Sean Hayes Grows Up and 'Saves the World'

Unlike the flighty Jack McFarland on Will & Grace, the actor's latest character gets serious (well, just a little) as a single dad on the NBC sitcom

For Will & Grace fans, Sean Hayes' return to TV is an exciting blast from the past. But will his character in Sean Saves the World (Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET) remind them of that show's outlandishly fun character, their beloved Jack McFarland? 

No doubt there are TV viewers out there who wouldn't mind a retread of the early 2000s, when Hayes and his cohorts would…

But Jack acolytes be warned: True, the jokes on this show are, like those on Will & Grace, rapid-fire and largely sarcastic. But more often than not, Sean, who is a divorced workaholic adjusting to his daughter (Samantha Isler) moving in full-time, is not the one dispensing them. The Sean of this show's title is actually less like Jack and more like his responsible friend, Will. In fact, the cast of characters that surrounds Hayes -- his mother Lorna (Linda Lavin), his boss Max (Thomas Lennon), and his coworkers, Hunter and Liz (Echo Kellum and Megan Hilty) -- are often the ones who get to be the wise guys. Like in this scene with his mother:

Unlike Will & Grace's Jack, a whirring ball of energy who flitted in and out of rooms as if he had wings, Sean has the slightly slower, more controlled physical mannerisms (and levelheaded comments) of a grown-up. That's especially evident in this scene from his workplace, when Hilty's character essentially plays the Jack-like role:

Is Hayes still funny? Absolutely. Is he as immature and silly as he was in his last sitcom? Not at all. And that's okay, because honestly, Jack McFarland wasn't exactly the world-saving type!

Jennifer Graham Kizer is an iVillage contributing writer. Follow her on Google+.

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