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The Grinder

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Didn't Fred Savage's character say something to his wife along the lines of "He's not the grinder, I'm the one who understands the grind" like the grind of working all day at a job also may have had something to do with the title? Or maybe I'm making that up.

You're not making that up. Stewart (Fred Savage) actually said it to his wife, Debbie (Mary Elizabeth Ellis). I heard it too. And I also thought Stewart (Fred) was saying being a (real) lawyer was a "grind", but playing 1 on TV (& being an actor), like Dean (Rob), wasn't (though, in real life, many actors--especially those in long-running TV shows like Dean's legal drama--would tend to beg to differ).

Edited by BW Manilowe

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Other than Kumail I didn't find this particularly funny but Fred falling into the jury box was a glorious bit of physical comedy.

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As BW Manilowe noted, they gave a TV reason for the name, but it's also a term from law school.  Many law schools call the class go-getters (the ones who answer every question in class and screw up the curve for everyone else) as "grinders."  It's a joke only lawyers are likely to get, as Dean seems like he would be the opposite of a grinder--relying on charm and improve to get through, rather than working all the time and grinding down everyone else.

I've always heard the term used to describe one of the three (stereo)types of lawyers in a firm: Finders (who bring in the clients), Minders (who manage and supervise work) and Grinders (who plod along and do the actual work). Rob Lowe would be finder and it's Fred Savage who's the grinder. Maybe it's a Canadian thing. I was really puzzled until I read Ailianna's explanation.
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You're not making that up. Stewart (Fred Savage) actually said it to his wife, Debbie (Mary Elizabeth Ellis). I heard it too. And I also thought Stewart (Fred) was saying being a (real) lawyer was a "grind", but playing 1 on TV (& being an actor), like Dean (Rob), wasn't (though, in real life, many actors--especially those in long-running TV shows like Dean's legal drama--would tend to beg to differ).

 

Though I would be terrified of my legal representative only knowing the law he picked up as an actor on a legal drama!  Even the good ones get a lot wrong (usually for simplification or for dramatic purposes), and I get the impression his show was more a legal soap than a procedural.

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Though I would be terrified of my legal representative only knowing the law he picked up as an actor on a legal drama! Even the good ones get a lot wrong (usually for simplification or for dramatic purposes), and I get the impression his show was more a legal soap than a procedural.

I think the producers have said Dean's show was meant to be a procedural. And both nighttime (& daytime) soaps & procedural type shows fall into the "Drama" genre. At least here in the states.

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Thanks for the answers about the name! FWIW, I knew the premise of the show (I read the PTV review, of course); it's just the name that puzzles me. It's reassuring to hear that it wasn't chosen randomly, but it still sounds like a bad name for a TV show.

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Thanks for the answers about the name! FWIW, I knew the premise of the show (I read the PTV review, of course); it's just the name that puzzles me. It's reassuring to hear that it wasn't chosen randomly, but it still sounds like a bad name for a TV show.

Ditto, ditto, and ditto. While watching, every time the word "grinder" was used (mostly in reference to Rob Lowe's character's TV persona and show) I kept thinking of it as a sexual innuendo, which didn't fit at all with what I was watching. I wonder if the writers knew both of these references:

but it's also a term from law school. Many law schools call the class go-getters (the ones who answer every question in class and screw up the curve for everyone else) as "grinders." It's a joke only lawyers are likely to get, as Dean seems like he would be the opposite of a grinder--relying on charm and improve to get through, rather than working all the time and grinding down everyone else.

I've always heard the term used to describe one of the three (stereo)types of lawyers in a firm: Finders (who bring in the clients), Minders (who manage and supervise work) and Grinders (who plod along and do the actual work). Rob Lowe would be finder and it's Fred Savage who's the grinder. Maybe it's a Canadian thing. I was really puzzled until I read Ailianna's explanation.

--and then the writers built on it with:

Fred Savage's character [said] something to his wife along the lines of "He's not the grinder, I'm the one who understands the grind" like the grind of working all day at a job also may have had something to do with the title?

and:

"The Grinder" is a nickname for Rob Lowe's "secondary" character on the show, Mitch Grinder. He's a lawyer on a long-running, but just ended TV legal drama, The Grinder (scenes from which will apparently open the Fox sitcom The Grinder). Apparently they call the lawyer character "The Grinder" because he grinds the opposition into pieces in court. Rob's primary character is Dean Sanderson, the actor who played "The Grinder" in the legal drama version.

--but if the writers also knew some of us would keep thinking of the use of the term in reference to strippers and thought our disconnect would be funny.

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As a lawyer, I usually hate lawyer shows because I nitpick them to death about unrealistic aspects. There were a lot of those here (the biggest being in civil suits, it's plaintiff, not prosecutor), but also many points that were very realistic. At least they've avoided the most aggravating thing about Suits, that Dean is not a real lawyer and that there are consequences to that. I wonder if Idaho allows admission to the bar after serving an apprenticeship with a law firm in lieu of law school (some states do.)

 

A fun start. I really like the wife and hope she stays the same as we move away from the pilot.

Same for me.  I'm glad you mentioned Suits, because it takes place in New York, and I am licensed in New York.  You can't take the bar in New  York by just pretending you went to law school.  That would be a disbarrable offense in itself.  That made me so disgusted I could never watch the show after episode one.  In New York you can still "read law" like Abraham Lincoln by working in a law office, but you have to have one year of law school and three years of working in a law office with supervision requirements.

 

As for this one, I'm on the fence on the bar exam stuff.  I looked up Idaho rules, and the best I could find you could not just sign up for the bar.  You have to have gone to a law school, as far as I could tell.  At least they aren't ratifying a lie.

 

In the first episode, he was not a lawyer, but the judge let him speak after acknowledging that.  Again, probably not legal, but  . . .

In New York, third-year law students can appear in court when under the supervision of a clinic program. 

 

I liked the episode, though, and I will keep up with it for a while. There's a nice article about Fred Savage's return to acting in Entertainment Weekly.

Edited by GussieK
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For anyone interested who finds this in time (& sorry for the late notice): It appears Fox will repeat the Pilot tonight at 8:30PM Eastern/7:30PM Central. Presumably at the same times in Mountain & Pacific, but check your local listings to be sure.

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Johnowen Lowe, Rob's real-life son, did a great job as the 10th grader, and I hope he returns for more scenes.  Rob is extremely close to both of his sons and they always have so much fun together, that I have to wonder how many takes they had to go through because of breaking up into hysterical laughter.  While I'm sure Rob enjoyed having his youngest on set, I'm also positive he's more pleased that Johnowen returned to school to continue his college education.

 

I also thought it was cute that Johnowen was named under "Guest Starring" in the credits.  Of course, since his Dad is the Executive Producer of the show, anything goes.

 

I loved this show and hope it lasts a long time.

 

Someone asked whether Rob or Fred should be nominated for Best Lead Actor in a Comedy ... why not both?  Although my money's on Rob.

 

Til next Tuesday ... The Grinder Rests.

Edited by slasherboy

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Funniest show I've seen launched this season. I enjoyed Grandfathered but I have to give this the edge. Rob Lowe and Fred Savage are hilarious together.

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Thought this was fun, although really uneven. Seems like the writers are so enthralled with Rob Lowe, most stuff is really about him even when technically it isn't. Hope they build up parts of Fred Savage and William Devane because they are also talented and not to be wasted. 

 

Also hoping Kamail is going to be a regular?

 

Usually don't like legal shows so was surprised at how this one ate through the 22 minutes and was over almost too fast for a pilot.

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Wow I was really impressed. I thought the pilot was really well done and could imagine these actors and this premise as a feature film. It was really fun and I thought Rob Lowe really hit it out of the park. I can't get my husband to watch anything but he loved this.

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I love this show.  It wasn't as good as the pilot, but i still laughed a very high amount.  The running gag of "What if it wasn't" I thought was funny every time.  Loved the cold open with the meta moments regarding "episode 2's".  And loved Stu embracing Pinkus.  I hope this show makes it.

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As BW Manilowe noted, they gave a TV reason for the name, but it's also a term from law school.  Many law schools call the class go-getters (the ones who answer every question in class and screw up the curve for everyone else) as "grinders."  It's a joke only lawyers are likely to get, as Dean seems like he would be the opposite of a grinder--relying on charm and improve to get through, rather than working all the time and grinding down everyone else.

I think you're actually thinking of gunners.

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I want to like this show, but so far I find it more annoying than funny.  I think I've felt a little bit amused twice in two episodes.    I have a lot of good will toward the actors and will give it a couple more tries, but the fact that everyone but two people are star struck by "The Grinder" isn't funny to me, nor do I find Rob Lowe's character charming, even though I've usually liked Rob Lowe as an actor in other things.  Hmmm...  

 

The one character I do like is Fred Savage's wife.  She's hitting the right notes.

 

Be better, show!  Your cast is stellar - I know you have it in you!

Edited by RealityCreator
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Mm-hmm.  How many more episodes where everyone agrees to waive the celebrity's lack of legal credentials because he's misted them with his star power?  All of them?

Edited by candall
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Great to see Natalie Morales on the show, but I don't know about her being set up as Rob Lowe's love interest.

 

I don't know how much mileage they can get out of the formula, but I laughed a lot at the episode.


Meanwhile, Dean encourages Debbie to aggressively go for a promotion at work, but her plan backfires.

 

Did I black out, or was this subplot not in the episode?

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I like parts of this show.  But I don't know how much of Rob's character I can take over time.  It is funny at moments, but a lot of the moments just annoy me...especially when he messes with the parents trying to raise their children, etc.  

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Great to see Natalie Morales on the show, but I don't know about her being set up as Rob Lowe's love interest.

I liked the episode too.   Especially Fred Savage's discomfort at trying not to be Pincus. 

 

I also liked Natalie Morales and wish they hadn't even thrown "the two of us will never happen" because of course it will now happen. Or at least they'll start trying to make it happen. I would have rather they established her character first before signaling her as Rob Lowe's love inerest--even if that was pretty obvious the moment I heard she was joining the cast.

What I do like about her, though, is that it appears Stewart now has an ally at how crazy it is that his brother wants to be a lawyer. While it's nice that his wife is supportive, I think the show needed someone like Natalie's character.

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This show, even more than Grandfathered, seems to have a premise that's going to wear thin very quickly. The problem is that Rob Lowe's character is so absurd and detached from reality it makes him sort of a one-note joke. Everyone is just sort of humoring him and enabling him, and I don't see how that can go on indefinitely. I suppose at some point he could actually get a law license and be pretty good at practicing law but that kind of character growth is contraindicated by the premise. 

 

I don't know, I don't really see how this show can last very long.

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I want to like this show, but so far I find it more annoying than funny.  I think I've felt a little bit amused twice in two episodes.    I have a lot of good will toward the actors and will give it a couple more tries, but the fact that everyone but two people are star struck by "The Grinder" isn't funny to me, nor do I find Rob Lowe's character charming, even though I've usually liked Rob Lowe as an actor in other things.  Hmmm...  

 

The one character I do like is Fred Savage's wife.  She's hitting the right notes.

 

Be better, show!  Your cast is stellar - I know you have it in you!

 

Yes to all this. It seemed like this second episode was just a retread of the pilot, and I had thought they would try to go in a slightly different direction. My favorite sitcoms have all been grounded in some reality, even if there were absurdist elements (Parks & Rec, 30 Rock) and this one seems untethered from any recognizable reality. I also find Rob Lowe's character annoying and pretty charmless, and thus can't accept that everyone else grovels before him (thus the Natalie character was a good addition). I really want this show to work but it's losing me.

 

As a reallife! not on tv! lawyer, I also have a sort of through-the-looking-glass problem with the show. I have issues watching all law shows because the mistakes take me out of it. But it seems worse here because part of the premise is that the show-within-the-show was ridiculously unrealistic from a legal standpoint and thus Dean thinking he understands the law is even more absurd. But...this show is insanely wrong on the law, and I'm not just talking about Dean's showboating and glamouring everyone around him. For example, in this episode, what was that supposed to be, a deposition? Was there a court reporter? Did they even file a complaint? A party is not, in fact, required to sit forever to answer questions, something his lawyers would certainly know. The whole thing was absurd. Is it all some meta-commentary on how unrealistic all lawyer shows are? Or does the show think it's getting it right? Because it's hard for me to accept the idea underpinning the whole show that it's laughable that Dean is using his tv-lawyer skills in "real-life" when the show itself is so far off on the law. I don't know. Now my brain is tired.

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I think maybe developing the father character more could help some of the awkwardness. Right now, he seems strangely passive for the patriarch considering he's also a lawyer. Has he just mentally checked out of his career? Is he star struck by Dean? Does he feel the need to protect Dean here? I can't figure out if the father is just a crappy lawyer or if he has some other angle. He should be sharing Stewart's concerns.

 

Weird that they're setting up Lucy with Chris. I don't think Tom Haverford will like this very much. I enjoyed Lucy (Is her name Clair here?) and I agree that her playing foil to Dean could be nice. I just felt she had way more chemistry with Stewart off the bat, but obviously the show won't go there.

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Was Rob Lowe doing a "Horatio Caine/CSI:Miami" homage with his take-off-the-sunglasses-and-make-a-snide-remark thing?  I loved it. :)

 

I also noticed that this is 2 episodes in a row where he "lit-eraly" believed something.  Coincidence, or.....?

 

I like this show, but it is hard to see where they're going to go with it long-term.

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Yes to all this. It seemed like this second episode was just a retread of the pilot, and I had thought they would try to go in a slightly different direction. My favorite sitcoms have all been grounded in some reality, even if there were absurdist elements (Parks & Rec, 30 Rock) and this one seems untethered from any recognizable reality. I also find Rob Lowe's character annoying and pretty charmless, and thus can't accept that everyone else grovels before him (thus the Natalie character was a good addition). I really want this show to work but it's losing me.

 

As a reallife! not on tv! lawyer, I also have a sort of through-the-looking-glass problem with the show. I have issues watching all law shows because the mistakes take me out of it. But it seems worse here because part of the premise is that the show-within-the-show was ridiculously unrealistic from a legal standpoint and thus Dean thinking he understands the law is even more absurd. But...this show is insanely wrong on the law, and I'm not just talking about Dean's showboating and glamouring everyone around him. For example, in this episode, what was that supposed to be, a deposition? Was there a court reporter? Did they even file a complaint? A party is not, in fact, required to sit forever to answer questions, something his lawyers would certainly know. The whole thing was absurd. Is it all some meta-commentary on how unrealistic all lawyer shows are? Or does the show think it's getting it right? Because it's hard for me to accept the idea underpinning the whole show that it's laughable that Dean is using his tv-lawyer skills in "real-life" when the show itself is so far off on the law. I don't know. Now my brain is tired.

 

I'm not a lawyer, in real life or on television, but I have the same issues with this show.   It doesn't help that I don't really like Rob Lowe's character that much, either.  (I loved him on Parks and Recs though.)   The character here is just too annoying to me, and all the hero worshiping isn't helping.   I can't even buy that everyone he comes into contact with is familiar with the show and his character, let alone that they're almost all huge fans.   Back in the days of monster hits like Seinfeld, that were actually watched by a large percentage of the population, it would make more sense.   In recent years?   No, I just can't see it.

 

I don't usually get too picky about sitcoms as long as they're funny.   And I generally try not to worry in advance whether a show will be sustainable.   But that said...  even though I liked The Grinder pilot, and this episode was okay... the premise has already worn incredibly thin.

 

I did however enjoy the meta commentary in the opening segment, and Natalie Morales was a breath of fresh air.   Fred Savage is great, as is the actress who plays his wife.  I just don't know how long I will be able to stand the plotlines.

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The premise reminds me of The Good Guys, with Rob Lowe in the Bradley Whitford role. Whitford's character wasn't an actor, but he acted as if he was always in a TV show (which, of course, he was), to the annoyance of Colin Hanks's character.

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Fred Savage makes this show for me, Rob Lowe's character just annoys, and why is the father always agreeing with him? Although I like the lawyer that was not overcome by his charmes, putting her in the firm to spar with him is a wrong move in by opinion. I think the "will she/won't she" fall in love with him will be annoying. Sticking with it for now just to see if it gets better.

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This is a good show. But... what if it wasn't?

 

Loved the meta opening with them talking about how the pilot was really good and the second episode wasn't so great, but people should stick with it. Nicely played.

 

Rob Lowe is owning this role. The grandiose, Harvey Specter style posturing that is so out of place in a downhome little family law firm. That absurdity is fantastic, and Lowe is as deadpan as Leslie Nielsen at his finest. I love his ridiculously inflated self-worth, coupled with the fragile ego that has him obsessing over people not thinking he's amazing.

 

The montage of him at the end of his rope after losing a simple little wrongful dismissal case was hilarious. "I've let a lot of people down. Millions of lovers who can't be together simply because they work together." I don't find him charming, and I don't think I'm supposed to. He's a pompous douche, who means well but only through the prism of how it makes him feel.

 

Fred Savage is a perfect fit as the slightly neurotic little brother who's always in his brother's shadow, and can't quite figure out why everyone thinks he's so awesome.

 

Natalie Morales is a nice addition, as someone else who doesn't buy Dean's shit. But the prospect of a 'will they, won't they' between the two of them is tiresome. Not least because, as good as Rob Lowe looks, he still looks significantly older than Natalie Morales.

 

I agree with those who wonder about the show's long term prospects (quite apart from the ratings). The joke of Dean using his Harvey Specter impression and acting like every little case is a billion dollar hostile takeover will wear thin. Perhaps it would have been better as a mini-series, or a twelve episode season.

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Great to see Natalie Morales on the show, but I don't know about her being set up as Rob Lowe's love interest.

 

I don't know how much mileage they can get out of the formula, but I laughed a lot at the episode.

 

Did I black out, or was this subplot not in the episode?

If you blacked out, so did I!

 

I'm also wondering about the "formula".  If every episode ends with Rob Lowe appearing in court and saying something awesome that ends the trial, and everybody claps, and Fred Savage is happy, it's going to get very tiresome.  I was hoping the pilot was a one-off in that respect, but obviously not.

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I loved it as much as the pilot. I know these quirky comedies are never long for the world, but this is the only current comedy that cracks me up.

I would say its the only new comedy in my case as Black-ish have upped their game while Fresh Off The Boat has dropped off so far in their second seasons. But sometimes the absurd premise have somehow lasted over time, Bones and Castle have long ago hit the syndication threshold and they will be clogging cable networks for the rest of my life.

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I will give someone in the production staff props for using "Pancho and Lefty" in the blue funk scene at the baseball park.  Because it was the original from Townes van Zant, not the rather lifeless version from Willie Nelson/Merle Haggard.  Just my humble opinion.

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Natalie Morales is a nice addition, as someone else who doesn't buy Dean's shit. But the prospect of a 'will they, won't they' between the two of them is tiresome. Not least because, as good as Rob Lowe looks, he still looks significantly older than Natalie Morales.

 

Yeah, it takes a lot for me to notice age difference romances anymore (hello, Hollywood), but this one was glaring. IMdB says Rob Lowe was born in 1964, and while it lists no birthdate for Natalie Morales, I'm pretty sure he could be her father. Or, as in the show before this one, even her grandfather.

 

I sort of wonder why they need a love interest for Rob Lowe, other than that he's Rob Lowe. His funniest and best moments on Parks & Rec, to me, were in the workplace. Ditto with The West Wing. Stop trying to make a Rob Lowe love interest happen, show.

 

Not like the show will be around long enough for it to matter, but I'd like to see Morales' character (Claire?) act as Lowe's sort of legal advisor/mentor. She has a perspective Fred Savage doesn't -- and he's funny, no matter who you pair him with.

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Yeah, it takes a lot for me to notice age difference romances anymore (hello, Hollywood), but this one was glaring. IMdB says Rob Lowe was born in 1964, and while it lists no birthdate for Natalie Morales, I'm pretty sure he could be her father. Or, as in the show before this one, even her grandfather.

Wikipedia says Natalie Morales was born in 85. 51 to 30 is pretty big, though of course not unheard of.

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That description doesn't seem to align with the episode that was on, but I thought it was another very good episode.  I loved the constant debating about the broken window.  Fred Savage and Rob Lowe work so wonderfully off of each other.  I also love Deb, and even the kids (a real rarity in TV these days).  The son going on about how Ray Donovan is still on demand was great.

 

Great show.

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I think they must have shuffled episodes. Dean mining all the great TV acting cliches still makes me laugh out loud. And TheRabbi is right....the kids are pitch perfect and I never say that.

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I'll be the third to say the kids are really great. Especially Ethan. 

 

So far I think the show is pleasant enough. I enjoy it and it has promise, but I'm not 100% sold yet. I'll stick around for a while.

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This was my favorite episode so far. I liked early in the episode when they were closing a meeting and Stewart said "does everyone have something to do?" and the mole guy quickly said "oh yes I'm a critical part of the team". I am retelling that joke horribly, but on screen it was great.

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That description doesn't seem to align with the episode that was on, but I thought it was another very good episode. I loved the constant debating about the broken window. Fred Savage and Rob Lowe work so wonderfully off of each other. I also love Deb, and even the kids (a real rarity in TV these days). The son going on about how Ray Donovan is still on demand was great.

Great show.

Rob Lowe live Tweets (at least) during the show's Eastern/Central Time Zone airing. He said tonight that they liked this ep so much they moved it up in the schedule (but he didn't say how far up).

https://twitter.com/roblowe/status/654091842397433856

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Hopefully Tara can come back and correct the ep title to "Ray Donovan!"  - which I think is the correct name for it.  (Well it should be)

 

I really didn't like the Fred Savage casting at first, but he's growing on me. Love that The Waitress is the wife/ mom. I know the show is set up for brother-brother situational fighting but I'm guessing that it'll be her job to toss the Grinder's ass out of the house.

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