After nine seasons and one network change, the television series “Last Man Standing” now rides into TV comedy history as an actually funny show that exhibited conservative viewpoints, strong family ties, and politically incorrect attitudes.
Series star Tim Allen sent out a tweet to his faithful fans before the last episode of “Last Man,” aired, writing: “I don’t want to wrap up this story.”
— Tim Allen (@ofctimallen) May 20, 2021
Speaking with Fox News, Allen said he had to hold back tears when shooting the final episode.
“Our prop guy said, ‘Which of these did you want to take?’ and it was pictures of the family from the hallway that was going away,” Allen said. “I walked in and looked at Nancy and I’m literally surprised I got through that scene.”
Co-star Nancy Travis said in a video posted to Twitter she’ll always remember “having a great time,” and summed up the show’s bottom line to Fox.
“We just tried to portray a family and the nuances of a family, and the relationships within a family,” Travis said. “To be able to bring that into somebody’s living room every single week is pretty incredible.”
The show almost didn’t make it to nine years. Launched in 2011, after year six, ABC abruptly canceled it despite great ratings and a loyal fan base. Many accused the network of axing the show for its overtly conservative and Christian themes, saying Disney-owned ABC just couldn’t abide that a funny, entertaining conservative character like Allen’s enjoyed such popularity. But Fox quickly picked it up, leading to a huge resurgence of the show and three more years of the Baxter family on TV.
Success didn’t come easily for Allen personally, either. He summed up his own journey on his Twitter feed citing the roles he has played, and saying who he really is.
“Santa? Buzz Lightyear? The Tool Man? Mike Baxter? Hey, I’m still that wisecracking kid from the Midwest, looking for answers to life’s big questions,” he wrote.
Today, Allen celebrates 23 years of sobriety from alcohol and drugs. But at the age of 11, his father was killed by a drunk driver, a tragic event that started his questions and eventually took him into drugs and alcohol.
“I knew my father was dead. But I was never satisfied with why he was dead. I wanted answers that minute from God,” he said in 2012. “‘Do you think this is funny? Do you think this is necessary?’ And I’ve had a tumultuous relationship with my Creator ever since.”
His quest for answers took an unexpected turn in 1978 when he was arrested for having 650 grams of cocaine in his possession. He pleaded guilty to drug trafficking and was sent to prison for two years. After his release, he turned to comedy to focus his life, something he says “saved his life.” He remained a cynic about God and church, even though he was a churchgoer. But as he considered his own creation, his cynicism began to turn to faith.
“Whoever built me, this is too much, too weird that it happened by accident,” Allen told GodReports.com in 2017. “It didn’t happen by accident.”
Slowly, Allen began to open his heart to God, leading him finally to dedicate his life to Jesus Christ. He often refers to God as “The Builder.”
His TV show has reflected that faith from time to time, something that may have painted a target on his back for criticism. GodReports recounts one episode where that faith was evident.
In the scene, Baxter’s atheistic son-in-law, “Ryan,” is upset because Baxter’s co-worker “Kyle” mentioned Jesus to his son, “Boyd,” prompting him to confess to stealing.
“I want Boyd to tell the truth because it’s the right thing to do, not because he thinks he’s gonna be punished by an angry God,” Ryan explains in the episode.
“I never said that,” Kyle responded. “Boyd was scared that if he told you what he did, you wouldn’t love him anymore. So I said you were like my friend Jesus, and even if I do something bad, as long as I’m honest, He still loves me.”
Now with nearly ten years with the same on-screen family, and nine seasons of the show under his belt, Deadline reports that at a final Fox presser Tim Allen expressed just how much the show meant to him.
“To be very honest, I have had problems letting go of this one. It’s just been three or four weeks (since the taping) and I’m literally just feeling better. Never have I enjoyed, outside of Home Improvement and maybe moments of Galaxy Quest, one of these jobs,” he said. “This crew, from the guy at the gate to Radford inside to people we ate with, I loved every second of this experience.”