Not A Couple Show Notes: Will & Grace Episode 3.23 — “Last of the Really Odd Lovers”

“Aw, that’s cute that you think this is happening but let’s never speak again” is not something Grace says this week, for some reason.

There’s so, so many reasons why it’s weird to revisit classic Will & Grace episodes at the same time as we’re watching the new series. But the biggest one is really the reason we started this podcast in the first place: The world has just changed so much since this thing was on the air.

In this week’s episode, we have not one, but two stalking plotlines. One is played for laughs of course, because it’s 2001, and only celebrities get stalked. And the other isn’t even acknowledged — it’s not a stalking plotline, to 2001-era Will & Grace. It’s a trope: The needy, flawed man who the female heroine is attracted to even though she doesn’t mean to be. And, you know, even though he’s stalking and harassing her.

That intro makes this episode sound worse than it is. It’s actually pretty funny, and walks the line pretty well considering its subject matter. But it’s a lot easier to watch these problematic episodes knowing there’s a modern-day, hopefully-better episode of W&G coming down the pipeline too.

Incidentally, the other plotline? Well, as Woody Harrelson’s good friend Matthew McConaughey might say, “time is a circle.”

Summary: This week, we should call this podcast (Should) Not (Be) A Couple. Will is back with his Gen X video store clerk, Val returns as Jack’s stalker, and Grace is still attracted to Woody Harrelson for some reason.

“This week’s episode was brought to you by New York City video stores. You keep getting older, but the cashiers stay the same age.”

Things That Happen

  • It’s a week of returns: Nathan, Will’s baby boyfriend, crazy neighbor Val, Just Jack 2001…
  • Nathan’s continuing presence pushes this show a lot closer to cringe comedy than is comfortable.
  • We get the comic instinct of putting these three weird relationships together, but when the most appropriate relationship involves a 12-year age difference and a video store, that’s a red flag.
  • Karen didn’t really have a plot this week, so instead she just stole scenes from everyone else. It was amazing.
  • Tess has 8 Simple Rules for dating people…but all of them are basically just that they have to be her age.
  • Val’s latest plotline is very funny, but stalking is not.

Potent Quotables

Tess: “Grace genuinely seems to hate Woody Harrelson, but can’t stop making out with him. And I’m like…”
Tess & Matthew: “Girl.”
Matthew: “You gotta go.”
Tess: “You cannot be this thirsty.”
Matthew: “Be gone, girl.”

KAREN: “Goin’ down?”
NATHAN: “Wow, you cut right to the chase, don’t you?”
KAREN: “…I like you.”
NATHAN: “I like you. But I’m off the market. I got this redhead on the ninth floor who’s crazy about me.”

JACK: “Perhaps you’ve heard of my one-man show, Jack 2001.”
VAL: “No.”
JACK: “Formerly Jack 2000.”
VAL: “No.”
JACK: “Soon to be Jack 2002.”
VAL: “No.”
JACK: “A variation on the acclaimed Just Jack.”
VAL: “Oh, Just Jack! Yeah. You know what? I meant to see that one, but I was living in my storage space because of the whole Y2K thing, so…”

Link Roundup

Dial-Up Internet: This sound will haunt our lives forever.

8 Simple Rules: Somehow this show keeps coming up…probably because Matthew is a sucker for catchy sitcom titles of shows he’s never actually watched. See also: Don’t Trust the B — — in Apartment 23, Cougar Town, The New Adventures of Old Christine.

Stalking Stats: While the Jack/Val plotline is what we’re calling “stalking” this week, it’s Grace and Nathan who better represent what actually stalking looks like for the average person. Some behaviors associated with stalking include but are not limited to: not taking no for an answer, having an obsessive personality, and a lack of embarrassment or discomfort at their actions. You can see a full list here.

According to a 2011 CDC study, 61 percent of female victims and 44 percent of male victims were stalking by a current or former intimate partner. An estimated 15 percent of women and 6 percent of men have been a victim of stalking during their lifetimes. You can find some resources for victims of stalking here.

Next Episode: S3E24: “Sons and Lovers”