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'The Grinder' fan recap: Shadowboy swings for the fences

Season 1 | Episode 6 | “Dedicating This One to the Crew” | Aired Nov 10, 2015

We’ve come to know two certainties about The Grinder. One, Ethan is a diminutive Dean. Two, the faux show boasts some great acting … of laughably bad acting. And the farcical dialogue always delivers the week’s theme. In episode six, we take a look at the unsung heroes behind every success.

“Everyone knows how hard I grind. But what they don’t know is that you grind even harder behind me.”

While Dean was always front and center in the school productions, Stewart took great pride in being a “Shadowboy,” a member of the silent, unseen stage crew. Now he can’t wait to see Ethan don the same cloak of invisibility. When Dean encourages his nephew to seek more than mediocrity—to be the one receiving the awards rather than the one handing them out—Ethan decides to audition. Not only is Stewart saddened that his son doesn’t find what he did good enough, but he’s worried his son may fail and get hurt.

Despite Dean coaching Ethan for his audition, he doesn’t get the part. Dean knows it’s impossible for anyone to be better suited to the role than Ethan, so he heads to the middle school to investigate. It turns out the drama teacher horribly miscast an incompetent student over Ethan because of ill feelings toward Dean. Before he became The Grinder, Dean was a star football player. After he broke his leg, ending his sports career, Dean tried out for the part of Ichabod Crane and won it from Ethan’s teacher, Sandy Malmuth.

Malmuth claims he’s no longer bitter, but an outraged Dean knows better and wants to sue him for prejudice against Ethan. Stewart would rather let the role go and get Ethan back on stage crew, where he’s safe from rejection. Only after Deb makes him realize he’s placing limits on his son the same way his dad did to him— but not Dean—does Stewart decide to fight back.

“Swing for the fences.”

Instead of taking the easy way out with a normal fender-bender case, Stewart takes a swing, like his dad always advised Dean to do, and discovers the guy is a scam artist. Case won!


Dean takes his own (illegal) swing by stealing Malmuth’s computer. He planned to compare Ethan’s audition tape to the other kids’, but his nephew’s file is missing. The Sanderson brothers then request that Principal Davis see Ethan audition and make the call. After a gut-wrenching monologue that obliterates any fear Stewart had about his son’s ability, the principal shrugs it off as meh. WTF?

Left alone in the auditorium, Davis swears Ethan was incredible and he’ll never lie for Malmuth again. The drama teacher reminds him about the in flagrante delicto he witnessed between him and another teacher on the gym mats. He agrees, though; he hasn’t seen anyone as good as Ethan since … well, since Dean stole Ichabod from him. With an “aha!” Stewart pops out of the wings, makes his demands, then melts back into the murkiness. Superhero. Spy. Stage crew.

Not only does Stewart get Ethan his rightful role, but he impresses his family with his stealthy ninja skills. And his dad apologizes for not being more encouraging to him, like he was to Dean.

All in all, it’s a good day for the Shadowboy who swung for the fences.

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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