Last Man Standing (U.S. TV series)
|This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (September 2015)|
|Last Man Standing|
|Created by||Jack Burditt|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||6|
|No. of episodes||109 (list of episodes)|
|Editor(s)||Pamela J. Marshall|
|Cinematography||Donald A. Morgan|
|Running time||21 minutes|
|Picture format||720p (HDTV)|
|Original release||October 11, 2011– present|
The series follows Mike Baxter, a senior executive and director of marketing for an outdoor sporting goods store chain based in Denver, Colorado, whose world is filled by women – especially at home with his wife and three daughters.
Cast and characters
- Tim Allen as Michael "Mike" Baxter
- Mike is a father of three daughters and the director of marketing for the Outdoor Man chain of sporting goods stores. He fervently supports traditional American values, is a devout Christian, and is politically conservative. Mike loves his daughters but his favorite is clearly Eve, whom he treats as a boy, and whose political opinions and interests mirror his own. He is proud of her ability to excel at anything she tries, including school work, hunting, and playing sports. Mike often finds himself annoyed with Outdoor Man's young slow-witted employee Kyle, and with Ryan, his son-in-law and the politically liberal father of Mike's grandson Boyd. The video blog or "vlog" that Mike does for Outdoor Man is frequently used as a vehicle to rant about his political views. Mike is a graduate of the University of Michigan, and an amateur radio operator using the call sign KA0XTT.
- Nancy Travis as Vanessa Baxter, Mike's wife
- Vanessa is a geologist working in the energy industry for a company that does hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking". She takes her job seriously, and takes it on herself to ensure that the process is done as safely as possible with no environmental impacts. Despite this, she frequently clashes with Ryan, who believes fracking is dangerous. In season four, Vanessa becomes frustrated with her job and decides to become a high school science teacher. She is very tolerant of Mike's macho behavior, though it is clear that Mike cannot sneak anything past her. Vanessa was deliberately ambiguous in her political views until season five, when she announces she is supporting Hillary Clinton for president, mainly because she thinks it will advance women's causes. She is a graduate of Ohio State University.
- Amanda Fuller (season 2–present) and Alexandra Krosney (season 1) as Kristin Beth Baxter, the eldest daughter.
- Kristin, unlike her father, espouses more liberal beliefs, and often serves as an antagonist to Mike. During her senior year of high school, Kristin became pregnant with her son, Boyd. She was a single mom living in the Baxter home until moving out in the season two finale. She began to reconcile with Boyd's father, Ryan, in season three, and the two get married between seasons four and five. Kristin worked at a diner until landing a job at an upscale restaurant run by a former co-worker at the end of season two. In season four, she becomes the manager of the new exotic restaurant opened by Outdoor Man. Alexandra Krosney portrayed Kristin in the show's first season, but she was replaced by Amanda Fuller prior to season two for unspecified creative reasons.
- Molly Ephraim as Amanda Elaine "Mandy" Baxter, the middle daughter.
- Mandy is not as "scholarly" as her sisters, but excels in social situations. Fashionable and beautiful, she is one of the most popular girls at her high school. Mandy is obsessed with being a celebrity, and dreams of appearing in reality television. Mandy is very confident and creative, demonstrating traits found in her father. As of season three, she is attending a local college and working at the diner where Kristin used to work. Later that same season, she begins an online clothing business, selling her self-designed fashions. She is engaged to Kyle.
- Kaitlyn Dever as Eve Baxter, the youngest daughter.
- She is a tomboy and generally has the same interests as Mike, including camping, sports, guns, and the military. She is clearly Mike's favorite daughter, excelling at everything she does. Her athletic prowess is evident when she frequently outplays the boys in soccer, and makes the boys' football team as their placekicker. She is well aware of being the favorite over her two sisters, and uses it to her advantage while working to win her father's approval and be the son he never had. Eve has also inherited her father's sense of humor, and her trademark sarcastic wit is frequently directed at clueless sister Mandy. Eve is a member of Junior ROTC working toward gaining admittance to West Point. Her first attempt to do so is unsuccessful.
- Christoph Sanders as Kyle Anderson, a young employee at Outdoor Man.
- Kyle is a pleasant personality, universally recognized as a good guy, but he is naive and not very bright. He sometimes engages in "feminine" behavior like baking, watching romantic comedies, and frequently admitting when his feelings are hurt. This makes Kyle the object of friendly banter from Mike, who believes the younger generation needs to "man up". Despite this, Kyle idolizes Mike, having grown up without a father figure. Kyle takes care of his grandmother who has dementia, and it is implied he grew up in her home. Kyle always calls Mike "Mr. B". Kyle is often oblivious to social cues and the events happening around him. He has Basque heritage. Kyle dated Kristin in season one and started dating Mandy in season two before proposing in season five.
- Héctor Elizondo as Edward "Ed" Alzate, Mike's longtime boss.
- Ed started a bait and tackle shop many years ago and hired Mike, who helped turn the shop into the 20-store Outdoor Man chain. Ed is perhaps fifteen years older than Mike, but the two men bond over similar outdoor hobbies and shared conservative values. Mike regularly talks to Ed about the happenings in his home and occasionally seeks advice. Having been divorced four times, Ed's suggestions are rarely helpful. Ed is a Vietnam veteran, although he saw no combat in Vietnam, stating that he was a clerk in Saigon. He continues to help fellow veterans at the local Veterans of Foreign Wars hall with their Veteran Affairs paperwork. Like Kyle, he is of Basque heritage.
- Flynn Morrison (regular, season 2–present) and Evan and Luke Kruntchev (recurring, season 1) as Boyd Baxter, Kristin's son.
- Mike enjoys spending quality time with his grandson Boyd, and affectionately views him as the son he never had. The character was age-advanced three years between seasons one and two.
- Jordan Masterson (regular, season 4–present; recurring, seasons 2–3) and Nick Jonas (guest star, season 1) as Ryan Vogelson, Boyd's Canadian father.
- Though Ryan initially fled when Kristin got pregnant, the two reconciled and got engaged at the end of season 3. Ryan holds staunchly liberal views, both politically and philosophically. He and Mike routinely clash over their fundamentally opposing values, especially when it comes to child-rearing. Many of Ryan's atheistic and environmental views are hypocritical, as Mike is often quick to point out. Ryan wishes to raise his son without religion and patriotism. His vegan diet, political correctness, views on discipline, and general sensitivity are an affront to Mike's beliefs.
- Jonathan Adams as Chuck Larabee (regular, season 4–present; recurring, seasons 2–3), Mike and Vanessa's neighbor.
- Chuck is a retired U.S. Marine and a veteran of the first Gulf War who runs a private security business and later takes charge of security for the Denver Outdoor Man. Chuck is an African-American, and often jokes with Mike about racial stereotypes. Mike and Chuck regularly exchange barbs as if they don't like each other. In reality, they are good friends, despite being unwilling to admit it. Vanessa sees right through their heated exchanges, often telling them to "get a room".
- Robert Forster as Bud Baxter (seasons 1, 3–present), Mike's widower father who is initially in the construction business, but later opens a marijuana store after it becomes legal in Colorado.
- Erika Alexander as Carol Larabee (season 2–present), Chuck's wife and Mike and Vanessa's neighbor. She is also Vanessa's best friend. Vanessa often goes overboard trying to act racially open-minded around her, but usually ends up looking foolish and annoying Carol.
- Carla Jimenez as Blanca (season 2–present), the Baxters' housekeeper who also helps Mandy with her fashion business.
- Sarah Gilman as Cammy Harris (season 2–present), Eve's soccer teammate and best friend.
- Jonathan Taylor Thomas as John Baker (seasons 2–3), Kristin's boss at a fancy restaurant where she works. Thomas also guest-starred as "Randy" (a nod to his Home Improvement character) in the season 4 episode "Helen Potts", with fellow Home Improvement co-star Patricia Richardson.
- Christina Moore as April (seasons 1 & 3), Vanessa's air-headed and immature younger sister. She is always asking for money.
- Richard Karn as Bill McKendree (season 2), an architect who has had a long-running business relationship with Mike and Outdoor Man.
- Danielle Bisutti as Michelle (season 1), Vanessa's friend and next-door neighbor; she is a meteorologist.
- Tye Sheridan as Justin (seasons 3 & 4), Eve's fellow Jr. ROTC member and football teammate who becomes her boyfriend. The two break up in season 4.
- Zachary Gordon as Andrew (season 3), Eve's nerdy classmate who worships her and desperately wants to be her boyfriend.
- Joely Fisher as Wendi Gracin (seasons 3–present), Ed's younger girlfriend, whom he meets near the end of season three.
Notable guest stars
- Jere Burns (4.22)
- Michael Gross (3.19)
- Tony Hawk (1.12)
- Kim Kardashian (1.16)
- Jay Leno (5.5, 5.13, & 5.22)
- Frankie Muniz (1.18)
- Cassandra Peterson as Elvira (1.4)
- Patricia Richardson (4.12 & 5.17)
- Si Robertson (3.1)
- Willie Robertson (3.1)
- Mike Rowe (1.18)
- Jamie-Lynn Sigler (1.13)
- Tony Stewart (1.17)
- Paul F. Tompkins (1.2)
- Nick Jonas (1.10)
- Robin Roberts (5.17)
- Reba McEntire (5.19)
- Bill Engvall (5.21)
- Andrew Daly (1.16)
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||24||October 11, 2011||May 8, 2012|
|2||18||November 2, 2012||March 22, 2013|
|3||22||September 20, 2013||April 25, 2014|
|4||22||October 3, 2014||April 17, 2015|
|5||22||September 25, 2015||April 22, 2016|
|6||22||September 23, 2016||TBD|
Development and casting
Last Man Standing first appeared on ABC's development slate in late 2010 when writer Jack Burditt received a put pilot commitment from the network under the original title Man Up. In January 2011, ABC green-lighted production of a pilot episode under the title Last Days of Man. On February 18, Tim Allen, who had been attached to the potential series from the beginning, officially joined the project in the lead role. At the end of March, Nancy Travis joined the cast in the leading female role as Allen's "smart and loving wife who doesn't miss much". Soon thereafter, Héctor Elizondo came on board in a supporting role as the boss to Allen's character.
On May 13, 2011, ABC picked up the pilot for the 2011–2012 television season under the new title Last Man Standing. On May 17, 2011, ABC announced that the series would air on Tuesday nights at 8/7 Central. It debuted on October 11, 2011, with the first two episodes airing in a one-hour premiere.
On June 11, 2012, Tim Doyle was hired as the new showrunner of the series. Doyle is the third showrunner that the series has had since it entered production. Doyle replaced Kevin Abbott, who joined the staff as the showrunner mid-way in the first season. Abbott replaced series creator Jack Burditt, who was the showrunner for the first thirteen episodes. Unlike Burditt, who is no longer credited as an executive producer, Abbott continued to serve as an executive producer while showrunning the fellow ABC sitcom Malibu Country starring Reba McEntire. Both Last Man Standing and Malibu Country aired as a part of ABC's Friday night lineup for the 2012–2013 primetime television season. On November 8, 2012, Abbott re-joined the Last Man Standing crew full-time, after a stint in rehab and gave Nastaran Dibai full showrunning duties of Malibu Country.
On June 11, 2012, it was announced that Alexandra Krosney (Kristin) was let go from the show for creative reasons. Krosney was replaced by Amanda Fuller in season 2. On June 19, 2012, it was also announced that twins Luke and Evan Kruntchev, who played the role of Boyd in season 1, would not be returning, they were replaced by Flynn Morrison in season 2. The character of Boyd was also age advanced from two years old to five years old. Jordan Masterson plays Ryan, Boyd's father, in a recurring role beginning in season 2. The role was previously played by Nick Jonas, who guest starred in one episode in season 1.
The second season initially received a 13-episode order. ABC announced on November 12, 2012 that an additional three scripts had been ordered. On November 27, five more episodes were ordered to bring the second season episode total to 18.
On May 10, 2014, ABC renewed Last Man Standing for a fourth season, which premiered on October 3, 2014. Allen and Elizondo guest starred as their Last Man Standing characters in a crossover episode with the fellow ABC Friday sitcom Cristela.
On May 10, 2015, ABC announced the show was renewed for a fifth season. Last Man Standing has become a solid performer for the Friday night lineup at ABC, which with the help of Shark Tank and 20/20 has become the top network among adults 18–49 for the night. Leading off Friday night for ABC, the sitcom has averaged a 1.8 rating in adults 18–49 and 8.2 million viewers overall, according to Nielsen's Live+7 estimates.
Last Man Standing was widely panned by critics, although critical reception somewhat improved over time. Season one scored 14% and 33/100 at Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic, respectively. The Hollywood Reporter commented: "A predictable sitcom with a stupid premise and bad acting." Los Angeles 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." Conversely, Entertainment Weekly wrote: "When I look at the now-rounded softness of Tim Allen, and note once again how his sandpaper voice contrasts winningly with his hopeful eyes, it's impossible to plunge a shiv into this series."
Season two scored 40% at Rotten Tomatoes. Entertainment Weekly commented: "I think it's time the folks involved with Last take a closer look at All in the Family, in which the prejudice was built around real jokes." The A.V. Club: "The problem with Last Man Standing's attempts to go political is exemplified by the first scene of the season première, which remains one of the most uncomfortable scenes of television I've ever watched." Philly.com wrote about season three: "The unlikely comeback vehicle for Tim Allen, Last Man Standing on ABC, is a thoroughly traditional, absolutely charming sitcom. [...] Last Man is both economical and efficient, getting excellent comic mileage out of the most marginal bit players."
ABC's series premiere of Last Man Standing drew a 3.5 adults 18–49 rating. That was 9% better than the 3.2 adults 18–49 rating for the series premiere of No Ordinary Family in the same time-slot the previous year (which was two weeks earlier in the season). Season 2 of Last Man Standing premiered with a 2.0, down about 38% from its first season premiere, but up about 18% from the previous season's finale.
|Season||Timeslot (ET)||No. of
|Live + DVR
|1||Tuesday 8:00 pm||24||October 13, 2011||12.93||3.4/10||May 10, 2012||6.62||1.7/5||2011–12||50||9.12||9.76|
|2||Friday 8:00 pm||18||November 2, 2012||8.07||2.0/7||March 22, 2013||7.85||1.6/6||2012–13||53||7.93||8.34|
|3||22||September 20, 2013||6.67||1.5/6||April 25, 2014||6.10||1.4/6||2013–14||58||7.17||7.92|
|4||22||October 3, 2014||6.91||1.3/5||April 17, 2015||6.16||1.1/5||2014–15||60||8.18||8.52|
|5||22||September 25, 2015||6.26||1.1/5||April 22, 2016||5.94||1.0/4||2015–16||56||7.96||TBA|
Awards and nominations
|Year||Association||Category||Nominee / episode||Outcome|
|2011||ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards||Top Television Series||Carl Thiel (composer)||Won|
|2012||People's Choice Awards||Favorite New TV Comedy||Last Man Standing||Nominated|
|Kids' Choice Awards||Favorite TV Actor||Tim Allen||Nominated|
|TV Guide Magazine's Fan Favorites Awards||Favorite Comeback||Won|
|Young Artist Awards||Best Performance in a TV Series (Comedy or Drama) – Supporting Young Actress||Kaitlyn Dever||Nominated|
|2013||Environmental Media Awards||Television Episodic Comedy||"Mother Fracker"||Won|
|2014||Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards||Outstanding Cinematography For A Multi-Camera Series||Donald A. Morgan – "Eve's Boyfriend"||Nominated|
On September 4, 2015, the series joined the CMT Network with a mini-marathon of episodes. On September 3, 2015, it was announced that ABC Family (now Freeform) had obtained syndication rights to the series, which began airing episodes on September 28, 2015. Additionally, on May 15, 2015, it was announced that Hallmark Channel has obtained the rights to the sitcom and began airing the series in January 2016.
Last Man Standing airs on Fox8, Network Ten and One in Australia, City in Canada and TV3 in New Zealand. In the United Kingdom and Ireland, it premiered on October 9, 2012. The second season premiered on January 30, 2014.
- Since becoming series regulars in season 4, Jordan Masterson and Jonathan Adams are only credited for the episodes in which they appear.
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