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‘The Grinder’ leaves one lawyer grinding his teeth

The Fall TV season is underway, which means there are a bunch of new shows out there that I make a mental note of watching — or at least recording — but ultimately forget to do either.

Rob Lowe, left, and Fred Savage in 'The Grinder.' (Fox Broadcasting Co.)

Rob Lowe, left, and Fred Savage in ‘The Grinder.’ (Fox Broadcasting Co.)

One such program that got my attention this year is “The Grinder,” a new comedy on Fox about an actor (Rob Lowe) who played a lawyer on television and decides to move back home after the show ends and join the family law practice. There was the law angle, of course, but also the return to television of Fred Savage, described by Washington Post critic Hank Stuever as “running away with the pilot episode, giving probably the best network comedy performance in this fall’s crop.”

Naturally, I forgot to watch last night, but Nader Anise did. He’s a Florida lawyer and national director of the American Lawyers Public Image Association. His review of “The Grinder” was less glowing than Stuever’s.

“If ‘The Grinder’ were a Limbo dancer, it could probably glide under the pole with only two inches of clearance,” he said in a press release. “That’s how low programming about lawyers has sunk with Fox’s newest legal comedy.”

Anise is particularly miffed with Savage’s character, a lawyer who is “a bungling idiot” and “hopeless and incompetent” in court.

“Viewers are left with the impression of, who needs a law degree to be a lawyer? A few acting lessons or some reruns of ‘Law & Order’ should do the trick,” Anise said sarcastically.

(How do I know he was being sarcastic? The press release says so.)

This does not mean Anise does not have a sense of humor — the press release notes he was smiling when he said he’s “not holding his breath” that Savage’s character will get his act together.

Attorneys Denny Crane, Lionel Hutz and Arnie Becker did not return calls for comment about Savage’s portrayal of a lawyer on television.

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