Will & Grace’s 4th season is a bit lop-sided. The main storyline continues exploration of the disfunctional marriage-friendship relationship between Will and Grace, and by the end of the season comes to a rather natural conclusion of surrogacy, which is at the same time is a whole new endevour and gives way to a lot of comic opportunities.
Nearly whole first half of the season makes it seem like the authors stopped trying to do their best, and were hoping to get by on whatever bag of tricks they managed to accumulate earlier. Look, Karen is an alcoholic! Look, Jack is once again failing at everything he does! It was dull, and more forced than funny, so it seems to be the first drop in quality so far.
Thankfully, somewhere in the middle of the seasons things started looking up. During the second half there was a number of significant and funny guests, including Maggie Wheeler (although, her part was more like a cameo sized), Matt Damon, Michael Douglas, Nick Offerman (he was dating Megan Mullally at that time, and some time later they got married), Sandra Bernhard, and, of course, Cher, who was given a somewhat larger part this time. These appearances, along with curious, inventive stories, and steadily improving quality of humor, pretty much made up for the dullness of the 1st half.
Also, I think, it’s nice that the distribution of forces started to shift; the core situation is developing once again. By now it is clear that neither Grace, nor Will can manage a long-standing emotional relationship with anybody, because the gravity of Will-Grace relationship is too strong for it to happen, ever. The way out of the dead end: you can’t escape the situation, and you don’t really want to, so you embrace it, and you try to make the best of it. We’ll see how it goes.
Created by: David Kohan and Max Mutchnick
Directed by: James Burrows
Written by: David Kohan, Max Mutchnick, Tracy Poust & Jon Kinnally, Adam Barr, Alex Herschlag, Kari Lizer, Jeff Greenstein, Jhoni Marchinko, Cynthia Mort, Bill Wrubel, Laura Kightlinger, Darlene Hunt, Sally Bradford, Jenji Kohan
Performed by: Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Megan Mullally, Sean Hayes, Shelley Morrison, Michael Angarano, Debbie Reynolds, Blythe Danner, Tom Gallop, Leigh-Allyn Baker, Suzanne Pleshette, Eileen Brennan, Woody Harrelson, Rip Torn, Laura Kightlinger, Parker Posey, Beau Bridges, Cher, Sandra Bernhard, Sydney Pollack, Lesley Ann Warren, Tim Bagley, Molly Shannon, Leslie Jordan, Tom Verica, Jon Tenney, Helen Slater, Matt Damon, Michael Douglas, Glenn Close, Rosie O’Donnell, Nick Offerman, J.P. Manoux, Adam Goldberg, Lainie Kazan, Kenneth Mars, Maggie Wheeler
Time: 27 * 21-23m
Entertaining quality: 4+ out of 5
Art quality: 4 out of 5
Links: (website) | (wiki)