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Will (Eric McCormack) and Jack (Sean Hayes), “Will & Grace” (1998)
Will Truman (Eric McCormack) and Jack McFarland (Sean Hayes), "Will & Grace" (1998)

"Will and Grace" seemed to pick up where "Ellen" left off -- bringing relatable characters into living rooms across America and making the fact that they were gay a secondary issue. It's not to say that the NBC sitcom shied away from the fact that two of its main characters, Will Truman and Jack McFarland, were homosexual. After all, the entire premise of the series was based on the idea that despite Will and Grace's being soul mates, they could never be a couple because he wasn't attracted to women.

Will and Jack's multidimensional characters stretched far beyond jokes about their sexuality. Their diverse personalities proved to the less informed that gay people could be anything from actors to lawyers and everything in between.

The impact of the show shouldn't be underestimated. Even Vice President Joe Biden can't deny the impact that the sitcom had on society. Last year, while on "Meet the Press," he said, "I think 'Will & Grace' probably did more to educate the American public than almost anything anybody's ever done so far. And I think people fear that which is different. Now they're beginning to understand."

What to Read Next

The Evolution of Gay TV Characters

October 4, 2012

There was once a time when portraying a gay character on a TV show was taboo. As the American public becomes more accepting of nontraditional couples, same-sex relationships have been increasingly common in sitcoms and dramas. And they are no longer stereotypes added in for a cheap laugh but instead an important part of their shows, portrayed with depth and range. From "Modern Family" to "Revenge," TV's not just about straight folks anymore. Here's a rundown of the evolution of gay characters on TV. Amy and Nancy Harrington, Yahoo! Contributor Network