Before I begin I want to stress that this is just for fun. There is no real contest here but wanted to do this face-off anyway because the shows seem so evenly matched.

 

  VS  

 

 

Seinfeld was the smash hit on NBC in the 90’s, a little show about nothing which was the highest rated show on television. Will & Grace took the same concept but with a twist, that being the show had a lead who was gay. This is the first show that would do this, a concept first started a year later by Ellen DeGeneres. Aside from that Will & Grace had sharp writing and some very memorable characters. But how does it compare to Seinfeld, another show about four shallow characters who complain about everything?
 

 
CATEGORY 1

JERRY SEINFELD VS. WILL TRUMAN

 

 

 

So let’s talk about these guys. Jerry is a successful standup comedian, while Will is a successful lawyer. Unfortunately while they are both very successful in their professions, it’s their personal lives they seem to have problems. Jerry and Will both do the same thing with their friends, look down on them as a way to make themselves feel better. Jerry is a little more obvious about it, flat out stating it to George in one episode that it’s George’s misery which gives Jerry happiness. Will is a little more subtle, but there is no question he looks at Grace and feels better about himself. When Grace is happy he seems unhappy, Why? Because it keeps him from dwelling on his problems when he has to look after poor Grace. This finally came out in a very dark episode when the two brought this out, and almost ended their friendship over it. That doesn’t mean that these guys can’t be good friends at times, because they can. Other traits they have in common including being neat freaks obsessed with order. They also have trouble with relationships. Jerry seems to enjoy looking more than actually settling down, looking for any flaw to end a relationship. He had a long term relationship with Elaine which ended with them being friends. Will has more a fear of rejection after having lost his longtime lover, and of course just like Jerry and Elaine, Will & Grace tried their hand in dating as well. The reason their relationship did not work is a little more understandable, and if you haven’t seen the episode where we see how and when Will broke the news to Grace, check it out. The winner here would have to be Jerry because he is at least honest with his friends and himself. And while he may enjoy his friend’s misery, he doesn’t really show it. Will acts like he is superior to everyone with his insults and sarcastic comments and at times that makes the character come off as a jerk
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WINNER-SEINFELD

 

CATEGORY 2
ELAINE BENES VS GRACE ADLER

 

 

 
If you read my Seinfeld Episode Guide than you can probably guess where this is going. But let’s discuss these two ladies, who are both flawed people. Elaine Benes is a smart person who could probably do whatever she wanted in life. However, what she does is hang around Jerry, George, and Kramer all the time while being stuck in jobs which are beneath her. She has self confidence, and yet at the same time something keeps her from moving on in life. She tends to stagnate, and then complain about where she is and the people she spends her time with. Grace Adler is succesful in her career, but her personal life is not as good. She uses Will as a crutch, which he does to her as well, and their bond is so tight that it’s almost impossible for someone else to come in. When a new guy does appear he usually doesn’t last, and as I already noted she is often depressed and needs Will to help her back on her feet. So who wins here? I give Grace more credit than Elaine because Grace actually did something about her siutation, she met Leo and took a chance on romance even if it isn’t what Will was hoping for. That takes some guts, and I totally agree with Grace in that situation. Will got so dependant on her being there to boost his ego that when suddenly she didn’t need him anymore, he didn’t know what to do. Suddenly he had to face his own problems. Elaine on the other hand never gets past the complaining stage. She is not happy with her life, but doesn’t seem to want to do anything about it. Even when she does get a break, she just turned into a nastier person as a result. I think that the stronger character is obvious, Grace not only evolved with the show but she may have been the only one of the four to really do so especially compared to Jack and Karen, but we’ll discuss that in a second. While its true that growth hurt the character of Grace a bit, she got kind of dull and flat, Elaine just turned bitter and even, in my opinion, unlikable toward the end.

WINNER=Will & Grace
 

 

 

CATEGORY 3

George & Kramer vs. Jack & Karen

I already did a list about people in sitcoms we love to hate, and Karen was #2 and George was #1. These two are the characters who would be despised in real life, but on these shows we love them. George is a loser, what more do I have to say about him? Whiny, neurotic, etc etc. Karen is a wealthy socialite who looks down on everyone. She drinks, pops pills, and makes fun of anyone and anything. Why do we watch them? Because they’re funny. Unfortunately the characters got stale; George started to turn into a raging loon while Karen became a cartoon cutout of herself. By the end all their likability was gone. But for the first few years of their shows, these characters were so much fun to watch. Especially Karen, you couldn’t wait to hear what she was going to come out and say. She literally didn’t care who she offended, and we loved that about her. Jack and Kramer were the goofballs of their shows. Jack was a gay man, in a stereotypical way. He jumped around and pranced like a little girl, and at first this was funny but it did kind of get old. The other thing about Jack was he was so self-involved, you almost wondered how Will put up with him as a friend (oh wait, because he felt superior….). There is a reason why Jack and Karen were so tight; they were two of a kind. Shallow people who only cared about themselves. Kramer was the one person who was actually allowed to have feelings. You could tell he really cared for Jerry and his friends, and was always there to help out, lend an ear, or even chastise them depending on the situation. Kramer was a goofy fellow with his falling down and stuff, but sometimes I think he may have been the most human of all the characters on either show. He was a breakout hit for a reason. Where Jack was an idiot who got dumber as the show progressed, Kramer was actually smart it’s just his priorities and ambitions were a tad misplaced. This was such a tough call, it would have been easier if I had broken the characters down, but if I had to pick a winner I have to go with George and Kramer. Even with his rage at the end, George was still more likable then Karen or Jack those last few years. It was as if Megan Mullaly and Sean Hayes forgot how to play the characters, and while I could say the same for Jason Alexander it is really true for these two! Also I think George and Kramer were more real, let’s face it Karen was a cartoon from the start and Jack was a big stereotype.

WINNER=SEINFELD (tough call)

 

 

 

CATEGORY 4

SUPPORTING CAST

 

Is there really any contest here? Actually I shouldn’t use the word “supporting”, since “recurring” is really what these characters are. And let’s face it, other shows may try but Seinfeld is king of the recurring characters. From Jerry’s parents to Newman to others like The Soup Nazi, virtually everyone who appeared on this show became a fan favorite recurring character. Will & Grace did have a few, most notably was Rosario who was Karen’s maid. They created a strong character that could go toe to toe with Karen, and she was great. There were other friend who were around like Rob and Ellen and Joe and Larry, but none had that special thing which made them loved by viewers. Even in the final episode the only person we see is Rosario. Oh, and one other. I guess the Newman of Will & Grace was Beverly Leslie, who was Karen’s nemesis and regular foil. We also had the unseen Stan Walker, every sitcom has to have one unseen character. And as long as I am on the subject I should mention Leo who was one of the most boring characters ever introduced to Will & Grace. With all due respect to Harry Connick Jr, I really did not care for that character.

WINNER=SEINFELD

 

 

CATEGORY 5

THEME SONG

As much as I love Seinfeld’s music I really loved the piano tune which Will & Grace had. Also Seinfeld never really had a “theme song” so much as a bass riff which played in the episodes. Seinfeld’s music was great but it made for transitions and outro’s more than it did a formal theme song. I have heard difference variations of its “theme” because there was no formal one. They just string the bits of music together to create it. Maybe stretching a bit, but Will & Grace wins because it’s a formal theme and I’ll take piano over bass synthesizer any day.

 

 

WINNER=WILL & GRACE

 

CATEGORY 6

PREMISE

 

Ok, once again this is where we get to the hard part. Seinfeld was a “show about nothing”. In other words, the little things in life that most shows don’t get into. And for the first couple of seasons that’s exactly what the show was. Then the show started to evolve and suddenly the stories began to pull away from the little things in life, and became broader. We also started to get more stories per episode, which makes sense except the stories started to get so involved that the show began to get a little too busy at times. Will & Grace started as a show about two people who would be perfect for each other, except one is gay. So instead they are best friends. One thing the friends on both shows have in common, as I noted, is their codependency. However, Will & Grace did evolve as the series progressed. Eventually they did move on and realize that there has to be more to life than just the two of them bouncing around the apartment all day every day. They planned to have a baby, and while it didn’t work out it was nice to see them try to make such a change. Seinfeld stayed close to its formula, no hugging and no learning. And I hate to say it but that hurt the show at times. I don’t mind seeing Jack and Karen act like idiots, but when you have episodes where Elaine is almost evil and George is raging like a loon it hurts the show. I guess the big difference between the two is Seinfeld got stronger as it went, while Will & Grace started strong and got weaker as it went. But when Will & Grace was strong it was very well written. It also gets credit for its portrayal of gay people, being the first prime time series to star an openly homosexual character. One thing Will & Grace did was have an enormous amount of celebrity guest stars. Critics used to call the show “Love Boat for the 90’s” which I thought was a really unfair comparison. Seinfeld did have its celebrity appearances to, from Keith Hernandez to Marisa Tomei. The difference is the celebrities when on Seinfeld basically played themselves, but on Will & Grace the actors would play interesting characters. I think at the end of the day, Will & Grace took more risks with their stories where Seinfeld always kind of played it safe. It took them awhile to figure out what they could get away with. For taking more chances and treating its characters like people, I give the award to Will & Grace.

 

WINNER=WILL & GRACE
 

CATEGORY 7

JUMPING THE SHARK

 

So which show got worst in its last couple years? Well, duh. I gave Will & Grace some credit in the last category, but here is where it goes the other way. Season 7 was awful, and for one reason. Usually shows get bad due to thing on screen. Maybe a new character was added that doesn’t work, or maybe one left which changed the whole dynamic of the show. Before I go on let me say, I am not suggesting women should not get pregnant while on a series (that’s absurd) and I am not blaming Debra Messing or anyone else. Sometimes things happen and there is nothing you can do about it. However, facts are facts and when Debra Messing got pregnant it seriously hurt the show. Episodes started to center on Jack and Karen more than Will & Grace, and then Grace had to be written out of the last few episodes because Debra Messing was bed ridden. So the final season should have been better, right? Wrong! Yes Debra Messing was back but she seemed totally uninterested, delivering her lines in a monotone half the time. Then the series got so dramatic, and frankly unwatchable. The final episode was an awful bore, and even made Seinfeld’s last episode look decent in comparison. Now if you’re wonder why I am dumping on Will & Grace and not Seinfeld it’s because I did a whole episode guide on Seinfeld which explained my feelings on that last season. However, Seinfeld was still watchable that last year which Will & Grace was not. Yes, the Seinfeld finale was a disappointment but by the time Will & Grace’s finale came around, I didn’t even care. So the better show is obvious, Will & Grace was a strong, well-written show but after about the fifth season that started to change and it never went back. Seinfeld got better and better. So the winner, and the better show, is clear.

 

 

WINNER=

 

Final Thoughts-Seinfeld was just a better show; do I need to say more?

By richb

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