Ready, set, go

by Editorial Board / Beacon Staff • October 24, 2013

At issue: Will & Grace set is moving to Los Angeles

Our take: Good riddance

This semester, the Iwasaki Library underwent an ambitious restructuring. The process relocated collections, redesigned pillars, and brought in new desks, all in an attempt to offer more space for students to study, meet up, or hold events. The effort was commendable enough, but the slew of minor tweaks, which added 43 seats in total, ignored the room-sized elephant in the room: the 600 glass-enclosed square feet filled by a sitcom set.

Thankfully, the set of Will & Grace, donated to the school in 2008 by Emerson alumnus (and the show’s co-creator) Max Mutchnick, will soon cease to be the bane of students seeking a seat in the library. The school announced Tuesday that Will Truman’s apartment will be dismantled this Friday and subsequently relocated to the new Los Angeles campus, where, we presume, it will fill a more appropriate space.

With all due respect to Mr. Mutchnick, the return of this library space to actual library use remedies more than just an inconvenience. The set’s awkward placement in the library has perfectly emblemized Emerson’s tendency to stress image over substance. Where there could have been stacks of books or space for students to study, there instead sat an unwieldy monument to the school’s self-congratulation. Instead of the tools that actually make for an enriching college experience, there’s the promise of fame and fortune. It primarily served to woo the parents of prospective students, who likely have no concept of just how much space the scenery took up. 

We appreciate Mutchnick’s consideration in offering a relic of his smash hit to his alma mater, and his success is certainly something for Emerson to be proud of: Will & Grace did break ground on television. But a collection of furniture does little to represent the ways the program opened doors in the industry, especially when the set is surrounded by barriers. There are more suitable — and less cumbersome — ways to honor an alumnus.

But if Emerson insists on keeping the set, the Los Angeles campus — now that we have one— is a better location for it. The NBC comedy was filmed there, after all. And despite efforts to expand the program, Emerson’s LA experience will still be most appealing to students who aspire to make it big in the entertainment business. With such a direct link to a Los Angeles success story, perhaps West Coast students will find the shrine an effective motivator. Let’s just hope it doesn’t end up in a library again.