Follow TV Tropes


Trivia / Last Man Standing (2011)

Go To

  • Ability over Appearance: The creative team has said that they knew full well that Molly McCook bears little resemblance to Molly Ephraim, her predecessor, being tall and blonde rather than short and dark-haired. But they were not interested in a Molly Ephraim imitation and loved the actress, and so cast her on the idea of reinventing the character.
  • Acting for Two: In the episode "Dual Time", Tim Allen not only plays Mike, but also appears as Tim Taylor.
  • Advertisement:
  • Actor-Shared Background: Ed comes from a long line of people from the Basque country in Spain, just like Héctor Elizondo.
  • The Cast Showoff:
  • Channel Hop: After six seasons on ABC, Fox picked it up a year after the former network canceled the show. Then Fox canceled it not long after ABC parent Disney bought the studio.
  • Cowboy BeBop at His Computer: The cable guides for "School Merger" paint the episode as a battle between Mike and Chuck over an initiative that would allow inner-city students to attend the local schools. In the actual episode, Chuck agrees with Mike and the two of them argue with Kristin, Ryan, and Carol.
  • Advertisement:
  • The Danza: Jonathan Taylor Thomas as Jon.
  • Dawson Casting:
    • Molly Ephraim was 24 when the series started and her character, Mandy, was supposed to be 16. This is taken advantage of in that Mandy is frequently shown in fanservice-y clothing that would raise complaints if she was actually a minor. Amusingly, she was older than Alexandra Krosney, who played her older sister in the first season.
    • Kaitlyn Dever as Eve is an aversion, and coinciding with her growth spurt it's noted that Eve gained some height over Mandy.
    • Exchange student Jen, age 17, is played by Krista Marie Yu, age 29.
  • Doing It for the Art: Mike Baxter is an amateur radio operator, which prompted Tim Allen to get his own ham radio license.
    • Mike’s ham radio setup is a functional rig with antennas placed on the roof of the studio and radios loaned to the production by Icom for product placement. Most of the crew members are licensed hams and have used the studio rig to host amateur radio events.
  • Advertisement:
  • Friday Night Death Slot: One of the most notable aversions in recent memory. In 2012, ABC tried to revive a family sitcom block on Friday nights, so they moved the show there for its second season to combo with Malibu Country. The ratings for LMS actually improved and the show aired for four more seasons.note 
  • Irony as She Is Cast: Molly Ephraim, who plays the Book Dumb ditz Mandy, is a Princeton graduate.
  • The Other Darrin:
  • Network to the Rescue: After ABC cancelled the show after season six, Fox decided to pick up the show for its seventh season to air in 2018-19. It was canceled again two seasons later.
  • Reality Subtext: In the pilot, Mike's first lines include "I'm back!" and "It's good to be home" — referencing Tim Allen's return to TV network ABC over ten years after Home Improvement ended and even the same time slot said series occupied.
    • They did the exact same kind of things with Season 7's premiere, referencing the show getting cancelled by network executives, whom Mike says were probably "idiots" for cancelling, as Kyle put it, "A popular show that everyone liked." Mike later says, "no matter how long it's been since you last saw me, I'm still the same guy," unsubtly looking into the camera as he does.
  • Role Reprise: Season 9 featured Tim Allen reprising his role as Tim "The Tool Man Taylor" for the first time since Home Improvement ended.
  • Screwed by the Network: Despite being one of ABC's highest-rated shows and regularly coming in first in its time slot, the show was unceremoniously cancelled after season six. ABC claimed that it was not renewed because of "scheduling issues", namely that they decided to get rid of the Friday comedy block and they couldn't fit it in the schedule, and due to the contract between 20th Century Fox Television and ABC for the show, in which 20th Century Fox Television covered the cost of production, expiring after six seasons, meaning that had the series been renewed for a seventh season, ABC would have been required to pick up the show's production costs (not least of which was Tim Allen's high salary), which the network was unwilling to do. However, due to some rather contentious political controversy going on at the time, fans are decidedly unconvinced by this explanation.
    • And then ABC parent Disney bought 20th Century Fox Television during production of the eighth season, essentially putting Fox in the exact same debacle ABC was put in. To the surprise of no one, Fox chose to cancel the series after its ninth season, resulting in a Humiliation Conga for all the parties involved.
  • Sending Stuff to Save the Show: After the above happened, the show's fans quickly took to social media and created petitions (one of which has over 350K signatures) to get either ABC or another network to un-cancel it. They eventually succeeded when Fox un-cancelled it in 2018.
  • Separated-at-Birth Casting: Especially when Alexandra Krosney played Kristin, it was uncanny how all three sisters looked alike. In the season six Halloween episode, as part of the theme Mandy and Eve dressed like each other. You almost forget the actors switched roles.
  • Troubled Production: The show was created by 30 Rock writer Jack Burditt, but a family tragedy led to him leaving the show before he could really work with it. Though he returned for a brief period, he knew he wouldn't be able to lead the sitcom much longer, and Reba vet Kevin Abbott took the helm. But Abbott had already sold another pilot to ABC and had to leave to focus on that show, so the start of the second season brought the third official showrunner, Tim Doyle of Rules of Engagement. Starting in season two, Last Man Standing (which by now banished to Fridays) became a show about politics mixed with family relationships, in essence they wanted to make the show more like All in the Family. In the process they recast the characters of Kristin and Boyd. Doyle stuck around as showrunner three years before passing the baton to Matt Berry, who ran the show until its cancellation by ABC. Being uncancelled by FOX led to another round of recasting, as Molly Ephraim had moved on to a film career and Flynn Morrison had retired from acting to focus on school. Meanwhile, Kaitlyn Dever was demoted to recurring status as she became committed to other projects in the meantime.
  • Shown Their Work: As mentioned above, a lot of detail went into Mike’s amateur radio hobby. All of the character’s call signs have “zero” in the middle, which would be accurate for a ham radio license issued for Colorado. Also in one episode, Ed uses his radio to talk from the Amazon, and adds the suffix “PY 8” after his call sign, indicating that he’s an American ham operating out of Brazil. Producer John Amodeo is a licensed ham, and has spoken about how the series has brought an otherwise niche hobby into the mainstream.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • In the original pilot script, Mike was a construction worker, Kristin did not have a child and was a go-getter who had a variety of jobs, Mandy was a son named Howie who spent all of his time playing video games, and the Baxters were hosts of a foreign exchange student.
    • Before the writers came up with the vlog concept, Mike was going to break the fourth wall and speak directly to the audience.
    • CBS was interested in picking up the show, but Disney/ABC was so determined to continue their relationship with Tim Allen that CEO Bob Iger himself presented the network's bid, which was accepted.
    • Fox wanted to pick up the show for the 2017-18 TV season after ABC cancelled it, but by then it was too late for them to change their Fall schedule to make room for it. They were able to do so the season after once some low performing shows were cancelled.
    • There were briefly meetings for CMT to take over the show, but they couldn't afford Tim Allen's high salary.
  • You Look Familiar: Jonathan Taylor Thomas plays Kristin's boss Jon in seasons two and three, then cameos as Helen Potts' son Randy in season four.