Will and Grace – Rosario’s Quinceanera
By: Kelly Kearney
Grab a box of tissues, this week’s “Will and Grace” was a tear jerker. The iconic comedy stepped away from its usual formula to touch on the absence of a fan favorite. When it was reported that Season Nine was a go, Shelley Morrison (who plays Rosario Salazar) had officially retired from acting and, much to her fans dismay, would not be joining the reboot. This left many wondering how the show would handle the loss of such a beloved character. I mean what is a socialite without her maid, scapegoat and partner in crime? Human, that’s what. And Megan Mullaly’s performance, in all its screaming bluster, not only showcased her acting range but the emotional depth of one of TV’s most shallow yet adored characters.
We open at Grace Adler Designs or is it Will and Grace Adler Designs? Who knows. The two best friends haven’t really worked out the details of their partnership, but one thing is certain – Will (Eric McCormack) is going to have to get use to Karen’s (Megan Mullally) work ethic. The New York socialite wanders in late as usual and Will cracks a joke about how she needs to start coming in on time now that he’s joined the company. Will, Grace (Debra Messing), Jack (Sean Hayes) and Karen all laugh because this woman’s never been to work on time a day in her life and Will knows it. Karen admits she’s late because she’s been looking all over for Rosario. The group wonders if maybe the overworked maid took a much-needed vacation since her last trip to wine country was just an excuse to pick grapes for Karen. Since Rosario’s not known for going AWOL, Karen cracks a joke saying she better be in the hospital if she’s skipping out on work. Right on cue the phone rings and it’s the hospital, Rosario had a heart attack!
At the hospital, Jack is playing the panicked ex-husband, running the hospital halls demanding Jell-O STAT. Who doesn’t love a good lime Jell-O? Rosie, apparently, because the wiggly treat is for Jack who’s barely holding himself together. Jack isn’t the only selfish person in the waiting room. Grace has managed to turn Rosie’s health scare into a discussion about her own delusional health problems. As Rosie’s fighting for her life, Grace is worried about some imaginary pain in her right arm and then learns heart attacks happen in your left arm. Can you have a sympathy heart attacks? Before they can delve too deeply into Grace’s hypochondria, Will changes the subject when he mentions he leased a space next to Grace’s office, essentially doubling the size of their work place. Grace immediately feels like her new partner has over stepped his boundaries and wishes he would’ve asked her first before making this decision. Will reminds her that he’s the business side of this arrangement and he had to jump fast on the space before it was taken. The two best friends decide to shelf this discussion for a later time as what’s important now is Rosario.
When Karen, along with her Irish back up maid Bridget (Mary Pat Gleason), shows up at the hospital she’s already planning Rosario’s welcome home quinceanera for the one her mother never gave her. Aren’t quinceanera’s reserved for 15-year-old girls Will asks? Karen says no and that where Rosie comes from they wait until menopause “to mark the moment a woman becomes a man.” We soon realize there will be no party when a nurse interrupts the planning to say Rosie had some complications and didn’t survive. Cool, calm and collected Karen walks out of the hospital leaving Jack, Will and Grace devastated over their loss yet worried about their friend and how she’s taking the news.
Adios, Rosario Salazar
Fast forward to the day of Rosario’s funeral/quinceanera and the church is decked out in roses and celebratory banners, giving the maid a grand send off. It’s all thanks to Karen who isn’t exactly handling her loss well. Grace asks how her friend is holding up and an angry Karen rips her head off claiming she’s fine as she’s been on her own all her life. “I breastfed myself,” she says. Grace isn’t the only one being abused by the mourning woman. Jack’s going through Hell as Karen treats him like her own personal whipping boy by barking orders and being all around terrifying. Is this Karen Walker sad he wonders? The three friends aren’t sure since they all assumed Karen only had two emotions – sarcasm and inebriation. This anger is a whole new ballgame and Jack is running around her bases to the point of exhaustion.
Karen’s tirade takes a backseat when Lorraine Finster (Minnie Driver) shows up to pay her respects/con Karen and friends out of their jewelry. Lorraine hasn’t changed a bit and Karen is in no mood to deal with her ex-step daughter. “Turn around and Brexit,” she says, but the two eventually play nice and hug it out until Lorraine walks off with Karen’s earrings and necklace. Typical Finster. It doesn’t matter if it’s a threesome or a funeral, she can always sniff out the gold and walk away with a prize.
The service gets underway with a eulogy from Jack about his loving marriage to Rosie and their plans to start a family (he’s as deluded as Grace and her heart spasms). Karen’s skips the goodbyes for a drink at a bar and a few sob stories from her old friend Smitty (Charles C. Stevenson Jr.). Nothing cheers Karen up more than a good gunshot to the head “joke” from Smitts. After Jack tracks down Karen on his find a friend app, Grace heads to the bar to convince Karen to say goodbye to Rosario. In true Grace fashion, she manages to turn Karen’s loss into a story about how she bravely handled her mother’s funeral and how jealous her sisters were of that greatness. Karen’s not impressed and says that the red head’s sisters must really hate her, but Grace is too busy marching in her own self-pity parade to notice the shade coming from Karen.
Next up Jack tries to help his BFF who wants nothing to do with any touchy-feely Macfarlane cheer. Maybe singing and dancing would lighten the mood, but when Karen screams at Jack to perform Michael Jackson’s greatest hits, the man huffs his way through a Thriller/Wiz montage that left even me gasping for air. If Sean Hayes doesn’t lose 10lbs from this season’s physical comedy then exercise is a hoax and I’m throwing in the towel because this man has “got the moves like Jagger” and then some. Of course, the dance off doesn’t lift her spirits and Jack heads back to the church saying that in his whole life, “I’ve never been so humiliated without specifically asking for it.”
Te Amo, Mami
With Grace and Jack both failing to lift Karen off her bar seat and head to the church, Will shows up to do what the other two could not. Karen, who’s still laughing at Smitty’s misfortune, accuses Will of hitting on her when he walks up and wraps his arms around the grieving woman. At first Karen pulls away, but when Will starts to let go she grabs his arms and wraps them around herself. Will whispers that the service is over and if she would like to say her final goodbyes to Rosario the church is empty.
Karen enters the church with her head held high and approaches the coffin with her trademark, “Hi honey.” She stands over Rosario and admits that all their friends keep asking her what she needs, but all she really needs is for Rosario to not be dead. The woman was her maid, her best friend, her everything and through all the insults and threats of deportation she loved her like a mother. As a gift, Karen takes off her actual mother’s ring and places it in Rosario’s coffin saying it’s only fitting since the woman’s been eyeing up the jewelry for years. The pain on Karen’s face is palpable and she tells Rosario that she can’t watch them put her in the ground so she’s just going to hang out in the church a little while longer. Then, to add laughter to the tears, she reaches into the coffin and pulls out a spray bottle and starts spot cleaning her loved one’s coffin. She smiles and looks down at Rosie one last time and says, “Te Amo, Mami.” In the back of the church, Grace cries on Will’s shoulder as Jack says, “This is Karen sad.”