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Will & Grace creators: Our second series finale ending couldn't have been done in 2006

  • David Kohan and Max Mutchnick said they felt they were able to go out on their own terms with the second series finale, one that is more honest than their first series finale in 2006. "One of the things that’s appealing about this whole process is that you leave characters behind 11 years ago, and then you pick them up again and they’ve gotten older and you’ve gotten older," says Kohan. "Now, you’re writing about the concerns that you have over a decade hence. And part of that is not being so concerned about how things seem and feeling a little bit more comfortable in your own skin, and being able to define what you want in your own terms — as opposed to being so caught up in thinking you have to do something or have to get something right. For Will and Grace, their whole thing is: 'I can be content with this.' Their ending is not a conventional idea of a family, but they don’t have to care." Mutchnick adds: "I also thought this ending was a little bit more honest to the characters. We were making stuff up the first time around. And this felt like, the world had changed, we had changed and the characters therefore were going to change. And what the characters were doing was finding a way to make their relationship, something that is natural for them, work. What’s best for Will and Grace is for Will and Grace to be together, but they both wanted to have kids. We found a way to tell that story and to have them both have their cake and eat it, too. And I don’t think that we could have done that the first time around, because the first time around we felt a little bit more beholden to the traditions of family dynamics and tableaus. And the truth is, the best family tableau is the one that works best for you — for the individual. And that’s what we’re going to give them. We gave them what works best for them and that felt a little bit more honest. Everybody’s definition of family is acceptable. And when we ended those years ago, that wasn’t necessarily the case, or it wasn’t as strong as it is now. Now, if it’s two women? Great. If it’s a man and a woman? Great. If it’s a guy and a girl and they both have kids by other means and they raise their children together as a family, then that’s acceptable, too. Who are we to judge? Back then, there was still a little bit of judgment into how we drew those characters and, therefore, we separated them and had them go about making these families in separate corners of the world. Now, we’re a little bit more evolved and we realized: No, this is how they would actually do it."


    • Debra Messing's "pain-in-the-a**" contract stipulating filming be completed by Christmas unexpectedly saved the Will & Grace series finale from the pandemic: "Oh my God, thank God. It would have been the most unfinished feeling to not get to the end of this season," Max Mutchnick says, referring to the coronavirus shutdown. "Thank God Debra had it in her contract that we had to be done by Christmas. I finally found the silver lining in that really pain-in-the-a** clause. (Laughs) We did run into trouble with the retrospective that's airing right after the finale. We weren't finished with that and that was not easy to get to the finish line with the world shut down."
    • David Kohan and Max Mutchnick are glad they didn't overstay their welcome: "It feels right. It feels like we went out on the terms that we wanted to go out on," says Kohan. "It feels like we didn’t overstay our welcome and we didn’t end prematurely either. I feel pretty good about that." Mutchnick adds: "It was supposed to be ten episodes. We were going to do it as a special event on NBC, Bob Greenblatt thought that would be a fun way to go and we agreed and from ten episodes we found ourselves doing 53 three years later. It was a wonderful experience but I agree with David, it’s exactly as it should be. We did as many as we should have and it was like having a once in a lifetime experience for a second time. It was such a gift to have it happen in your life, why would we ever think that would happen again so it was a little wonderful miracle."

    TOPICS: Will & Grace, NBC, David Kohan, Debra Messing, Eric McCormack, Max Mutchnick, Megan Mullally, Sean Hayes, Series Finales