Oct. 17, 2013 at 11:18 AM ET
Hilarious and subversive, "Will & Grace" was an instant hit. But back in 1998, a sitcom about a gay man and a straight woman sharing an apartment was also revolutionary, a fact stars Debra Messing and Eric McCormack were initially reluctant to acknowledge.
"We used to be asked about (the lasting social impact) while it was on," McCormack, who reunited with Messing on TODAY Thursday, said. "That's when we didn't want to say anything; we were just a comedy, we were just trying to be funny. But now with time ... what I'm most proud of is that we always treated, the show always treated, Will's desire for the perfect man as equal to Grace's desire for the perfect man. ... That was the real message."
Both actors say they still meet to catch up and share a meal from time to time. ("We go out to dinner and freak people out," said Messing.) But their ongoing friendship shouldn't come as a surprise: When the show's pilot first aired they both had an inkling they made a great team.
"I was too superstitious to say it out loud, but he turned to me after we shot the pilot ... and he said, 'I think we're going to be together for a long time,'" recalled Messing. "And I got chills."
The pair, along with co-stars Megan Mullally and Sean Hayes (who has a new show on NBC, "Sean Saves the World") had terrific chemistry. "The two of them used to say that they were sort of ... like the vaudeville version of us," said Messing. "The four of us, when we were together, it just happened. You can't plan that, it was luck."
"Will & Grace" reruns are now airing in mini-marathons on WEtv.