Decoding Will and Grace: Mass audience reception of a popular network situation comedy
The television situation comedy Will and Grace is notable as the first successful network prime-time series to feature gay characters in a gay milieu. The show's considerable popularity begs the question of how the show's gay sensibility and humor, particularly the gay trickster character, Jack, is received by a heterosexual audience. This article discusses the notion of gay humor, considers the show's history, analyzes several episodes, and scrutinizes the responses of 136 college students who watched the show. Viewers do not identify with Jack and regard him as the most frequent butt of humor on the show, but they also consider him the funniest character and, by a very slight margin, their favorite. Contrary to my original hypotheses, respondent characterizations of Jack tend to reflect appreciation for all aspects of his trickster personality, though his ostentatious sexuality tends to be ignored.
Cooper, Evan, "Decoding Will and Grace: Mass audience reception of a popular network situation comedy" (2003). Faculty Articles Indexed in Scopus. 2109.