The Grinder opens as always with an old episode of The Grinder. Mitch’s team mates are saying he is making the case too complicated. The jury doesn’t want him to grind anymore. Mitch says The Grinder always grinds. He says the jury would hate being talked down to. His team mates disagree and beg him to soft pedal things.
Dean is watching with his brother Stewart and his nephew Ethan. They are talking about whether he should have watered things down for the jury. Dean says he didn’t and he won the case. Yes, Dean, you won your case. It was your TV show. LOL!
The next morning Dean comes into the kitchen for breakfast and wishes Stewart and Debbie Happy Anniversary. Dean thinks Stewart didn’t make plans. Stewart then talks about how he got them into an exclusive resort that is difficult to get into. Debbie says she made reservations at a restaurant and has a big present for him. You can tell both of them are lying and making things up on the spot.
The doorbell rings and it is Dean and Stewart’s mom, played by Anne Archer. It is a surprise visit. She is married to someone named Nigel who is 45 and doesn’t like to be called Papa. No, Nigel isn’t there. Apparently their mom had been in Paris but still heard about her ex-husband’s trial. Dean’s mom says Timothy Olyphant is really good in Dean’s place as The Grinder. Dean says she never accepted his life style choices. Dean then comes out with the false statement that he is engaged. He says he is engaged to Claire, who works at the law firm. The family knows this isn’t true but play along. In fact, Claire doesn’t even like Dean.
Dean’s mom goes to the office and sees her ex-husband from the back and says that is a view she always enjoyed. Dean Sr. asks about Nigel and she says no he didn’t come with her.
Dean comes upon Stewart trying to get reservations at a nice restaurant but he can’t get in. Dean asks Stewart to help his mom believe he is a real lawyer that he went to law school and everything. Stewart says she would never believe it. He also asks Stewart to ask Claire to play along with the engagement or get fired. Stewart says they can’t do that as that would be sexual harassment.
Next, we see Stewart telling Claire that Dean accidentally told their mom that he is engaged to Claire. She says this is harassment. Dean says she just needs to play along until their mom leaves. Stewart says she is not fired for not going along with the idea at the same time that Dean says she is fired for not going along with it. They say they will have their employee Todd play the jealous ex-boyfriend to convince their mom that Claire wanted to keep the engagement quiet but really is engaged to Dean.
The grandkids go to grandpa who is listening to music and reading. They say they know he is miserable and that he should go after grandma and say they will help him.
Dean comes upon Debbie trying to do last minute online shopping for Stewart. Dean asks Debbie for help in convincing his mom that the story is true about him being engaged to Claire.
Stewart’s mom comes in to talk to him and says that Nigel broke up with her because she cheated on him. Stewart says “You want to get back together with dad.”
The grandkids are setting grandpa up on a dating site with an old picture of him from the army. They set him up with a woman probably in her 20s.
So now Debbie is talking to Stewart’s mom and Todd is going along with the plan of playing the jealous ex-boyfriend by destroying the office. Although I wonder later if he was just having trouble with the copier as later in the show he seems to know nothing about it. Stewart’s mom gives Claire a hug and says she understands.
Debbie and Stewart have somehow gotten into a very nice restaurant. Debbie asks if Dean has helped Stewart get this reservation. Stewart says no. Then Stewart asks if Debbie forgot his present as he doesn’t see it. Meanwhile, Dean, Claire, and Dean’s mom come in to the restaurant to celebrate the engagement.
The grandkids are going to talk grandpa through the date with the woman from the dating site through an ear piece. Dean Sr. and his date Calista are at the same restaurant as Debbie and Stewart and Dean, his mom, and Claire. Dean Sr.’s date is young and he says she looks just like her picture. She says yes, she took it yesterday and she suggests that his was taken a couple of…Dean Sr. interrupts and says years ago. She almost figures out that Dean Sr. is using an ear piece but he covers and says it’s a hearing aid.
Things are getting crazy. Todd stumbles into the restaurant to order take out. Dean and Claire try to get Todd to play along as the crazy ex-boyfriend but he acts like he knows nothing about it and Dean punches him while he is trying to say he never dated Claire.
At this point, everyone realizes that all the lies have to stop. Dean admits to lying to his mom. He is not dating Claire. Dean’s mom says she is disappointed in him. Debbie and Stewart admit they forgot anniversary presents. Dean Sr. admits to Calista that he really is an old man. She just says OK. Dean’s mom admits that Nigel broke up with her. So Dean’s mom and dad start to kiss passionately right in the restaurant right next to them. The kids are in the car saying their plan worked. They wanted grandpa and grandma to get back together. Plus, the truth about everything has come out.
The next morning they say goodbye to grandma. Grandma announces that she had sex with grandpa. The kids say that must mean they are getting back together and Stewart and Debbie say yes but it is clear they are lying and the kids know it. Stewart and Dean tell their mom they really needed her there this week to help straighten everything out. Dean gets his mom to admit that she is proud of him. Dean smiles and says he knew it.
In a way this episode was almost like the comedies of old where people told lies for a good reason but things always got out of hand and the truth came out and everything was fine in the end. It reminded me of the old I Love Lucy show where Lucy would get into trouble with her crazy schemes. If you love family comedies, and haven’t yet checked out The Grinder, I highly recommend it. The Grinder is a fast paced, witty, modern comedy that isn’t afraid to poke fun at itself or its characters.