Swish Out of Water is the 8th episode of the eighth season and 178th overall.
The Good Gay Son
Jack joins Grace and Bobbi for lunch and later expresses how rude Grace acts towards her mother. Though Grace defends her actions, pointing out her mother constantly insulting her, Jack tells her she should cherish her mother's criticisms while she is still alive. Racked with guilt, Grace agrees to be taught by Jack, as according to him, no one knows how to be a good daughter better than a gay son.
Dole Out Justice, Truman style
After quitting his job as a corporate attorney, Will finally starts out at the Coalition of Justice, a non-profit that helps people that can't afford lawyers. As luck would have it, his first case involves a run-down building in Spanish Harlem refused to be brought to code by the "morally bankrupt monster" who owns it, Karen Walker.
Will tries to talk Karen into agreeing to cover the costs but she refuses to. Insulted by Karen's attitude and lack of respect to his noble cause, Will gets the judge to sentence her to live inside the decaying building for a week in addition to paying for it to be fixed. That evening, Grace tells Will that the sentence was excessively harsh, knowing that Karen probably did not know about the case until Will told her. Guilty of not showing compassion towards his friend, Will visits Karen in Spanish Harlem where he apologizes. Karen admits that she would have signed the papers right away if not for Will's condescension. They regret acting out of pettiness and spite, and Karen decides to finish out her sentence.
- Eric McCormack (Will Truman)
- Debra Messing (Grace Adler)
- Sean Hayes (Jack McFarland)
- Megan Mullally (Karen Walker)
- Title is a play on the idiom "fish out of water" and "swish" as an offensive term for an effeminate gay man.
- Kirk J. Rudell's second writing credit after Queens for a Day.
- Grace tells Jack that her mother wants to go to "Schrafft's in 1952 and be discovered by Swifty Lazar", referring to the high-end restaurant chain Schrafft's and talent agent Irving Paul "Swift" Lazar who represented high-profile clients including Madonna and Cher.
- After eating a box of stuffing mix, Jack starts to feel "thankful" and in the mood for a roast turkey, a football game, and a parade, all references to American Thanksgiving traditions.
- Karen initially thinks her friend actress Marlo Thomas is the slum lord. She had mentioned her friendship with Thomas in previous episodes.
- After finding out her case is a "slam dunk", Karen exclaims "Slam dunk! Shaquille O'Neil!", after the famous basketball player who became known for his powerful dunks earlier in his career.
- Will compares Karen's situation to that of Joe Pesci's character in the critically panned film The Super (1991) written by Nora Ephron, though he does not mention the title of the film. Later Karen wonders what would Ephron do if she gets to write her and Will's story.
- As Karen's papers are served, she refers to Will as "Fairy Mason", after the fictional criminal defense attorney Perry Mason in the eponymous TV series in the 1960s.
- After being detained in her own rundown building, Karen starts to sing My Favorite Things from The Sound of Music, which according to the musical, is sang when things go bad.
- Grace says that she wants to be a "good gay son... like Dick Cheney's daughter", referring to Republican Vice President Dick Cheney's daughter Mary Cheney, who is openly gay.
I love Bobbi. She's the kind of elderly person of you see on the street that you don't want to knock down. — Jack
I'm starting my new job at the Coalition for Justice. It's exciting because I'm gonna get to help people. But also because the Coalition for Justice sounds like the kind of place where superheroes work, you know? I'm like the gay Superman. Waiting to meet my Louis Lane. — Will
I'm trying to teach my staff how to spot terrorists. Could you come by around 3:00 and dash through the foyer with a backpack? — Karen, to Will
|Will:||I'm starting my new job at the Coalition for Justice. It's a non-profit that helps people that can't afford lawyers.|
|Karen:||Oh, well, honey, I'm sorry. You'll find a real job soon.|
|Will:||It is a real job.|
|Karen:||Right. And this is my first liver.|
|Jack:||Just sit there, relax and do nothing.|
|Grace:||I don't know that I can do that.|
|Jack:||Pretend you're having sex with a man just because he bought you dinner.|