"Last Man Standing” is by all objective measures one bad hombre of a show -- lazy, retro, tired and dull. By all objective measures save one: The 13 million who watched.
As usual, the connoisseurs of crow are laughing and demanding that critics have to start eating bird as well.
Which will promptly happen when hell freezes over.
But I have given this some thought and now realize that we -- or at least I -- did overlook one obvious component of the show: the political/cultural one. Tim Allen's character is a "traditional values” guy who disdains Obamacare (and says so). Women belong at home, and real men should be at work -- preferably manly work and not custodian of some website for crying out loud. When disparities in his worldview present themselves, comedy is born!
I got a letter from a reader today that perfectly captures this. I now share:
Newsday’s Verne Gay's piece on the show " Last Man Standing" with Tim Allen is obviously written from the perspective of a bleeding heart liberal with no traditional values or any at all. He starts off with the title "Last Man” falls flat on his face. WOW! He couldn't be further from the truth.
Next to the Charlie Sheen version of "Two and a Half Men" this show is my new favorite. Apparently after the line about Obama Care that was delivered within the first two minutes of the show, he never gave it a chance. Or maybe he did and he's one of those people that are wrong with this country.
"I beg anybody with true American values to watch this show, especially the pilot which is a very funny hour long episode. There was more truth to this show than any other program on television. In regards to Verne Gay's opinion, it is now flat on its face.
Meanwhile, here's what Tim Allen said at the summer press tour when asked his opinion of what he thought a "manly man” was:
"I think men that tend to their own knitting, as my mom used to call it. I really believe that men need stuff to do. I’ve always thought that. As my mom says, “Devil’s hands are the idle hands,” or “Idle hands are the devil’s hands.” Men need stuff to do. You have to have hobbies, and you should be able to fix stuff.
"I really have always believed that men should do that stuff, and my grandma, my aunt, both said, “There’s nothing more attractive than a guy busy doing something.” You know, time flies, and I like the same thing maybe it’s traditional, but I said — Joy Behar and I got into this on her show, and we know each other. I like women that know how to cook. I don’t know how to cook very well. I like the process of letting a woman take care of you, and it’s either old school or misogynistic, and she said, “Why don’t you just marry Betty Crocker?”
"She got real mad at me, and she took offense to it. I said, “No, there’s the women in my life like cooking. They like cooking for their men.” And the men in my life like futzing around the house and being able to take care of a home and little things. And when men lose this capacity to mortise and tenon with wood, we’re kind of left with nothing to do, like those big drone bees that get kicked out of the hive. You’ve seen them."