Last Man Standing: What I want to see in its revival

LAST MAN STANDING -- Photo credit: FOX -- Acquired via FOX Flash
LAST MAN STANDING -- Photo credit: FOX -- Acquired via FOX Flash /

Last Man Standing is returning to TV! FOX will air its seventh season. Here is what I want to see in its revival.

We all know the story. Last Man Standing was canceled by ABC in May 2017. Fans of the show fought to revive their beloved show. Ultimately, FOX brought Last Man Standing back for the fall 2018 season.

If you are reading this article, there is a good chance you are just as excited as me for its revival. I am here to tell you what I want to see this season.

First of all, let me set the stage. Nearly all the cast returned, with two major exceptions. Molly Ephraim will not reprise her role as Mandy Baxter, the middle daughter of Mike Baxter (Tim Allen). Taking over the role of Mandy Baxter will be Molly McCook.

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The other major cast change is the role of Boyd Baxter. The grandson of Mike Baxter will no longer be portrayed by Floyd Morrison. In his place as the son of Kristin (Amanda Fuller) and Ryan Vogelson (Jordan Masterson) will be Jet Jurgensmeyer. Now that we are updated on the season seven cast, here are three key aspects of Last Man Standing I want to see this season.

FOX needs to own it

Yes, FOX will air Last Man Standing, but what I mean here is FOX should own it figuratively. Fans love the show, but in order for it to gain more fans, FOX should energize it with some new aspects. The show previously has brought on guest stars who add to the hilarity of the episodes.

A tremendous guest star appearance occurred in season five episode 19, “Outdoor Woman.” In that episode, Reba McEntire guest starred as celebrity rock climber Billie Cassidy. Mike Baxter and Ed Alzate (Hector Elizondo), owners of Outdoor Man, wanted Billie to sell her brand at the store. What complicated matters for Mike was he previously dated her and never officially broke up with her.

Seeking advice about his predicament, Mike talked to both his wife Vanessa (Nancy Travis) and Ed. The whole situation resulted in many comedic moments. To cap it off, the closing scene saw Billie praise Eve Baxter (Kaitlyn Dever) on her musical talent, only to for Billie to ironically remark she did not know much about the music business. I would like FOX to continue bringing in guest stars.

A suggestion for a guest star would be Tom Hanks. Hanks could guest star as Mike Baxter’s supposed best friend, Rick Wallace. According to Mike, he has not seen Rick Wallace in a long time. Ed later informed him that Rick Wallace patronized Outdoor Man. Because Last Man Standing is a comedy and Tim Allen is a natural comedian, there could be an abundance of jokes about toys. Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, of course, starred as the voices of Woody and Buzz Lightyear, respectively, in the Toy Story franchise.

The recast characters

As previously mentioned, the roles of Mandy and Boyd Baxter will feature new actors. This is not the first time the show recast a character. Originally, Alexandra Krosney starred as eldest daughter Kristin Vogelson nee Baxter. Season two saw a recasting, with Amanda Fuller taking over the role of Kristin. I have no doubt at some point in season 7 there will be a joke about these recast characters.

I implore fans to be patient with the new actors. There is only one Molly Ephraim and one Floyd Morrison. Acknowledging the love Molly Ephraim garnered from the fans as Mandy, Molly McCook wrote this for the fans:

"I’m so incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be on @lastmanstandingfox. I know a lot of you have been commenting that you hate that there’s a new Mandy. And I totally don’t blame you. The industry is a funny place. But I’m doing my BEST and making her my own. I know it’s not ideal that she ever had to change. But try to keep an open mind. The show is back and it’s fresh with some changes. Feeling lucky to be a part of this family. And that includes all of you. Let’s work together to make it the best it can be!"

What really struck me is her line “making her my own.” To ease the transition of the new actors, the writers of the show are giving their characters new storylines. Married in season 6, Mandy and her husband Kyle will struggle to conceive. Not only is that growth for the characters, that also gives Molly McCook a unique storyline as Mandy Baxter.

Jet Jurgensmeyer will also receive a new storyline as Boyd Baxter. With the recasting, Boyd is now a teenager. As a result, Boyd will undergo teenage struggles. Although Mike and Ryan often disagree, I hope they agree about how to treat Boyd as a teenager.

Boyd was born while Kristin and Ryan were in high school, so hopefully, Ryan wants Boyd to not make that mistake. I hope Mike helps Boyd with the “manly” stuff. Shooting a gun, working hard in school, caring about his family, etc. At times though, Mike should back off and let Boyd’s parents have the ultimate authority on how to raise him.

The family atmosphere

Although Mike Baxter is a conservative, at its core, Last Man Standing is about family. What I, and many other fans, love is the show is a family comedy. In this photo, the cast is smiling. Ryan and Mike often disagree, but they are family.

FOX needs to retain that family atmosphere. Indeed, it appears FOX aims to continue that family atmosphere. Actually, FOX shows the journey of the family. According to the synopsis of the second episode of this season, Mike will have the heart-to-heart with his father which he never had while he was alive. Yes, Bud Baxter (Robert Forster) has passed away. Although Bud drove Mike crazy at times, Bud was still Mike’s father.

I’ll have more reaction about that episode after it airs on Friday, Oct. 5. In that episode, I’d really like to see Mike’s brother Jimmy (Mike Rowe). Whenever a family member passes away, the family supports each other, and the brothers reminiscing about their father would be powerful, even with a funny moment or two.

The other aspect of the family atmosphere which FOX is adding into the show is a foreign exchange student living with the Baxters. The student, played by Kristen Marie Yu, will add new ideas into the Baxter household.

This alters the family dynamic because Eve will not appear in every episode. For Mike, this will be a challenge to his beliefs. Undoubtedly, there will be some arguing. Though arguing is a part of every family. In a sitcom, arguing is funny. Family and laughter are the two main parts of Last Man Standing.

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Are you just as excited as I am for this season of Last Man Standing? What would you like to see in its revival? I’ll provide more thoughts about this season as it progresses. Most importantly, I hope FOX recaptures the magic of Last Man Standing which leads to continued success.

Last Man Standing airs Fridays at 8/7c on FOX.