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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Will & Grace: Season Eight
Will & Grace: Season Eight
Lionsgate Home Entertainment // Unrated // September 16, 2008
List Price: $44.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Jeffrey Robinson | posted September 21, 2008 | E-mail the Author
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The Eighth and Final 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. The success was due to the unique comedy that the show provided. 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. For more details about this series please refer to DVD Talk's reviews of season one, season two, season three, season four, season five, season six, season seven, and series finale.

Season eight marks the final episodes of Will & Grace and contains some of the series' most dramatic storylines and developments. Some of the highlights include Karen, Stan, and government agent Malcolm (Alec Baldwin), Grace (briefly) rekindling her relationship with Leo, Will embarking on his quest to do something meaningful, Jack and his television show "Jack Talk" turning conservative, Grace getting pregnant, Will having a short relationship with James (Taye Diggs), and more. It is a pretty fun season and ends the series with closure.

The season begins with Will working for a fake non-profit organization run by government agent Malcolm (Alec Baldwin). In season seven, Will decided that he wanted to do something noble and good. Malcolm gave him a job, which turned out to be a sham. Malcolm is involved in some risky business and needed Will's help. When the truth comes out, Will is faced with a dilemma. He learns some news about Karen's late husband and has to decide whether or not to tell her. The situation is really complicated when Malcolm and Karen start dating. Baldwin plays a very odd character and there are some good laughs with his role. Unfortunately, the underlying storyline is a little too over-the-top.

In "Love is in the Airplane", Grace rekindles her romance with Leo. This brief encounter turns into a big development. Afterwards, she tells him that he needs to move on. As the season progresses, this storyline becomes important -- Grace learns she is pregnant with his child. Unfortunately, Leo has moved on and is engaged to another woman. Will stands by her side and promises to help raise the baby.

Other major season developments include Will working at the Coalition for Justice and getting Karen in trouble for being a slumlord, Grace marrying Will's latest love interest James (he is Canadian and his visa is about to expire), who turns out to be a horrible person, Jack's talk show being turned conservative by a new co-host played by Britney Spears, Karen hiring Wanda Sykes to be a surrogate mother, Will's father passing away and the emotional aftermath, and more. As earlier mentioned, there are a lot of big developments. Towards the end of the season, Vince and Leo come back into the picture.

In addition to the major season storylines, there are some fun all-around episodes. There are two worth noting. In "Von Trapped", Grace gets the gang to go to the "Sound of Music Sing-Along". They dress up as characters from the Sound of Music. After a variety of things occur, the situation turns out just like the musical! They get trapped in the theater by attendants who are dressed up like Nazi's. It is a hilarious mix of Will & Grace and Sound of Music. The other stellar episode is "Bathroom Humor". This episode was filmed live. It is pure slapstick fun. Will, Grace, and Jack go to Karen's uppity birthday party. They embarrass themselves and end up in the bathroom. After some arguing, they have a "food" fight with bathroom products. It is a hilarious turn of events.

Overall, Will & Grace's eighth and final season has some pretty fun episodes. The content is more dramatic than past seasons, as there are a lot of key developments for the characters that all lead to the series finale. However, while the season is fun, there are a few dry moments. I really did not care for the first few episodes. I liked Alec Baldwin as Malcolm, but the rest of the surrounding drama with Will and Grace was a little too much. Nevertheless, season eight will be appreciated by fans. It ends with a nice note and has a decent goodbye to the cast and the series.

Episode Guide

Note that episodes 1 and 11 were filmed live. There were two versions for broadcasting on east and west coasts. Only one version is included with this set and there is no indication if they are the east or west coast broadcastings.

1. Alive and Schticking: Grace contemplates having an affair with a married man. Elsewhere, Jack begins new career as a host of his new talk show "Jack Talk". Will gets some advice from Malcolm (guest star Alec Baldwin) and tries to hide from Karen the fact that Stan is alive.
2. I Second That Emotion: Will makes it his own personal mission to emotionally heal Karen when he suspects that she is more upset about Stanley being alive than she's actually letting on. Surprisingly for him, he discovers a few areas where he needs some healing of his own. Meanwhile, Grace becomes the target of rage from gay men all over New York when her comments on Jack's talk show are misconstrued during editing.
3. The Old Man and the Sea: When Jack learns that Will never learned to swim, Jack insists that he teach Will how. Meanwhile, Karen sets Grace up on a blind date with one of Malcolm's friends, but Grace can't stand him or his penchant for bad poetry during their seemingly never-ending nine-course dinner.
4. Steams Like Old Times: Karen is finally forced to come to terms with her feelings for her presumed dead husband, when Jack surprisingly tells her he thinks she belongs with Stanley, not Malcolm. Karen is adamant that she will never forgive Stan and wants nothing to do with him until Malcolm informs her that Stan has given her to him without a fight.
5. The Hole Truth: The day before Will's charity auction and carnival, Jack meets and begins dating Baby Glenn (Jason Biggs), who is still riding his fifteen minutes of fan from when he got trapped in a hole for three days in the eighties. The two celebrities agree to be auctioned off for charity. Baby Glenn's fans spend over a thousand dollars, but Jack begins to question his own notoriety when no one bids on him.
6. Loves is in the Airplane: While en route to London, Will and Grace spot Grace's ex-husband Leo on their flight. Will charms a pair of gay flight attendants, who also happen to be dating, so he can smuggle Grace into first class to talk to Leo. Back in New York, Jack tries to reunite Karen and Rosario, but this proves difficult when their stubbornness outweighs his good intentions.
7. Birds of a Feather Boa: When Jack decides on a whim to move, Will is excited at the thought of helping him look for a place. After becoming involved in a cause to save two gay penguins from being separated at the zoo, Will starts to think closely about his dear friendship with Jack and what it would mean if he no longer lived next door. Meanwhile, Karen and Grace bump into pretentious socialite Beverly who invites the two ladies to attend his recently deceased wife's memorial celebration.
8. Swish Out of Water: Grace finds it impossible to put up with her mother Bobbi's constant nitpicking, so Jack takes it upon himself to help her because, according to him, no one knows how to be a good daughter better than a gay son. Jack subjects her to a barrage of Bobbiesque insults until Grace finally learns what her mother really means underneath her harsh words. Meanwhile, Will's first case at the Coalition for Justice is about tenants' rights, and the slumlord turns out to be none other than Karen.
9. A Little Christmas Queer: While spending the holidays at Will's mother Marilyn's house, Grace gets cozy with Will's brother Sam (Steven Weber). Sam's adopted daughter finds a fan in Karen, who is intrigued by the little girl. Meanwhile, Jack helps Will's clearly gay ten-year-old nephew organize and perform a Christmas show, which Marilyn is thrilled about. Will is silently fuming, however, as Marilyn is much more tolerant of the young boy than she ever was of her own son.
10. Von Trapped: "The Sound of Music Sing-Along" has come to town and no one is more excited than Grace. She plans for her and Will to attend the musical in character-like style by dressing up in costumes. But Will accidentally goes to the wrong theater becoming districted by James (Taye Diggs), a handsome man he meets. Meanwhile, Karen and Jack try to flee when she gets in trouble with the theater's manager, who blocks off the exits, trapping everyone inside and forcing them to plot their escape.
11. Bathroom Humor: All of New York's high society has been invited to Karen's birthday party but the affair goes downhill when Will, Grace and Jack embarrass themselves and win up crammed together in Karen's bathroom with the birthday girl.
12. Forbidden Fruit: Grace is concerned and confused when Will insists she turn down a job offer from his former boss Margot. When she takes the job after telling Will that she wouldn't, Grace learns some startling news that he has been hiding from her. Meanwhile, Jack discovers Karen's softer side when he finally sees what's inside the forbidden room at the Walker mansion.

13. Cop To It: Will and Grace dread a dinner date with married friends Rob and Ellen who likely called the meeting to announce Ellen is pregnant yet again, but when the couple reveals that they are separated and loving it, Grace gets depressed. Elsewhere, Jack decides he need to spice up "Jack Talk" by pulling an Oprah and helping his fan, Tommy Shields, come out of the closet. Jack and Karen set up a bowling alley meeting with Tommy when Karen is recruited to join a woman's league game as an emergency fill-in.
14. I Love L. Gay: Will, Karen, and a star-struck Grace travel to Los Angeles to support Jack as he accepts a HAPI award for Best Local Cable Gay Talk Show Host. Coincidentally, Will runs into James while in LA, but to his surprise James is Canadian and in jeopardy of being deported. After spending a perfect weekend together, Will and James find that they don't have to say goodbye to each other again when Grace makes a special proposal.
15. The Definition of Marriage: The big day has finally arrived Grace and James are getting ready for their green card wedding. To grace's dismay, Karen takes it upon herself to ignore her wish for a low-key wedding ceremony and decides to arrange a huge affair instead, including hiring Hall & Oates to perform "Maneater" at the ceremony.
16. Grace Expectations: A nervous but optimistic Grace decides it's finally time to tell Leo she is pregnant with his child, but when she finally gets the courage, she receives some unexpected news. Meanwhile, Will is settling in comfortably with James until he reveals a side of himself unknown to Will.
17. Cowboys and Iranians: An ecstatic Jack coerces Will into coming out with him to a gay cowboy bar to meet his new boyfriend Travis. Will soon discovers that Travis is not as perfect as he seems and steps up to defend Jack's honor, which eventually leads to a raucous bar fight.
18. Buy Buy Baby: A large corporation takes over OutTV, and the new conservative owners hire Amber Louise (Britney Spears) as "Jack Talk's" co-host. Meanwhile, after seeing Grace so happy about her pregnancy, Karen decides she wants a baby of her own and offers to pay a makeup lady, Cricket (Wanda Sykes), to carry one for her.
19. Blanket Apology: After losing his job as the host of "Jack Talk", Jack vows never to return to acting. Karen decides to do whatever it takes to get Jack to an audition. Grace then accompanies Will to dinner at his parents' home, which soon turns into showdown between Will and his father when his dad decides to give Grace's unborn child Will's cherished baby blanket.
20. The Mourning Son: Friends and family gather for the funeral of Will's father. As Will tries to come to terms with their last argument, Marilyn helps him realize the changes he must make in his life. Meanwhile, Grace attempts to comfort the grieving younger members of the family and begins to doubt her ability to be a good mother.
21. Partners 'n' Crime: Will and Grace begin attending childbirth classes, but a Will and Vince take another chance at their relationship together, Grace starts to doubt whether Will is up for raising a child with her. Meanwhile, Karen looks to Jack for comfort as her marriage with Stan hit a bumpy road but finds that Jack is a little preoccupied with his new television show.
22. Whatever Happened to Baby Gin?: Just as Will and Grace are settling into the idea of raising the baby together, Will's boyfriend Vince surprises him with an invitation to move in. Meanwhile Karen shocks everyone when she announces that she has a sister, Gin (Bernadette Peters), who was injured as a child during a game of Twister.
23. The Finale: The culmination of eight seasons ends with a one-hour series finale - will Will and Grace raise a child together and find ultimate happiness?? Will Jack find anyone who loves him as much as he loves himself? Will Karen find true happiness with the absence of Stan? Wall these questions and more are answered as this ground-breaking series concludes eight amazing seasons.

The DVD

Video:
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.

Audio:
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.

Extras:

  • Audio Commentary: is included for the episode "The Finale" with David Kohan, Max Mutchnick, James Burrows, and Eric McCormack.
  • The Final Bow (12:58): has David Kohan, Max Mutchnick, Sean Hayes, Megan Mullally, Eric McCormack, and Debra Messing saying goodbye at the final shooting on the set of Will & Grace. The featurette provides a behind the scenes look at the crew, cast, and set on the show's final moments. It includes brief comments from cast and crew. There really isn't a lot of meat in this featurette, beyond a behind the scenes seeing the cast and crew on their final shooting.
  • The Last Words: Interviews with Cast (24:10): is the more interesting of the season eight featurettes. Max Mutchnick and David Kohan talk about when they first met, and how their personal history helped them develop Will & Grace. They continue to talk about NBC, getting James Burrows involved, and more. Eric McCormack and Debra Messing offer some insight on the subject. Next Megan Mullally gives a tour of the set. The featurette continues with the aforementioned individuals, Sean Hayes, Shelley Morrison, and others. There is discussion about characters and relationships, behind the scenes footage of table reads, filming/directing, etc.
  • Themed Featurettes: is a montage of clips from season eight footage. The montages are categorized in themes. They include "For Love or Money", "Out & About", "9 to 5ish", "Pop Goes the Culture", "A Rose by Any Other Name", "Enter Stage Left", "Fashion Quips", "Rank & File", "It Ain't Over 'Til the Fat Joke Is Told", "That's Called a Macaroon", "Some People Say Thank You", and "Lie, Cheat and Steal".
  • Blooper Reel (8:26): is standard montage of behind the scenes goofs with the cast acting up or messing up their scenes.

Final Thoughts:
Will & Grace season eight has the final moments of the series. This season is more dramatic than past seasons and wraps up the series with good closure. The developments include a variety of storylines about relationships, career, and the casts' futures (individually and together). The season also has some genuinely fun episodes like "Von Trapped" and "Bathroom Humor". Fans of the series will definitely want to pick up this set. It is recommended.

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