Tag Archives: last man standing

Last Man Standing Cancelled

Dang it!  I just discovered this show and they already cancelled.

3.5 readers, as you know, I don’t like to get political on this blog, but on this show, which I enjoyed, Mike Baxter (Tim Allen) was a conservative with one conservative younger daughter, a liberal wife and two older liberal daughters.  They sparred, they made fun of each others’ ideas and preferred candidates/political viewpoints but at the end of the day, they all gathered around the table, cared for one another and were there for each other.

This country is too big and there are too many different groups, opposing viewpoints for people to not be able to agree to disagree and be there for each other despite their differences.  “You disagree with me so you’re the enemy now!” is how civil wars break out.

Am I saying this show could prevent civil war?  No.  Am I saying that it is nice to see a family with different viewpoints coming together?  Yes.  America needs more of this.

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They Ruined Last Man Standing

OK.  I’m about five years late with this complaint, but I guess that’s what happens when shows are preserved forever on Netflix and you can watch them whenever you want.

For the most part, I hate it when there are cast changes on a TV show.  If a group of actors/actresses wowed everyone in the first season then every effort should be made to keep the band together.

You don’t change your socks in the bottom of the ninth.  To change an actress is to change the character altogether.

In the first season, Last Man Standing was basically Tim Allen taking his winning Home Improvement formula and applying it to modern times.

On Home Improvement, Tim Taylor lusted after power tools, was kept in check by intelligent wife/psychology student Jill, and was a father to three wacky boys.  From time to time, he’d seek advice from his TV show co-star Al or his mysterious neighbor, Wilson.  During his Tool Time TV show, he’d regale the studio audience with a rant about some subject related to a problem he was experiencing with his family.

On Last Man Standing, the three boys are traded in for three girls.  Mike Baxter lusts after crossbows, shotguns and assorted pieces of hunting equipment.  He’s kept in check by intelligent wife/geologist Vanessa.  He seeks advice from his boss/confidant Ed.  In a modern twist, he regales the Outdoor Man website visitors with rants related to some problem he is experiencing with his family.

Symmetry.  Gotta love it.  Then they ruined it.

In the first season, Mike’s eldest daughter Kristin is played by Alexandra Krosney.  Her backstory is that she got pregnant during her senior year of high school, thus destroying all of her college hopes and dreams while leaving Mike with his only male ally in a house full of girls, his little grandson Boyd.

There was definitely a subtle lesson behind that character.  The message to young people who have kids way too young is, ok, you made a mistake.  But life isn’t over.  Kristin gets up everyday, works at a rancid diner, takes care of her son and occasionally takes a college class when she can fit it into her schedule.  Mom, Dad and younger sisters pitch in to help Kristin out.

Happy family.  Gotta love it.  You’re left with a hope that as long as Kristin keeps plugging away, she will eventually get her long awaited award.  She’ll get her education and she won’t have to work at a stank ass diner anymore.

Alas, in Season Two, Krosney is replaced by Amanda Fuller.  I don’t mean to knock Fuller.  She’s playing the character she was hired to play but, this version of Kristin stinks.

Jordan Masterson is brought in to play Boyd’s dad, Ryan, who in the first season had been played by Nick Jonas in a one time guest spot.

New Kristin and Ryan become liberal foils to conservative Mike.  What used to be a sweet, funny show about a happy family descends into a weekly political debate show where everyone comes across as though they want to slap the crap out of each other over the latest political happenings of the day.

I have a hunch what the network was trying to do.  They essentially moved from modern Home Improvement to modern All in the Family.

If you missed All in the Family, it had the same vibe.  Die hard conservative Archie Bunker would go toe to toe with his super liberal daughter Gloria and son-in-law Mike aka Meathead.

People tend to forget that as much of a hard ass Archie Bunker was, Mike and Gloria were, at times, unbearable in their own ways.

Archie had his pros, namely, he was a good provider and the only one in the household with the brains needed to earn a dollar or get any work done.  He also had his cons in that he was brutish and harsh, stubborn and set in his ways, though occasionally a heart of gold peeked through.

Mike and Gloria had their pros.  They cared about people and the world and were happy go lucky flower children.  But they had their cons, namely, neither one of them could work their way out of a wet paper bag and by the end of the show they had ended up a pair of forty year olds dependent on their elderly father/father-in-law because they were too free spirited to figure out how to earn a living on their own.

In short, the show runners, in my opinion anyway, were trying to say, “Hey, look, both sides have some good ideas, and bad ideas, no one has a complete lock on right and wrong and sometimes when people on opposing sides lock horns, all reason is thrown out the window.”

Apparently, the “new and improved” Kristin and Ryan worked enough to keep the show going for years but personally, I liked the first season better.  I get they are going for modern day Archie vs. Meathead and Gloria in the form of Mike vs. New Kristin and Ryan, but to me, it just comes across as this once adorable, happy family now hates each other.

Mike, like Archie, is a bit of a hard ass, though nowhere near as hard as Archie.  His conservative beliefs clash with New Kristin and Ryan’s liberalism, and the trio spend at least half of every show duking it out in a war of ideology.

Like Archie, Mike is a good provider, but he does try to foist his beliefs on his kids.  Like Meathead and Gloria, New Kristin and Ryan believe their way is the best to help people, but they do come off as ungrateful brats who boinked one night in high school and now they expect their father/father-in-law to raise and pay for their kid for them but they still want to lecture him on how to do it and tell him that he’s doing a shitty job when they should be thanking him for being there for them.

All I know is I just end up missing the happy family that loved each other in season one.

Plus, the bitter political divide the country suffers from can be seen everywhere.  Did we really need to see it on this show too?

Anyway.  Thanks for listening to my five year old complaint, America.  Bring back Alexandra Krosney.

Blah.  I don’t know if I’ll even bother to keep watching it.

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TV Review – Last Man Standing (2011-Present)

If you were alive in the 1990s, chances are you, at least one time in your life, turned on your TV to watch Tim Allen grunt like a gorilla as he played with power tools.

Home Improvement was born out of Allen’s stand-up schtick in which he poked fun at men who begin playing with power tools only to feel surges of testosterone that cause them to regress into primates.  The schtick evolved into a show in which Tim would work on his home improvement television show by day then be a father at night.

I’m very late to the Last Man Standing party, mainly because I believe that by and large, the sitcom formula, though not technically dead, is certainly on life support.  Cheesy jokes, holding back on swears, formulaic plots, cookie cutter characters – all out the window ever since cable TV started producing their own television shows.

However, I noticed it was on Netflix the other day and feeling nostalgic for my youth in which Tim “the Tool Man” Taylor was one of celebrity father figures my TV offered me, I checked out and yeah, I have to admit, as cheesy as it is, it offered me an occasional laugh or two.

Allen has recycled his gorilla grunting tool man schtick into the form of Mike Baxter, an executive of sorts at “Outdoor Man,” a large Bass Pro Shop/Cabella’s type sporting goods store.

By day, Mike sells crossbows, knives, and hunting equipment, complaining about how unmanly men have got all the while.  By night, he reconciles his macho tendencies with the fact that he is outnumbered in his own home by his wife (Nancy Travis) and three daughters with no one but his infant grandson Boyd to turn to.  At times, he finds allies in the form of his hard ass boss Ed (Hector Elizondo) and his daughter’s boyfriend Kyle.

Gorilla grunts have been traded in for complaints about millennial hipsterism.  Baxter is sort of a less offensive Archie Bunker-esque character, unabashedly unapologetic with his conservative views yet twist his arm enough and he might try to see everything from the millennial hipster’s point of view.

An episode in the first season sums up the character.  When his company’s baseball team is forced to go co-ed (let females play), Mike is torn between his belief that men should be allowed to have their own time when they can grunt, snort, burp, drink beer and tell dirty jokes without worrying about offending women.

Co-ed sports are lose-lose for men as Baxter explains that if a man beats a woman at baseball he’s considered a bully, but if he loses to a woman he’s considered an embarrassment.

On the other hand, as a father of three girls, he dislikes the idea that someone might tell his daughters they can’t do something.  Ultimately, he recruits his most tomboyish daughter for a spot on the team and she crushes all the dudes.

Mike, who rants regularly on in videos on his store’s website, sums up a feeling that a lot of men think but few are willing to say out loud, “I want a world where women can do everything a man can do…and just don’t want to.”

Tim Taylor has grown up and morphed into Mike and Mike, like many of us modern men, suffer from an identity crisis.  Women have no idea what they want us to be anymore and we’re just as equally clueless.

But one thing’s for sure – we men need crossbows, and beer, and hunting equipment, and on occasion, the ability to burp and drink beer and tell obscene jokes without being judged by the women folk.

We’re just too evolved now to tell the womenfolk that they can’t join in on the outdoor crossbow hunting trips, but they’d better start burping and drinking beer and telling obscene jokes if they want to keep up.

File under – “Women Have the Right to Act Like Men Now…But Why Would They Want To?”

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.  Available on Netflix. Good show for when you need something not too complicated to watch for twenty minutes before you fall asleep.

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