Not A Couple Show Notes: Will & Grace Episode 3.01 — “New Will City”

“Oh, wait, I’m sorry, you wanted your apartment back after you abandoned all of your friends for a Caribbean vacation?”

We’re back! Will’s back! Stanley’s slimy arm is back!

After a season finale that saw Will on a random Caribbean island (the Virgin Islands, as it turns out), Jack in Will’s apartment (and Grace too probably) and Tess and Matthew on your computer screens (okay, seriously, we were on YouTube, it’s a thing, check it out) — this episode gets our status quo back to something normal-adjacent. Our beloved gay and girl are finally in their Must-See TV Thursday timeslot, and we’re starting this season on steady footing.

BTW: After a long winter in the iTunes-less wilderness, we’re finally streaming correctly on that particular platform. So if you haven’t already, jump on it!

Summary: Everyone’s back for Season 3 of W&G and NAC! This episode’s all about dealing with change and friendship jealousy. Both things that Will and Matthew have issues with…

“This episode of Not a Couple was sponsored by Metaphorical Memories Scar Clinic. Have an emotionally significant scar that just keeps on healing even though you still need it to prove a point to your best friend? We’ll slice that old wound right open.”

Things That Happened

00:00: Matthew and Tess return to talk about Will & Grace & friendship for another season.

01:38: Your prayers have been answered: Not A Couple is finally moving to iTunes! (Tess and Matthew are also moving IRL. It’s a thing.)

04:00: Housekeeping is OVER! Let’s talk about the episode.

04:29: In between all the important things that happen this episode, Karen frames Rosario and has her arrested at customs. Ah, pre-9/11 America.

07:04: Weirdly, Rosario’s immigration status is never questioned during this B-plot, so we guess that marriage to Gardener went through…

08:02: The main plot of this premiere episode all revolves around the idea of change — both wanting it and being afraid of it.

Matthew: “Will is trying to return home because the change that he created at the end of last season didn’t work, but he comes home to find that things have changed and now Grace and Jack are really close. And he doesn’t know what to do with that.

09:58: This episode marks a significant shift in Grace and Jack’s relationship: from frenemies to actual friends.

GRACE: “I’ve been juggling Ben and Josh for a couple of months now, and I think I need to make a decision.”
JACK: “Boy trouble? Now you’re talkin’ Jackanese! Come on. We’ll have a steak. You’ll pour your heart out. And to top it off, we’ll rent a movie. You’re into gay porn, right?”
GRACE: “Who isn’t?”

10:46: Grace and Jack’s friendship creates the central conflict for Will — a realization that his time away might have hurt his relationship with Grace irreparably.

11:59: One of the smartest things this episode does is put Will and Jack on opposite sides of Grace’s surface-level dilemma: Which of the two guys she’s been seeing should she ask to be exclusive with?

Matthew: “It’s this fantastic interplay. I think it’s also very funny from a meta-level, that the plot — from Grace’s perspective — is choosing between Josh and Ben, but it also feels like she has to choose between Will and Jack. Or at least that’s how Will feels about it.”
Tess: “It’s like she’s choosing between two men while choosing between two men.”

15:21: Matthew has a lot of sympathy for Will this episode because he’s also been known to be a Jealous McJealousface with Tess and friends.

18:18: The thing that’s unique about this episode’s take on friendship jealousy is that when it happens to Will (instead of Grace), he’s completely incapable of expressing his feelings like a grownup.

GRACE: “Oh, my God. Could you be any cuter?”
WILL: “Grace!”
GRACE: “Oh, I’m sorry. I just love not being the insecure wreck for once.”
WILL: “My feelings aren’t cute, ok? I’m not the youngest brother on Eight is Enough. How can you like Jack better than me?”

18:58: The best part of this whole problem is that Will and Grace never actually fight. He tells her that he’s upset, and she makes him feel better. That’s it.

GRACE: “My love for you is like this scar… Ugly but permanent. So as long as this is on my elbow, you’ve got nothing to worry about.”

20:38: When all is said and done, this episode makes a few minor changes but by and large restores our W&G status quo.

22:40: Of course, in true Will & Grace fashion, the episode has to end with Jack banging Grace’s potential boyfriend Josh… which is honestly a great if irritating springboard for Season 3.

Link Roundup

Virgin Islands: Unsexy in a way that has nothing to do with the name, the Virgin Islands are a collection of islands in the Caribbean Sea owned partly by the United States and partly by the United Kingdom (and technically partly by Puerto Rico but omg that’s so complicated please let’s not go there). Matthew and his family went to the island of Saint Thomas (US) once. They were not allowed to go to the British islands. The American islands were boring.

Oops!… I Did It Again: Fun fact: Will & Grace got Britney’s actual choreographer to teach Sean Hayes and Debra Messing this dance.

Eight is Enough: We weren’t going to put this in but then we used it in a pull quote and dammit just read about this cute ‘70s/’80s sitcom about a guy with 8 kids whose wife dies because her actress Diana Hyland dies in her boyfriend John Travolta’s arms WAIT WHAT.

The Few: A local theatre company Matthew may or may not work for produced this delightful albeit hard to market play about three lonely Idahoans who work at a newspaper for truckers. But it’s not really about the newspaper for truckers; it’s just an unusual setup. We promise. More people produce this play please!

Next Episode: S03E02: “Fear & Clothing”