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Last Man Standing: Is the New ABC Series Worth Watching?

Last Man Standing TV seriesTonight, Tim Allen returns to series television with a new sitcom, his first since Home Improvement signed off in 1999. Will Last Man Standing last eight seasons as well or quickly head to this season’s cancellation pile?

The new TV series revolves around Mike Baxter (Allen), a director of marketing who works at an outdoor sporting goods store in Colorado. His home life and world is dominated by women — particularly by his wife and three daughters, one of whom is a single mother. The sitcom also stars Nancy Travis, Molly Ephraim, Alexandra Krosney, Kaitlyn Dever, Christoph Sanders, and Hector Elizondo.

Is Last Man Standing worth your time? Here’s what the critics have to say about it:

USA Today: “It’s all standard stuff, but outside of the tiresome, heard-it-all-before rants, it’s not without its appeal. Travis and Allen work well together (she exudes the healthy skepticism Patricia Richardson brought to Home Improvement), and as anyone who saw Justified knows, Dever is a star aborning. And there’s no question that Allen is a pro.”

NY Daily News: “Everything in Mike’s life seems contrived to set up ba-ba-boom punch lines, like when he sees his daughter in a soccer uniform and grumbles that soccer is just a plot by effete Europeans to sissify the youth of America. A quick carbon-dating of that joke reveals it might have felt mildly fresh from the mouth of Archie Bunker in 1973.”

Boston Globe: “Allen is clearly an old pro. And I do confess a soft spot for his Galaxy Quest and Toy Story. (The creators give one sly nod to Buzz Lightyear in the pilot.) He manages to make Baxter mostly relatable and less angry than the character could’ve been in a less-gifted sitcom actor’s hands. It is not hard to imagine men Baxter’s age voicing similar gripes, and his scenes with Travis actually generated a couple of chuckles. Elizondo is dependably offbeat.”

“If all of the characters receive some fleshing out – right now the whole broad enterprise seems better suited to the throwback style of TV Land – as the series progresses, don’t be surprised to find Allen settling into a new TV home.”

LA Times: “The jokes and plots have been efficiently constructed, but most have no traction; they slide right off you, and the characters themselves seem disconnected from one another. Even Mike’s rants feel remote, and remote-controlled. The comedy is much more promising when it slips into something more personal.”

Washington Post: “Let me say that I’d be the first to enjoy a well-made comedy about whatever today’s men are feeling about their roles as husbands and fathers in an economy and culture that they think is marginalizing them. But I no longer have faith that the networks can make such a show… Within its 22 minutes, Last Man Standing reveals Mike to be homophobic, xenophobic and generally just phobic.”

What do you think? Will you try Last Man Standing? If you already have, will you watch again? Does it deserve to stick around or be quickly cancelled?

 

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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Karen October 12, 2011 at 1:09 pm

I think Last Man Standing is too funny!! It reminds me when my husband and I raised our girls. I’m sure there are a lot of people who can relate to this. I emailed my daughters and told them to watch to see the similarities The show is very realistic.

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Jimmy October 12, 2011 at 12:19 pm

@taylor
I disagree with you, I don’t think the wife is a drunk. If she was a drunk she would have broke the glass or tried a lot harder to open the wine cabinet when it was baby proofed instead she drank some grape juice. You also said “the oldest daughter got knocked up (and the parents let her live with them, yea no problem, that’s normal)” which is something I also disagree with. I know a few girls who had kids as teens and there parents always let them still live with them. One more think I disagree with was when you said “all of the females are portrayed as helpless” How are they helpless if 3 of them have jobs.

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Jimmy October 12, 2011 at 12:06 pm

I really liked it.

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J October 12, 2011 at 11:57 am

It seems to me that all the naysayers of this well done show grew up entirely surrounded by reality tv and wouldn’t know a well written, superbly acted sitcom if it slapped them in the face. Those of us who remember when reality tv was only slated for news specials, real contests, and sports will gladly tune in to Last Man Standing. Tim Allen and the rest of the cast, along with writers and creators, just showed you that truly great tv does not involve a look at the day in the life of a bunch of idiots from Jersey Shore or from annoying housewives and rich snobs who think they are something because they are being watched by the same reality- tv drones who are giving Last Man Standing a negative review.

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Lee October 12, 2011 at 11:26 am

The show has some cute lines but overall was boring. The girl characters were for the large part stereotypes without real depth, unlike the oldest daughter on Fresh Prince. The laugh tracks were, at times, over the top and obnoxious. Frankly, I’m surprised Tim Allen got involved with such a trite piece of work.

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Robert October 12, 2011 at 9:38 am

Really? With all that is facing the world today we actually pick apart a sit-com?
I have missed seeing Tim Allen and I’m glad his character did not stray too far from his Tool Time role. I also loved Nancy Travis in ‘Becker’ and it looks like this role fits her well.
I laughed through the whole thing.
There was a point where Allen and Travis are looking at each other and start laughing but then they REALLY get laughing and it almost looked like it was headed for the bloopers reel. I hope they can keep that sort of chemistry going.

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adam October 12, 2011 at 8:37 am

Ten minutes in, and I couldn’t take it any more. Still trying to understand why we ever watched Home Improvement. This was devoid of charm, laughs, or any of the social commentary the premise is set up to deliver. Allen’s performance indicates he clearly isn’t happy that he’s no longer making HI money. Cringeworthy.

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Blake October 12, 2011 at 7:41 am

Great show. Well worth the hour I spent on it. I missed Tim.

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BC October 12, 2011 at 7:35 am

I thought the show was great. I laughed the entire time. It’s good to see Tim Allen back on TV. I just like to laugh – I’m not offended by little things like so many other people in this world are. I really hope this show makes it.

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Jim October 12, 2011 at 7:34 am

In response to Taylor, who thinks this show is sexist because it portrays women as anything other than Sex in the City type-out on the prowl-cougar-smart-thin-and-fashionable women… What say you about nearly every other current sitcom that portrays men as bumbling idiots who only care about football, beer, lazy and trying to get out of trouble with their wives?

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chris October 11, 2011 at 9:23 pm

The show was fun yes it was supposed to come of as sexist and phobic lots of people have
those problems in our society. A lot of wives are drunks when they have 3 daughters I know i would be. The kid knocked up happens and the husband should be the man of his house.

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Sharon October 12, 2011 at 9:06 am

HIS house? Is it not hers as well? A lot of wives are drunks when they have three daughters? Geez. Sounds like sexism is just fine with you. I hope you don’t have any daughters or sons either for that matter.

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robin October 11, 2011 at 9:00 pm

I am not sure about the show, I guess watching tool time and hearing tims smart ass remarks his manly ways his crazy stunts made tool time worth it. Tim is much funnier when he can just be himself maybe he is more calm in this show. Maybe it will get better I guess I am so used to tim on tool time. I love tim he is the best just let him be himself.

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t October 11, 2011 at 8:18 pm

I liked it. I like light comedy. Better than the reality garbage out there. Tim makes me laugh. It’s as simple as that. For a pilot, it was well produced. I think that it could develop. Keep it going for a season or two. It will get its legs.

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Roy October 11, 2011 at 6:24 pm

I just have to say that Tim Allen Is very hilarious; but this show seems to be a clone of home improvement except he has all daughters instead of sons. All in all I do hope it last because it reminds me of the days of old sitcoms from the 90′s for a new generation.

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Taylor October 11, 2011 at 6:16 pm

The show was actually… very sexist. The wife is a drunk, the oldest daughter got knocked up (and the parents let her live with them, yea no problem, that’s normal), the second youngest is a dependent brain dead annoying stereotype of a female teenager. The youngest fit in well, but that’s only because she acted like a man more than the others. The jokes are about as funny as any other sitcom, but this sitcom makes me feel annoyed that all of the females are portrayed as helpless, while the “man of the house” is the hero of the show. Its slightly messed up.

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