Will & Grace target Donald Trump in comeback episode

BBC

US TV sitcom Will & Grace has returned after 11 years away, and immediately split opinion with an episode heavy on jokes about President Donald Trump. The comeback saw Grace, an interior designer, consider a job renovating the White House. Judging by Twitter, many fans lapped it up, but some objected to Mr Trump being lampooned - while others said they were simply bored of politics in everything.

The show also wrote off the climax of the 2006 finale as just a dream. That finale ended with a flash-forward in which Will's adult son married Grace's grown-up daughter. But at the start of the comeback episode, it was explained away by Karen (played by Megan Mullally), who awoke from a trance to say she had just had "the craziest dream" about "the children you had who grew up and got married to each other".

"That never happened," Will (Eric McCormack) replied. The sitcom won 16 Emmy Awards first time around, and was credited with helping to change attitudes to homosexuality through the character of Will, a gay lawyer. The revival was commissioned after the cast reunited for a 10-minute satirical video during the 2016 presidential campaign.

In the new episode, which screened on Thursday in the US, there was a gag about matching President Trump's skin tone to Cheetos, while his Make American Great Again campaign slogan became Make America Gay Again. One Twitter user named Mona said they were "KILLING it" with the "seriously hysterical" Trump jokes, while another named Avery Powell said the show had "ALWAYS made a political statement".

But Ang1969 said she would no longer watch after Debra Messing, who plays Grace, "decided to disrespect MY President". Scott Gouveia wrote that Trump-bashing was unoriginal, adding: "Liked the old show, not this." The Telegraph declared the White House plot "feeble and decrepit", while The Guardian said the first new episode was "a mess" with "tiresome" Trump jokes.

"There's no real politics-speak of any substance, and on a show this airy and fun, there probably shouldn't be," the paper's critic Jake Nevins wrote. "But that renders the discussions that do take place rather witless and misplaced, like jocular dog-whistles to the 'resistance'." The New York Times described the political message as "a glib, clunky effort that manages to be both dismissive of Mr Trump and his voters and flippant about the opposition".

But the paper's writer James Poniewozik added: "The revival is steadier in the next two episodes, where it settles into its nimble mode of zingers, farce and slapstick."