An eight-year running television show, Will and Grace is a situation comedy full of laughter and friendship. Its four main characters are hilarious and witty and any viewer could easily relate to one of them. Will is a lawyer, who just happens to be gay. He has a best friend named Jack, an aspiring entertainer with a flamboyantly gay attitude. Grace is a self-employed interior designer. She and Will end up as permanent roommates after much struggle with their own lives. Grace's friend Karen is also her coworker and an annoying pill-popping alcoholic. These four characters go through good times and bad, but their relationships with one another are very complex and confusing, making them somewhat more then just friends. Will, Grace, Jack, and Karen have such strong bonds of friendship that they make a very unique family unit.
In the family made up by this bond of friendship, each person plays a certain role that would be found in almost any traditional family. Very untraditional people, however, play the part of these conventional family members. Will, as gay as he is, plays the part of a mother in their family household. Whenever someone gets into trouble, Will is the one who they go to for comfort and he does seem to do a very good job of it. For example, in an episode called "Das Boob," Grace buys a water-bra in order to impress an old friend from high school. A few things go wrong and Grace springs a leak. Will, being his motherly self, helps Grace hide her embarrassment and comforts her when the guy no longer wants her because he thinks that she is shallow for having bought a water-bra just to impress him. Also, Will is being just like any wife when he asks Grace if his clothes match and if he looks good in what he's wearing, obsessing over appearance and constantly looking in the mirror. Playing the role opposite of Will, Grace is undoubtedly the father in the family circuit. She always has to have her head square on her shoulders and be the tough one in difficult situations. For example, when Karen's husband gives Karen a budget because she spends too much money, she has no idea what to do and continually overspends. Grace, as the father, spends hours teaching her child, Karen, how to spend her money wisely and still be able to buy things within her budget. Being the more mature ones in the group, Will and Grace argue just like any married couple and even have times when they don't want to speak to each other, even though they soon get over it and end up as happy parents again. Jack and Karen, being the children in this family are busy spending their time doing what kids do. Jack, just like a little kid, has to be bribed by Will to go anywhere, as proven in this very episode. When Jack is heartbroken about the love of his life, Will sets Jack up to see him again just like any mother would do for a child. In order to get Jack there, however, Will tells him that Cher will be there so that he actually does show up. Karen is a mostly like the teenager in the family. She thinks she knows everything, but Grace isn't afraid to make sure she stays out of trouble. Always telling others what to do, but never taking their advice, she loves to tell Grace how to live her life. Grace hardly ever pays attention to what Karen tells her she should do, though, because it's obvious that Karen is just trying to be a typical teenager. Jack and Karen like to be siblings by sharing things and always ganging up against their parents, Will and Grace, so that they can get what they want. When looking at the four of them in a room together, their family bond really does stand out with all the right characters in the right places.
On the other hand, their relationships aren't quite what family relationships should be and they all do things that the typical family wouldn't even think about doing to each other. The four characters ruin each other's love lives and often take each other's exes, which is especially the case between Jack and Will. Also, Jack and Karen have more problems then their child-like attitudes like to show, such as constantly bickering at each other and complaining when they don't get their way. It seems that the tighter their bonds get, the more each of them does something to try and tear it apart, making their family not as close as a typical family should be.
They have such strong bonds of friendship that they do make a good family unit, but they also tend to be very dysfunctional. Jack gets angry at Will in "Das Boob" because he thinks that Will is messing around with the love of his life. Even though Jack is no longer seeing him, he is convinced that Will should not be with him either because he should know better. Parents are not typically supposed to get together with their child's ex. Karen and Grace's relationship isn't exactly like the typical mother-daughter relationship should be either. Being employed by Grace, Karen thinks that she is in charge and loves to tell Grace what to do, which Grace doesn't particularly like. Although most teenagers like to tell their parents what to do, Karen is very mean and harsh about it. She criticizes Grace's clothes and actions in very belittling ways, but never takes time out to listen to anything Grace has to say. Karen never stops drinking and even sometimes enjoys making out with Jack, just for kicks, who is like her sibling. In any society, the view of siblings making out is very wrong and disgusting. After Grace has her mishap with her water-bra and the guy she was trying to impress tells her that she is shallow, he goes and hits on Karen. Karen, fully aware that this is the man that Grace was trying to get to like her, flirts back anyway. Graces just tries to ignore this problem because she is so hurt by both the guy and by Karen. Just like a parent isn't supposed to get together with a child's ex, a child should not get together with a parent's ex either. Will and Grace's relationship is very unharmonious also. They dated for a while before Will came out that he was gay and later on Grace got engaged to another man. It's only after Grace left her fiancÃ© at the alter, that her and Will became permanent roommates. Now, unlike typical parents, they help each other with their love lives and give each other advice about whom they should date.
It comes into question then, that maybe Will, Grace, Jack, and Karen only make a good family because their biological families don't seem to be good enough for them. After all the problems that they have with each other, the four of them always manage to pull through tough situations and get through problems together, especially since they all have difficult problems with their own real families. None of the characters see their families that often, but when they do, all hell breaks lose. Jack and Grace have their mothers visit in a couple episodes of the show. Jack's mom comes for Thanksgiving in an episode called "Homo for the Holidays." To everyone's surprise, Jack neglects to tell any of them that his mother doesn't know that he is gay. Grace and Will both try to talk him into telling her and to be true to himself. It isn't until Will tells Jack how much he admires him for always being so open and caring that Jack finally decides to tell his mother. After that, sharing secrets goes bad when Jack's mom says that she doesn't know who his father is because she used to go to swingers' parties. It takes the love of Will, Grace, and Karen to comfort Jack and make everything okay again. Grace has some problems with her own mother as well. In "Whose Mom is it anyway," Grace's mother visits and goes to dinner with Will and Grace. She unexpectedly brings along a guy that Grace was a friend with as a child. Grace thinks that her mom is just trying to set her up on a date again and gets defensive, but then her mother tells her that she brought him to meet Will. Taking this as an opportunity to prove to her mom that she shouldn't set people up on dates, Grace talks Will into going on a date with her old friend. The date goes great and Grace, while in the midst of complaining that her mother shouldn't fix people up, accidentally admits to Will that she is angry that her mother fixed him up and not her. She wants her mother to want to fix her up, just to not actually do it. Grace feels embarrassed and Will, like a loving friend, comforts her until she feels better. Karen, on the other hand, has a husband and kids of her own. She hardly ever sees her husband and she even has difficulty remembering her own kids' names, no doubt a direct consequence of her drinking problem. It seems that these family problems are what helps to make the four characters into a family of their own.
Will, Grace, Jack, and Karen have an extremely strong friendship that make them a good family unit and, even with their dysfunctional ways, they always manage to pull together because of the problems that they all have with their biological families. When things get tough, these four best friends always come together to resolve problems and help each other through bad times. They fight all the time, interfere in each other's love lives, and their relationships aren't exactly what family relationships should be. All in all though, the more they argue and the more problems they encounter within their own families, the closer this family of four gets. Even though society might not view this relationship as a good family household, it seems to work really well for them. Will, Grace, Jack, and Karen, (even with all their faults and differences) make the best family that any of them could ever dream of having.