The back-to-back line-up of The Grinder and Grandfathered includes two 80s pretty boys, now middle-aged, with each character struggling with the “growing pains” of letting go of youth and relevance. In The Grinder, Rob Lowe is an actor whose long-running, popular legal drama comes to an end, and he’s lost, not knowing what to do. And while the premise is silly, the show seems to work. The chemistry among the actors, improbably, works (I wouldn’t expect Rob Lowe and Fred Savage to be likely siblings, but they play off each other well. Something I never imagined, actually, during Lowe’s pretty-boy heyday would be his ability to take his own quirkiness to the level he has cultivated and use it to mesh well with all the ensemble casts of which he has been a part). The Grinder is underperforming, though, and it probably won’t survive its low ratings.
This is sad because it’s a much better show than the other show with a tangentially related premise – John Stamos as the middle-aged guy fighting age, trying to pretend he is younger than he is – preening and vain – but he discovers that not only is he a father, he’s also a grandfather. It’s not very funny, not very entertaining, and the people in it just don’t gel together as a group. This show probably won’t survive either.
But ratings are not always the whole story, but that seems to be depend largely on the network. AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire has been renewed for a third season despite consistently low ratings. Of course, Halt has redeeming qualities, and these other two shows won’t really be missed.