Dan was all excited last night. He texted from work that it was the premiere night for the reboot of Will & Grace. His text got me excited for the show, too. This is the truth, before last night I had never seen an episode of Will & Grace except for one in 2000 where they were lampooning ex-gay ministries. When that one aired, I was the Executive Director of a local Exodus ministry in Texas little over two years before joining Exodus’ staff in 2002. I was SO upset during that show. I was incredibly angry with the actors. But, I felt I had to watch because everyone in our groups and online forums (what we did before Facebook) would be talking about it. I never watched an episode of Will & Grace before that or after… Until last night.
It’s weird how being honest with yourself and living an authentic life can remove fear and anxiety. I genuinely couldn’t wait to watch the show! Apparently, 99% of the gay people in America were excited as well. During the episode, my Facebook newsfeed was filled with happy gay people exclaiming versions of “OMG! Will & Grace!!” or “With friends having a Will & Grace party!” or “They still got it!” or “LMAO … Karen!”
Ok, that last one was me leaving a comment on a friend’s post. 🙂
We sat on the couch and just laughed through the whole thing. I am the political #DumpTheChumpTrump one, so I really got into last nights episode. Great writing, great acting, great… funny. But there were moments while laughing where I remembered the other time I had watched the show; memories of how knotted up my stomach was, how sad and angry I was at how they just “didn’t understand” us. Last night, it was fun to be able to belly-laugh from a once knotted up stomach. It was good to see the show for what it really is and not filtered through the lens of religious fear and stigma.
The first time around, it was that religious filter that caused me to misunderstand Will & Grace, not the other way around. We were culturally conditioned (in the ex-gay/conversion ministry world) to believe that any challenge to our beliefs was intense “persecution” and “a cross to bear” so we saw it as such. Now, of course, I know that is not true. Satire is simply satire, comedy challenges and explores… there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s evidence of how incorrect and shaky our beliefs were that we were so easily offended and insulted. Plus, the knots in my stomach were as much from a desire to live life open and free as it was from the fear of living life open and free. How wonderful it is that today I can join my LGBT+ brothers and sisters and simply enjoy a funny show.
I think perhaps it is time to binge watch the older seasons of Will & Grace. Starting with the episode that bothered the old Randy as he watched from the stained glass closet.
Being free is good,