Now this was what the show should be. It was pretty much a laugh-fest from start to finish, with a couple of life lessons slipped in. “Don’t be a friend to your kids; be a parent” and “Sometimes you might hate your kid, or your kid hates you. It’s normal; and it passes.”
The conversations were light-hearted and the lines were nicely timed, from the scenes where Mike can’t sleep because Vanessa is talking, to the segment where Vanessa talks too loud to wake up Sarah so that she and Mandy can keep talking. And how nice to see Sarah for a long stretch of time instead of hidden in the next room or tucked away in a distant sandbox. She was very good in her part.
I also thought this was the best use of Jay Leno all season. I liked how his suggestion of handmade gift really got Mike and Ed to thinking instead of just dumping the usual gifts on each other. I particularly loved the scene where Joe is eating the bearclaw while talking to Mike, with both of them getting good zingers in, and ending with Joe throwing the bearclaw down on the table as he leaves. For some reason, I just loved that exit.
I noticed that Jordan Masterson directed this episode and Amanda Fuller directed last week’s show. Giving the cast a chance to flex their other muscles before the show ends its long run. Great job all around, everyone.
Another funny episode. Ryan wants to distribute a product made from hemp to Outdoor Man as a pain remedy. Mike has Kristin handle the negotiations. The bargaining is vicious – well, actually not. It all works out for a good deal, but then everyone starts playing Monday morning quarterback by suspecting the worst, that Kyle wouldn’t take advantage of Kristin, or that Mike used Kristin as a pawn knowing Kyle wouldn’t be tough on her. However, the explanations for the actions all make sense in the end – nobody was doing anyone dirty.
Meanwhile, Mandy gives her old Funbit watch to Vanessa to encourage her to exercise more. That hits Vanessa’s inner competitive gene and soon she’s trying to outdo Mandy in steps per day instead of just walking for fun with Jen like they used to. Jen has to delete the Funbit app to bring Vanessa back to sanity. A little ridiculous, but it was made more fun by the Funbit spoofing what happens on a Fitbit – which my wife and I both have and use. “When I hit 10,000, the little man dances,” Vanessa declares. That’s not too different from what the Fitbit actually does. I also liked that the storyline begins with Jen busting Mandy for “borrowing” Vanessa’s blender, and Mandy gets to return the favor by busting Jen for deleting the app.
Christoph Sanders directed. Yup, the cast is keeping busy in the director’s chair these days.
Gotta love that title. Have you seen the new GEICO ad, where the homeowners say they love their house, but it’s in bear country? And then Yogi and Boo Boo show up to start eating their food. Hilarious. Would have been a bigger riot if it had aired during this episode.
One story involves our couples Kyle and Mandy Anderson plus Ryan and Kristin Vogelson. They are having a discussion about life when the Andersons leave a little suddenly. The Vogelsons think it was because they were bragging about their exciting life of travel, while the Andersons think it was because they were showing off their open affection for each other. Each then tries to pretend they don’t enjoy their lives, but neither is very good at pulling that off. In the end, they all realize that everyone is different and has their different views of happiness. Cute.
The other story has Vanessa trying to convince Mike to join her yoga class, because he needs to stretch as older people need to do. He’s predictable against it, especially when he learns that Chuck has joined her class as well. But later when Mike and Chuck are working on a car together, Mike can’t seem to unscrew a bolt. So, Chuck demonstrates his flexibility and unscrews the bolt easily. Mike is impressed and decides to join the yoga class, and that’s where the fun really begins.
Except that’s not what happened. Instead, Chuck throws his back out trying to turn to bolt and is left in pain. Realizing his wife is away for the weekend, Chuck ends up laid up on the Baxters’ couch and takes advantage of Mike being stuck there taking care of him. I felt sympathy for Chuck. I’ve had back problems for years, and it is often very painful. But I’ve come to realize that lying down and trying to rest only makes it worse. Incredibly, getting up and walking around loosens it up a lot better and faster. But Chuck goes to work the next day, acting loopy because of the muscle relaxer he took. Only, he really is just acting loopy – he’s exaggerating the effect to play a gag on everyone. Anyway, Mike eventually agrees to give yoga a try, but that’s the end of the story, so we don’t see him embarrassed to wear tights or staring at the other women in leotards or any of the real fun stuff this episode could have been. Oh well.
I liked this episode. You never knew quite where it was going. It had surprises, warmth, and laughs.
Vanessa talks Mike into taking Ryan to a convention with him by car, since they are both going there anyway. Mike reluctantly agrees. Disaster on the road, big arguments ahead? Nope, Mike returns admitting that he actually had a good time with Ryan, and was even impressed with his presentation. But then trouble looms when Ryan drops by to visit just as Mike and Mandy are watching the finale of a mystery series about “The Cul-de-Sac Killer.” Mandy gets upset with him and marches out. But it wasn’t Ryan she was upset with. It was her Dad, for letting Ryan horn in on “their” special together activity. So, Mike invites Mandy over and shows her some of the things he and she had worked on together over the years. “We may not have done a big thing together,” he tells her, “but we did a lot of little things together.” A very sweet and touching scene, well played by both. And I liked that when she asked him who the Cul-de-Sac killer was, he told her he hadn’t watched another second of it after she left – clearly watching that finale is still going to be something they do together.
Meanwhile at work, Ed is raving about a new play he just saw “Taft – the Musical” - The story of President William Howard Taft set to rap music. He wants to give out free tickets to it and ends up giving them to Chuck and Joe. But when they return the next day, they clearly never went to the show even when they claimed to have enjoyed it. Ed seems genuinely disappointed in them. So, they come back on a later day, complete with program and even do a bit from the show. But they admit they really hated it. Ed confesses he did too, but Bonnie loved it. He figured if they liked it, he could point Bonnie to other fans of it. If they hated it, he had someone to complain about it with. I just loved that perverted logic, and the whole bit was amusing.
I see by my DVR only two episodes left now. I’m really going to miss this show.
Ah, this was the penultimate episode. I like that word. It sounds so highfalutin but it just means the second to the last. Some one who obviously had no idea what it meant once called the finale of a show, “The ultimate penultimate finale.” Yes, that made no sense whatsoever.
Anyway, the fun storyline for me was Jen deciding to go camping with some friends in a remote area, and Vanessa trying to wise her up by giving her a camping training session in the back yard which turns into a house of horrors shows. Best moment was Jen going into the tent and saying, “Want your rubber snake back now?” and then running out screaming because it wasn’t a rubber snake.
Another storyline had Kyle wanting Ed’s permission to work part-time as a minister and part-time at his regular job. Ed agrees to sign off on it if Kyle can show him an easy way to get to Heaven. In the end he just has to tell Ed there isn’t any easy way, but he’d be glad to still help him find a way. Ed signs off and admits Kyle will make a great minister, which I’m sure he will. I would have liked a little stronger storyline there saying something more about faith. I was disappointed to hear Ryan say he doesn’t believe in any of that stuff. I guess you would expect that from him, but he’s come off as a more decent likable character in this season and I would have liked to hear him say he at least considers the possibility of a God. We can always hope Kyle’s influence will rub off on him in time.
The final storyline about Kris liking her job too much and working too hard just kind of went nowhere for me. What’s wrong with liking her job? She gets mad when Mike dumps some of his big work on her, but – well, isn’t that what she wants if she’s going to take over for him?
Penultimate episodes sometimes are weak, because it ends up being a show they weren’t excited about running and then it has to be run before the finale can be shown. But this one was still okay.
An interesting way to have the series conclude. Not a sad goodbye or a look at what will happen to the family in the future. It’s a metaphor for celebrating the show itself by comparing it to the classic truck that Mike worked to restore for the last 10 years. First, he completes the project by finding the original bill of sale only to have it bought out from under him by Joe! But when Mike offers him all kinds of money for it, Joe gives it to him for free. He just wanted to be a memorable part of the project. That’s so like Joe. And it drives Mike nuts!
But then the truck is stolen despite an alarm system and a GPS tracker. Which leads to: Chuck: “That means the truck is no longer on the network.” Mike: “Stupid network. Stupid, stupid network” Vanessa: “Well, maybe you can find it on another network.” Mike: “That’s not the way it works, honey.” Chuck: “I’ve heard of it happening sometimes.” Mike: “Well, I’m not holding my breath.” Yeah, they did something similar to that before, but it was still funny.
Alas, the truck is taken to a chop shop and destroyed. Even Vanessa feels bad about it, so they all hold a memorial for the truck, but what they’re saying about the truck is really about the show. It’s both funny and touching at the same time. Eve even gets into the act via videophone. Mike makes one last vlog talking about his truck and going into the future planning to rise up again. He even salutes himself mentioning a comedian who used to say “men are pigs” which was, of course, Tim Allen. (Okay, I had to look it up to be sure; but I figured that’s who it would turn out to be.) Of course, his last words were “Baxter out.”
I’ll miss your show, Tim. You had a great run and were a breath of fresh air in TV land. Last Man Standing was the only sitcom I watched in the last ten years, except for The Good Place. I don’t know where I’ll find one worth watching from now on. Thanks for the memories.