A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this comedy series features themes like the importance of family, father-daughter relationships, teen pregnancy, single parenthood, dating, and marriage. Jokes often contain sexist stereotypes and occasional homophobic references, and the language can get a little salty ("damn," "crap"). Later episodes feature political tensions between family members.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
The comedy series LAST MAN STANDING features Tim Allen as Mike Baxter, an adventure-loving marketing director for an outdoor sporting goods store. When Mike's boss (played by Hector Elizondo) refuses to send him on any more fun marketing trips until he revamps the company website, he finds himself spending more time at home struggling to relate to his three daughters, including eldest daughter Kristin (Alexandra Krosney), the rather ditsy Mandy (Molly Ephraim), and tomboy Eve (Kaitlyn Dever). Being a more hands-on dad over the years leads to its share of mishaps, but it also gives him more time to spend with his grandson Boyd (played by Flynn Morrison). He also gets to know his sons-in-law and Kyle (Christoph Sanders) and Ryan (Jordan Masterson). As a result of all the craziness, Mike usually uses the company website to talk about issues that go beyond what the store is selling. It gets a little crazy, but luckily his wife, Vanessa (Nancy Travis), helps put everything into perspective.
Is it any good?
The comedy series offers some positive messages about family, fatherhood, and the importance of learning how to be part of grown kids' lives. It also underscores the parental struggle between trying to teach daughters to be independent, and the desire to see them married with children. Over the years it also highlights the changes that parents are forced to adapt to as their children build their own lives. It moved from ABC to Fox in 2018 for its seventh season; now some of the political tensions resulting from the 2016 elections, exemplified by Mike's conservative views, are occasionally discussed too.
It's likable and family friendly, but thanks to Tim Allen's reliance on his trademark male-oriented jokes to get a laugh, it sometimes looks and feels like an updated version of his original series, Home Improvement. It also contains a fair amount of stereotyping and some occasional homophobic humor. But if you can see past this, Last Man Standing provides some solid sitcom entertainment.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about father-daughter relationships. Are there really differences between the way daughters relate to their fathers vs. the way sons do? What about relating with mothers?
Are sexist and/or stereotypical jokes ever appropriate, even if some folks find humor in them? Why or why not?
For kids who love comedy
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