Secrets and Lays is the 17th episode of the first season.

Grace, Jack and Karen take Will to a cabin in the woods to take his mind off an ex-boyfriend.


Will's friends arrange a weekend at Karen's cabin to take his mind off what would have been his and Michael's anniversary without telling him.

Ep 01 17

"I don't think it's dead yet."

Soon after they arrive, Grace bumps into Campbell, whom she went out with in high school. He invites her to have a drink at a local pub where he works. Grace, however does not want to take the focus away from Will so she reluctantly declines. Later that night, as Jack and Karen play strip poker, Grace comes home from the bar where Campbell works.

The next day, Karen arranges for Will and Jack to go to a nearby gay bar so Campbell and Grace can have the cabin for themselves. However, Will comes home early so Grace tries to hide Campbell by forcing him out the on the icy porch.

When Will discovers Campbell freezing in the cold, Grace comes clean and apologizes for keeping a secret. She explains that she did not want to upset him because of his breakup with Michael. Will seems offended after being treated like someone fragile but he lashes out on Grace out of frustration that he is still not over Michael.

Back at the apartment, Will and Grace talk over what happened with Campbell. As she goes to bed, Will holds the scarf Michael gave him and wraps it around his neck.





  • Title is a play on "secrets and lies".
  • Jack coins the term "spramp" in this episode.
  • The descriptions for this episode lists guest star Tom Bosley as "the town barber-turned-hair stylist" who Will and Jack meet at the pub after ordering their drinks. His scene was edited out because the producers did not think it was funny enough.
  • This is the first episode where Gary Grubbs is not listed in the opening credits.
  • This episode aired after the "Big Brother is Coming" story arc. Will and Grace act like Grace hasn't dated anyone since Danny, but she was with Will's brother Sam. This is most likely due to the fact that the episodes were aired out of order rather than a problem with continuity.
  • The song that plays at the end of the episode is "How's It Going To Be" by Third Eye Blind.
  • Grace and Campbell saw the band Loverboy together.

Cultural references

  • Karen refers to Will and Jack as puppeteer Wayland Flowers and his most famous puppet Madame. Flowers was one of the first mainstream entertainers who was openly gay.
  • Jack praises Will's bravery by calling him "a brave little toaster", after the novel (and later animated film) The Brave Little Toaster.
  • Karen tries to get Grace to meet with Campbell to find out if he's "mmm-mmm-good", referencing the famous slogan used by the Campbell Soup Company.
  • Seeing Jack half-naked wearing a fur coat and hat, Grace tells him he looks like "Dr. Zhivago threw up on you", after the titular Russian doctor of the 1965 film.
  • Will and Jack immediately know the bar is a gay bar after Gloria Gaynor's I Will Survive (1978) plays on the jukebox, a popular gay anthem.
  • After finding Campbell freezing outside the cabin, Will calls him "Nanookie of the North", a play on the film Nanook of the North (1922) about a man in the Northern Arctic and the word "nookie", a slang term for sex.



Oh, I can not believe you! We are trapped alone in the wilderness with Wayland and Madame and you just let Babe the Blue Ox walk out that door?! Karen

Even though you lied to me. And deceived me. And Karen's here. I'm stilling having a good time. Thanks! Willto Grace

Honey, it's almost midnight! It's time for Cinderella to turn into a friskly little minx! Karentrying to get Grace to meet with Campbell

Grace:What are you doing? You scared the crap out of me!
Jack:Well, I'm sorry, we thought you were Big Foot's cousin, Big Hair!
Bartender:What's your pleasure?
Will and Jack:George Stephanopolous.
Grace:Oh my god, it's Will.
Campbell:Your boyfriend?
Grace:No, worse. My gay roommate. You gotta hide.
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