It’s the final season of the rebooted version of sitcom Will & Grace – and the show is ending with a bang.

Besties interior decorator Grace (Debra Messing) and her well-put-together gay lawyer roommate Will (Eric McCormack) are thrown for a loop this season: she’s pregnant and doesn’t know who the father is following her holiday in Italy. As for Will, he’s also expecting a baby via surrogate despite his romance with his boyfriend McCoy (Matt Bomer) being on shaky ground.

The only thing that remains constant on the comedy is Will and Grace’s outrageously over-the-top friends, Karen (Megan Mullally) and Jack (Sean Hayes), barging into their apartment at odd hours of the day to either offer moral support or throw major shade to the roommates. Other than that, Will and Grace are nervous about the uncertainties that come with being parents – at least they have each other to lean on. “We told the story better, this time around,” says Eric. “Will and Grace are both having kids at their age [late 40s], in two different ways. Just as we appreciated the reboot, they also appreciate a shot at parenthood,” he adds.

Watch now on Catch Up

Since it’s Will and Grace’s last time onscreen, the show pays homage to a range of movies, plays and TV shows. From the ’50s comedy I Love Lucy, to 2008 blockbuster Mamma Mia! – it’s all there. The gang will be re-enacting some of the best dance routines they’ve ever done. Look out for these on-air inspired sequences:

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Mamma Mia! Here I go again

Grace’s biggest concern this season is that she doesn’t have a clue who the father of her unborn baby is. From what she recalls, she had sex with 3 men on her trip. She pops into Karen’s office in episode 2 for advice. Karen does what she does best when she learns that Grace was involved with 3 men, like Donna in the movie Mamma Mia!. She breaks into a dance routine and sings the lyrics of the film’s theme song, “Mamma Mia, here we go again! My, my, how can I resist you.” Grace is so defeated that she sings along with Karen. For what it’s worth, the choreography puts Grace at ease during the Abba medley.


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Not your average Panda

It’s been 3 weeks since Will and McCoy’s break-up and the former is having a hard time coping. He won’t let go. Will is still holding onto McCoy’s photos, mugs and some of his clothes. To help Will get over the love of his life, Grace and Jack hire The Grief Panda in episode 5. According to Jack, The Grief Panda is a healer (wearing a head-to-toe panda outfit) who comforts, and guides people deal with their heartbreaks. Like mid ’80s comic strip, Calvin And Hobbes, where six-year-old Calvin would imagine adventurous thrills with his imaginary tiger Hobbes, whenever he’d get lonely. The Grief Panda provides companionship and some tough love for Will.


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Will the real Annie please stand up?

Since she was a little girl, Grace always wanted to play red-headed Annie from the 1982 musical comedy. But her dream-crusher mother said that she wasn’t Annie “material”. So, when she learns that there's an AnnieCon (fan convention) in her neighbourhood in episode 7, Jack convinces Grace to impersonate the real Annie star, Aileen Quinn, so that they can gain entry into the sold-out occasion. The event is filled with Annie fans, mostly dressed in a classic red Annie dress, with matching red hair. Grace takes the lie so far that she signs autographs and even sings an off-tone song from the movie. Just wait until the actual Aileen confronts Grace about stealing her identity. It won’t end well…


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At long last

Taking about redheads, Will & Grace also pays tribute to ’50s comedy show I Love Lucy, starring another famous red-headed actress, Lucille Ball, who played Lucy on the series. When Jack comments that sharing an apartment with Grace is like living with Lucy, Karen and Jack disagree with his statement. They each claim that they are the Lucy of the group in episode 16. In other words, the star of their circle. A moment later, they all imagine being on the set of I Love Lucy, with the group re-enacting standout scenes from the 1950s show. Karen, Jack and Grace all do a stellar job as Lucy, proving that they’re all remarkable.

To bring the I Love Lucy storyline together, the executives and producers first asked Lucy’s daughter, Lucie Arnaz, for permission to portray the main characters in various parts. “I was told that the production company didn’t want to do it unless I thought it’s a good idea,” says Lucie. “I thought it was wonderful. I spoke to CBS [network channel] and they said yes, which I thought was pretty cool,” she adds.

Lucie also makes a cameo appearance as a factory boss in one of the scenes of the special episode. “It’s unbelievable the way it was done. The props, set, hair and wigs. You walk on the set and think that this is the real I Love Lucy set. I had such deep respect for their crew,” explains Lucie

The cast was also excited to portray characters from the legendary comedy. “I grew up in a small town, and it was I Love Lucy that lit me up. I’ve had many inspirations in my career, but Lucille Ball is far and away the one for me that I just have this emotional attachment to,” says Debra.

Watch Will & Grace S11 from Saturday, 27 June on M-Net (DStv 101) at 18:30 or watch on Catch Up


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