My Take On….GRANDFATHERED and THE GRINDER on FOX
FOX premieres two of the season’s best new shows at 8/7c and 8:30/7:30c tonight – the charming GRANDFATHERED and the immediately likable THE GRINDER. Check out My Take on the two…
John Stamos is back on TV as the lead in this series which finds his bachelor Jimmy learning that he not only has a son after a relationship that went sour in the 90s, but that his son has also had a child, making him an instant grandfather. His world is obviously rocked, and he has to immediately learn how to become dad and granddad. John Stamos is as charming as he has ever been (seriously, the man gets better with age, doesn’t he???) with a character who is written as that kind of good guy that everyone loves – the cliche of “men want to be him; women want to be with him.” In fact, he sleeps with too many women (one of the promos gives away the fact that his assistant needs to be interested in women).
Josh Peck (Gerald) is endearing – I felt for him right away, learning he had this father a town over, realizing he might have a new friend in that father that could help him put together his own little family with Christina Milian. Peck and Stamos have a believable father/son chemistry and it is a major reason to watch the show. Plus, was there ever any doubt that the man who spent a decade doting on the Olsen twins would be adorable with his new granddaughter? When the show really starts to pick up is when Jimmy goes back to confront Gerald’s mom, Sara (Paget Brewster). Their interaction is informed by their past, full of that love you always have for the “one who got away” and the anger of years spent out of touch. I think if the show embraces the ensemble and really celebrates this new family, FOX has something special that could and should succeed.
My pick for favorite new comedy (tied with Hulu’s CASUAL and CBS’s ANGEL FROM HELL (more on those later)) is definitely THE GRINDER. Fred Savage returns to where he started – in front of the camera – as Stewart Sanderson, a lawyer who never left his home town. His brother, Dean Sanderson (Rob Lowe, doing a bit of Chris Traeger), star of the fictional courtroom drama THE GRINDER, left home as soon as he could, but finds himself at a crossroads in life when his show ends. When he returns to their home town, Dean decides that he’s going to put his TV courtroom knowledge to work as a lawyer in Stewart’s firm. He’s welcomed back by a big family, while Stewart is a bit wary about how this might disrupt his life.
From start to finish, I was completely hooked. Fred Savage has always been great, and it’s nice to see him returning to TV after years of directing all of our favorite shows; he hasn’t missed a beat and there is a scene where he has to give opening statements that I watched three times because it killed me. He and Rob Lowe are totally believable as the brothers at the center of the show. William Devane SLAYS me as their loving father, who supports his sons, no matter what INSANE ideas they come up with like, say, returning to their home town to be a lawyer with only limited knowledge of the law. His one-liners are what took this show from good to great for me! Overall, a really great supporting cast; I’m hoping this is the one that sticks for Mary Elizabeth Ellis and Natalie Morales (this one, not this one). The big moments work, the small moments really work. The show lives and dies by whether we believe that this dynamic could make sense, and ultimately, I think it works better than 90% of other new shows this fall. THE GRINDER is definitely a must-watch!
GRANDFATHERED airs Tuesdays at 8/7c and THE GRINDER airs Tuesdays at 8:30/7:30c on FOX.