COMEDY PREMIERE "Last Man Standing"
WHEN | WHERE Tuesday night at 8 on ABC/7
REASON TO WATCH Tim Allen's return to the tube.
WHAT IT'S ABOUT He's a manly man is Mike Baxter (Allen) who must suddenly deal with some topsy-turvy changes in his manly world. He works at a manly job in a manly store called Outdoor Man, where he runs the catalog side of the business. But one day, his boss, Ed (Hector Elizondo), puts him in charge of the less-than-manly website, which means no more travel to manly places like Alaska. At home, his manhood is also under fire: His wife, Vanessa (Nancy Travis), just returned to the workplace, forcing dad to be a more hands-on parent to their three kids: teens Eve (Kaitlyn Dever) and Mandy (Molly Ephraim) and baby Kristin. It's all less manly than what he's accustomed to.
MY SAY Imagine the unbridled joy of ABC upon learning Tim Allen wanted to return to the network that made him sitcom king of the '90s? Tim Allen!? Where do we sign? Then, imagine the abject horror when they finally saw the pilot? "Last Man Standing" is a rarity -- something so deadly that you can actually even hear studio audience members shift uneasily in their seats. They laugh nervously or not at all. Instead, a lonely cricket chirps from the rafters. What happened here? You have a beloved actor, supported by a pair of solid and seasoned pros in Travis and Elizondo, as well as an appealing up-and-comer in Dever. Yet, "Last Man Standing" still reeks of flop sweat. ABC obviously reasoned the world was ready for a "Home Improvement" revival. ABC is wrong.
BOTTOM LINE Dreadful. Or to use a more manly phrase, aaarrgggh, awful.