Photos: Chris Haston/NBC

I knew it was going to be a lot to hope for two great Will & Grace episodes in a row, but damn, this was steep decline from last week. After Nick Offerman rejuvenated Will & Grace last episode, Molly Shannon tried hard, but failed to do the same this week.

She had an uphill battle—namely the two other guest stars, Grace and Will’s boring friends Joe and Larry. Felled by empty-nest syndrome, Larry suddenly decides he’s in love with Will! There’s no earthly reason why he would do this, nor is there any leadup that would indicate the reasoning for shifting these long years of friendship suddenly into something non-platonic. All we see are some positive comments from Larry at Will and Grace’s huge new office (no Karen in sight, though; isn’t she supposed to work there too?)

This all leads to a double-entendre-filled situation in which Grace fires Larry (what his job is actually supposed to be, no one can really tell), Will calls Larry to talk about the firing, but Larry thinks Will is now in love with him as well. This results in a painful stream of dual-meaning statements like, “I can be hard, she can’t” and “If we’re going to make this work, you can’t just get behind me, you’ve gotta get behind Grace too.” It’s not funny and clever as much as it is painful and awkward. I had to check the credits; this episode was written by Will & Grace veteran writer Alex Herschlag, which is disappointing since he also penned one of this season’s few actual bright spots so far (“Grandpa Jack”). The Three’s Company plot generator—in which whole episodes are based on a nonsensical series of misunderstandings—should be beneath him.

This leaves us with the B-plot of Val invading the lives of Karen and Jack, which is just as predictable as you’d expect: Val again tries to play herself as a normal person, when in fact she is obsessed with one of the foursome. This time it’s Karen, who, at least, gets it. But again, humor attempts like the crossing of Vals pain and pleasure sensors are more of a head-scratcher than laugh-inducing.

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There are some fun moments—Jack ably predicting everyone’s reaction to his new gig as an Uber driver, Grace inexplicably having Val’s apartment key around her neck, a nod to that longevity of that particular guest character—but it’s not enough to overcome the idiocy of naked Larry in the office bed, asking to have sex with Grace first before he has sex with Will. Even writing that out makes it sound tremendously tone-deaf, and it is. “There’s Something About Larry” shows that the growing pains of the new Will & Grace writers’ room are not exactly over, as much as we would have hoped after last week that they were finally behind us.

Stray observations

  • So I guess this is the new office that Will and Grace were fighting about at Rosario’s funeral.
  • What happened to Grace’s intern? Didn’t make the move over to the new office?
  • Jack and Karen appear to spend a ton of time in elevators.
  • It would have bene nice if Karen had actually opened up to Val about Rosario. It’s nice that she was unphased by Val’s obsession with her, though; she is the whole package.
  • This week in “Do I hate Grace’s outfit as much as Karen would?”: Actually, Grace’s red print dress looked really cute on her. Love redheads in red. Of course, it’s a Valentino silk dress that costs almost five thousand dollars, so no wonder it looks good.
  • Rejuvenated feature! Closest I came to actually laughing: I actually did laugh over Karen’s inability to read the Lyft script. “‘Okay driver, take me to Costco, I need to buy paper towels.’ Are those even words?”
  • Antidote episode: Try Val’s first appearance in “Grace Replaced,” season one, episode 18.
  • You know Larry’s sad because he’s listening to “Sailing” by Christopher Cross.
  • I imagine it must have been super-fun to make that giant Val and Karen collage.  
  • Next week: Bobby Cannavale returns to give it a shot, as we finally find out what happened between Vince and Will in “The Wedding.” 

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