The Third Season
In 1998 prime time television was hit with a remarkable new series, Will & Grace. After a very successful first season, the show became very popular and gained an enormous fan base. This is due to the unique comedy that the show provides. Will & Grace tells the tale of two best friends, a gay attorney and an interior designer, along with their friends Jack, an extremely flamboyant homosexual, and Karen, an overly wealthy alcoholic. The success of season one provided a platform to introduce the cast of the show, during which the characters were developed and in season two, they've hit their prime. However in season three, they haven't changed a whole lot. This season brings back the same cast you've come to know and love.
The cast is pretty much the same as they were in the previous season. There are a few subtle changes. In the first season we had our two main characters and best friends, Will Truman (Eric McCormack), the gay attorney and Grace Adler (Debra Messing), the neurotic interior decorator living together. In season two Grace decided she needed to move out and be more independent. This allowed for Jack McFarland (Sean Hayes), the extremely flamboyant homosexual to "temporarily" move in with Will. Because of this, in season two we got to see a lot more of Jack's crazy behavior and quite frankly, I think Jack is the major selling point of this series. In season three, Jack and Grace switch living arrangements, which returns to focus back to Will and Grace and not Will and Jack. We still get to see a lot of Jack, but it just doesn't feel like as much. Fortunately, we still have the combination of the wealthy alcoholic Karen Walker (Megan Mullally) and Jack, who make for some great laughs. Also the repetitive jokes about Karen's drinking problem return in this season, but they're still pretty funny. Overall, the cast isn't very different and they continue to take some pretty boring daily situations and turn them into really comical outlooks of life.
This is detailed very well in several really good episodes. In "Girl Trouble", Grace gets her first intern, Gillian, played by Natasha Lyonne (American Pie). However, as it turns out, she's a little more interested in what it's like to be bitchy, rich, and completely full of yourself, (i.e. Karen). It's a funny episode, because we get two Karens. It's like seeing double! In the episode "My Uncle The Car", Will sells Grace's car to a nun played by Ellen DeGeneres (Ellen). Unfortunately for Will, Grace discovers there's a lot of sentimental value attached to the car. The episode itself isn't very comical, but throw in DeGeneres and you've got your laughs. There's also a funny sidebar, where Jack thinks he's African-American. It's funny because, well it's obvious he's not. There's also a great episode that jumps into the past. In "Lows in the Mid-Eighties", originally aired as a two-part episode, we travel back into time when Will and Grace were dating in college. It also features when Jack first met Will. It's entertaining, since we get to learn more about our beloved cast. There's also a visit to a reoccurring joke, which is Jack's dying love for Cher. In "Gypsies, Tramps, & Weed", Jack finally meets his idol. Unfortunately, he doesn't realize it until too late. There are many more comical episodes in this third season release that really show how this cast can interact and turn dull everyday situations into a flood of humor.
Despite that I really enjoyed the third season I wasn't nearly as enthralled with it as I was with the second season. The comedy just didn't feel as wacky and the stories were a bit lighter. Season three returned to focus more on Will and Grace, versus Jack and Karen. Granted they aren't the main stars of the series, but I really like what they add to the series and I enjoyed how they had a lot more focus in season two. The truth is, Will and Grace are funny characters together, but on their own, they aren't that funny. On the other hand, Karen and Jack can be really entertaining, whether paired up with someone else or alone. The bottom line, there's some really great episodes in the third season that should appease the fans. However, keep in mind that the humor isn't outright as crazy as the second season. Still, it's much better than the first season.
1. New Will City
2. Fear and Clothing
3. Husbands and Trophy Wives
4. Girl Trouble
5. Grace 0, Jack 2000
6. Love Plus One
7. Gypsies, Tramps & Weed
8. Lows in the Mid-Eighties
9. Three's a Crowd, Six is a Freak Show
10. Coffee & Commitment
11. Swimmin' Pools...Movie Stars
12. Crazy in Love
13. Brothers, a Love Story
14. My Uncle the Car
15. Cheaters, Part I
16. Mad Dogs and Average Men
17. Poker? I Don't Even Like Her
18. An Old-Fashioned Piano Party
19. The Young and the Tactless
20. Alice Doesn't Lisp Here Anymore
21. Last of the Really Odd Lovers
22. Sons and Lovers
The DVD release of Will & Grace: Season Three is presented in its original television aspect ratio, 1.33:1 Full Frame color. Overall, the picture looks very good, with a relatively crisp and clean feel. There are very minor color distortions that are the product of video compression. Furthermore, the video compression gives a slight blocky look around detailed objects. Despite the minor imperfections in the picture, it is substantially better looking than what you would expect to see from broadcast or cable television.
The audio track that is included in this DVD release is given in English 2.0 Dolby digital stereo sound. The dialogue throughout the feature is very easily heard, but feels a little flat. However, since ground-breaking sound effects aren't required in this show, the flat audio seems to fit well. The audio track also includes the "built-in-in-laughter" that many studios put in their sitcoms. Overall, the audio sounds fairly good. Complimenting the audio, there are subtitles in the English and Spanish languages.
Like the earlier DVD releases of Will & Grace, the major special features encompass eleven "Themed Featurettes". Each of these featurettes follow a recurring theme and show a montage of related clips from the season. The featurettes are the following "The Sounds of Comedy", "Out and About", "The Little Voice in My Head", "Enter Stage Left", "Hugs & Kisses", "9 to 5-ish", "Fashion Quips", "With a Song in Our Hearts", "Everybody Dance", "A Rose By Any Other Name...", and "It Ain't Over 'Til the Fat Joke is Told". The featurettes provide some mild entertain, as most reflect some great highlights of the season. However, while they provide some entertainment, they're not nearly as exciting as watching the individual episodes.
Unlike the earlier releases, we have an additional set of extras, "Outtake Reels" for seasons one, two, and three. They are each about six minutes long. I really enjoyed these, because they're just funny. Overall, I thought this was a definite improvement for the extras, but they can still do much better. I hope we get to see some audio commentaries or video interviews with future releases.
The third season of Will & Grace continues as a hilarious sitcom, filled with hours of entertainment. In comparison to earlier seasons, season three is much stronger than the first, but a not nearly as good as the second. While the characters and their roles are pretty much the same as in the second season, there's a slight change to the show's overall mood. Where there was once more focus on Jack, it's been realigned to put Will and Grace back in the spotlight. I really didn't enjoy that minor change, because I think that Jack is a focal point to the series. Also, considering the content of season three, in general, the episodes weren't as funny when compared to season two. They didn't feel as wacky and as crazy. Overall, season three was pretty strong, which is mainly because the series continues to be a great comedy, but it wasn't quite as exciting as I expected. In my book, Will & Grace: Season Two gets highly recommended and Will & Grace: Season Three gets recommended.