11 Years Later
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|"11 Years Later"|
|Will & Grace episode|
|Directed by||James Burrows|
|Original air date||September 28, 2017|
"11 Years Later" is the first episode of the ninth season of the American sitcom Will & Grace. The episode first aired on September 28, 2017, on NBC, and was watched by 10.2 million people during its original broadcast.
The scene opens in Will's apartment with Will and Grace playing Heads Up! with Jack and Karen, who has a daydream of the events of the past years, involving Will and Grace getting married to other people and having kids who start their own families. When she comes to, Will and Grace admit they recently got divorced but had no kids from their respective marriages, and Grace is staying at Will's place temporarily while she recovers from her divorce.
Will writes an angry letter to a congressman who is gutting the Environmental Protection Agency, and tells Jack he's flirting; Jack then gets them to one of the congressman's speaking engagements. Will and Jack arrive in the Rose garden for the congressman's talk. Will has no idea how Jack managed to get them there, which Jack informs him he has connections in the Secret Service. In disbelief, Will goes back and forth with Jack until a Secret Service agent, Lenny (Kyle Bornheimer), walks up and starts hitting on Jack. It's after that moment that the congressman calls out to Will and they meet in person for the first time. Their meeting is very flirty. Congressman Steve Sandoval calls Page (Kate Micucci) over and tells her to take Will on a tour of the West Wing.
Meanwhile, after losing a bet to Karen on the 2016 presidential election, Grace is annoyed by Karen continuously rubbing it in her face and decides to confront her. Grace arrives at work and is greeted by Tony, a new employee at Grace Adler Designs (GAD). She asks him if he's ever been offended by Karen, which he doesn't want to outwardly admit, but eventually says she does not. Karen arrives and Grace talks to her about keeping politics out of the office. It's immediately after that moment that Karen mentions that Grace will be redecorating the Oval Office. Not wanting to show her enthusiasm, Grace pretends that she is uninterested, but at the mention of the train departure time, assures Karen that she will be there early. Once Grace and Karen are in the Oval Office, Grace starts discussing how the great minds of the country have sat behind that desk. She then peeks inside the keepsake box sitting on top of the desk and notes a Russian dictionary and a fidget spinner. Karen recounts the first time she was in the office, mentioning that she and Nancy were chasing Ronnie around the desk. They get to work and start planning curtain color, Grace opening a bag of Cheetos to make sure that the skin tone of the president goes well with whatever they pick. Grace is looking out the window at the Rose Garden and asks the butler what is happening out there. He informs her that it is an energy caucus that Sandoval is about to address. Grace, remembering the name, mentions to Karen how awful the guy is. She starts to feel a little skeevy over what she is doing versus the resisting that Will must be doing at that moment, until she looks out the window and sees Will getting chummy with the congressman. After parting with the congressman, Page lets Will know that there is someone in the Oval Office redecorating, so to just be aware. Will turns to follow her inside and sees Grace in the window. They lock eyes.
Will walks into the Oval Office and faces off with Grace. Both want to know what the other is doing and figure out they both had their own selfish reasons for being there. Will tells her that he can't deal with her crazy again and that if she is so unhappy then she should move out. They have a pillow fight in the Oval Office. Meanwhile, Jack is chatting with Lenny in the White House about life and what they've been up to. Jack, catching Lenny up, demands that he not mention the one man show that Jack had since it's dead to him. He talks about the ego he must have had to put his own name in the title and shuffles through the businesses that he's created that all contain his name, except for the last one. Karen arrives and greets Lenny, revealing the two know each other, until Lenny is called to the Oval Office to break up the fight between Will and Grace.
Back at the apartment, Grace has decided to move out. Will and Grace talk and admit that they both didn't want the other to think less of them. Will convinces her to stay at his place for as long as she wants. The next morning they say they'll leave politics out of their lives. Karen rebukes Grace for messing up the opportunity of decorating the Oval Office, but Grace assures her that she snuck in a cap saying "Make America Gay Again" on top of the President's seat.
Ratings and reception
Kendall Williams of Den of Geek gave the episode a 3 out of 5, saying "The episode doesn’t venture from its usual shenanigans and social commentary about people and causes that matter. It’s no mistake that the season premiere refers to the current occupant in The White House, and then temporarily relocates the main characters to D.C. to act out their personal and political prejudices." She also mentioned that "some of the intended jokes and jabs didn't hit their mark with me", despite enjoying the chemistry between the leading actors. However, she still gave some positive thoughts about the episode, saying "Nothing significant has changed on the show, which is a good thing. Viewers would be disoriented if presented with unrealistic scenarios that might come across as forced or angry in order for the writers to prove a point." Justin Kirkland from Entertainment Weekly gave the episode an A−. He particularly praised the political message of the episode, saying "Will & Grace is the best political vehicle when it’s being absolutely ridiculous, which is why it doesn’t take long to come back together." He also enjoyed the characters' dynamics and relationships, especially between Will and Grace. He also acknowledged that the episode alone was not capable of solving the "whole last season" and its ending. However, he completed this point by saying "If Will and Grace proved two things, it’s that we have bigger fish to fry, and that sometimes the best way to fight the fight is with something familiar."
Jonathan Bernstein from The Daily Telegraph gave the episode a 2 out of 5, with a mixed to negative review. He said "If you’re an American comedy in 2017 with ambitions to take on the current administration, you’re automatically at the tail-end of a very, very long and angry queue. You should spend your time sharpening your claws and your teeth for the kill. In this episode, Will & Grace did the exact opposite." He felt that the main plot of the premiere was contrived, and "entirely bereft of depth or character development." However, he noticed the attempts of the episode to appear relevant, despite being "a broad, blowsy old-fashioned show." Finally, he mentioned that he would give another chance to the season, as the premiere does not "immediately doom the entire comeback." Vulture's Brian Moylan gave the episode the episode a 3 out of 5, with a mixed review, saying "From stem to stern, this episode is like one long exhale for the pent-up liberals who have been glued to outrage Twitter and mainlining Rachel Maddow since the election." He also acknowledged that the episode "isn’t long enough to contain everything", especially the introduction of Tony, and was saddened that the political message ended up being personal. However, he concluded his review by saying "Although it's like going back in a time machine, it’s a past I certainly won’t mind visiting for the next few months — or at least until Trump gets impeached."
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- Williams, Kendall (September 28, 2017). "Will & Grace Premiere Review: Season 9 Episode 1 – 11 Years Later". Den of Geek. Retrieved November 8, 2017.
- Kirkland, Justin (September 29, 2017). "Will & Grace Premiere React: '11 Years Later'". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. ISSN 1049-0434. OCLC 21114137. Retrieved October 31, 2017.
- Bernstein, Jonathan (September 29, 2017). "Will & Grace review: the chemistry's still fresh, but the comedy is stale". The Daily Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved November 8, 2017.
- Moylan, Brian (September 29, 2017). "Will & Grace Season-Premiere Recap: Where There's a Will, There's a Way". Vulture.com. New York Media. Retrieved October 31, 2017.