Mike Baxter, the main character of Last Man Standing, has many characteristics. Some good, some bad. He’s no nonsense, he has a very high opinion of self, he is sarcastic, he’s a viral celebrity, he’s a mentor, he’s generous with his time and talents, he’s impatient, he’s openly intolerant while covertly tolerant, he’s a marketing genius, he engages in PDAs with his TV wife, he loves his family and is always there when they need him.
Some of his characteristics we like, some we find off putting. We do not like it when he and Vanessa, his wife, throw seemingly good ‘all in fun’ barbs at each other. I’m not sure if there is anyone in real life that is all of these characteristics. Perhaps that’s why we like the show so much and will be a little sad after watching the final episode tonight when I get home from work.
We will mix up a couple of whiskey old fashioned drinks, then fire up HULU and watch the final episode before turning in for the night. I will look forward to Mike’s final VLOG entry for Outdoor Man, a fictional big box sporting goods store that Mike and Ed started and built decades ago.
Will daughter Kristin, who is taking over for Mike as Director of Marketing, take over the VLOGs as well? I do not know, just wild speculation. Don’t spoil it for me please.
While the character is conservative, most of the other characters are either liberal or moderate.
The setting for the show is Denver, Colorado. When the state legalized recreational pot, Mike’s father Bud, to Mike’s dismay, opened up a Pot Shop. “Bud’s Buds”. Later, after the actor who played Mike’s father died, Ryan, Mike’s uber liberal son in law from Canada took over Bud’s Buds. Mike mentored Ryan on how to successfully run and market the business.
There is plenty of nepotism at Outdoor Man. Family members that have worked there are all of Mike’s children, one son in law, their Chinese foreign exchange student, and Mike’s best friend and neighbor Chuck.
The plot lines, while simple, do take on many family oriented issues and problems. Each one buttoned up at the end of or near the end of each episode’s VLOG by Mike.
Tim Allen manages to incorporate many of the actors and characters from Home Improvement, a series that I also loved and lamented the end of:
Jonathan Taylor Thomas was featured in multiple seasons as a restaurant owner that daughter Kristin worked at.
Richard Karn was in multiple episodes one season.
Patricia Richardson was in one episode. Her character was widowed from a man that was described very much like Tim Taylor the starring character from HI.
Last but not least, during the final season Tim Allen played Tim Taylor and Mike Baxter in one episode where The Tool Man, who no longer had the cable TV show, assigned himself to fix a defective garbage disposal for Mike Baxter. It appears that Tim is a fan of Mike’s VLOGs. Go figure. Side note: Tim Taylor is wearing a Binford Tools t-shirt in the episode! Loved it.
Home Improvement and LMS junkies like me completely bought into every Home Improvement call back that Tim Allen used in LMS and our favorite dig was the opening scene of the 2018 season when Fox saved the show after ABC cancelled it despite great ratings. If you have not seen it or do not remember it, go to The Google. Trying to describe the scene will not suffice.
Every series must come to an end. Ratings are not what they once were, but FOX and LMS chose to extend one more season to end the show gently instead of suddenly like at ABC. I’m glad we had the opportunity to prepare for the end.