Tim Allen is back on ABC with his new comedy "Last Man Standing". My thoughts on the first two episodes coming at you after the break... but first let me call poison control.. twice.
Most of us know Tim Allen for his past television, movie and stand up career. It's been over ten years since "Home Improvement" ended and it's about time we let Tim Allen and his manly rants back into our living rooms. In "Last Man Standing" Tim plays Mike Baxter, a real man's man working as the director of marketing for an outdoor sporting goods store called "Outdoor Man". Unfortunately for Mike, with all the built up testosterone he has, he wasn't able to produce any boys and instead has three girls. Being on the road so much for work, it is clear Mike has never truly been the caregiver to his children and as he is "grounded" from traveling until he gets his companies website up to speed, he sees this as the perfect opportunity to get more involved in his children's lives.
Along with his daughters Kristin, Mandy and Eve, we are also introduced to his wife Vanessa (Nancy Travis - "So I Married an Axe Murder"), boss Ed (Hector Elizondo) and Kyle, a boy who starts out as just a kid he hired for odd jobs around the store to now dating his oldest daughter Kristin. Kristin also has a son with another man that we never meet but are told he is a deadbeat. Quite a few characters here to be introduced to in just a half hour and I would have to assume that's why we got the back to back episode premier.
Even with all these characters we do get a good sense of who Mike is and that's basically his old "Home Improvement" character, just beefed up a bit. Mike is a stereotypical male, he loves manly things like hunting and fishing but he's living in a world where the younger male generation likes to go tanning, get manicures and bake muffins which drives him crazy (can't blame him here, sorry). This hatred of the new male persona is what drives his character and the first two episodes. I like the idea but will have to wait and see how long it can keep the ship from sinking.
As I mentioned earlier, Mike is given the duty of fixing the company's website to increase their web sales. He is given the idea of adding a video blog to promote sale items but what was supposed to be a plug for a crossbow turns into a full blown rant about what it really means to be a man, all stemming from arguments at home. This of course is a success on the web and will become a weekly thing for us to see. Seems a bit familiar... Oh yea that's right, it's the same formula as "Home Improvement", only instead of working out his family problems on "Tool Time", it's now through a video across the entire internet (oh how things have changed in the last 10+ years). Through all of this macho-ness, we do see a man whose most important thing in the world to him is his family and that his daughters grow to be independent and safe.
The only other character that I find worth discussing in the first two episodes is Kyle. Mike describes him best as "sweet, innocent, ignorant Kyle" but in all honesty, he's just a good guy, a guy that Mike see's enough potential in to introduce him to his daughter. We can tell that Kyle is loyal based on the abuse he gets at work and how he allows Mike to treat him but the hazing is part of becoming a man in Mike and Ed's eyes. In their day, they were tied to burning trees with rubber hoses for a couple laughs, maybe a little over the top and cruel but we understand that they actually respect Kyle for taking it like they did.
Overall I enjoyed "Last Man Standing" but I'm also a fan of Tim Allen and most of his past projects. I remember being sad when "Home Improvement" ended and the hot rod was completed. It's a bit of nostalgia to see him back on the TV set working again and based on the thirteen million viewers (!!) last night, I'm not the only one who thinks so.
A couple quick thoughts and quotes to wrap things up:
- Tim Allen's first line of the show "I'm Back!" followed by "It's good to be home" - well played ABC
- "Smells like balls in here" - when arriving back to work after his last trip
- "I love bacon" "I love sausage" - what man doesn't?
- "My grandfather probably gave your grandfather wedgies in high school" - to the baby proofing guy
- Bumps and Bruises are how you learn.
- "Men used to build cities just to burn them down"