WHY WE CARE


Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."

YOUR STORIES


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"

SUPPORT THE WORK OF PLUGGED IN

Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

TV Series Review

Dean Sanderson isn't a lawyer, but he played one on TV. And that's, like, almost as good. Right?

Well, Dean thinks so. For years, he was America's favorite fake attorney, starring in a show called The Grinder. Dean always fought for the little guy and never, ever, ever settled out of court. Why not? Because settlements make for terrible TV, that's why. Oh, and then there's all that truth and justice stuff.

Alas, nothing lasts forever. Not even successful television shows. (Well, except The Simpsons.) The Grinder has ground to a halt, and Dean wonders what might be next for himself and his perfectly coifed Hollywood hair.

And then it hits him: Why not join the Sanderson family practice in Idaho?

"It's so clear now," he tells his younger brother, Stewart. "Dad was a great lawyer. You're a great lawyer. I became a character who was a great lawyer. I need to be doing this for real."

So begins "the Grinder's" second career, working alongside his nervous little bro—winning cases through sheer charisma, losing them through utter incompetence and interfering with Stewart's life and family at every turn.

That's important, that last part. Because while Dean may treat his life as an extension of a telegenic legal drama, Fox's The Grinder is a mostly sweet family comedy. It showcases a family that is both deeply loving and utterly dysfunctional … much like some of ours, I'd imagine.

While Rob Lowe's Dean is unquestionably the star, Fred Savage's Stewart is the show's true protagonist. He's an uncomfortable everyman who practices law, fatherhood and being a good sibling to his gently narcissistic bro. It's not easy, all that practicing, and he spends a lot of time trying to help Dean understand that the legal profession—not to mention life—doesn't work like it did on Dean's old show. That means Stewart's sorta talking Plugged In's language: We're all about showing that what works in entertainment can be unhelpful and unhealthy in real life.

This real-world ethos is augmented by the fact that the characters we meet are usually trying to do the right thing. Dean may be a little exasperating, but he's no jerk. He loves his family dearly. "You made the right choices that lead to a meaningful life," he tells Stewart in the opening episode. "I want that."

And for all the frustrations that Dean brings to the family's law practice, Stewart loves and appreciates his brother—even as Stewart's priorities are firmly, and rightly, set on loving his longsuffering wife (Debbie) and raising his sometimes rebellious kids (Lizzie and Ethan).

The Grinder's quite funny to boot—not something you take for granted in a sitcom. And early on, the show seems relatively free from jokes relying on sexual innuendo, the kind that have sullied many an otherwise decent comedy.

But for all the good in The Grinder, there are some elements that grind this show's gears a bit. As mentioned, Stewart's kids can be headstrong and disrespectful. Lizzie will lie and go behind her parents' back if given a chance. And Ethan, in his quest for popularity and relevance, will sometimes make bad decisions. And Dean—well-meaning as he is—sometimes makes things worse.

Characters utter mild profanities. And while innuendo is not pervasive, I expect the show will dabble in sexuality at times. Dean was not averse to sleeping with fictional characters on his old show, and I suspect—given his bachelor status—some sort of romance will bloom down the road.

But with those caveats in mind, The Grinder is still a mostly pleasant PG surprise.

Advertisement

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

The Grinder - September, 29 2015 - "Pilot"
We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!