‘Will & Grace’ Let Rosario Actor Shelley Morrison Change the Scripts

Very few television series go down in history as being revolutionary. So many shows follow a cookie-cutter pattern of what has worked before them, never daring to take a risk that could spell imminent doom in the ratings. In the late ’90s, one of those revolutionary comedies aired, capturing the hearts of millions of viewers. 

Will & Grace delighted fans with sweet, heartfelt moments between the show’s two leading characters, as well as non-stop laughs from the supporting cast. The show thrived for eight seasons, and then performed incredibly well in a reboot over a decade later.

The producers were accommodating and open with cast members, taking their advice and listening to the concerns of the audience. They were known to make last-minute script changes, even for cast members with smaller roles. 

‘Will & Grace’ was a progressive comedy in the ’90s

Will & Grace aired in 1998 and ran for eight seasons until its first series finale in 2006. In 2017, fans were ecstatic to tune in to the popular show once again, as its revival ran for three more seasons.

In the late ’90s, the comedy was a force to be reckoned with, breaking important barriers in prime-time television. It was the first sitcom to ever center around a gay character.

The dynamic between a gay, uptight lawyer–Will–and his messy best friend–Grace–was absolutely heartwarming. As if those two weren’t enough, writers tossed in the flamboyant, melodramatic Jack and the nasally, pill-popping Karen to create comic gold. 

The show was a hit right from the start when audiences met the handsome and charming Will. For just a moment, we were led to believe that he was trying to get Grace over to his place for a typical romp in the sheets–and then we find out that he is just dying to watch E.R. Viewers loved Will and Grace’s incredibly strong relationship, one which could undoubtedly withstand anything the world threw at them. 

Did some people have a problem with ‘Will & Grace’? 

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Although Will & Grace had a huge fan following, it also had its share of nay-sayers. The show pushed the envelope when it came to representing the LGBTQ community, and many felt that this representation was less-than-flattering.

Perhaps one of the biggest problems that viewers had with the show also happened to be the character that many fans found the funniest: Jack.

In contrast to Will’s subdued personality, Jack was boisterous and extravagant. His clothes were flashy, he was ceaselessly bubbly, and just generally over-the-top. Viewers found his personality to be rather theatrical as if he were equating being gay with putting on a show. That is exactly the problem that some people had with his character–they found it to be a mockery that was based on tired stereotypes.

Other fans, however, were completely OK with Jack, and the fact that he was proud and had no shame displaying his true personality. 

Despite some of the hiccups along the way — mostly caused by the show’s habit of making un-PC jokes — Will & Grace was an iconic series that many viewers will remember fondly. 

The writers did their best to listen to the fans–and the cast members

Megan Mullally as Karen Walker, Shelley Morrison as Rosario Salazar
Pictured: (l-r) Megan Mullally as Karen Walker, Shelley Morrison as Rosario Salazar | Chris Haston/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

The producers of Will & Grace were apparently very attentive to the feelings of both its cast member and its audience.

Shelley Morrison played Karen’s Salvadoran maid, Rosario. The character wasn’t supposed to be in the show very much — she was only supposed to make one appearance. However, the fans adored the dynamic between Karen and Rosario, so she became a recurring character. 

The producers were very cautious not to cross the line from funny to demeaning when writing Rosario’s scenes. There were two occasions when Morrison let them know that she wasn’t too thrilled about her scenes. They immediately addressed the issue, changing the script to accommodate her suggestions. 

RELATED: ‘Will & Grace’ Cast Pay Tribute to ‘Rosario’ Actress, Shelley Morrison

At one point, the network was alerted to objections from Hispanic activist groups regarding Rosario. The writers had planned to have Karen refer to Rosario as “tamale,” but when they got wind that some people felt offended, they changed the term to “honey.”

Most networks wouldn’t bother making these types of last-minute changes to scripts to appease a few people. It just goes to show that Will & Grace was progressive in more ways than one.