I’m not a Will & Grace viewer, but my lady is. But the computer is within DVR range for me to get curious enough about this year’s premiere stunt - the live broadcast. I agree with others - the screwups were the best part. Seeing actors restrain laughter can be pretty damn entertaining. But the thing that struck me the most is for a form that’s all about artificial laughter, the sitcom seems to have some sort of iron clad rule against actors making any themselves.
You have characters often times saying things that are trying to get a laugh, it’s incredible that the other characters don’t respond in kind. I don’t really remember any of the other Friends laughing once at a joke Chandler made, even though he was supposedly the funny one among them. I’m sure I’ve seen characters laugh before, but it’s usually a plot point (“Promise you won’t laugh!” “I won’t. I swear!” Character reveals costume/hair/disfiguring injury. “Bwa-Ha-ha!”) or so intensely artificial that it’s cheesy (as satirized at the end of every episode of Police Squad).
My hardest - and I believe viewers’ hardest (since I am egotistical enough to think everyone is exactly like me) - problem with sitcom is their absence of connection to any sort of reality - where supposed friends can say mean things without consequences, obstacles are solved in a half hour, and everything glides in the predictable rhythm of setup-punch-punch. Keeping characters from appearing to enjoy one another’s jokes might just be another sign of the sitcom needing a little reality.