I wasn’t sure what to expect seeing my favorite childhood star Fred Savage from The Wonder Years make a comeback in Fox’s new show The Grinder, not to be mistaken as already pointed out by several radio pundits with the Grindr, a new gay dating app.
Executive Producer Rob Lowe plays Dean Sanderson, a Hollywood actor everyone knows from his role as “The Grinder,” an eight-year long legal series. Dean is also the older, flashier brother of real-life lawyer Stewart (Savage) of Boise, Idaho.
While Dean plays to the camera, his modest brother has to read flash cards just to get through a trial. They both followed in the footsteps of their father (William Devane), who is now retired and, at least so far, is a curious character who doesn’t serve much purpose for the script. But I digress.
From the get-go, as the family watches the “The Grinder” series finale on TV with Dean, we understand that Stewart doesn’t really get along with his over-the-top brother. Unfortunately, everyone recognizes Dean and is naturally star-struck. Still, regardless of how famous he is, Dean is having a bit of a mid-life crisis as he eyes his future without his show. So he looks upon Stewart’s life and wishes he had something similar.
Stewart has the wife and kids, which Dean is selfishly not accustomed to. But he realizes that his self-absorbed Hollywood lifestyle is not what it’s cut out to be. Dean finds himself yearning to partake in Stewart’s life and using his TV character to teach his brother how to win in the courtroom. Stewart lacks the confidence that Dean has, so the two become a team and set out on a path that could parlay into comedic success.
The storyline is a bit predictable but fun: Dean helps his little brother Stewart kick butt in the court room and, in the process, the sibling rivalry turns into a partnership. Knowing that little bro lacks pizazz, Dean influences Stewart to break out of his rigid shell, think outside the box and learn how to “act” like an attorney.
The Grinder is a fun, upbeat show that reminds me of courtroom comedies such as Night Court, but with less focus on the behind-the-scenes courthouse shenanigans, and Lifetime’s past Drop Dead Diva, which was more of a 1-hour soapy dramedy. Usually, lawyer driven shows tend to be more or less an hour-long courtroom drama. So, it’s refreshing when a show like The Grinder can cut to the chase and get you hooked in a half hour.
It’s a show worth taking a look at, especially if you’re wanting to commit to something that’s fast paced and fun rather than worthy of a commitment of time and emotions. The Grinder tackles family dynamics, self-esteem, and the importance of being flexible to change, even if it means venturing out of your comfort-zone.