Just Jack

Sean Hayes slams critics who think his “Will & Grace” character is ‘too gay’

Sean Hayes has grown understandably weary with all this talk that his character Jack was simply “too gay” during the first run of NBC’s soon-to-return Will & Grace.

The actor has been accused of playing a gay stereotype: unapologetically camp, unerringly flamboyant, and really rather biting.

A recent New York Times interview asked Hayes to respond to those critics who are “miffed” that “feminine Jack is a stereotype”:

“I am a gay guy, and I act like Jack in real life sometimes.

“So what? I find Jack’s level of gay to be a ridiculous subject to discuss. How can you be too gay?”

Related: Should Sean Hayes Have Come Out Sooner? Sean Hayes Thinks So.

Megan Mullally reveals she wanted to do a full season ever since they produced that election special last fall:

“I always thought about the four of us as being like an orchestra and each of us playing a different instrument and creating a musical together. Comedy is music. Once we started playing the music again, it was like, ‘Oh, I know how this song goes.’”

Max Mutchnick, the show’s creator, says, “It was amazing.”

“We gave them a date and brought everybody back together. Everybody pretty much to a person, say for about three people, they showed up. We had everybody from the pilot do this. It was incredible. In front of and behind the camera, we had every single member.”

“I was sitting on the couch in my house reading the script,” Mullally tells Entertainment Weekly, “and then I emailed Max and I said, ‘Why can’t we do this show again?’ And he emailed right back saying ‘We can!’”

“Will & Grace” returns September 28 for 12 episodes, including an hour-long Christmas special.

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21 Comments

  • DCguy

    Hayes said: ““I am a gay guy, and I act like Jack in real life sometimes.”

    Just remember the sheer amount of time it took before Hayes would actually say something like that. This is why it’s so important for these folks to come out. That statement right there just went a long way towards getting me to forget the Way Hayes acted when he first came out. Well done Sean.

    • Texasholdem

      At least Sean never bearded or denied it outright. He just took a while to actually make it official.

  • PinkoOfTheGange

    Every gay guy knows a “Jack”. Only homosexuals, an entirely different species, say they don’t and/or complain.

  • Curtispsf

    I’m pretty masculine…OK not “pretty” but “mostly” masculine. When I first came out decades ago, I was turned off by effeminate gay guys. However, now that I’m comfortable with my queerness, I’m perfectly fine with guys that “others” may think are “too gay”. EVERYBODY in the gay community knows someone like “Jack” and if you don’t you should. Frankly, I think that those homosexuals who are “put off” by Jack’s “gayness” may be dealing with a slight case of internalized homophobia. That’s just my opinion, girlfriend. Oh yeah…I love and respect drag queens who push the boundaries. They may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I think they are brave.

    • Bellerophon69

      Beautiful, and well said! Every Gay man should have a friend like ‘Jack”, even if he’s Straight; I know a few guys that aren’t Gay (or even “Latent” without knowing it) who make Seans character look positively BUTCH! You get a few drinks in me with my friends and I LOVE to “ham it up”, even though I too don’t play it up in the rest of my life. Who wants to be an “Old Schoolmarm”, if you’re straight or gay, have fun in life being who and what you are! It’s part of being Proud of oneself.

  • JaredMacBride

    His character was annoying, not because he was effeminate, but because he seemed to have the brains of a four year old.

    • Brian

      Agreed. Lots of shows seem to do this in later seasons… The Office was another.

  • Jaxton

    Sean Hayes is not a good actor. He also appears to have a limited understanding of “gay”. He probably means flaming or “camp”, not “gay”. I don’t think he’s ever been in a single gay relationship on the show

    He reminds me of those camp stereotypes of the gay couple on Modern Family. These stereotypes illustrate the fact that liberal Hollywood cannot cope with masculine homosexuality, probably out of fear of offending women.

    A liberal woman’s greatest fear – short of disease – is masculine homosexual desire.

    • dean089

      Well said!

    • Donston

      These two people are the same person btw,

  • OzJosh

    Oh, come on. Sean Hayes performance goes beyond merely “effeminate” or “flaming” into an over-the-top stereotype that – while some people may still find it funny – positively reeks of homophobia. It’s the gay man as clown, with no real humanity attached. Note that Jack’s primary characteristics within his clown persona are that he’s incredibly vain, self-centred, judgemental, and nasty-bitchy. All negatives; no positives. Note also how this version of the stereotype utterly obliterates sexuality. There is nothing remotely sexy or attractive about Jack. He’s neutered, so that he’s only funny, never threatening. Real gay men who are effeminate, even ostentatiously so, can still be sexy (often outrageously so). But Jack is a homosexual with his balls cut off so that he’s safe for family consumption. It’s not the only Hollywood homophobia on display in Wlll and Grace, but it’s the most disturbing. Laugh if you must, but at least be aware of what this show says about gays in its subtext.

    • Texasholdem

      “Jack’s primary characteristics within his clown persona are that he’s incredibly vain, self-centred, judgemental, and nasty-bitchy.”

      So? all that applies to the Karen character too.

      Jack was NOT neutered. He had sex on that show all the time. Most notably with Neil Patrick Harris’ character at the end of the episode. He was most definitely a sexual being. The new season even has him on Grindr.

    • JoeGalardi

      BAM!!! Complete truths, beautifully stated…THANK YOU, OzJosh!!!

  • Donston

    Jack was clearly more than effeminate or even camp. He was an all-the-time over the top, childish, selfish, shallow, horny yet sex-less, people using cartoon. Even Titus from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is more relatable, decent and resembles more of a non-insane human being. I choose to look at Jack as more of a counterpart to Jenna from 30 Rock but not as consistently funny and entertaining. I understand defending the character and his entertainment value, but pretending like he represents most effeminate or even camp gay men is an insult to those men.

    It is good to see Hayes break through the final thin layer of that glass closet.

  • Kieran

    Just in case young TV viewers still don’t know what gay people are and how they’re supposed to act ……our very own gay stepin fetchit will demonstrate it for them for the next few weeks.

    And get paid very well for doing it.

    • Texasholdem

      Ridiculous comment. Will and Jack are both different but realistic portraits of gay men.

  • Nahald

    Personally I think that Will’s gay character better represents the gay community.

    • Texasholdem

      You’re entitled to your opinion but do you think that way because gays like Will are more palatable to straight people because he’s “straight acting”? I think it’s great that they have two diverse characters.

  • DCguy

    I have far less of a problem with Jack, then I do with Cam from Modern Family. At least was kind of written to insinuate that he wasn’t neutered.

  • GayEGO

    Back in the day, I used to find effeminacy unattractive as I liked butch guys. As time went on, I learned that some guys are naturally effeminate, and some are just being comical or rebellious. All in all, we are who we are and unless we are just having a good time being a dishy queen, we should remember not to make straights uncomfortable as they have feelings as well.

  • scotshot

    Take a character who was in his “30s?” on the original show who’s now almost 50 and appears unchanged is a little too similar to “Whatever Happened To Baby Jane”. I’ll take Davis.

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