Will & Grace’s cultural impact has been a topic of much debate. Back in 2012, Vice President Joe Biden cited the show as doing “more to educate the American public [on the gay community] than almost anything anybody has ever done,” and in 2014, the Smithsonian added scripts, memorabilia, and the original series finale of Will & Grace to its collection documenting the history of LGBTQ people in America. But at the same time, people often question the depiction of the two gay leads: Will was noticeably chaste when compared to his straight sitcom contemporaries, and Jack was often a walking stereotype.
At a PaleyFest screening of new episodes from the revival, we wanted to get the filmmakers’ perspectives on the matter. We spoke with James Burrows, who has directed every episode of the show and who agreed with Biden, saying Will & Grace helped normalize gay people in the eyes of the American public.