Moveable Feast is the two-part 9th and 10th episode of the fourth season and 80th and 81st overall. It is the third Thanksgiving episode and similar to the others, it introduces several family members of the main characters.
Will, Grace, Jack and Karen cook their own turkey for a Thanksgiving dinner at their apartment but agree that each has to drop by their families first for one hour each: Will at his mother's at Connecticut, Grace at her Aunt Honey's in Schenectady, Jack at his stepfather's hotel so he can meet Elliot, and Karen at Stan's cell in prison.
As Will and his friends set out to visit their families one by one, he brings along a timer that goes off after one hour, after which they are to leave immediately so they can follow their Thanksgiving plans.
Karen visits her husband Stan in prison to bring him his Thanksgiving dinner. Stan, however unexpectedly tells Karen that he wants her to sleep with other men to keep her satisfied sexually while he is in jail. She feels upset by this and leaves before her hour is over.
Grace finds her mother Bobbi depressed for not getting the part in a local theater production. However, Bobbi becomes ecstatic when Jack accidentally blurts out that Grace's boyfriend Nathan, whom Bobbi does not approve of, has broken up with her. Grace is frustrated that her mother seems adamant at making her feel worse about the break-up so in retaliation, she tells Bobbi that she is a bad actress right before the alarm goes off and Grace and her friends abruptly leave.
At Will's parents' home, they find his brother Paul and his wife Peggy. Will informs Paul that he and his friends will not be leaving early but Paul insists Will should stay behind, being their mother's favorite, so she will not be alone. When Paul asks Marilyn which of them she prefers to stay with her, the brothers are surprised when she chooses Paul. As the timer goes off, Will leaves despondent over his mother's choice.
Jack prepares his friends before meeting his homophobic stepfather, who according to him is "the meanest man alive". Everyone is surprised when Daniel turns out to be a warm and generous man who is even excited to meet Jack's son Elliot. Clearly bothered that Daniel has changed after being a terrible father to him, Jack tries to confront him but the timer goes off and he storms off with the rest of the party.
The four friends go back to the their own dinner party where they realize how badly they left things with each of their families. Not wanting to continue their Thanksgiving festivities on a bad note, they return to each one to settle and make peace with their families. Karen goes back to tell Stan that all she wants is her husband and it does not matter how long she must wait because she will remain faithful to him. Grace apologizes for insulting her mother who in turn reassures her that despite her annoying habits, she loves Grace "more than anything in the world". At the Truman home, Will finds that Paul has left. When he confronts his mother, she tells him that she sent Paul home because she did not really want him around and simply chose him in front of Will to keep him from being jealous. Finally, at Jack's stepfather's hotel room, Jack admits feeling indignant that he had an unhappy childhood because of his father, while he acts so pleasant towards Elliot. Daniel finally apologizes for being a "crap father" and tells him he is not the same guy. After he gives Jack money as gift, they make up and the four friends return to their Thanksgiving dinner.
- Eric McCormack (Will Truman)
- Debra Messing (Grace Adler)
- Sean Hayes (Jack McFarland)
- Megan Mullally (Karen Walker)
- Shelley Morrison (Rosario Salazar)
- Michael Angarano (Elliot)
- Debbie Reynolds (Bobbi Adler)
- Lainie Kazan (Aunt Honey)
- Jon Tenney (Paul Truman)
- Neil Vipond (Julius)
- Kenneth Mars (Uncle Sid)
- Helen Slater (Peggy)
- Nick Offerman (Nick the Plumber)
- Beau Bridges (Daniel McFarland)
- Blythe Danner (Marilyn Truman)
- Clinton Leupp (Lawrence)
- Murray Gershenz (Uncle Funny)
- Gene Elman (Uncle Winnie)
- Title is a reference to Ernest Hemingway's memoir A Moveable Feast.
- Aunt Honey, Paul, Peggy, Daniel's first (and only) appearance. Sam Truman, Bonnie, Nathan, George and Tina are mentioned but do not appear. Aunt Reba and Uncle Joe appear again since the flashback in the episode Lows in the Mid-Eighties.
- Bobbi Adler does her version of the famous Adler Told-you-so song and dance. It was first mentioned in Polk Defeats Truman.
- Julius says to Will that they "meet again, for the first time." This is a reference to their first meeting in 1985 when Will was still in the closet.
- Bobbi Adler's career of playing gender-bending roles is referred to when they mention Queen Lear (from King Lear) and The Ice Person Cometh (from The Ice Man Cometh).
- Megan Mullally's real-life partner Nick Offerman appears in this episode as the plumber (credited as "Nick"). The two would marry two years later. During the eighth season, Offerman appears again as Jackson Boudreaux.
- Will and Grace idolize homemaking guru Martha Stewart.
- Rosario was told they were going to eat at Tony Roma's, a restaurant famous for its steaks.
- Madonna's Holiday (1983) was playing on the rental SUV.
- Daniel recalls that once he gave Jack a ball for his birthday and he "put it in his shirt and told everyone he was pregnant with George Michael's baby". Michael was a popular sex icon during the 1970s who later comes out as gay in the late 1990s.
- When Grace and her friends arrive in her parents' house, Bobbi was singing Ethel Waters' Am I Blue? from the musical film On with the Show (1929) on piano.
- Will mentions that if they do not drop by his mother's, she will "summon a winter that'll last a thousand years," a reference to the White Witch in The Chronicles of Narnia who conjured a winter that was stopped after 100 years.
- Jack mentions wanting a "Beautiful Crissy doll with beautiful hair that grows," a popular doll sold in the 70s when he was young.
- Uncle Sid refers to Will as Jan Murray, a prominent comedian during the 1950-1960s era.
|Jack:||It's 30 minutes alone in a hotel room with a stranger.|
|Will:||God, I miss the eighties.|
You gays and your discipline. No wonder you all end up in the clergy. — Karen, When Will insists they keep the schedule
|Will:||You can't say it. You can't talk about it, but you know it's there.|
|Grace:||Kind of like a fart in church.|
|Jack:||You don't know me at all!|
|Daniel:||Hey, you don't know me either. It's not like you took any interest in me.|
|Jack:||I was a kid. I wasn't supposed to!|