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A month or so ago, I watched Peter Bogdonavich’s 4 hour documentary “Tom Petty and the Hearbreakers: Runnin’ Down a Dream.” It was a reminder of what a great songwriter Petty was and what a great band he had with the Heartbreakers. One thing that impressed me was his collaborations — the duet with Stevie Nicks, and also backing Bob Dylan on tour and Johnny Cash for a record. Plus, the Traveling Wilburys basically started as a backing band for George Harrison before they started trading lead vocals around. Dylan, Cash and a Beatle? What other hitmaker would subsume their ego to play in backing bands? A reminder that as accomplished a songwriter as Petty was, he was also always a fan and bandmate. RIP.
My family enjoyed gathering together to watch the lone season of “The Grinder” (22 episodes). Rob Lowe plays an actor whose show about a lawyer is over so he decides to go home to Iowa and help out at the family law firm that his father, William Devane, and brother, Fred Savage, work at. There’s great sibling rivalry humor, meta-commentary about the television business and celebrity, clips from the terrible legal drama “The Grinder” and some great guest stars, including Timothy Olyphant as himself. There’s also sexual harassment at the workplace and lots of scenes of Lowe tearing off his shirt and sweeping tables clear to make love with a co-star, but our 12-year-old understood that the inappropriateness of those situations was the joke and not an endorsement of behavior. Funny show and gave us some family in-jokes (“But what if it weren’t?”).