Welcome to a new Wildcard Wednesday! This week, I’m opening with a provocative title — “The Lost Episodes of Will & Grace.” And I have to come clean right off the bat — there are no lost episodes of Will & Grace, in the sense that there are no episodes that were produced and then not broadcast. But there were two broadcasts shown to a large portion of the audience that are completely absent now from the streaming, syndication, and DVD releases. They’re the “West Coast versions” of two totally live episodes produced during the original final season.
If you’ll recall, the eighth season of Will & Grace opened with a solid entry called “Alive And Schticking” that employed the gimmick of being produced live-to-air. It was such a success that the company planned another live entry for later in the season, the delightfully theatrical “Bathroom Humor.” In both cases, the cast and crew performed the show twice — once for the East Coast audience and then once for the West Coast audience. The East Coast versions are what we all know today, as the West Coast follow-ups have not been seen since their first runs.
Personally, although there are slight rewrites for the West in both, I think the East Coast versions are superior, particularly in terms of high energy and comic performance (especially in the case of “Bathroom Humor,” which had a physical gag not come off well in the second show). However, if you’re a fan of Will & Grace, this is an important part of the series’ history and it’s fascinating to be able to compare different but similar takes on two strong episodes. So, for subscribers who comment below to alert me of their private, non-commercial interest, I’m offering access to these West Coast broadcasts. Here’s a sample of “Bathroom Humor.”
Come back next week for a new Wildcard! And stay tuned Tuesday for more Will & Grace!