Will & Grace Character Review: Karen Walker

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Will & Grace. Read at your own risk if you have not watched either the previous series or the new series.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Will & Grace to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

For every main character, there is a supporting character. Sometimes, this character is the zany and not all there sometimes, but they are just as important to the narrative as the main character. In the world of Will & Grace, this character is Karen Walker (Megan Mullally). Karen is Grace Adler’s (Debra Messing) “assistant”. Though truth be told, Grace uses Karen more for her contacts among New York City’s elite rather than her abilities in assisting Grace in the running of her business. Karen is more interested in shopping and her extensive collection of alcohol and pills rather than getting work done. Her often spoken of obese and mega-wealthy husband, Stan is heard, but never fully seen.

Karen takes great pleasure in mocking Grace for whatever she sees as an easy target. She also has a very interesting relationship with Jack McFarland (Sean Hayes) that is often symbiotic and mocks Will (Eric McCormack) as much as she mocks Grace. But underneath all that, Karen is there for her friends, through thick and thin.

To sum it up: While the supporting character is not given as much of the spotlight as the main character, it is important for the writer to give him or her their due. Karen works as a supporting character because not only is she the yin to Grace’s yang, but she also has enough of a back story to be a fully fleshed out character. Without that due and that fleshing out by the writers, Karen Walker would be just another flat supporting character that is neither seen or appreciated by the audience or reader.


Throwback Thursday-Casper (1995)

Ghost stories have been part of human story telling since the beginning of time. It is up to the writer to make sure that their ghost story stands out.

In the 1995 movie, Casper, Carrigan Crittenden (Cathy Moriarty) has just inherited her late father’s decrepit, crumbling mansion. Her plan is to burn the house down, until she discovers a treasure map. But before she can get her hands on the treasure, she is frightened out of the house by ghosts that have laid claim to mansion. Determined to get her hands on the treasure, Carrigan hires Dr. James Harvey (Bill Pullman) to get rid of the ghosts. Joining Dr. Harvey is his daughter, Kat (Christina Ricci). Kat is befriended by Casper (voiced by Malachi Pearson), the ghost of a young boy who is not as fearsome as the other ghosts. 

While the other ghosts are doing everything they can to get the living out of their house, James and Kat are doing everything they can to get the ghosts to cross over. Who will win this battle and will Carrigan ever claim the treasure on the map?

As ghost stories go, this is rather PG. But that’s fine, this movie has just enough spook to make the audience jump, while still allowing them to sleep at night. It is also aimed at the tween/early teen set and deals with the trials and tribulations of that age.

The adult in me would say that this film is rather simple. However, I was just the right age when the movie hit theaters. For the intended age group, the film as a whole is not that bad.

Do I recommend it? Why not?


RIP Marin Mazzie

Cancer knows no bounds. Race, class, income, education, etc mean nothing to this insidious disease.

Today, Broadway lost one of their brightest stars. Marin Mazzie, best known for her roles in Ragtime and Kiss Me, Kate, passed away this morning from Ovarian cancer. She was 57.

I saw her in Kiss Me, Kate when I was in college. Her performance was absolutely mesmerizing. Especially the song “I Hate Men”. Despite the late 1940’s setting of Kiss Me, Kate and the unrelenting sexism in the show and it’s originator, William Shakespeare’s Taming Of The Shrew, the audience is clued into the underlying feminism of the play. The song is feminist rage exploding on stage in a way that almost liberates the text from the rampant sexism that is unfortunately part and parcel of the narrative.

My thoughts and prayers are with her husband and her loved ones.

May her memory be a blessing.

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