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May 18, 2021

'Last Man Standing': Tim Allen Says a Heartfelt Goodbye to His TV Family

Tim Allen may have been the Last Man Standing on Fox, but even that time has come to an end.

The sitcom Last Man Standing has been through many changes over its nine seasons, but now the series has finished its successful run.

Launched on ABC in 2011, cancelled in 2017, picked up by Fox in 2018, it comes to a close on Thursday, May 20, 2021, at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

Star Allen is a sitcom vet, having starred as handyman Tim Taylor in Home Improvement (1991-1999). He is also known as the voice of Buzz Lightyear in the Toy Story movies, and as the Jolly Old Elf in the Santa Clause film franchise.

When it came to saying goodbye to the cast and crew of Last Man Standing, Allen admitted it was difficult.

“To be very honest," he said, "I had health problems letting go of this one.”

A month after wrapping the show, he was finally feeling better and ready to talk about the experience.

Outdoor-gear marketing executive Mike Baxter (Allen), a tough yet deeply sensitive father of three daughters, was always available to help with whatever came their way. But he was also a conservative and had a hard time adapting to the new generation.

“I always thought [Mike] was Archie Bunker [of All in the Family] with a college education,” Allen stated.

When asked if he was closer to Tim Taylor or Mike Baxter, Allen replied, “Finishing problems in your personal life and your emotional life in 20 minutes, that would be a great thing to do.

"I liked how direct [Baxter] was, literally. I guess I'm a little bit closer to Baxter.”

But both characters loved their tools and, during the downtime of the last year, Allen built two hotrods, worked in his shop, and took his stand-up routine back on the road.

But through it all he was anxious to get back to Last Man Standing, where the cast and crew were a tight-knit group. Viewers loved the diversity of characters and lifestyles.

With his sons-in-law adding to the Baxter family unit, Mike definitely upped his game when it came to dealing with family problems. Yet, he never let his business suffer. This was a man who could balance everything and come out relatively unscathed.

Over the nine seasons, the tough-edged Baxter softened. He became more tolerant with others but still held to his beliefs. That was what viewers enjoyed seeing.

As the family grew up and grew in numbers, Mike was always the stabilizing force at the center. That’s not to say wife Vanessa (Nancy Travis) was a wimp. On the contrary, this series showed how teamwork and love was the way to raise a family, and support for each other was a necessity.

Allen was definitely choked up about saying goodbye to his TV family and crew. This show incorporated a lot of his personal life into the storylines and dialogue.

There were many references to Buzz Lightyear and Santa Claus, and Tim Taylor even made an appearance (Allen in a dual role).

So it is understandable that he was heartbroken. It was an experience he will never forget. And how could he? After all, he has many mementos from the show at his house.

“I got the entire Mike Baxter vlog set,” he admitted. “I've got so much stuff here. … I don't know where to put it.”

Besides keeping some items, Allen gave something to everyone.

“The greatest thing I did," he recalls, "is I gave everyone a gift of a crystal of everybody, and that's the best memory.”

So, as “Last Man Standing” has come to an end, it’s fitting to close with the way Mike closed his vlogs.

“Baxter out.”

 

Image: Fox

Francine Brokaw is a longtime journalist, covering entertainment, product reviews and travel, and is the host of Beyond the Red Carpet on Village Television and YouTube.

Keep up with Family Theater Productions on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

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