Tag Archives: Megan Mullally

RIP Shelley Morrison

For many TV fans, our favorite characters are more than fictional creations played by trained actors. They are akin to a loved one who comes into our homes week in and week out.

Last night, former Will & Grace alum Shelley Morrison passed away. She was 83.

Born in New York City to Sephardic Jewish parents, Morrison had a lengthy career before she played Rosario Salazar, Karen Walker’s (Megan Mullally) maid. Unlike other servants of color who remained silent or absent from the narrative, Rosario gave as good as she got it. She knew how to push the buttons of not just her boss, but her bosses’ friends.

But there was more to the relationship than put-downs and insults. There was a loving bond between Karen and Rosario that added a new layer to the relationship.

May her memory be a blessing to those who knew and loved her in person and those who loved her on screen.

Z”l.

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Will & Grace Character Review: Vince D’Angelo

*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. For the purpose of this post, I am only referring the narratives in the original series, not the reboot.

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.

When it comes to love, fate often sends us the right person when we are not looking for them. In Will & Grace, the right person for Will Truman (Eric McCormack) is Vince D’Angelo (Bobby Cannavale). They meet when Will is giving Karen Walker (Megan Mullally) driving lessons and Vince, who is a cop, pulls them over for speeding. When Will notices that the ticket was not signed, he goes to court to have it thrown out. Vince is also in the courtroom and after exchanging names, both realize friends have been trying to set them up for a while. While Will has had other boyfriends since his breakup with Michael at the beginning of the first series, Vince is the first guy Will seriously went out with.

Despite the initial impression of the macho Italian-American New York City cop, Vince is really a softie. He is a romantic, enjoys crafting in his free time and is conscious about about making sure that his hair and skin are flawless. Though Will and Vince had their ups and downs, they eventually settled down into a happy marriage.

To sum it up: Love comes for Will Truman when he least expects it. While Vince has his imperfections like the rest of us, he is the right person for Will. When creating a love story, sometimes the writer has to let fate guide their character to their other half. It may take some time, but hopefully, the character will be able to see that this is the person they are meant to be with.

This ends my character review for Will & Grace. The new group of characters I will be reviewing is….you will have to come back in two weeks.

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Thoughts On The 20th Anniversary Of Will & Grace

20 years ago today, an auspicious television series made it’s debut.

Will & Grace is the story of two best friends sharing a New York City apartment. Will Truman (Eric McCormack) is a gay lawyer. Grace Adler (Debra Messing) is a straight interior designer. Joined at the hip since college, Will and Grace are each other’s other half. Joined by Will’s wacky constantly out of work actor friend, Jack McFarland (Sean Hayes) and Grace’s always buzzed assistant/socialite Karen Walker (Megan Mullally), this foursome has become an icon of modern television.

What the audience did not know is while they were laughing, they were also being educated about the LGBTQ community. Before Will & Grace, gay characters were often stereotypes or side characters who were not given the opportunity to shine. Will & Grace opened hearts, minds and helped to lead the way for many of gains that the LGBTQ community has made over the last two decades.

I have been a fan of Will & Grace from nearly the beginning. It has made me laugh, it has made me cry and most of all, it has made me think.

Happy 20th anniversary, Will & Grace!

 

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Will & Grace Character Review: Rosario Salazar

*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.

Many times, when a maid or a servant (especially a maid or a servant of color) is portrayed, they are subservient and quietly going along with the instructions of their employer. They also sometimes portrayed as unintelligent or too close to the stereotype. But Rosario Salazar (Shelly Morrison) is different. She is Karen Walker’s (Megan Mullally) maid and Jack McFarland’s (Sean Hayes) ex-wife. The best thing about Rosario is that whatever Karen dishes out, she can give it back ten fold.

But, the relationship between Karen and Rosario is completely adversarial. There is an underlying symbiotic relationship/friendship that balances out the moments when Karen and Rosario are in each other’s faces. When Rosario died in the first season of the reboot, it was a heartbreaking loss that was palpable to anyone who was watching.

To sum it up: When a writer takes a stereotype and knocks it on the head, it’s a challenge. It’s a challenge not just for the writer to go beyond the stereotype, but the reader or the audience member to shift their expectations of the character. In a sense, Rosario was the typical maid of color who works for a Caucasian woman. But, she was not subservient, could give it as much as she took and it, and in the end had a deep emotional connection with her employer. That is why Rosario Salazar is beloved by the fans of Will & Grace.

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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.

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Will & Grace Character Review: Jack McFarland

*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.

In any comedy duo there are two important archetypes: the straight man and the comic. On Will and Grace,  Jack McFarland (Sean Hayes) is the comic to Will Truman’s (Eric McCormack) straight man. If Will is trying to disprove the stereotype of the gay man, Jack is the iconic gay man. He is a drama queen, chases men like a dog chases a toy, loves show tunes and rarely has a serious relationship. While Jack tries to be a performer, his career in show business never quite gets to the level that he wishes it to be. As a result, he has had a series of jobs and is constantly relying on Will, Grace (Debra Messing ) and Karen (Megan Mullally) for financial assistance.

But even with all of that, Jack supports his friends and appreciates them. He is also the kind of character that helps to foster important conversations around the treatment and image of those in the LGBTQ community. Jack maybe based on a stereotype, but the character goes way beyond the stereotype.

To sum it up: Sometimes a character or a narrative, especially one based on a stereotype is not a bad thing. Especially when the character or the narrative can foster a conversation and create change that is long overdue. Jack resonates with audiences not just because he is a funny character, but because he has human qualities that many of us relate to. As writers, when we want to enact change to create a better world, we don’t get on our soapbox. We create characters and narrative that speak to and resonate with audiences or readers. That is the way to create effective change for the better.

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Will & Grace Character Review: Grace Adler

*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 many, Grace Adler (Debra Messing) is the iconic New York City single woman. She is an interior designer, lives with her gay best friend, Will Truman (Eric McCormack) is single, a little neurotic and also a little crazy. Grace’s story line begins in the pilot when she has broken up with her fiance. Will too, is newly single and they decide to live together.

Grace was born and raised in the suburbs of New York City. The second of three girls, she has the tendency to be dramatic, selfish and tries to get stuff for free if she can. The owner of her own design firm, Grace “employs” socialite Karen Walker (Megan Mullally) as her assistant. Using Karen for her contacts rather than for her administrative skills, Grace is often the butt of Karen’s jokes. But over the years, they have become friends and rely on each other outside of the office.

But while Grace takes all of these jokes in stride, she just has a big heart and treats her friends like family.

To sum it up:  When creating a character, the important word to remember is balance. No character or human being for that matter, is entirely good or entirely bad. We all have a mix of good qualities and bad qualities. As writers, our job is to ensure that the character you are creating has an equal mixture of good and bad. For example, Grace lets Will take care of her when necessary, but also mooches off of him from time to time. Without that balance, Grace would be a flat character, devoid of human complexities that can and will drive audiences away.

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Will And Grace Reboot Review

Last night, Will And Grace returned to our television sets after an 11 year absence.

Will Truman (Eric McCormack) is still a gay lawyer. Grace Adler (Debra Messing) is still his neurotic, straight interior designer best friend/roommate. Karen Walker (Megan Mullally) is as rich and boozed up as she ever was. Jack McFarland (Sean Hayes) is still the Jerry Lewis to Will’s Dean Martin. It’s as if the 2006 series finale never happened.

I have been a fan of Will And Grace for a very long time. Needless to say, the hype and the pressure to re-create the success of the original series was palpable. The cast, creative team and the crew succeeded with flying colors. Last night’s episode was pure Will and Grace, it was everything I hoped it would be and much more.

I absolutely recommend it. Welcome back Will And Grace, you’ve been sorely missed.

Will and Grace is on NBC at 9PM on Thursdays.

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The Critics Were Wrong (Maybe)- Fame (2009)

The 1980 musical Fame , based on the lives and dreams of students at a performing arts high school in New York City is a classic. In 2009, Hollywood decided to reboot Fame for the current generation.

The staff was played by the likes of established actors Kelsey Grammer, Megan Mullally, Bebe Neuwirth, Debbie Allen (known for being in both the movie and TV series Fame) and Charles S Dutton. The students, played by up and coming actors Kay Panabaker, Naturi Naughton (who sang the title track) and Kherington Payne.

Were the critics wrong?

I could lean toward yes.  With the right audience who has no knowledge or memory of the original movie or the television show that aired two years later, this movie is not that bad. But to those who are a little older and/or have fond memories of the original movie, this movie has all of the plot and promise, but  something is not quite right.

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Flashback Friday-TV Edition Part II-Will and Grace

In 1998, a new television show called Will and Grace premiered. The television landscape would never be the same again.

Will Truman (Eric McCormack) is a gay lawyer whose long term relationship has just ended. His best friend Grace (Debra Messing) is a straight interior designer who has just gotten engaged, but the engagement is off to a rocky start. Adding in Grace’s sometimes helpful assistant Karen (Megan Mullally) and Will’s initial guide to the gay world Jack (Sean Hayes), this foursome was an essential part of the must see TV lineup during it’s eight year run.

It is often said that good TV comes down to good writing and this show had great writing. The characters were flawed and human, but also funny and realistic. Without knowing it, Will and Grace broke new ground. Not just on American television, but in our overall society. We are a better country for having this show on the air.

I still love the reruns, they never fail to make me laugh.

 

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