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Will & Grace

Season 1 Episode 10

The Big Vent

Aired Monday 9:30 PM Jan 05, 1999 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
101 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

The Big Vent
Will and Grace become hooked on a real-life soap opera unfolding in their neighbours' apartment when they begin eavesdropping through the new heating vent in their floor. As Will and Grace live vicariously through the marital infidelities of the downstairs couple, Jack feels neglected and enlists Karen's help in staging a play that drives the message home to his two best friends.moreless

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  • Entertaining, silly, and all-around a great episode.

    This episode is, in a word, hilarious. The comments are snappy, everyone's in character, the situation itself is pretty funny. Will and Grace are embroiled in their heating vent drama, and Ooey/Judy's story -- while not especially original -- is exactly the kind of soap opera that people get involved in every day.

    Karen's "green eggs and I'm hammered" line is probably the least humorous utterance in the entire episode. She and Jack are at the their best here, playing off each other well in almost every scene. Jack's first play is terrible but typical in an unpredictible way, if that makes sense at all. The audition scene is hilarious, and the final play is even funnier. It manages to bring both storylines together -- Jack manages to capture Will and Grace ("Will, we've been here five minutes already") without actually capturing them at all. The play is no work at art, and certainly on its own wouldn't be that entertaining, but in combination with the rest of the episode, it's perfect. And casting Karen as heaven's gatekeeper and with Jack backstage mouthing every line don't hurt it either. Although I don't think Jack deserved all the repentance he got from Will and Grace, though. Will did make a valid point -- because next week, Jack really wasn't still a playwright, and it's not fair that Will had to lose a nice suit for not being overly enthusiastic about the tiki play.

    The last moment -- Ooey/Judy and her husband standing on a chair and listening to Will and Grace through the heating vent and misinterpreting Will and Grace's life always makes me wonder how much Will and Grace were misinterpreting about Ooey/Judy and her husband's life. But it is the perfect clincher to a wonderful episode.

    It's interesting to note, in this episode especially, the differences between Season One and the later seasons. Jack and Karen aren't as extreme, and they seem almost more real -- or, as real as characters like Jack and Karen could ever be. It's interesting to see Jack in an art other than acting or dancing or singing -- which he sticks to almost exclusively in the later seasons, excepting his brief departure into retail-land. Also, Rosario is still an abstract character here -- comparable to Stan -- and Karen's random Spanish words to make their conversations more "comprehensible" are uniquely a part of Season One. Also, Karen is more willing to play the voice of some reason to Jack's writing escapades. She's shallow, drunk, and still Karen, but she's a lot less airheaded than she gets to be. It's interesting to watch and consider where these characters are going.moreless
  • Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we lean over the grate in the floor so we can hear all the juicy stuff going on downstairs.

    There's no business like somebody else's business. Will finds this out one day when he walks in to see Grace on the floor and with her ear pressed to the vent, so she can hear what the neighbors in the place underneath them are up to. At first he scolds her. Then, of course, he jumps right in.

    The two become so hooked on eavesdropping that they just hang out there all the time, with pillows and blankets and everything. And boy, is the news ever interesting: the downstairs people are cheating on each other. That makes the spy mission even more wrong. Not to mention, more fun.

    It takes Jack butting in to make them stop. You know you're someplace weird when Jack McFarland is the voice of reason...

    A funny episode about jealousy, hypocrisy and taking advantage of someone else's pain...it's great, isn't it?moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • When Will comes home and finds Grace asleep on the vent, she sits straight up on her knees and we see her face. Look closely, even though her face was sitting right on the vent itself, we see no "vent pattern" impressed upon her face.

  • QUOTES (8)

    • Will: I bribed the super to fix the heating vent. His English isn't so great, but I think the deal is one of us has to sleep with him.
      Grace: I'll do it. As long as it's on top of this vent.

    • Will: Careful, girlie, you're going to end up with waffle face. This is pathetic, Grace. What, you come home early just to catch 'Days of Our Vent'?
      Grace: No. I thought I would cook shepherd's pie.
      Will: Pray tell, Julia Child, what's in shepherd's pie?
      Grace: Um... Shepherds? ... Sheep? ... Pie?
      Will: Sounds like a crock of sheep to me.

    • Karen: Your play stinks.
      Jack: It does? Which pages?
      Karen: Eh... the ones with words on them.

    • Karen: I don't produce theater. I am theater!

    • Will: Judy is ooey.
      Grace: Ooey is Judy?
      Will: Yes, it's... truey.

    • Karen: (Talking to Rosario over the phone) Listen, I'm gonna need you to feed the kids and read 'em something before bedtime. (Pauses while Rosario responds) Well, I don't know, honey. Why don't you read them that book they love? "Green Eggs and I'm Hammered."

    • Will: So now you're skipping work all together?
      Grace: I called in sick.
      Will: Called who? You're the boss.
      Grace: I know. It was a strange conversation. If I do it again, I'm gonna fire me.

    • Jack: What do you think of my glasses? What do they say?
      Will: They say, "Guys don't make passes at girls who wear glasses."
      Jack: And guys don't make passes at guys with fat asses.

  • NOTES (1)