Will & Grace recap, Season 1, Episode 4, “Grandpa Jack,” Aired October 19, 2017
Will & Jack
It always boggles me how short these episodes are. (But that makes for excellent binge-watching marathons as I work myself through the past eight seasons.)
To Grace’s surprise, there’s a gay term that she’s unfamiliar with: “Pajama Party Position.” A one-off cuff at the start of the episode to describe the stereotypical way gay men sit, identification of the term sets up Jack’s delighted discovery that his grandson is gay.
Oh, right. Yep: “grandson.”
Jack is a grandpa.
Jack’s sperm-donor son, Elliot, has returned to New York (and the series) on his way to drop his son, Skip, off to gay conversion camp. While Elliot and his wife Emma explore the city, Skip drops by Will’s apartment to say hi to his newly discovered grandpa.
While Will and Jack wait for Skip’s parents to come pick him up, Jack and Skip bond after the former spends a minute or so hyperventilating. (Will is loving every minute of the unforeseen turn of events to his “youth-obsessed best friend.)
We discover that Jack and Elliot had a falling out years ago — mostly due to Jack’s complete and utter disapproval of Elliot’s conservative wife Emily — and that both companies were hurt by both of their stubbornness. This situation isn’t helped at all by the discovery that Skip is being shuttled to Camp Straighten Narrow.
So, obviously, Will and Jack have to crash Camp Straighten Narrow.
This goes much better than anticipated. The camp is led by Andrew Rannells (Reggie) and a very butch Jane Lynch (Roberta), who apparently have been married for a grand total of 10 weeks. Will distracts the rest of the camp by hijacking the “reorientation orientation.” His method? By challenging Reggie to kiss him to prove his heterosexuality.
Meanwhile, Jack is able to sneak Skip away, so that he and Will can whisk Skip away if he desperately doesn’t want to be at the camp. Jack is very sweet in this episode: he tells Skip that there’s no reason to be “fix” himself. Jack explains to Skip that he himself chose his current family and there’s no better family out there. He very tenderly reassures Skip that “You are exactly who you’re supposed to be.”
At the end of the episode, we get a Jack and Elliot reunion. Elliot comes back to apologize to Jack for forcing Skip into such a horrible camp. He’s convinced Emma to take Skip out of the camp and that he and Skip will be staying in New York just a little bit longer.
Long enough for Skip to go see his first Broadway — with Jack, if he minds.
Jack starts crying with joy.
Grace & Karen
In the episode’s B plot, Karen reminds Grace that she’s gone far too long without dating. Essentially, her “snootch” has dried up due to lack of sexual attention.
In an effort to remedy this, Grace (briefly) turns her attention to her assistant Tony. She’s impressed by his singing abilities and Tony attempts to teach her how to use her diaphragm to improve her singing. What Grace doesn’t anticipate is her falling completely apart once Tony touches her.
She immediately runs away to talk to Karen. She acknowledges that she definitely still has lingering issues from her divorce with Leo. Grace and her snootch, Sophia, are ready to put themselves out there. (Total disclaimer: Karen and her snootch, Jan, both think that Sophia is a dumb name.)
Despite the rhetoric around gay conversion camps and “You are perfect the way you are”, this episode was much less preachy than the first four. It had all the elements of the original series — a bemused Will, a hysterical Jack, a give-zero-effs Karen, and an off-tune Grace — without the awkward bumps of the well-intentioned first half of the new series.
I’m still wary of Tony, Grace’s assistant, turning into a pseudo-Gillian from Season 4’s “Girl Trouble”, but I’m withholding judgement until at least the end of the series.
- “Jesse Tyler Ferguson, she’s fabulous!”
- “Are you honestly saying that here? I’ve never been 100% clear of what irony is but I’m pretty sure that’s it.”
- “Will’s a fat lawyer!”
(Photo courtesy Chris Haston/NBC)