5 things the writers of 'Will and Grace' should consider before the upcoming reboot.

"Will & Grace" is returning to TV for a limited 10-episode run.

The show debuted in 1998, near the end of what Entertainment Weekly dubbed "The gay '90s." It was another effort for NBC to capitalize on what Miami University media professor Ron Becker dubbed "the Slumpy class" — socially liberal, urban-minded professionals. Through eight seasons and more than 180 episodes, that's exactly what "Will & Grace" did.

If you missed "Will & Grace" the first time around. Here's a refresher.

Will (Eric McCormack) and Grace (Debra Messing) are a former couple turned best friends turned roommates. Will is gay and an attorney. Grace is straight and an interior designer. The cast is rounded out by Jack (Sean Hayes), their flamboyant friend who dreams of stardom; Karen (Megan Mullally), who is technically Grace's assistant but usually gets intoxicated and hangs out; and Rosario (Shelley Morrison), Karen's loyal maid. They laugh, they cry, shenanigans ensue, they fall in and out of love, the audience laughs really, really loudly: It was sitcom gold.

The cast of "Will & Grace," from left, Eric McCormack, Sean Hayes, Debra Messing, and Megan Mullally. Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images.

Though the show was campy and silly, it was pretty groundbreaking at the time.

When the show began, Will was the only gay character leading a show on prime-time TV. His sexuality wasn't mentioned in early promotions for the show (apparently even promoting to "the Slumpys" had its limits), but as the show went on, it broke new ground not just for having a gay lead but for the issues it raised.

From the episode "Whatever Happened to Baby Gin?" in Season 8. Photo by Chris Haston/NBC, courtesy of the Everett Collection.

In the first season episode,"Will Works Out," Will has to deal with his own homophobia after calling Jack a fag at the gym. Later in "Acting Out," Jack and Will go down to the "Today" show to protest a gay kiss being cut from an NBC show, and they end up kissing each other. Will gives boyfriend Matt (Patrick Dempsey) the boot after he won't come out of the closet at work in "Brothers, a Love Story."

For every affirming, innovative moment, there was camp. After all, it was first and foremost a screwball comedy. There were Cher and Madonna walk-ons. There were jazz hands. There were constant reminders for viewers that they were, in fact, watching a "gay show," even if the representations were mostly "safe" and unthreatening to the general public.

GIF via "Will & Grace."

It's been over 10 years since the show ended its eight-season run, and needless to say, a lot has changed.

Three-dimensional gay characters, while still short on lead roles, are more common than they were in "the gay '90s." In 2015, GLAAD found 35 gay, lesbian, or bisexual characters on prime-time broadcast television. That's around 4% of all characters on prime-time broadcast TV.

Since we last saw the "Will & Grace" gang, gay marriage has became legal, bathroom bills have made their way across the country, and we've elected a president whose early appointees already have a lackluster track record on civil rights.

So if "Will & Grace" wants to remain as edgy, relevant, and frankly funny as it used to be, here are five things the reboot needs:

1. Get some friends of color in the mix.

They live and work in New York City. How hard is it for Will and Grace to have some black friends? This doesn't mean they should pull a "Gilmore Girls" and flood the background with black and brown actors. I mean real speaking parts with some character development. People of color can hang with the gang too, and it doesn't have to be stunt casting. (But the writers will have to get rid of cheap shots about confusing Mexicans and Salvadorans.)

The white background is really just overkill at this point. Photo by George Lange/NBC.

2. Can we move away from food-shaming Grace?

Grace loved to eat. It was kind of her schtick. There is absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying food, but Grace's fondness for food was played up as a character flaw. She was portrayed as an almost gluttonous, emotional eater, unable to resist any snack sent her way, especially when she was down in the dumps. Yet, she remained slim and trim because while "Will & Grace" was considered envelope-pushing TV, a fat woman was considered a bridge too far. It was an infuriating aspect of the show.

Episode "Forbidden Fruit" from Season 8. Photo by Chris Haston/NBC, courtesy of the Everett Collection.

As Sadie Stein wrote for Jezebel, "It says, 'I may look glamorous, but I have the mind and soul of a fat person! And this is hilarious!' Not incidentally, this also plays into that old male fantasy: the un-neurotic guy's girl who can chow down on a steak and still look like a centerfold."

3. More representation from the LGBTQ community, please.

In the late '90s, it was enough to just have gay characters on TV. The bar has been raised. Time for "Will & Grace" to move beyond the one-note representations of Will and Jack and include more diverse portrayals of the LGBTQ community. A gender nonconforming yoga instructor? Can Grace date a bisexual guy? You see where I'm going. And ideally, those actors would be gay, trans, or nonbinary in real life. One can dream.

The show can still be silly and funny, but let's up the inclusivity and think about the types of people falling in and out of love or being the butt of the joke. AV Club writer Joe Reid said it best in his piece on the show's legacy, "For any show about gay men in a world that is steadily allowing them to exist outside the closet, it’s important to investigate the self-policing that was (and still is) happening regarding butch, 'masc,' and femme portrayals."

GIF via "Will & Grace."

4. Let's let Jack and Will be sexual beings.

On a similar note, gay characters can kiss, flirt, make out, have sex, hook up, enter long-term relationships, and in general have sexual agency. Too often, Will and Jack were essentially neuters with punchlines. If the character is gay, let them be gay and give their romances and relationships the time and weight they deserve.

Eric McCormack and Sean Hayes in Season 6. Photo via NBC, courtesy of the Everett Collection.

5. The gang can (and should) challenge President Donald Trump and his agenda.

To be fair, they've already kinda started. The cast reunited for a mini-episode last fall all about the election, but they're in a unique position to go further. In the late '90s, people saw "Will & Grace" as irreverent and subversive. If there's ever a time to resist the status quo, it's now. The 10-minute video should serve as a comedic warning shot to Trump and his ilk: If you insist on appointing, hiring, and amplifying voices of hate, then no place will be safe for you. Even prime-time network comedies.

So welcome back, "Will & Grace." I await your reboot with an open mind.

I just hope you're coming back with a story we haven't heard before. Otherwise, stay just what you are: A lighthearted, irreverent, sometimes boundary-pushing sitcom that was just fine where we left it ... in 2006.

Photo by George Lange/NBC, courtesy of the Everett Collection.

When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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