While it’s always admirable when a ‘celebrity’ – even a pseudo-celebrity as he’s since become – comes out, Sean Hayes’ delayed response to the decade-old inquiries is a case of better late than never. As popular as WILL & GRACE was in its initial seasons, Hayes’ coyness and flippancy on the subject of his sexuality was an irritant, especially considering his off-screen persona practically mirrored his onscreen Jack McFarland.
But what’s more irksomely correct is his unapologetic proclamation. In the interview, Hayes says he was “never in. Never.” Well, while that can be argued, mootly I surmise, his insistence that “I feel like I’ve contributed monumentally to the success of the gay movement in America, and if anyone wants to argue that, I’m open to it…” is sorta true. When WILL & GRACE first aired, and the gay community heralded its groundbreaking season, I called his Jack a “gay minstrel show, like the Wayans Brothers IN LIVING COLORs ‘Men On Film’ on speed”. Kinda harsh, in retrospect, but as the seasons progressed, McFarland, as well as Will, Grace and the drug-addled Karen characters, became exaggerations, each mired inside their psychological problems, their addictions, paranoia’s, self-indulgences, dementia…ironically making them all the more lovable. And, in an asexual, monochromatic fashion – and for better or worse – his Hayes’ Jack paved the way for every sexless, adorable, persnickety gay curmudgeon for years to come. It can be argued that the onslaught of homo-fabulousness would be lacking in every last reality show currently permeating the airwaves without the birth of Jack McFarland.
Would there be a Logo network without his existence? Probably. But how dull would Bravo be?