Will & Grace Series Finale: How NBC's Groundbreaking Sitcom Wrapped for the Second Time
Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Sean Hayes, and Megan Mullally said goodbye to Will & Grace for a second time on Thursday
Warning: This post contains spoilers
Will & Grace has come to an end. Again.
The beloved NBC sitcom wrapped up for the second time on Thursday, closing the door on its three-year long revival (technically counted as seasons 9, 10, and 11 of the Emmy-winning series).
While a number of guest stars swung by for the show’s farewell bow — including Matt Bomer and Minnie Driver, each reprising their recurring characters — the last episode was all about tying up the storylines of the main foursome, played by Eric McCormack (Will), Debra Messing (Grace), Sean Hayes (Jack), and Megan Mullally (Karen).
In the episode, Karen started a new chapter with an old flame, Jack saw his career dreams come true, and Will and Grace packed up their New York City apartment to move to their new house in the suburbs, where they plan on raising their two babies together.
“Everything’s going to be so different,” Grace told Will at the end, shortly before she went into labor. “A whole new life. A new house, kids. We’ve always been just been Will and Grace.”
“It’s okay. Maybe we’ve been Will and Grace long enough,” Will responded, later assuring her, “We are going to be great.”
Fans never got to see a glimpse of what that family life would be like, though, with the show ending before either became parents (meaning they’ll be left wondering what Will’s daughter and Grace’s son’s names would be).
That was far different from the way the show originally ended back in 2006. That ending, as viewers might remember, saw Jack inheriting a ton of wealth, Karen losing all her money, and Will and Grace estranged, each living separate lives with their spouses and kids.
Eventually, those kids — Will’s son Ben (Ben Newmark) and Grace’s daughter Lila (Maria Thayer) — met for the first time in college, after coincidentally moving across the hall from one another. And Will and Grace, now 20 years later, finally bumped into each other again and rekindled their friendship.
All that was wiped out when Will & Grace came back on the air in 2017, after fanfare over a 10-minute 2016 skit to help encourage voters in the election drummed up interest by NBC to bring the series back again.
This time, creators Max Mutchnick and David Kohan erased Will and Grace’s kids and instead made Grace move back into Will’s apartment after their respective divorces. Karen’s marriage to Stanley, meanwhile, was on the rocks. And Jack got a job teaching theater at a community theater.
Over the course of the next three seasons, a lot changed. Will got serious with newscaster McCoy Whitman (Bomer), while Grace and her once-rival Noah Broader (David Schwimmer) found themselves in a hot and heavy love affair. Karen and Stanley officially divorced, and Jack married flight attendant Estefan (Brian Jordan Alvarez).
While Jack’s relationship lasted, Will and Grace’s respective love interests fell to the wayside. In season 11, which premiered in October, both set out on a journey to become parents — Grace miraculously getting pregnant (though she never learned the identify of the father) and Will hiring surrogate Jenny (Demi Lovato) to carry his baby.
As for Karen, she wound up inheriting a minor league baseball team, which she hilariously guided to success. In celebration, she had the team’s suburban town’s name changed to “Karen Walkerland.”
It was in that town, first shown in last week’s penultimate episode, that Will and Grace found the house they would decide to move to in order to change their lives. That’s also where Karen began to realize she was still in love with Stan, and learned that he felt the same way.
In the finale, she finally reunited with Stan on the top of the Statue of Liberty, where they had their first date.
“I guess it ain’t over until the fat man choppers in over restricted airspace,” she said of her ex, who has famously never been shown. She then agreed to marry Stan again. “You’ve done terrible things, I’ve done terrible things,” she said. “There are bad people on both sides.”
As that was happening, Jack finally got the chance to see his dream of performing on a Broadway stage come true, playing the role of Sailor No. 5 in the fictional revival of On the Town after the actor usually playing the part — as well as the actor’s first, second, and third, understudies — fell ill.
He had learned of his happy news while standing at the peak of the Statue of Liberty with Karen. “This is the first good thing to happen to me on top of a woman,” he quipped.
Of course, in typical Jack fashion, the performance didn’t go without its blunders, with Jack’s legs giving out after a day of traipsing around the city, climbing that aforementioned monument, and tapping throughout the musical (Hayes’ physical comedy is still unparalleled).
But while at the show, Grace ran into McCoy, prompting the newscaster to try to win Will’s heart back.
“It was all just so much so fast, getting married and the baby. I got scared. I’m only thinking about the future,” McCoy told Will, apologizing and stressing, “the gay guy gets to have his Prince Charming, too.”
In the end, Will remained undecided about McCoy, summarizing their future with a simple “we’ll see.”
And as all united back at Will and Grace’s now-empty apartment to say goodbye one last time, he finally felt something he had been avoiding all day: nostalgia for the life he was leaving behind.
“I’m happy for you,” Grace told Will. “Just like you’ll be happy when it happens for me.”