During the final day of the ATX Festival, I was fortunate enough to view two screenings of upcoming Fox comedies. While the final aired product might slightly differ from what I saw, here are some early indications from Grandfathered and The Grinder
John Stamos makes his return to sitcoms in Grandfathered, where Stamos plays playboy Jimmy, who owns a successful restaurant. When he finds out he has a son named Gerald (Josh Peck) from a fling years ago with Sara (Paget Brewster), it turns his life around. To make matters worse, Gerald has a daughter, making Jimmy a grandpa. The pilot focuses on Jimmy’s struggles as he is thrown in to both parenting and grandparenting in the same week. Expect some hilarious cameos in the first episode as well.
After starring in the short-lived Jake in Progress sitcom, Stamos went more into the drama field, starring in the final few seasons of ER. He hasn’t lost his comedic appeal, however, as Stamos and Peck have great on screen comedic chemistry together. Brewster also is in top form here, as she had recently co-starred in the most recent season of Community as her return to comedy.
While Grandfathered is a funny series, it isn’t without heart. Stamos plays a multi-layered character in Jimmy, who at first was shown as shallow, but eventually warms to his new role and is shown to deeply care about his new family. You also will get to see the dealings inside Jimmy’s restaurant, where a lot of the physical comedy takes place.
After fictional legal series The Grinder ends, Dean Sanderson (Rob Lowe) finds himself in mid-life crisis. He returns home to Boise, and stays with his brother Stewart (Fred Savage) an actual lawyer, and starts to overshadow his life. To complicate matters, Dean believes he can become a lawyer himself, without even needing to go to law school.
Everyone around Dean wants him to help with cases, while Stewart just wants him to leave. However, after helping Stewart win a case, Stewart begins to realize maybe Dean helping out is what’s best for everyone. The Grinder features some of the best comedy in the past few years, as well as using some of the most clichéd techniques from legal dramas to make the fictional The Grinder that much more comical.
It’s great to see Savage returning in front of the screen, reuniting with William Devane, who co-starred with Savage in the short-lived Crumbs series, and with Mary Elizabeth Ellis, who’s portrayed the Waitress in episodes of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia that Savage has directed. The Grinder is definitely a series to keep on your radar this fall.