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When Lowe speaks, "you just hear birds chirping, angels laughing," Savage jokes

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June 08, 2015 07:30 AM

On The Grinder, TV lawyer Dean Sanderson Jr. (Rob Lowe) leaves his show to come home, and everyone is completely dazzled by his Hollywood charm.

So are the real Fox comedy’s cast and crew.

“He’s wonderful,” costar Mary Elizabeth Ellis, 36, told PEOPLE on Sunday at the ATX Television Festival in Austin, Texas. “He’s super professional and fun and funny.”

“Chiseled from granite,” joked Fred Savage, who plays his brother, actual attorney Stewart Sanderson.

The new series’s writers and executive producers agree.

“I find myself not able to concentrate sometimes,” Jarrad Paul said. “Like, I’ll pause.”

“He talks, I don’t hear anything,” Andrew Mogel added. “I’m just staring.”

Their conclusion? When the Brat Packer speaks, “You just hear birds chirping,” Savage, 38, said. “Angels laughing!”

Fan-girling aside, all four admit there’s more to The Grinder than Lowe’s gorgeous looks. It’s a family and workplace show that’s genuinely funny and speaks to father-son dynamics sure to resonate with viewers.

After working hard his whole life, Stewart finds his future threatened when Dean decides to take a stab at the lawyer thing off screen – and their dad (William Devane) may not turn over the firm to Stewart just yet.

“Rob’s character’s approach to law, he probably knows more of the words, more of the dramatic aspects of law. Because most law, at least in their firm, most law in general is kind of boring. It’s a lot of drudgery, it’s a lot of paperwork, it’s a lot of settling and a lot of arbitration,” Savage explained.

“You never want to go to court! And so there’s not a lot of grandstanding for Stewart’s legal practice. But Rob, it’s all about the performance, because on TV, no one wants to see people just grinding out paperwork. You want to see the big closing argument or the surprise witness or those moments that make you gasp as you cut to commercial.”

There’s also the meta aspect: a successful actor playing a successful actor, a TV show existing within a TV show.

“We found it was so fun to shoot the fake show, we could do that all the time,” Paul said. “And just the fact that this guy lives in this TV drama and brings that TV drama to this small-town, mundane world, we find very enjoyable.”

Paul and Mogel riff on almost every procedural imaginable in the script, listing Scandal, The Good Wife, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Practice and Ally McBeal as influences.

“I think that’s something that adds to the freshness of the show. It doesn’t pretend that there’s not a world of television out there,” Savage said. “There’s so many times where I’ll watch a movie or a television show and I’ll be like, ‘But that’s Rob Lowe! Why is no one saying, I know who you are?’ ”

Or, as Paul posited: “Like in Meet the Parents, does Taxi Driver not exist in that world?”

“I don’t know why people are so afraid of that world, of acknowledging that it exists,” Mogel said. “It’s to Fox’s credit, for letting us do that. Because there’s a lot of people that don’t like that.”

“You get a lot of, ‘Oh, it’s too inside,’ or something like that,” Savage finished. “But everyone watches television! We consume media like nobody’s business.”

The Grinder premieres this fall on Fox.

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