The Fifth 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 for the show, during which the characters were developed and the format was setup. The series has continued to provide the same hilarious comedy with some great chemistry between the cast. It's pretty clear that if you've enjoyed any of the earlier seasons, then this one should hit the spot. For more details about this series please refer to DVD Talk's reviews of season one, season two, season three, season four, and series finale.
Season five has several major story arcs that deal with the cast and their relationships with significant others. The first big story deals with the plotline developed in the past season. Will and Grace decided to have a baby together. The matter is complicated when Grace meets Leo (Harry Connick Jr.), who turns out to be the perfect man. Karen's relationship with jailbird Stan continues to play a pertinent role. They go through a divorce and the storyline introduces Minnie Driver as Stan's mistress Lorraine Finster. Jack goes on a variety of adventures, which includes stalking Kevin Bacon, hosting his own acting class, and dodging the Gay Mafia run by Elton John. Will and Jack also help reform Karen's cousin Barry into a hunk. The other stories involve the cast in a lot of fun situations with celebrity guest stars like Kevin Bacon, Rip Torn, Elton John, Andy Garcia, Madonna, Demi Moore, Macaulay Culkin, and Gene Wilder.
In the end of season four, Will and Grace decided to have a baby together. Their first attempt in was to have a baby the old fashion way, a man and a woman having sex. They couldn't go through it. In the season four finale "A.I.: Artificial Insemination", Will and Grace decided artificial insemination was the best course of action. But as things go for folk in sitcoms, anything and everything under the sun gets in the way. Season five resumes with this storyline in the episode "...And the Horse He Rode In On". On the day of insemination, Will is at the doctor's waiting and Grace hurries to make the appointment. While running through the park, Grace meets a handsome Jewish doctor named Leo Markus (Harry Connick Jr.) and a lamp post. Leo becomes a serious love interest for Grace and her new relationship complicates the plan for a baby with Will.
"Bacon and Eggs" deals with two plotlines, involving Kevin Bacon and Will and Grace's future child. While stalking Kevin Bacon, Jack accidentally finds himself in an interview for his personal assistant. Kevin hires Jack to find the individual who has been stalking him. Of course, the situation is ironic because Jack is the stalker. Eventually Will gets sucked into the situation, which ends with a song and dance tribute to Footloose. Bacon is hysterical in his role as an overzealous, underappreciated actor starving for attention. The other storyline has Leo pursuing Grace, and she contemplates whether or not she should have the baby with Will or see if Leo is the one. This specific storyline is continued in the following episode "The Kid Stays Out of the Picture". In an effort to see if things will work out with Leo, Grace asks Will to put off the pregnancy. When Will finds out the true reason Grace wants to delay, he calls off their friendship. "Humongous Growth" sees Will and Grace not speaking to each other. Jack and Karen manipulate a situation and get them into the same room to work things out. The episode has a few laughs and ends with a serious note about Will and Grace's relationship.
"Boardroom and a Parked Place" introduces Gene Wilder in a reprised role. Wilder plays Mr. Stein, who has been the silent partner in the law firm Will has worked at. His previous boss Ben left to retire and Stein comes to save the company. The catch is that Stein's previous place of residence was the loony bin. He is literally crazy and he makes for a fun character who gets Will into some kooky situations in and out of the office. There is also a big change for Karen, who recently left Stan after catching him with another woman. She's penniless and living in her limo with Rosario. In "The Needle and Omelet's Done", Grace unexpectedly meets Leo's parents and finds her foot stuck in her mouth. At first Leo leads her to believe they are just some friends, but later reveals they are his parents. Shocked and nervous, Grace says all the wrong things. Jack also leads an uprising in his acting class and starts his own.
In the two-part episode "Marry Me a Little Part I" and "Marry Me A Little More Part II", Grace and Leo tie the knot. They randomly meet Katie Couric from the Today show in the park. Couric is there hosting a special edition of Today. They are conducting a mass wedding in the park. Katie asks Grace and Leo if they want to participate and Leo proposes to Grace, who says yes. When they share the news with their friends, their reactions are not positive, especially Will who feels left out. Later Grace and Leo learn from Katie Couric the wedding in the park was nullified due to the individual marrying everyone not being licensed in New York. Will comes through for Grace and puts together a wedding for Grace that is not without its complications.
"Fagmalion" is a storyline that spans four episodes. In it, Karen's cousin Barry (Dan Futterman) has only recently come out of the closet. And at thirty-something, he has had little experience in his new life style. Karen fixes Will up on a date with him, but there are no sparks. Later Will and Jack help Barry get accustomed to his new lifestyle, and he turns from a geek to a hottie. Both Will and Jack become increasingly interested in him, which produces a complication because Will blew his chance with him and Jack being Jack does not want to pass up the opportunity. Both are disappointed when they find out Barry wants to play the field before settling down. The episodes encompass much more than the Barry storyline such as Grace dealing with Leo leaving to do volunteer work.
"Homojo" revisits a storyline started earlier in the episode "It's The Gay Pumpkin, Charlie Brown". Karen and Jack found out Stan was cheating on her, which leads to them splitting up. In "Homojo", Karen and the new mistress Lorraine Finster go head-to-head. Lorraine is played by Minnie Driver and she makes for a good character for Karen to face. Jack also gets involved in the situation and comes between Karen and the newfound mistress. In the episode "May Divorce Be With You", Karen's divorce is the major story. Karen is shocked to find out Will won't represent her because he is Stan's lawyer. Needing to find a quick replacement, she stumbles upon a young lawyer named Jason Towne (Macaulay Culkin), who likes to be called J.T. and despite his young appearance is quite a lawyer.
The final two episodes of the season, "23" and "24", involve Karen, Stan, and Lorraine. In "23", Stan passes away while the divorce negations are underway. The complications deal with Karen and Lorraine at each other's throats about the contents of the will. Both want their fair share of Stan's empire. Grace also is troubled when Leo is asked to go to Guatemala for the volunteer medical program Doctors Without Borders, which he has worked for in the past. In the episode "24", the matters between Karen and Lorraine come to a close. The two former enemies join the others on Stan's yacht in the Caribbean to scatter his ashes and bid a final farewell. Grace also becomes increasingly jealous of one of Leo's fellows, a beautiful female doctor named Danielle Morty (Nicholette Sheridan). Will and Jack also find themselves in a comprising situation.
Overall, season five has some fun episodes with the fairly big story arcs like Grace marrying the new reoccurring character Leo, Karen and Stan splitting up, their divorce, and Minnie Driver as the mistress, Will and Jack instructing Karen's cousin Barry to fit in as a recently outted gay man, and other fun stories with great guest stars like Demi Moore as Jack's overage babysitter and Madonna as Karen's bizarre roommate. In the end, the season packs quite a lot to follow and fans won't want to miss a minute.
1. ...And the Horse He Rode In On
2. Bacon and Eggs
3. The Kids Stays Out of the Picture
4. Humongous Growth
5. It's the Gay Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
6. Boardroom and a Parked Place
7. The Needle and the Omelet's Done
8. Marry Me a Little Part I
9. Marry Me a Little More Part II
10. The Honeymoon's Over
11. All About Christmas Eve
12. Field of Queens
13. Fagmalion Part One: Gay It Forward
14. Fagmalion Part Two: Attack of the Clones
16. Women and Children First
17. Fagmalion Part Three: Bye, Bye, Beardy
18. Fagmalion Part Four: The Guy Who Loved Me
19. Sex, Losers & Videotape
20. Leo Unwrapped
21. Dolls and Dolls
22. May Divorce Be With You
Please note there is discussion that some of the episodes in this season set are syndicated version, which means some episodes are cut and missing footage. Please refer to DVD Talk's forum for more details by clicking here.
The video is given 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 and some traces of edge enhancement. 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 a little flat which is expected from dialogue driven TV on DVD releases. As for channel separation, there is little distinction between left and right channels.
For special features there are sixteen themed featurettes included and a season five out takes reel. The themed featurettes are montages of segments from season five dealing with a specific subject. They are entitled "Hug and Kisses", "Fashion Quips", "The Little Voice in My Head", "A Rose by Any Other Name", "For Love or Money", "9 to 5ish", "With a Song in Our Hearts", "Enter Stage Left", "The Sounds of Comedy", "Everybody Dance", "My Breast Friend", "Let's Get Physical", "Out and About", "Rank and File", "Pop Goes the Culture", and "Self-Discovery". The total runtime is approximately thirty-three minutes. Overall, the extras are like past seasons. The bloopers reel has some fun moments of goofs captured during filming and the themed featurettes have some of the season's funniest moments.
Will & Grace season five has some fairly big story arcs to follow, which include lots of comedy and tidbits of drama. Some of these stories include Will and Grace considering having a child together, Grace marrying Leo, Karen divorcing Stan, Will and Jack coaching a recently outted gay guy named Barry, and more. The season proves to be quite a blast with guest appearances from Kevin Bacon, Rip Torn, Elton John, Andy Garcia, Madonna, Demi Moore, Macaulay Culkin, and Gene Wilder. In the end, fans of the series should not miss a second of this delightfully fun sitcom.