WATCH: Tim Allen Talks About How He Kept 'Last Man Standing' Alive

WATCH: Tim Allen Talks About How He Kept ‘Last Man Standing’ Alive

Love Tim


Tim Allen has always been one of my favorites.

From Home Improvement to Last Man Standing, Tim always tells it like it is…..and he makes it funny along the way!

You’ll no doubt remember when his top-rated show was cancelled by ABC seemingly without explanation, except for the fact that it was too conservative. 

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You’re also surely aware of the end of the story, how Tim brought the show back to TV and kept it alive.

Now you can find out “the rest of the story” as Tim explains how he did it to Jimmy Fallon.

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Take a look:

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In a recent episode, PopCulture points out a storyline that seems to mirror some Trump elements, take a look:

In this week's episode of Last Man Standing, Tim Allen's Mike Baxter did an impersonation of President Donald Trump by denouncing a human resources investigation as a "witch hunt" and "fake news."

"HR's Rough N' Stuff" began with Mike's son-in-law, Kyle Anderson (Christoph Sanders) failing at another job at Outdoor Man. He was hiring too many people in personnel because of his inability to say anything that might not make someone happy. Mike knew he needed a new job, and Ed (Hector Elizondo) feared Mike was going to be too tough on Kyle. 

"He's the closest thing I have to family," Ed said, revealing he has left his home to Kyle instead of his own kin.

"You know you have an actual family," Mike reminded him.

"I want to take care of the man!" Ed protested.

"Kyle's not the kind of man who wants to be taken care of. He's the kind of man who wants to take care of people," Mike said.

"So I shouldn't put him in my will?"

"No, do that... then I won't have to leave Mandy anything," Mike said.

Later on, Mandy (Molly McCook) suggested her husband might not be able to take failure again. Mike told him he planned to make Kyle the head of human resources. Mike insisted Kyle would be good at this job, so Mandy accepted that.

At Outdoor Man, Kyle found himself fitting in, but then Chuck (Jonathan Adams) and Joe (Jay Leno) showed up. They wanted to file a complaint against Mike because of all the insults he hurls at them every day. Kyle thought he would struggle taking the case and sought some advice from Ed.

Eventually, Kyle decided to have a grievance hearing, following company policies, with Mike sitting across the table from Joe and Chuck. While Kyle tried to keep some sense of decorum, Mike yelled "witch hunt" before Kyle could finish his sentence, echoing Trump's complaints about Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia's role in the 2016 presidential election. Mike also yelled, "fake news."

Kyle said Mike was "out of order," then after Joe had his outburst, Kyle called him "out of order." Mike continued being confrontational during the meeting. Then, Chuck listed all the insults he has to take from his boss before the hearing devolved into a yelling match.

Kyle later surprised everyone involved by telling everyone to stop yelling.

"I want you all to look at each other and think about the mean and dismissive words that you've used at this meeting, like bastard and bonehead," Kyle said. "That's not how co-workers talk to each other and it's definitely not how friends should. At Outdoor Man, we're not just co-workers. We're not just friend. We're family and it's time you guys started acting like one."

Ed came in applauding, and the other guys revealed it was all a ploy. It was just a test to prove that Kyle could be good at something.

"I don't mean to boast, but I think I got a solid C," Kyle said.

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Vox recently covered the show:

If you wanted to choose one TV show to seal up in a time capsule intended to explain the 2010s to far future robots who are curious about their human predecessors, you could do a lot worse than Last Man Standing.

The Tim Allen vehicle started out as a mostly innocuous family sitcom when it launched in 2011, a somewhat dated show about an archetypal manly man leading a household full of women. But as it evolved into a series about an older white man’s continued feelings of grievance, it unexpectedly became one of the pop culture artifacts that best predicted the rise of Donald Trump.

Last Man Standing was one of the few shows on television to feature a politically conservative character as its protagonist. Though the views of Mike Baxter, Allen’s character, were more centrist than those of the man who played him, its depiction of intergenerational conflict between Mike and his daughters (and sons-in-law) got at something compelling about a generational divide between (mostly white) parents and children — a divide that few other TV shows even attempted to tackle.

But though the show broached political topics and let Mike wave his conservative flag, its focus was almost never on politics. It was a show about a family who, at the end of every day, still loved each other. Almost as many episodes were about mundane family arguments as they were about big political fault lines. 

For all that Allen and former showrunner Tim Doyle — who oversaw the series from season two to season four and shifted it into more political territory — wanted Last Man Standing to be a new All in the Family, the issues that Mike and the rest of the Baxter clan argued about rarely impacted them in any real way. They were insulated in a way that Archie Bunker and company never quite were.

Did the Baxters’ isolation from true political consequences matter? Not even in the slightest. Because in 2017, ABC canceled the show after its sixth season, and it became a political football all the same, after many suspected the show had been canceled due to Allen’s support for Trump. Now, the series is back on Fox after a year off the air, and it’s almost as fascinating as it’s ever been.

Last Man Standing was part of a wave of shows asking, “Yes, but what about men?” No one could have realized how prescient that would be.

When Last Man Standing debuted on ABC in October 2011, the press covered the show in one of two ways. The first was both predictable and ephemeral: Last Man Standing would mark Tim Allen’s return to the network that made him famous, where he starred in Home Improvement,one of the biggest hits of the 1990s, from 1991 to 1999. 

Indeed, the premise of Last Man Standing almost felt like an updated Home Improvement — instead of hosting a home improvement show and having three sons, Allen’s character would work at a sporting goods store and have three daughters. Around the time of his Home Improvement tenure, Allen had also achieved great success in movies like The Santa Clause(1994) and Galaxy Quest (1999), and even though he’d had a harder time finding hits in the 2000s, after the show had ended, it was still considered a coup that he was coming back to TV at all.

It was the second way that reporters covered the debut of Last Man Standing that turned out to be oddly prescient: They wrote about the show as a sitcom of the so-called “mancession,” part of a wave of comedies that debuted in the 2011–’12 TV season that were about the supposed emasculation of men, compared to the empowerment of women. 

Most of the mancession sitcoms are shows whose existence you’ve since forgotten, if you ever knew of them at all — shows like Man Up and How to Be a Gentleman and Work It (in which two men can’t get a job, so they begin cross-dressing as women; it was canceled after two episodes). They were purportedly spurred by an Atlantic article by Hanna Rosin called “The End of Men,” which charted how the Great Recession prompted a collapse in certain male-dominated industries, while industries that employed more women weren’t as gutted. 


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EntertainmentWeekly recently interviewed Tim Allen and the conversation covered Donald Trump:

Tim Allen has a message for anybody on the fence about watching the revival of the conservative comedian’s sitcom Last Man Standing this fall: “Who cares what I think?!” the actor-comedian declares.

Fox rescued Allen’s family comedy after ABC axed the show last year, and it’s landed in a post-Roseanne discussion over the actor’s politics at a time when Trump-supporting entertainers are considered divisive (Allen famously compared being a Republican in Hollywood to 1930s Germany). The actor says he’d prefer viewers just focus on his show, which chronicles the life of Republican-ish fishing store owner Mike Baxter, his wife (Nancy Travis), and their three kids. And at a press junket earlier this month the actor carefully dodged any questions that touched on his political views, preferring to note his character was a centrist and that his stand-up comedy mocks both sides.

EW spoke to Allen to get some scoop on the resurrection of Last Man Standing — and got him to open up (a little) about his political beliefs (his tax return menu idea is definitely a good one).

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How would you describe the show to somebody has never seen it?
TIM ALLEN: There are a few shows I always liked. I loved Mary Tyler Moore. I loved The Bob Newhart Show. I loved All in the Family. I currently like Mom. What we do — this format of live multi-camera sitcoms— is very organic to the idea of a TV network. We aim to give the best we can. We have top-of-their-game writers who write a very emotional piece and to lay comedy on top of it. I’ve been a comedian doing stand-up for 34 years, the purpose is to just make you laugh at the theater human condition.

My character is like Archie Bunker with a college education. He’s a little bit gruff, but he’s also raised three girls. It’s a funny sitcom that’s constantly surprising. It’s not a political show. I encourage the people who say I’m some closeted Hollywood conservative to forget about Tim Allen and what his politics are.

So what’s it like getting back in front of the camera on your same-yet-different show?
I have no explanation for how odd it is that it’s not odd. Everything’s right up and running. When we left we had about six [episodes written] that were so good, and that’s what kept me going through this huge hiatus— we just had so much more show. The first audience was a lot of the people who had written in [to protest the cancelation]. There were a half million people who kept letters going to 20th Century Fox, Disney and to ABC, so it was a very exciting show. [We shot an episode] about the political climate. Next week it’s about the empty nest. [Mike’s] store sells guns, that’s a touchy issue, so we’ll also have to deal with that. So it’s going to be one great theme each week seen through the eyes of a very tolerant integrated family.

Has there been anything different about working for Fox vs. ABC?
Just manufactured differences. They don’t show up on the same [script read-through] dates. Their notes session is the same as it was. We’re just missing some of our buddies at ABC.

You were very disappointed when ABC canceled the show. Do you feel a certain amount of drive to turn this show into a hit given ABC’s cancelation? Like: Let’s show ‘em?
I’m an ABC guy from way back with Home Improvement. That’s like my family. I want ABC to do well. I love everybody at ABC. I was shocked when we got canned when we did because we weren’t finished — that’s where my frustration came from. I want this to be a success because Fox took a shot on us, and the Fox network is a smaller and more aggressive group than ABC and Disney. Of course, Fox is now owned by Disney and ABC. It’s kind of a crazy world, what happened there…

Is it weird to have a different actor suddenly playing your daughter?
We spent six years with the previous actor and we love her. [Molly McCook, who took over for Molly Ephraim] is [handling the role] with dignity and grace, and developing a wonderful new character. What she’s doing is difficult but she’s doing a great job.

What’s interesting about the show’s reputation is Mike Baxter is considered to have this blue-collar appeal yet he’s also totally wealthy, right?
“Blue collar” is people who do a lot of stuff with their hands — to me that’s what “blue collar” is. Much to be honored and so misunderstood. You flush a toilet and don’t even think about how cool that is, how that works. Outdoor people seem like they’re not environmentalists but they’re actually the most environmental — they want the outdoors to stay exactly the same so they can go and hunt things. It’s practical. [Mike Baxter] worked his way up, went to college and worked at a small fishing store, and by sweat and equity built it up through 11 stores. So yes, I would guess [he’s rich], but we never really deal with how wealthy this guy is. And he never forgot where he came from.

Despite a lot of assumptions about you online, you haven’t, from what I’ve read, actually ever endorsed Trump. You actually endorsed Kasich right?
Yeah, I endorsed Kasich. Politically I’m kind of an anarchist if you see my stand-up. I’m for responsible government that actually does what we pay them to do. I’ve worked different jobs and I’ve had a colorful past and I pay a lot in taxes. I wish we got more for our money. Whatever political party is for more responsible use of our money — that’s all I meant. In Los Angeles, I’m concerned about the 26,000 homeless people and I do the best I can. I’m concerned about keeping my roads and stuff clean in North Hollywood. Generally, the government is no help and people have to do that themselves. Kasich said that in a speech — that the government can’t do stuff that you won’t do yourself. Jump in! Do whatever it takes to get people engaged — not putting on a hoodie and screaming in the streets — but actually figure out how to help North Hollywood or Encino or wherever you live to get better. My political party is that I’ve never liked taxes, period, so whatever that means … I don’t like paying people who never seem to do what I would do with my money. I always thought it would be funny if I had a little menu on my tax returns where I could tell them where my money would go

If that menu was there, I imagine education would do a lot better and the defense industry would do a lot worse.
That’s what I mean. I’d like to pay teachers more! Fix that school up, and get a trade school near that school. I love the military. I don’t think we need two more attack submarines — for instance, I’m not saying that, but if you look at the [hypothetical tax return menu], I love our soldiers, they need a raise. “Walk softly with a big stick,” I like that. But some of that other stuff? I dunno…

But you’re assumed to be a Trump supporter, and you did attend his inauguration. So I guess what I’m wondering is … it’s been a year and a half, after all we’ve seen, as a self-described “fiscal conservative’ in Hollywood whose TV show dabbles in political humor: Are you a Trump fan, at this point, or not?
You know … it’s a very loaded question. I’ve met [Trump] at the charity event years ago, and that certainly doesn’t fit with the man who tweets. I’ve met a lot of people in private whose public persona is a bit off. My perception is “let’s see what he gets done.” Let’s stop banging on the pilot’s door and trying to pull the guy out of his seat while he’s still flying. You might not like how he’s flying the plane but let’s let him land it. Do I like him or agree with him? … I don’t know. Somebody got this NAFTA thing done. How did that happen? It’s like a slight of hand with this dude. There’s this smoke and smelly food but over here he just fixed a pothole. The theater of this is fascinating. He doesn’t do it very attractively but you don’t even realize the economy is doing better. Is it? There’s so much drama. Maybe it took this type of guy to get stuff done because it was so stuck in the mud. I’m just watching the theater of it and trying to keep my personal opinions out of it. What difference does it make whether I like him?

I’d just want to say again: It’s not a political show. We talk about politics because everybody does. If you want to see me talk politics, come see me at The Mirage in Las Vegas, or any of the concerts that I do throughout the country. My politics are really irrelevant. What I do in my family, what I do in my neighborhood, that may be more of an indication of what I believe. But I wouldn’t want who say, “I can’t stand Trump so I can’t watch this show.” Try to table that. It’s a sitcom that’s really clever where we work hard to make you laugh your ass off.

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