Will & Grace – Who’s Your Daddy
By: Kelly Kearney
With age comes wisdom, but it also comes with nicknames like “Daddy,” which Jack (Sean Hayes) finds out first hand when he dips his toes into the millennial dating pool. Elsewhere, Grace (Debra Messing) learns Karen’s (Megan Mullally) sexual safe word and the Walker bathroom might not ever be the same again. Add a no-nonsense maid, a gay history lesson and a bromance dance to Madonna’s “Borderline” and this episode reminds us of why this timeless comedy will never get old.
DADDY’S LOVE ME
There’s a saying that best friends don’t laugh at you but with you. Only when it comes to Will and Jack, the friendly mocking can go either way. So, when Jack brings his dating drama to Will and Grace’s breakfast table it’s no shock the friends roast him. The previous night Jack and Will went out on the town looking for love in all the right places, namely a bar called The Cockpit, until Jack overheard a younger guy call him a Daddy. On the other hand, Will (who usually spends his time dodging Jack’s ageism shade) meets a young Blake (Ben Platt) who finds his older, anchorman style attractive. The two men sling jokes at one another about what it’s like to be a single middle-aged gay man in a sea of selfie-snapping, reality show obsessed millennials. It’s a truth that all gay men must face and nobody puts a better spin on it than the show that single-handedly launched gay representation into the American mainstream media. Of course, Grace is listening in and reminiscing about her “hag” days when she and Will use to go to The Cockpit until Jack started referring to her as his drag queen friend “Judy Ism.” If Jack is worried about his looks fading with age, he can always rely on his quick quips and fashion advice as seen when he skewers Grace over her choice in peek-a-boo sleeves. It’s true the boys of summer are trading in their speedos at Fire Island for a sensible suit and some wrinkle cream, but don’t count them out yet as Will says, “Twinkies never spoil.”
KAREN GETS STEAMED
Over at the Walker mansion, Karen had Grace redesign her bathroom with a new high-tech shower to the tune of $100,000, while at the same time stiffing her maids out of their hard-earned money. Bridgette (Mary Pat Gleason), who was sent by Rosario to speak on behalf of all the Walker staff, wants Karen to cough up their raise and leave them with a shred of dignity. Karen agrees to the raise but not before stripping Bridgette of any dignity she had left by ordering her to clean up the vomit downstairs and find out who’s been breaking her no-reading rule. Jack enters and as Bridgette is about to leave she offers him her sympathies on what went down at The Cockpit. I guess when someone reaches Daddy status, word gets around and Jack’s none too pleased about Karen spilling the news to Bridgette. Trying to soothe her GBF’s mood, Karen offers Jack some anti-aging treatments from her medicine cabinet. Scrotox will lift and separate his boys down under, but since they won’t retain their usual range of emotion they move on to other ideas. Next up is a full body compression suit that looks small enough for a toddler. “Let’s get that Pillsbury dough boy back in his tube,” Karen says and since Jack will do just about anything to feel young and fit again, he agrees to the baby Spanx.
While Jack is obsessing about turning back the clock, Will is at home preparing for his date with Blake who shows up ready to facetime the whole event with Stella his younger version of Grace. Stella runs commentary about how cute her GBF’s date is but Will is starting to think dating a younger man isn’t so adorable after all.
Back at The Cockpit, Jack is taking his compression suit for a spin only it’s too tight and he can barely move. Predictably, it turns into an awkward display of flirting with a hottie named Lincoln (after the car, not the president) that ends with Jack falling over rather than into love.
KAREN WANTS A RAISE
Karen gets inspired by her staff’s raise and when Grace comes over to check out the new bathroom renovations, she asks for her own dignity and a salary bump. After Grace realizes Karen isn’t asking for a raise in her mood elevators she blows off her request by reminding the millionaire that she’s “the top 1% of income and alcohol level” people like her don’t get raises. Besides the fact, Karen doesn’t do anything at Grace Adler designs other than drink and question her boss’ fashion choices so more money wouldn’t gain her dignity. She lost that a long time ago.
Speaking of dignity, Will’s is wavering as he gets to know Blake a little better and realizes this new generation needs a gay history lesson. Blake could care less since he’s just there for the physical side of the relationship and maybe some quick chit chat over Goop candles and Madonna, whose tired likeness to Iggy Pop just isn’t his thing. Say what you will about the current state of pop music, but dragging Queen Madge is not the way to Will Truman’s heart, especially when Madonna got him through a bad break up in ’94, the same year Blake happened to be born.
As Will tries explaining the importance of a good 80’s dance track, Grace is trying to explain to Karen the nuisances of finance while her new shower becomes possessed. Since Grace was the one who designed the room she tries turning the shower off and Karen follows behind her rambling about the salary hike she deserves. Of course, once the two are inside the shower, Karen sets off the voice activated locking device on the doors and the drain as well as turning on the water.
DOUBLE DISASTER DATING
While Will is trying to school his younger crush, Jack’s freaking out about his date and the compression suit that’s so tight it’s making him pee out his nose. The panic is real and Will hands Jack a pair of scissors to cut himself out of his “titanium girdle” before he goes into full renal failure. Before he heads back into his date, Will confides in Jack that dating a 23-year-old is tough when you have nothing in common. Jack doesn’t see the problem because “they’re hot and we’re not.” But once he learns Blake doesn’t vibe with Madonna, Jack’s ready to beat him senseless with a copy of Evita.
While Jack and Will deal with their age issues, Karen and Grace have no choice but to work out their own as the shower fills chest deep with water. Grace, who’s afraid of small spaces starts to panic but to turn the shower off you need a password, one that booze hound Walker can’t remember. Karen knows she programmed the voice activation to her sexual safe word, something she rarely invokes since it takes a lot to frighten her. Frightened is how Grace feels when the water continues to rise so she brainstorms what word would turn Karen off. Sobriety? Nope. Hillary Clinton? Karen chuckles about how that’s no it since it kind of turns her on not off. They’re running out of options and as panicked as Grace is, Karen seems to be having the time of her life. I guess nothing phases you when you’re swimming in money and slightly stoned.
FINDING COMMON GROUND
Back at Will’s apartment, he and Blake share coming out stories and it’s evident the generational gap has less to do with pop music and coming out parties as it does just finding common ground. Physical attraction aside, Will and Blake just aren’t relating to each other and it’s starting to make Will realize being a Daddy isn’t all its chocked up to be. When Blake mispronounces Stonewall as Stonehenge and blows off Will’s outrage by saying he isn’t up on his gay past, Will goes into teacher mode and bores the wits out of his date with a stroll down rainbow history lane. Turning down sex for a teaching lesson must be a first for Will but he values the importance of his culture and thinks Blake should too.
Meanwhile, Jack is trying to have a date with his young hottie in the dark so the young stud doesn’t realize he can’t make-up contour the years away. Jack’s been pretending to be twenty-five years old and once the lights come on, he’s outed…for the second time in his life.
Speaking of out, Karen and Grace are still in the shower but they’ve managed to talk out their issues and Grace realizes that she couldn’t do her job without her friend. Through all of her blackouts, fashion tips, and sarcasm, Karen keeps Grace centered and is an integral part of the design business. Grace values their friendship and their work relationship so she caves and decides to give Karen a raise. Feeling valued is something we all need and when the two friends hug it out Karen says, “I love you, Grace Adler.” BEEP, BEEP… the shower stops running and Grace is shocked when she figures out, “My name is your sexual buzzkill?” Rather than admit Grace is a turn-off, Karen dunks her under the water one last time in hopes that drowning the redhead is better than knowing what a buzzkill she actually is.
As Karen and Grace come to terms with their issues, Jack and Will come to terms with their own. Dating younger men is exhausting, especially when they run from your middle-aged face, “screaming like Vera Farmiga in ‘The Conjuring.’” Will hopes Blake learned something about how his generation opened the door for younger generations to feel accepted in society. Blake might not have learned the difference between Stonewall and Stonehenge, but Will and Jack learned a very valuable lesson. Common ground in relationships is important as is a best friend who knows the brilliance of a living room dance-off to Madonna’s “Borderline.”