Back in January 2021 I wrote a review of the last season of “Last Man Standing” that was beginning at that time and I said the show was unwatchable. And it was, but being the stubborn fool that I am, I decided to watch the final season as a lesson to myself. And as predicted it was unbearable. Sure, every once in a while, Tim Allen would inject a funny moment. But the overall unfunny, bland, bad writing, the trivial plot elements and emasculated male characters was beyond awful.
But I stuck it out until the bitter end and I’m glad I did. Because in the last half of the final “double episode” Tim Allen injected a plot element that was an open metaphor for the hijacking of his series by the network. The story element was that Mike’s classic pick-up truck that he restored from the ground up was stolen. Now just in case the metaphor escaped anyone he even slips and says “show” instead of “truck” in one place. He stresses several times that he’s had the “truck” for ten years and of course “Last Man Standing” premiered in 2011.
At one point the characters are talking about the fact that they can’t find the truck because the tracking GPS is off the “network.” One of them asks if it could be found on another network and someone else says he’s heard of something like that and then Tim Allen says he doesn’t think it will work. So, he’s hitting out at both ABC and Fox with this statement. Later on, he asks “Who steals somebody else’s work like that?” And there is a mock wake where the various actors talk about their feelings for the “truck.” And finally in the Mike character’s final VLOG episode Tim Allen says just like Ronald Reagan after his 1976 defeat in the Republican primary that he is bloodied but he’ll get back up again.
So maybe Tim Allen thinks he has another show in him. But what network will play it without neutering all the normal masculinity that Allen is known for? I don’t see it happening. But at least it was something that he at least acknowledged that his brain child had been butchered by the powers that be. For that at least I salute him.
If he ever does start a new series, I’ll give it a look. Who knows? Miracles can happen.
When this show came out in 2011 it was clever, funny, and the main character Mike Baxter, played by Tim Allen, was decidedly right wing and outspoken. When Donald Trump won the presidency, ABC cancelled the show. Fox brought it back a few years ago but apparently the writers were either lobotomized or warned to castrate the show to make it acceptable to their woke corporate masters.
At this point it truly is unwatchable. The two older daughters and their husbands have been infantilized into mewling morons prattling on about inanities that would embarrass a five-year-old to admit to. The characters at Mike’s work place are not quite as imbecilic as Mike’s children but it’s close. And I’ll have to say Tim Allen isn’t looking well. I guess he’s getting up there because he seems weak, almost frail. Maybe it’s just the effect of being forced to go through the motions on a show that’s been gutted and then put on display as a trophy and a warning to anyone who dares to dispute the primacy of the narrative.
Farewell Tim Allen. You had a good run. You should have quit while you were ahead.
I’ve been watching Tim Allen’s Last Man Standing since its beginning. I’ve enjoyed the show all along although the last two seasons’ scripts were definitely at a lower level. Maybe they knew the series had almost run its course and the old writers had started to move on. But what was noticeable was a less skillful plot and dialog. And for all the angst from the left about its right wing slant the point of view was a mild libertarian stance with a few humorous jibes thrown at Obama or Hillary Clinton by Tim’s character (Mike Baxter). And just to make sure no one thought there was an ideological problem the wife played by Nancy Travis is a Hillary fan and a fairly mild feminist. My biggest disappointment was in the final season that only one small joke about Trump showed up in the show. That’s how timid they were. But all that aside, the show was refreshing because Mike was at least allowed to mostly correspond to a normal man of his generation. He wasn’t forced to make believe he didn’t like sports and cars and guns and hunting and fishing. He was pro-military and traditional in his ideas about gender roles and religion and unabashedly American. He spends a considerable time on the screen mocking his Canadian soy-boy son-in-law (Ryan) but at the same time he mentors this young man on family responsibilities for a husband and a father.
In 2017 Disney/ABC was in a snit about Trump being president so they cancelled Last Man Standing, even though it was the most popular show on Friday nights and doing well financially. Tim Allen who has been a staple of ABC and Disney for decades said he was devastated that they pulled the plug on him so needlessly. Next season (2018), when Roseanne Barr’s reboot of her show Roseanne featured a star that had some positive things to say about Trump and did land office business it immediately woke up some network geniuses to the fact that Last Man Standing was ready made to take advantage of that same audience. And when Roseanne’s show was cancelled because she said something politically incorrect about an Obama administration official, well, that same audience was now available for another show that had characters they could relate to.
Because 20th Century Fox was the production company that originally made Last Man Standing for ABC it wasn’t much of a stretch for the Fox Network to consider bringing back the show and hosting it on their network. And that’s just what they’ve done. Boy, this has been some wind up for a tv review!
Camera Girl and I watched the show on Friday night. It was pretty good. They started off with a set up where the Kyle character (one of the sons-in-law) is failing to find his favorite show on tv and his in-laws throw out some lines about networks being bastards for cancelling good shows and how it very rarely happens that a show is picked up by another network unless its fans are truly great. So, light fun, and here we go.
The show revolves around the family being split between conservatives and liberals quarreling about the Trump presidency. But the writers decide to completely leave out Trump’s name. Now that felt phony. Next the Canadian son-in-law Ryan gets so stressed about living in Trump’s America without any way to address his opposition to it that he decides he’s moving his family to Canada. When Ryan’s young son goes missing the family rallies around to find him. They forget all their quarrels and after finding him safe they use the happy outcome to cement their solidarity and agree to look for common ground. As is usual with the show, Mike ends the episode with a vlog from his office at Outdoorsman to talk about the importance of Americans finding common ground and there being two points of view, left and right. He does takes one small jab by saying that “of course one of them already has the word “right” already in it.
So, there it is. The show is back. And it is a nice middle of the road show that stakes out a spot for a character that is an American man who hasn’t been neutered and feminized. Is it a full-throated roar of defiance by the right wing? Hardly. Will it even acknowledge by name the Trump revolution? Hopefully. But so far, the verdict is still out. Is it funnier than last season? Maybe. My plan is to watch a few more episodes and then evaluate whether I’m still going to be standing with Tim Allen’s last man. Did you see what I did there?
I liked the show. But it was already in its sixth season and the plots were feeling kind of thin. Also most of the political shots at Obama had evaporated and the wife actually was a Hillary fan so that was pretty rough. But I think that since they’re bringing it back on the strength of the Roseanne phenomenon that maybe they’ll amp up the Trump love and compete for the conservative voters. That could work out very well. Tim Allen could really get some mileage playing both sides of the Trump card. Playful shots at the larger than life Trump persona and skillful savaging of the anti-American left would go a long way toward giving the right the kind of red meat they haven’t had from television since … never?
So, welcome back Mike Baxter, long may you vlog from your office at Outdoorsman. And even if it only lasts for a year or two it’s the first time ever that a show came back because it was conservative. What’s next flying pigs?
The recent furor over the large audience for Roseanne Barr’s tv show and the rumor about Fox resurrecting Last Man Standing got me thinking about what it would be like if TV and the Movies produced a certain amount of product every year for troglodytes like me. And let me try to be precise. I don’t mean generic action or sci-fi shows where the eighty-pound magic girl kung-fu-fights her way through acres of white South African and Serbian villains. And I don’t mean family drama about blue collar guys who clean up after a hard day on the construction site and strut their stuff on the local drag-queen circuit.
So that’s what I don’t want. But what would I prefer? You know, it’s been so long since there was a choice other than weirdo-liberation of the week tv that I actually have to imagine what it would be. Well, for a start how about a tv family where Mom stays home with the kids and Dad goes to work? And how about a family where everyone is heterosexual or even better let’s just say normal? And how about the words gay, lesbian or trans never come up? And imagine if there are no disgruntled minorities aggrieved about the name of the school being Washington or Jefferson? And how about if no one forces the boys’ baseball team to add a girl to the squad for “fairness?” And imagine if we never have to hear about “Black Lives Matter” or “White Privilege?” Suppose gun control and hate speech are unknown ideas? And just to round things out, if we never mention Obama, Al Gore or Climate Change I’ll be happy.
You know what was a pretty good sit-com? “Home Improvement” was actually almost perfect. Innocuous comedy, family warmth and chemistry between the actors playing the family. What else do you need? And here’s a thought, when Tim Allen already has a popular family show on tv, why not try supporting the show instead of cancelling it when it’s near the top of the ratings for its viewing night? ABC, you are truly hopeless. Walt Disney must be spinning in his grave.
Now as for action-adventure, just have Americans blowing up foreigners and space aliens and pretty much I’m there. Did I mention I don’t need any sexual weirdos or racial politics? Good. Try to remember it and I’ll go see your movies.
But who am I kidding? Hollywood would rather go broke than support normal values. They have too many friends in the LGBTQ weirdo network to turn back now. So, this whole arc must be allowed to reach its inevitable conclusion. In a few more years when Hollywood has completely lost the normal people someone will start over with the things I mentioned above and low and behold the people will beat a path to their door. Hopefully that will put the last nail in the coffin of Hollyweird.
A nice little review of the various entertainment news and events lately. One little tidbit I hadn’t heard is that Fox is thinking of reviving ABC’s cancelled show “Last Man Standing.” Now thqt woud be sweet. I’ll bet Tim Allen would go out of his way to heap mockery on the leftists who demanded his show end when Trump won the White House.
I was never a Roseanne watcher. Whenever I did see a little bit of the show she was always berating some man for being a man and spouting some kind of blue collar feminism. So I’d switch the channel. Here we are twenty plus years later and Roseanne is rebooting the show to chronicle the later lives of the fictional blue-collar Conners family. And I hear Roseanne is a Trump voter and supporter. And they say her show has attracted eighteen million viewers.
Well, all the entertainment pundits are saying the networks will roll out a bunch of blue collar right-wing Trump loving family shows. Yeah, right. Let’s be real. About a year ago the only slightly positively portrayed right-wing character on television was Tim Allen’s Mike Baxter on Last Man Standing. It was a reasonably popular show. And because Trump was elected the show was cancelled. Do I believe somehow they’ve discovered the error of their ways? No. Whatever Hollywood imagines right-wing blue-collar values are will basically be Hollyweird wearing a ballcap or a cowboy hat. I don’t believe Roseanne Barr is any closer to my beliefs now than she was twenty years ago. The only difference is she has been left behind by the precipitous lurch toward insanity that the left’s leading edge has performed in the last ten years. So Hollywood will churn out shows based on benchmarking “Modern Family” as the new Ozzie and Harriet and “playfully” experiment with the exciting idea that Trump voters are unconsciously ready to embrace trans-bathrooms and indoctrinating small children into sexual perversions.
I look at this breathless discovery of Roseanne’s popularity as the usual two steps forward, one slightly slower step forward that is the default reaction of progressives to right-wing resistance. So if there is any good news in the Roseanne story I guess it’s that they at least still try to make believe they care what we think or what we want to see on TV. Hurray for Hollywood?