Dean resolves to live a 'normal' life.
Credit: Greg Gayne/Fox

Rob Lowe got himself into some hot water last weekend in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris. As often happens in 2015 after an event like this, the news of the horrorific details spread across social media, allowing people to connect with one another and also for celebrities to send their well-wishes to the people suffering in the City of Light. Lowe is typically a pretty benign Twitter presence, primarily plugging his current television shows and sending kudos to collaborators. But he got oddly political following the announcement from French President François Hollande that the nation would be sealing its borders in an effort to catch the perpetrators responsible for these awful crimes. (In the end, they merely heightened security without actually closing.) In response, Lowe tweeted this:

He was immediately lambasted for having the same approach to foreign policy as Donald Trump. (The two have a lot in common: They both have had shows on NBC, and neither has a chance at becoming president.) I understand why people would be up in arms about Lowe’s politics, but at the same time, why do we care? Lowe’s job is to recite lines written for him on television, not establish a workable immigration policy. I know that there are people out there basing their entirely lives around what Kim Kardashian ate this morning, but fame does not lend anybody wisdom or gravitas (and in fact tends to rob perfectly intelligent people of any sense of logic). What Lowe or anybody else said in the wake of the Paris attacks should be processed the same way you think about the wrong-headed memes your dumb uncle puts on Facebook. Just shrug and move on.

Of course, Lowe managed to put out something he’s actually adept at last week: remarkably sharp, deadpan comedy.

Ah, that’s the good stuff.

Despite his fame, Rob Lowe is just a regular guy, even though this week’s episode of The Grinder seemed to prove otherwise. After getting a giant box of free socks (RHYMING), Stewart points out that while Dean wanted to come back home to live a “normal” life, he still receives all sorts of special treatment because of his celebrity. Dean takes this to heart and vows to turn down stuff like gratis meals and late-night Boggle sessions with Paul Giamatti.

Although everybody thinks that’s a noble idea that Dean will not actually adhere to, it does get in the way of Stewart’s sex vacation (sorry, “intimate getaway”) to the mountains with Debbie. His car — the one with the snow tires — is in the shop, and mechanic Farouk (who may or may not be Armenian) keeps moving the goalposts on when it’s going to be ready. Stewart realizes that he can exploit Dean in order to get his car back earlier, but Dean isn’t having it. But Stew takes Claire’s advice and tricks him like she tricks her dog into going to the vet. Not only do they get the car on time, but Farouk tells the boys they can have the car back for nothing.

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Speaking of cars, Dean has his own vehicular run-in while on the road. He blows through a stop sign and gets stopped by Officer Collins (guest star Nathan Fielder). Collins doesn’t want to give the Grinder a ticket, but Dean insists that he get written up because that’s what regular people do. What else do regular people do? They also go to court and argue their tickets, which is exactly what Dean does. Of course, he manages to seduce the judge into dismissing the ticket and also insults Collins in the process.

That comes around to bite him in the end, as when they go to collect Stew’s car, they discover that Farouk is in the hospital and apparently didn’t tell anybody they could have the work for free. So they get pulled over for jumping the bill, and once again it’s Collins. They end up in jail, and though Stew comes up with a clever plan to bust out in order to make his intimate getaway, Dean realizes the noble thing would be to go back into jail and wait it out like a normal person would.

When Dean Sr., Lizzie, and Ethan collect him the next day, he realizes one clear thing: He’s famous, and he owes it to the people who made him famous to remain famous. It’s a simple charge, with no politics required.

Episode Recaps

The Grinder
A 2015 Fox comedy series starring Rob Lowe as a TV lawyer and Fred Savage as his real-life lawyer brother.
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