Not A Couple (Retro) Show Notes: Will & Grace Episode 1 .01— “Pilot”

Every podcast starts somewhere, and a TV show podcast should always begin with a pilot. So that’s what we did with Not A Couple, a Will & Grace podcast that takes a look at America’s biggest queer sitcom through the eyes of a dedicated longtime viewer and a newbie seeing the show for the first time.

What we didn’t begin with were show notes — hence this retrospective post, the first of many that’ll be coming out in conjunction with our second season (hitting the web September 22). Sure, it’s sort of silly to write show notes about 22 episodes you’ve already produced, but it’s not as silly as Jack thinking he came off as straight in the pilot episode, right? Plus, there’s at least one or two people who haven’t heard our should-be-critically-acclaimed thoughts on Will & Grace (you may notice we think we’re funny).

The details you need to know about us before we jump in:

Tess: Has watched W&G over and over and over; social justice warrior; feminist; grad student

Matthew: Prior W&G viewing limited to half-watching with the sound off in gay bars; relapsing theater nerd; occasionally clever; writer/editor/marketing dude

Eliza: Unenthusiastic live studio audience; thinks computers = beds; cat (meow)


Here’s the part you came for — our first episode, a summary of the events within, and a whole bunch of knick-knacks you can look forward to.

Summary

This episode marks the kickoff of Not A Couple, the Will & Grace podcast hosted by Tess Benser (the W&G expert) and Matthew Reddin (the W&G newbie). In their first time on the air together, they focus on important stuff like best friendship, that time they dated, and (oh yeah) the W&G pilot.

Things That Happen

00:00: Our heroes introduce themselves.

Matthew: “The one thing that I really like that I don’t get to write about or talk about a lot is TV, so that’s kind of perfect that we’re doing this Will & Grace podcast, huh?”

06:33: The strong platonic friendships of Will & Grace.

Tess: “For all of its ups and downs and pitfalls and tropes and ins and outs, it definitely does bring to light something that’s super precious to me, which is your friends. Cause you’ve gotta have friends.”

07:35: First (mostly good!) impressions of the pilot episode, including the weirdness of Pilot!Karen.

10:30: Individual scenes: The faux-edgy “phone sex” cold open and Will and Grace’s Pyramid domination.

Will: “A cane. Uh, uh, a railing.”
Grace: “No, come on, give me another clue!”
Will: “Uh… each other.”
Grace: “Things that you lean on!”

13:50: The great tragedy that is Pilot!Will’s hair disaster.

15:40: Jack’s introduction, and status as Will’s only gay friend.

18:30: Will & Grace’s first questionable trans joke! Boo.

22:09: Will’s status as the straightest gay on television.

22:40: Taking Will and Grace’s relationship seriously.

Grace: “To my Will: You are my hero and my soul mate, and I’m a better woman for loving you.”

22:55: A goodbye kiss.

Link Roundup

  • What’s a Link Roundup You Say?: Only the greatest idea, probably not invented but certainly perfected by gem of the internet The Toast, literally too beautiful for this world. Link Roundups were the daily backbone of the indescribable Toast site, where editor Nicole Cliffe collected articles she and other Toasties found on the web that were as good as or better than the quirky, strange items they would publish on the rest of the blog. After three years of magic, she and fellow editor Mallory Ortberg mutually decided to step away from the site in July, which is really sad but also good for you for knowing your boundaries and not burning out guys. We’re stealing the spirit of the idea for these linky lists of links.
  • Gilmore Guys: Our inspiration for this podcast. Gilmore Guys, starring Kevin T. Porter (expert) and Demi Adejuyigbe (newbie), does the same thing as Not A Couple, except with Gilmore Girls, a totally different iconic TV series about codependent besties.
  • Vice President Joe Biden: Yes, America’s favorite wacky uncle/vice president famously cited Will & Grace as the show that “did more to educate the American public (about gay issues) than almost anything anybody has ever done so far,” right before maybe-not-accidentally throwing his boss under the bus for not having come out in support of marriage equality. (Obama publicly announced his “evolution” three days later in an interview with ABC News’ Robin Roberts) Debra Messing later called the shout-out one of the proudest moments in her life.
  • Social Justice Warrior: Term assholes use pejoratively to criticize 21st century socially progressive liberals. Worn by Tess as a badge of honor.
  • Runaway Brides of the Nineties: Seriously, this is a thing. There’s Rachel from Friends, all the women in The Wedding Singer, and of course Julia Roberts.
  • Gayorge Clooney: Since NBC is the “Queen of Cross-Promotion,” it’s a no-brainer for the pilot of Will & Grace to name-drop ER, the 15-season series that is arguably one of the most influential TV shows of all time. When Will & Grace premiered in 1998 (on a Monday, blech), ER was in the middle of Season 5, so Will didn’t have much longer to ogle Clooney in scrubs — the star would exit the show in the spring.
  • The People vs. OJ Simpson: Since this episode was recorded concurrent with the airing of Ryan Murphy’s simultaneously most and least bonkers anthology, Matthew thinks Eric McCormack and David Schwimmer sound the same. Go figure.
Just … Will?
  • The other Will Truman: That gay actor who was “too straight” to play Will? It’s John Barrowman, who would later embody Doctor Who and Torchwood’s Captain Jack Harkness, a time-traveling immortal omnisexual hero.
  • Barbara De Angelis: A very ’90s but also very forgettable life coach; exactly the sort of name Will has in his rolodex of Grace insults.

Next Episode: S1E2: “A New Lease on Life”