled.’”

The Center and SIA led a campaign to pass a landmark California bill, signed into law last year by California Governor Jerry Brown, to regulate what’s known as the “troubled teen industry.”   

SIA and the Center also worked with U.S. Representative Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) to introduce and support federal regulatory legislation last year, but it never got a committee hearing. Schiff recently re-introduced the bill, which would require residential treatment programs to enforce a set of minimum health and safety standards, specifically prohibiting discrimination against LGBTQ youth and young people with mental illness. - vanguardnow.com

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Really? Were you hoping to see a little aversion therapy with electrodes? They made a joke of conversion camps and anyone stupid enough to believe that’s what conversion therapy and those camps are shouldn’t be breeding in the first place. The reason Will & Grace was important the first time around wasn’t because it was an accurate portrayal of what it is to be gay. It was important because it slow-showed this country's knuckle draggers and mouth breathers that while different, we’re the same & that fundamentally we want what everyone wants. To be who they are without fear of being beaten and left to die tied to a fence. Will & Grace wasn’t for the gay community, it was a big giant wooden horse for the straight community, except it wasn’t filled with scantily clad men, it was filled with an education hidden inside humor. I worried the show would come back and immediately alienate the people who stand to learn the most from. Last episode was the best one I’ve seen since their 5th or 6th season. The break did them good. I was watching last week's episode late when I couldn’t sleep and I actually woke people up from laughing so hard. 

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They called attention to the phoniness and ineffectiveness of these camps, while staying true to the frothy comedic nature of the show. Do you expect a silly comedy about silly people to turn into 60 Minutes?

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