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'The Grinder' fan recap: Love or fame?

Season 1 | Episode 5 | “A Bittersweet Grind” | Aired Oct 27, 2015

On the The Grinder, Dean utters his catchphrase at every given opportunity, whether it’s on his show or IRL. It’s his “Bam!” His “Bazinga!” There’s only one time he resents saying the scripted words … during sex. When his dates want him to murmur “Grinder rests” while they, well, grind, he knows they’re more interested in his character than him. One date even hangs her head off the end of the bed so she can simultaneously watch his show. Dean looks at Stewart and Deb with great envy, fearing he’ll never know true love like theirs.

He’s not the only one contemplating love. Ethan wants to ask a girl out for a movie date at their house. His parents are charmed, tickled by his innocent request. He’s “Ethan” after all, heir apparent to his father’s awkwardness. They view it as little more than a play date, but older sister Lizzie is furious by their double standard. She’s never allowed to see Zadak, or have him over. How’s that fair?

Stewart can’t find it in himself to feel bad for Dean. Boohoo, girls throw themselves at him for sex. Waawaa, he’s extraordinarily good-looking. Deb motivates Stewart by telling him that the sooner Dean finds love, the sooner he’ll move out. Excited by that prospect, Stewart contacts Dean’s high school love, Gail Budnick (Christina Applegate), and brings her to the law office—where she says she’s never seen The Grinder and doesn’t even own a TV. (Oh, the horror!) But Dean is enthralled by her seeming ignorance to his fame and all too happy to see the beauty who took his virginity. Love at last!

Dean: “You look exactly the same.”

Gail: “Thank you, so do you. Really, in kind of a scary way, the same.

A few days later, Dean asks Stewart if he can cover for him at work so he can whisk Gail away. Stewart’s all too happy to get his faux-lawyer brother away from the office. Without the inherent distraction Dean brings, Stewart’s able to kick ass on the job and get things done. When Dean returns, he professes to being head-over-heels. He apologizes about his effusiveness to Claire, who assures him that, as always, she’s impervious to his charms and that, despite his vivid imagination, which always reads like a cheesy script, they never had a thing between them. Stewart just wants to find another reason to out him from the office.

After Lizzie presses Deb about their hypocrisy and Dean sides with his niece, Stewart allows both kids to invite their dates over for a movie. He figures Ethan’s innocence will keep Lizzie and Zadak in line, but to his and Deb’s shock they find Ethan openly making out with his date! He’s not the guileless guy his dad was; he’s like—gulp!—his uncle.

Dean has been parenting Gail’s son and finds it an exhausting and thankless job. He has more appreciation for everything his dad and Stewart have dealt with. When Deb and Stewart go to Gail’s for a dinner date, they’re stunned to meet her 23-year-old, grungy man-child. When Gail talks about the difficulty she’s had with him, she inadvertently quotes The Grinder. Further investigation reveals that she’s hidden her 50-inch plasma. Dean breaks things off, but not before agreeing to give her one last parting gift: coitus with the counselor while watching his show.

During a late-night talk, Stewart assures his brother that he will find love, but he needs to slow down. Then he swallows his pride and asks Dean to talk to Ethan about girls. Uncle Dean is all too happy to take his lady-killer nephew under his wing … right now!

My favorite part of the episode was the bedroom banter between Deb and Stewart. The effortless, playful chemistry between Savage and Ellis is so sparkling the show could easily revolve just around them and I’d watch. Not that I think it should, because I love this entire cast!

Connor Kalopis is an ascending scene-stealer who should be put under lock and key by his parents. If he’s this cute and crafty now, imagine what being inside Rob Lowe’s orbit could potentially do to him.

My only objection to “A Bittersweet Grind” is that Christina Applegate’s role seems like a one-and-done. I would’ve liked to see this storyline drawn out a little longer, with a slower reveal of her deceit. There was a lot more that could’ve been done here. Hopefully they’ll see that too and bring her back.

The Grinder airs Tuesdays at 8:30/7:30C on Fox.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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