No, I am not recommending the gay hookup app, nor am I referring to a show about stoners with a magic weed grinder (although I’m sure someone like VICE would pick up that show). I am referring to the short lived sitcom from Fox called The Grinder. The Grinder only ran for one glorious season on Fox and was cut once they decided it’s ratings were not good enough. It ran 22 episodes from the Fall of 2015 to this last Spring. Luckily, it is now on Netflix, ready for you all to take a quick couple days and stream the shit out of it.
The Grinder centers on Dean Sanderson, played by Rob Lowe, an actor who’s hit TV show, also called The Grinder, just went off air. The Grinder, in the show, is basically a culmination of Law & Order, CSI, Suits, NCIS, Boston Legal, and any other show that is way overdramatic on network TV. Mitcherd Grinder (technically Mitchell Grinder, except when cast in the role Dean doesn’t realize Mitch is short for Mitchell, so he changes the name to Mitcherd) is a lawyer who “never settles” and always asks questions, while also doing a lot of detective work because extra drama is needed. Dean moves back to his hometown of Boise, Idaho to help out his brother who is an actual lawyer, and the people are so starstruck by him talking in one of the court sessions that he forces himself into his brother’s firm. Dean literally thinks he is The Grinder, and never breaks character, much to several other characters bewilderment.
Rob Lowe plays Dean with such an ego that you’d hate him, except he adds in a total lack of self awareness that almost every line he says will make you roll your eyes or die laughing, usually at the same time. Fred Savage, who plays Dean’s brother, is basically a stand in for the audience. He questions why Dean is so dramatic, why everyone around him thinks Dean can be a real lawyer, and constant amazement at the fact at whatever is happening is actually happening. Add in The Waitress from It’s Always Sunny as Fred’s wife, and two hilarious little kids as their children who 100% deserved more time devoted to them and the cast is pretty stellar.
On top of the strong comedic performances and absurd big idea, the writing behind the show is incredible. The writers worked in a keen sense of self awareness to what is happening with the show and how typical sitcoms have to work. Granted, it still works how your typical network comedy functions, but they added in lines that showed they were aware of what they were doing while still poking fun at the tropes and themselves.
The Grinder isn’t the greatest show ever, or even the greatest show to be cut off too soon, but it’s very entertaining and can be laugh out loud funny a lot of the time. Plus, it’s only 22 twenty minute episodes. Give it a shot instead of watching The Office for the 400th time, and maybe Netflix will save the day and bring it back. At the very least, do it for Rob Lowe.