Happiness is a Warm TV

Fall TV: ‘The Grinder’ is a lot of fun

Rob Lowe, left, and Fred Savage in “The Grinder” on Fox.
Rob Lowe, left, and Fred Savage in “The Grinder” on Fox. Ray Mickshaw/FOX

New show: The Grinder

When: 8:30 p.m. Tuesdays on Fox

Cast: Rob Lowe, Fred Savage, Mary Elizabeth Ellis, William Devane

Premise: After nine years playing a lawyer on the fictional TV legal drama “The Grinder,” Lowe, as actor Dean Sanderson, returns to Boise, Idaho, his hometown. Soon, Dean has worked his way into a position in the real-life law firm of his brother Stewart (Savage) and their father, Dean Sr. (Devane).

Sure, the concept is ludicrous. I really hope no judge would ever let a guy with no law degree suddenly deliver stirring courtroom speeches (cribbed entirely from old episodes of his TV show).

But unlike other high concepts that didn’t work for me (yes, looking at you again, “Grandfathered”) danged if this didn’t make me laugh – a lot.

Part of the fun is the sly satire of how everyone is enamored of Lowe’s celebrity and his ridiculous catchphrase – “The Grinder never settles. It’s not in his nature.”

Lowe is playing a version of the same self-absorbed airhead he did on “Parks and Recreation.” (Watch for him to “literally” give a shout out to his Pawnee fans in the pilot.)

Savage, all grown up from “The Wonder Years,” also does a good job in the more thankless role of the brother who has long been overshadowed. The Boise paparazzi (yep, there is such a thing here) keeps hoping to get a glimpse of “The Grinder” but instead is constantly disappointed when it’s “just the brother.”

I don’t know if “The Grinder” can make nine seasons like its fictional TV counterpart, but it’s definitely worth checking out.

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