Mad Dogs and Average Men is the 18th episode of the third season and the 64th overall.

Will is torn if he should break up with a guy whose dog he really loves. Grace meets Karen's nephew Sumner, who according to Karen, has a dark past.


Enjoy your hot dog

Will has been dating Paul Budnik, a guy he shares is not attracted to, but owns a really adorable dog, Pepper. As he prepares a farewell dinner for Pepper, Will lets Jack walk him but loses him while playing in the park. When Paul arrives to get Pepper, Will realizes he can use Paul's anger as leverage to finally break up with him. However, instead of showing hostility towards Will, Paul becomes more clingy and effectively appeals to Will's guilt of losing his dog. Paul then suggests they spend a weekend in the country but before they can leave, Will finds out that Paul has found Pepper and has been hiding him.

Is it me or are you hot in here?

Grace gets to meet Karen's nephew Sumner and is immediately smitten by him. Her attraction soon becomes disappointment when Karen then tells her that Sumner is a con-artist who scams single women for money. However, Grace soon finds out that Karen was lying and concludes that Karen thinks she is not good enough for her nephew.

While at the opera, Grace confronts Karen who ultimately reveals to her that it is the other way around i.e. she thinks Sumner is not good enough for Grace, whom she thinks highly of.





  • Title is a reference to the revue song Mad Dogs and Englishmen (1931). It is also a phrase used to describe hot weather.
  • Staff writer Ellen Idelson (whom the character Ellen is named after) appears in this episode as an usher. Her parents also appear as Ben and Lois.
  • Will's fervor for dogs, including his penchant for talking baby-talk to dogs, was previously seen in the episode The Truth About Will and Dogs.
  • Pepper is a St. Bernard.

Cultural references

  • When Grace learns about Karen's family, she jokes that she thought they lived in pods in her boiler room. This is a reference to the emotionless aliens known as "pod people" from the The Body Snatchers (1955) novel and films, which replicate humans in pods.
  • Grace mentions asking Sumner if the guys in jail are "as hot as they are in Oz", the TV series set in a fictional maximum-security prison.
  • Will implies that Jack treasures his "needlepoint pillow with the Party of Five cast".
  • As Will holds Pepper's newspaper toy, he says "All the news that's fit to woof," a play on The New York Times' "all the news that's fit to daily" slogan.
  • Paul tells Will that he found Pepper using doggie LoJack, implying he used the dog's tracking chip as LoJack is only for vehicles.



Jack:I'm kinda in a playful mood. Let's go to the batting cages tonight.
Will:Jack, as much as I'd love to play a rousing game of "guess who's wearing a cup," I can't.

You two are still dating each other? God, you both have such bad taste. Jackto Will dating Paul

Sorry about that. There were no towels in the ladies room, so I had to wait till someone came in with a long coat. Karen

That man is so good-looking, he put a hitch in my giddy-up. Graceabout Sumner

Grace:We really had some heat. We clicked. We sparked. You know what the best part is? The best part is that I know that this one is not gay. Please tell me that I'm right.
Karen:Yes, you are. He's not gay.
Grace:Yes! You see? You see all those years of datin' losers and closeted gay guys and that drag queen and that one masculine-looking girl is not for nothing. I have honed my instincts. And my instincts are telling me that your nephew is one quality prospect.
Karen:He's married.
Grace:Really? He seems gay.

If you're looking for your Aunt Karen, she's not here. She doesn't work on days that end with... "day." Grace

I don't date married men. Well, at least not once I now they're married. Grace

Sumner:I'm not married.
Grace:Yeah, right. You probably keep your wedding band in your pocket.
Sumner:No, I don't. You want to check?

There's one little thing you need to know about Grace. She has only a passing acquaintance with the truth, but she's just like this with the polyblends. Karen

I'm gonna track down Karen. I'm gonna use those little bottles of airline booze as chum. Grace

Will:You lost the dog?
Jack:What can I say? We were playing fetch, and when I brought back the stick, he was gone.

I looked everywhere. I really tried to put myself in a dog's position. Jack

I'm breaking it off. For his own good. And for my own good. And the good of all Americans. I love being a lawyer. I can convince myself of anything. Will

Paul:Pepper gets me a lot of play. He's a hot dog.
Will:Well... Enjoy your hot dog... 'Cause you'll be getting none of mine.
Will breaking up with Paul
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.